AI is no longer a tool, it's a teammate. Meet Asana's new AI teammates.Join our beta

How to create and use a social media content calendar

Julia Martins contributor headshotJulia Martins
February 17th, 2024
10 min read
Social media content calendar article banner image
View Templates


A social media content calendar is essential for streamlining social media management, allowing for advanced planning and cohesive messaging across various platforms. By using a content calendar, teams can balance evergreen and timely content, track important dates, and coordinate with cross-functional collaborators effectively. Understanding how to create a social media content calendar is invaluable for maintaining a consistent, high-quality social media presence and optimizing audience engagement.

Managing a social media account—or multiple accounts—is no small feat. Between new posts, audience interactions, and internal company amplification, you're likely juggling multiple work streams just to keep your social media accounts active. Luckily, there’s a better way.

Think of a social media content calendar as a cheat sheet. With it, you can plan posts in advance, so you’re maintaining a seemingly-effortless stream of high-quality content. Whether you're planning 30 days or 365 days in advance, a social media content calendar is a great way to bring cohesive messaging and quality content to your viewers.

Don't think it's possible? Learn more about social media content calendars—and how to create your own—in our easy, six-step guide.

What is a social media content calendar?

At its most basic level, a social media content calendar is a calendar of all of your social media posts. By creating and curating a social media content calendar, you're also creating a central source of truth where you can plan upcoming posts, track what’s been posted, and coordinate your efforts with cross-functional teams.

This type of calendar can be especially helpful if you’re managing multiple social media accounts across Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and more. A social media content calendar can help you post with a unique voice, manage multiple versions of each post, and decide what to post on each account.

Free social media content calendar

Do I really need a social media content calendar?

Maybe you currently plan all of your posts directly in your social media apps as you go. You might be asking: Do I need a calendar? Yes! A content calendar is a must for any social media marketing team. With a content calendar, you have a real-time way to:

  • Plan posts in advance. Get ahead of schedule by visualizing what's next in your content plan.

  • Brainstorm social posts. Work with cross-functional collaborators to brainstorm new potential social media posts and bring new voices into your social media presence.

  • Balance evergreen and timely content. Plan both evergreen and timely posts to delight audiences in the moment while also scheduling perennially relevant posts.

  • Note important upcoming dates. Track relevant company dates, like any new product launches, so you can share prepared content.

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest hashtags. Keep a running list of relevant hashtags and new ones you could use, depending on the post's content.

  • Schedule and coordinate influencer posts. Working with thought leaders in your space? Track their contributions and your engagement in a central place.

  • Collect any relevant visual assets. Plan visual content in advance to make your posts pop.

  • Report on social media metrics. Track how your posts are doing and keep engagement metrics on-hand so you can set and achieve your goals.

To build an effective, helpful social media content calendar, you need a tool that can help you organize and visualize your posts. If you’re just getting started, try a work management tool that offers a free social media content calendar template, like Asana. With our template, you can get started with example tasks and sections, view your calendar in Calendar View, and report on how previous posts did.

How to create a social media content calendar

Ok, you're ready to get started. But how do you actually go about building your calendar? We recommend getting started with a work management platform like Asana, using our free social media content calendar. With it, you can track processes, report on past post cadence and publishing schedules, provide visibility, and align with your team.

Free social media content calendar

But no matter where you're building your social media calendar, follow this six-step guide to get started:

1. Identify your social media channels

This might seem like an obvious first step, but it's one of the most important steps you can take to prioritize your social media posting schedule and improve your marketing campaigns—and it often gets overlooked. Before you start homing in on individual social posts and channel-specific strategies, take a step back with your social media team to answer the question: Which social media platforms should we be on?

This involves evaluating various formats like feed posts, stories, reels, polls, ads, or shoppable posts to understand where your efforts will be most impactful.

Is there a platform that's less relevant for your audience? Conversely, is there a platform that's popular with your demographic that you haven't started to build out yet? Are there forgotten social media accounts for your company that have started gathering dust?

By pinpointing where your audience actively engages, you can streamline your focus on those social media platforms, paving the way for platform-specific content strategies. This approach ensures that your content, whether it's a poll on one platform or a live stream on another, truly resonates with your audience.

2. Conduct an audit of your social platforms

One of the advantages of creating a social media content calendar is reporting on progress, so it's helpful to have a baseline of where you started. As you audit your current social profiles, note:

  • Your most successful post by channel

  • What types of posts get the most engagement

  • When your audience is most active

  • How different types of posts do (e.g. compare and contrast image vs. video content, company blog vs. external posts, etc.)

  • Popularity of evergreen vs. timely content

  • Audience demographic across social media platforms

  • Where each social platform is now

If you conduct a social media audit only to find you're not really clear on what's working—that’s ok! Your calendar will also have a way for you to report and track data, so you can continuously improve your process moving forward.

3. Decide what you want to track with your social media content calendar

Now that you have a plan for which channels to focus on and know how your posts are currently doing, it's time to create your social media content calendar. If you started with our free template, you likely already have a pretty good baseline for tracking the essentials. To take things a step further, use metadata in your social media calendar tool to track additional details—like which hashtags you're using, which channels you're posting on, the specific time the posts will go live, target audience, relevant @-mentions, and more.

4. Plan your posting cadence

As you're building out your posts, decide how frequently you'll post and how far in advance you want to write your posts. Knowing your cadence will also help you figure out your capacity and optimize your content creation process.

If you haven't already, now is also the time to build out your asset library. Do you frequently post images and videos, and if so—where do those images come from? If you have a design team, organizing your posting cadence can help you send requests in advance to avoid overloading them. Alternatively, if you use stock footage, creating an asset library can make it easier to source images and videos.

5. Build out a review schedule

At this stage, take some time to brainstorm and align your review schedule with your social team. Who should review posts, and when? Do your posts need any approval from the brand or legal teams? Your social calendar is there to help you build out processes. It's also a great way to keep track of all of your content reviews in one central place.

6. Track and report on published content

If you're using a calendar to track your posts, you already have a central source of truth for all past posts. Use this as a chance to look back on trends and add social media analytics data to those past posts—how many likes and impressions did the post get in the first hour, for example? Were there any notable audience engagement metrics? Use this as an opportunity to track what works and continue to hone and refine your social media campaigns.

Social media content calendar example

Every social media content calendar is slightly different, based on the channels your team is posting on, how frequently you post, what information you're tracking, and what workflows are most important to your team. Here's an example of what a general social media content calendar might look like:

[Old Product UI] Social media calendar in Asana (Calendar View)

Use this as a starting point to create your own social calendar—fill it with relevant types of content, add your social networks, and use it to track your social marketing strategy.

Free social media content calendar

The benefits of a social media content calendar

By creating and managing a social media content calendar, you can unlock new potential for your social media team. With a calendar, you can bring strategy and metrics into your social planning to bring your accounts to life. Additionally, a social media content calendar can help you:

Maintain a consistent posting schedule

Without a centralized social media calendar, it can be hard to accurately visualize when you're posting on each of your accounts. To easily make sure each account is getting the right amount of love and attention, you need a calendar of every upcoming and past post. Plus, by visualizing your posts ahead of time, you can ensure there are no upcoming coverage gaps, or plan for new posts in those windows if need be.

Read: How to align your team with a work schedule template (with examples)

Nail the timing for every post

A lot of work and thought goes into each social post. But without the best plan in place to share and amplify those posts, they can easily get lost in the newsfeed—and your audience won't get to see the amazing content you've created just for them. With a social calendar, you can organize all of your posts in advance, and plan when to best post them to snag your audience's attention.

Centralize content planning

Depending on where and what you're posting, you're likely planning to include an image, link to a blog post, share a new video, or potentially include a customer quote. A social media content calendar can help you decide what you need and source these materials from across your marketing team—not to mention make sure they're properly organized and attached to the correct post.

Read: The complete guide to writing creative briefs

Prevent big mistakes

Make sure everything you post is copyedited and error-free. View all upcoming posts to avoid spelling mistakes, make sure you're always using the right links and images, and prevent big mistakes before they happen.

Increase cross-functional visibility

Not all team members have access to your social media planning tool, so without a centralized source of truth, cross-functional team members don't have a good sense of what you're posting when. By maintaining a social media content calendar plan, a tool everyone can use and has access to, you can make it easy for your team members to re-share, like, and amplify your posts. That way, you're not only keeping track of your social posts for yourself—you're also providing an easy source of truth for any interested team members.

Get started with social media analytics

In order to improve your social media strategy, you need to be able to look back on what you did. What worked? What didn't? What posts got the most engagement? But digging through individual Instagram or LinkedIn posts is not the way to do that. Instead, look for a tool that makes it easy to look back on past posts.

Free social media content calendar

Common mistakes to avoid when using a social media content calendar

Creating an effective social media content calendar can streamline your digital marketing efforts. However, it's easy to fall into certain traps that hinder the potential of your social media schedule. By being aware of these common mistakes, you can maximize the efficiency and impact of your social media planning calendar.

  • Overlooking platform specifics: Each social media platform caters to a unique audience and favors different types of content. A common mistake is using a one-size-fits-all approach for all platforms. Tailor your content to suit the specific audience and format of each platform.

  • Ignoring analytics: Data is key to refining your social media strategy. Neglecting the insights from analytics tools can lead to missed opportunities for optimizing your content for better engagement. Regularly review your analytics to understand what works and what doesn’t.

  • Not allowing flexibility: While it's important to stick to your calendar, being too rigid can be detrimental. Social media is dynamic, and sometimes you need to adapt quickly to trends or current events. Your social media content calendar should have the flexibility to accommodate spontaneous posts when necessary.

  • Skipping interaction: Posting content is just one part of social media engagement. Failing to interact with your audience—through comments, likes, and shares—can make your brand seem distant. Schedule time for interaction to foster a stronger connection with your audience.

By avoiding these common mistakes, your social media content calendar becomes a powerful tool for orchestrating your online presence. Remember, the goal is to create a balanced, insightful, and adaptable schedule that resonates with your audience and strengthens your brand's digital footprint.

How do I come up with new content ideas?

Deciding what to post on social media can be a tricky game—that's why your team has dedicated you, the social media manager, to work on this. It’s your job to post timely content that your customers like and your audience wants to engage with. And that is no easy feat!

A social media content calendar not only helps you schedule posts—it can also help you plan them. For example, if you're managing a food-focused Instagram account, and you hear about how National Pancake Day is coming up, you can plan a post for that day with ample time to be creative, proofread the copy, and source great images—instead of scrambling to get a post out the door when you see your competitors posting about pancakes.

Your social media content calendar will also make it easier than ever for you to report on past posts and track what's working. So if you don't know what you should post, that's ok! Your calendar can help you decide what's working for your audience, and you can craft a message in line with your top metrics.

Free social media content calendar

Social Media Content Calendar FAQ

To help you get the most out of your social marketing efforts, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about social media content calendars.

What should a social media content calendar include?

A social media content calendar should encompass a comprehensive content schedule, detailing the publish date, type of content (such as posts, stories, or reels), and the platforms where they will be posted. Calendars are essential for effective content marketing and should include editorial notes, relevant hashtags for SEO improvements, and mention of any stakeholders involved. Integrations with tools like Asana can make this process more manageable and customizable to your needs.

Can a social media content calendar improve engagement with my audience?

Absolutely. A social media content calendar enables you to plan and execute your marketing campaigns strategically and guarantees that your content aligns with audience interests and is posted at the best times for engagement. By adhering to a well-structured social media posting schedule, you can consistently provide value to your audience, which is key to boosting engagement.

How frequently should I revise and update my social media content calendar?

The number of times you change your social media content calendar should match how often you update your editorial calendar or digital marketing strategy. Regular updates, ideally on a monthly or quarterly basis, allow you to adapt to changing trends and audience preferences. It's key to balance consistency in your posting frequency with the flexibility to pivot based on performance analytics.

What is a good social media posting schedule?

A good social media posting schedule varies depending on your target audience, the social media platforms used, and the nature of your business. For instance, a small business might find it optimal to post daily on Instagram and three times weekly on LinkedIn. A social media management tool, such as Hootsuite, can help streamline this process and provide insights into the best times to post to maximize reach and engagement.

How do I plan my social media content?

Planning your social media content involves several steps. Begin by identifying your goals and understanding your audience. Use a social media content calendar for organization, incorporating elements of project management to ensure team collaboration. Consider using automation tools with drag-and-drop features for ease of use. Incorporate various content types like educational posts, promotional content, and interactive elements like polls or quizzes. Regularly review analytics to adjust your strategy, prioritize content types that resonate most with your audience, and refine your social media planning for optimal impact.

New notification: Everybody likes your social media content calendar

Being organized, planning your posts, and tracking what works is the best way to optimize your social media strategy. A social media content calendar can help you curate evergreen content and share high-quality posts on relevant and important dates. Next step: going viral.

Free social media content calendar

Related resources


Data-driven decision making: A step-by-step guide