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How to Plan a Social Media Content Calendar in 2023 — Horizontal
Social Media Marketing Blog

How to Plan a Social Media Content Calendar in 2024 (+ Free Template)

Updated on November 16, 2023
6 minute read

Planning a content calendar can be as easy as 1-2-3. 🌟

Published November 16, 2023

Planning a social media content calendar — and sticking to it — is one of the best ways to see continuous growth!

Why? With a content calendar, you can stay organized, track performance, and make sure you’re meeting your marketing goals.

So, Later’s social team is breaking down how to build a successful content calendar, including our number one tool for scheduling. Keep reading.

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What Is a Social Media Content Calendar?

A social media content calendar is a calendar you create to organize, plan, and schedule content across platforms. 

This could include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more.

There’s a few different ways to create content calendars:

  • The traditional pen and paper route, like a physical planner or printed calendar

  • Excel spreadsheets or Google Sheets are a good, basic way to get started

  •  A project management tool like Notion or Asana offers a more robust way to organize your tasks and deadlines 

  • Social media management tools like Later, which is the most efficient option (more on that, later)

Work smarter, not harder. Download our free ready-to-use social media calendar template to streamline your social media strategy, today.

Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Content Calendar in 2024

A social media content calendar is essential for anyone working in social media or building a brand.

Here are six reasons why your business needs one in 2024: 

#1: Work Smarter, Not Harder

When you have a calendar, you can add content to it en masse with the upcoming week’s (or month’s) content.

By blocking out time to plan in advance, you’ll save tons of content creating (and caption writing) hours in the long-run. 

#2: Share More Consistently 

Consistency is the name of the game in 2024, and having a content calendar will help keep you on track. 

That said, you don’t have to post on social media every single day.

Define a posting cadence that’s achievable based on your bandwidth and resources, and take it from there.

#3: Repurpose Your Content Across Multiple Channels

Social media content calendars help you see what you’ve already published and spot opportunities to repurpose content across channels.  

For example, if a video performed well on Instagram Reels, it’s probably worth repurposing on TikTok, Pinterest, and Youtube Shorts. 

A Later TikTok repurposed as a YouTube Short.

Remember: It's all about working smarter, not harder.

For more tips on repurposing content, bookmark this post: How We Plan Our Social Media Content Strategy at Later

#4: Diversify Your Content 

With a content calendar, you can quite literally see the big picture. 

This makes it easier to ensure you’re sharing a wide variety of content types to keep your audience engaged, across multiple platforms. 

#5: Better Team Collaboration

If you’re working with a team, a social media content calendar serves as a destination everyone can access and contribute to.

Plus, with Later you get cool features like Draft Posts, Access Groups, and Calendar Notes — which lets you and your team leave comments, ideas, placeholders, and draft posts directly on your calendar.

Internal note used in Later's social media content calendar

#6: Increase Quality Control 

Planning your content ahead of time gives you time and space to double-check your work and produce higher-quality content all around.

And while some content might need to be moved around to accommodate last-minute requests or pop-culture trends, having content on deck and ready-to-go can help ease the stress of the “always on” nature of social media. 

FYI: Later is your one-stop shop for social media management — from scheduling tools to in-depth analytics. Sign up today — for free:

How To Create a Social Media Content Calendar in 2024

Before you jump into creating your content calendar, you’ll want to decide what the calendar should include. 

Here are a few basics to help you start: 

  • Every platform you plan to post to 

  • Go-live dates and times (don’t forget about time zones!)

  • Post captions 

  • Visual format

  • Links to assets

  • Tracking links (if used)

Next, ask yourself what your desired workflow will be — do you prefer to plan a week in advance? A month? A quarter? 

For a longer lead-time you might want to use a project management tool like Asana so you can prep quarter by quarter.  

But for your “always on” type of planning (think weekly or bi-weekly), you’ll want to go the spreadsheet or social management tool route. 

With Excel or Google Sheets, you can manage your content plans digitally, easily color-code, and share your calendar with your team to collaborate. 

Your spreadsheet-based content calendar could look something like this:

Later's social media calendar, made in Google Sheets.

And while a spreadsheet is a great way to organize your content, when it comes to planning, scheduling, and analyzing your content, you’ll want a third-party tool like Later — which will make your workflow easier. 

GIF illustrating how to schedule multi-profile posts with Later.

With Later you can: 

  • Plan and create all your social posts from one central content calendar

  • Manage all of your photo and video content with the Media Library 

  • Schedule your posts to go live, across multiple platforms 

  • Switch between weekly and monthly views in the Calendar to see what’s coming up

  • Use the Visual Planner feature to make sure your feed is cohesive and on-brand 

  • Plus, tons more!

Streamline your workflow with Later’s content calendar and social media management tools. Create an account today — for free:

How to Manage Visuals for Your Social Media Content Calendar

When it comes to managing your visual media, there are a few things you can do to streamline your content planning process. 

In the same way that you map out what platforms you’ll be posting to, you can also map out the type of content you’ll be posting. 

Whether it’s videos, memes, or carousel posts, it helps to have a bank of “content types” that you can plug into your social media content calendar. 

Three examples of Later's Instagram posts — a graphic, meme, and a Reel.

Plus, if you’re tracking the performance of your content, you’ll be able to see what visuals resonate with your audience. 

For example, at Later, our audience likes to engage and share text-based carousel posts full of social media tips or news: 

Knowing this, we created a social media post template for this type of content that we can customize and plug into the calendar every week. 

Rinse and repeat. 🌟

Whether you’re a solopreneur or working with a large team, a social media content calendar is key to staying consistent and meeting your goals

Plus, it gives you the flexibility to map out your social content for days, weeks, or even months in advance — hello, time-saver! 

Ready to supercharge your social media marketing strategy? Download our content calendar template today — for free.

Never Miss a Trend AgainJoin over 1 million marketers to get social news, trends, and tips right to your inbox!Email Address

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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