Social media content calendar guide + 60 ideas

Whether you’re a marketing manager, an influencer, or a small business owner, you need to be where your customers are in order to succeed. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to look far because everyone is on the web — or rather, on social media.

Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. But, just like traditional marketing methods, you can’t approach it without a sound strategy in place. 

This is why having a well-planned content calendar is a critical part of growing your online presence.

However, you might find that this is easier said than done. That is why we’ve put together an extensive list of social media content calendar ideas to get you started — along with some tips on how to make the most of your posts.

Read on to find out more and get a free editable template you can use to get started right away.

Social media content calendar guide + 60 Social media content calendar ideas

What is a social media content calendar?

A content calendar is a map for your social media content for the upcoming period. 

It can be made a week, a month, or even several months in advance. 

And, it is the key to a consistent flow of quality content on your social media profiles.

Usually, a content calendar is in the form of: 

A content calendar contains the following information:

  • The social media platform and account the post is for,
  • The purpose of the post (e.g. promotional, educational, testimonial, update, etc.),
  • The form of the post (e.g. picture, reel, story, full-length video, tweett, etc.),
  • Date and time the post should be posted,
  • Pictures, links, text, tags, or hashtags that will accompany the post, and
  • A checklist of items that need to be completed before the post goes live.

Content calendars can be more or less detailed, and contain different information depending on the person creating them. 

Generally, though, the more detail, the better. 

💡 Plaky Pro Tip

Some people use the terms content calendar and editorial calendar interchangeably. But, they’re not the same thing. Find out the difference between the two in the article below :

Why are social media calendars important?

Today, over 4.5 billion people in the world use social media. This includes 72% of the US population

An increasing number of these people use social media to discover brands (24%) and research them (43%) before shopping, says the Global Web Index Social Report (GWI). In reality, these numbers are probably even higher. 

If you want to tap into the potential of these numbers, you need visibility. And, to get visibility, you need consistent and quality content, which, in turn, requires structure and planning — in other words, a content calendar.

Not convinced? Here are a few other reasons why content calendars are essential to a successful social media marketing strategy.

Social media content calendars make it easier to be consistent and organized

To get the most out of their content, people normally post on several different social media platforms, and each of these platforms demands consistency. Even for the most well-organized person in the world, this will get overwhelming after a while.

This is why planning in advance is key. A content plan will never let you forget which post comes next, and it can make all the difference between a successful social media channel and a flop.

Social media content calendars help create cohesive content

The goal of anyone who treats their social media profile as a business profile should be to create a recognizable brand image through: 

  • Fonts, 
  • Color pallets, 
  • Tone, and 
  • The type of content they create.

With a social media content calendar, you can lay out all your ideas weeks, or even months, in advance. You can work through them slowly and methodically until you’re certain that what you have is recognizably “you” across all your platforms. 

Social media content calendars save time

Relying on yourself to always be creative, inspired, and ready to churn out quality content every day like clockwork is simply not realistic. 

Sometimes, you just won’t have the inspiration. Sometimes, life will happen — you’ll get sick, things will come up, and you’ll struggle to publish content on time. To make it worse, whatever you do, you’ll have the thought of “I have to post today” constantly looming over you.

A content calendar is a simple solution to this problem. Taking one day a month to work on the content you’ll post in the following period will take a load off your shoulders and free up both your time and your mind.

Social media content calendars help you track and improve performance

Another thing you can write down in your social media content calendar is the success of your posts.

No one nails social media marketing on their first try — it’s a process of trial and error. Having a content calendar to refer to after a period of posting will allow you to reflect on your biggest failures and successes and learn from them. 

In other words, double up on what worked, make changes to that which did not. Rinse and repeat. 

How do I create a social media plan?

The process of creating a social media calendar will look different for everyone. It will entirely depend on: 

  • Your niche, 
  • Your audience, 
  • Your content pillars, and
  • The best time to post.

If you already know these 4 things, you can proceed straight to researching others who are active in your niche — find out what topics are popular, what is currently trending, and start brainstorming.

Some of the best places to start are:

  • Twitter,
  • Reddit,
  • Quora,
  • News websites in your niche, or
  • Your competitors on the platform you wish to target.

However, if you’re a new creator and still aren’t sure about what you want to do with your profile, you should first go through the checklist above. This will help you get a clear idea of the direction you want to take.

Step #1: Define your niche and goals

A profile without a clear aim and theme is confusing. When people come to your profile, you want them to immediately understand what the profile is about, regardless of the social media platform. Otherwise, they’ll bounce.

Define this as clearly as possible. Better yet, write it down. But, don’t narrow it down too much. If instead of “Work-from-home moms” your niche is “Work-from-home moms from Winslow who like pottery”, chances are your target audience will consist of about 5 people. 

The benefit is that your content will be well-defined and it will resonate with your target audience extremely well, but your sphere of influence will be much narrower and you’ll limit your future creativity. So, it’s always better to leave yourself some breathing space.

Step #2: Define your audience

Now that you know your niche, think about who your target audience is. 

For example, if you are a small business owner who sells stickers and sticker rolls, your target market is most likely teenage girls and women in their twenties and early thirties who enjoy aesthetic journaling. 

While your content will definitely draw in other types of people as well, your posts should be created and curated specifically for the majority of your audience.

From this point on, you’ll also want to think about some other interests your audience might have that can relate to your niche. To continue with the example above, these could be:

  • Collage,
  • Drawing,
  • Calligraphy,
  • Organization, and
  • Mental health.

Once you have figured out what makes your audience tick, you can start thinking about the type of content you should create.

Step #3: Define your content pillars

So, by now, many of you might be wondering what content pillars are — so let’s explain.

When you know what you want your profile or channel to be about, you should think of several different types of content your audience will want to see. These types of content are called content pillars.

For example, content pillars for a YouTube channel whose main topic is teaching people how to grow their own YouTube channel could be:

  • Behind the scenes of how a YouTube video is made,
  • Channel reviews,
  • How-tos,
  • Debunking common misconceptions,
  • Interviews with successful channels, and
  • Equipment recommendations.

Going back to our example from before, the content pillars for an aesthetic journaling profile or channel for a small business owner selling stickers could be:

  • Behind the scenes of how the stickers are made and packaged,
  • Journal with me,
  • Teaching simple calligraphy,
  • Teaching minimalistic drawing,
  • Journal tours,
  • How-to organizational posts, and more.

As you can see, content pillars are specific categories your content could potentially fit into. 

Technically, you can have as many content pillars as you can think of. However, most people recommend 4 or 5. You can always experiment and add more or remove those that don’t end up working.

Content pillars are there to help you keep your content fresh and diverse. But, they also help you differentiate yourself from the competition and prepare your audience for what to expect from you.

Step #4: Find the best time to post

Influencers and social media strategists have long tried to pinpoint the best time to post. There’s even been research on the topic. 

Apparently, marketers and influencers in Pacific Standard Time claim it’s best to post between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m

Those in the Easter Standard Time zone prefer to post between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Some also prefer posting on a 9 p.m. to 12 p.m. schedule or a 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. schedule.

Technically speaking, all of these times are correct — and none of them are.

The best time to post depends on:

  • The platform, 
  • Your niche audience, and 
  • The time when your niche audience is the most active. 

For example if your brand involves smoothies, you’ll likely have the most success posting in the morning. 

But, someone else might find success at a different time of day. 

Figuring out the optimal time to post your content will take a few tries. 

But once you do figure it out, make sure to include it in your social media content calendar — and watch your strategy click together.

💡 Plaky Pro Tip

If you’re using social media as a funnel to your product or service, you’ll need an airtight marketing plan to maximize your conversions. Check out our 7-step guide on how to create one:

Creating a social media content calendar

Now that you finally have the basics of your content strategy figured out, it’s time to build a content calendar.

There are several ways to do this:

Step #1: Start with a template

Objectively speaking, you’re always better off starting with a template if you don’t yet know what you’re doing. 

Not only will this save you time, but it will also decrease your chances of giving up midway through due to frustration.

Plaky social media calendar template
Plaky social media calendar template

Digital templates and social media management software are quite convenient for their customizability and versatility. 

A customizable template such as the one shown in the image above allows you to:

  • Edit the existing tasks,
  • Add new ones,
  • Choose among existing tags and statuses, or create your own ones,
  • Color-code your tasks,
  • Add deadlines, descriptions, and links, and
  • Sort and filter your tasks.

And, in case you have your own team of social media managers, you can easily:

  • Share files, 
  • Assign tasks to your team,
  • Communicate, and 
  • Keep everyone in the loop at all times.

Another cool thing is that you have several views available — including the Kanban view, which allows you to manage social media in an Agile way.

Sample of a Kanban board in Plaky project management tool
Sample of a Kanban board in Plaky project management tool

With Kanban, you can arrange your tasks in appropriate columns for easy organization and progress-monitoring. This is especially useful if you work in a team.

Step #2: Determine what will go into your social media calendar

A social media content calendar will look different for everyone. It can be a detailed plan or a simple roadmap for your future posts. 

At the beginning of this text, we mentioned some things that a social media calendar could contain, including:

  • The platform and account,
  • The purpose and type of the post,
  • The posting schedule,
  • Creative assets like images, links, or videos, and more.

However, your calendar should be uniquely yours and contain information that you need it to contain. After all, its main purpose is to be an organizational aid to help you stay on top of your posting schedule.

Keep in mind, though, that a sparsely populated content calendar will not be much better than a simple to-do list. If you want to make the best use of it, you should consider being as detailed as possible. 

The goal is to have everything planned out — so you can spend as little time as possible working on the content on the day of posting.

Instagram post content calendar plan in Plaky
Instagram post content calendar plan in Plaky

Step #3: Remember the 80/20 rule

If you’re using your social media profiles to market a product or service, the 80/20 rule states that you should focus on content that adds value to the customer 80% of the time, and spend only 20% on promotions.

This makes sense. After all, people spend time on social media for entertainment purposes — no one wants to look at ads in their spare time.

And, while you’re at it, make sure to mix up the rest of your content too. If you posted a how-to post yesterday and the day before, it might be time for something different.

Keep the content interesting, and keep it new. You’d never go to work in the same outfit for a week straight. It makes no sense to “dress” your profile with the same posts over and over again. It will get stale before you can blink.

Step #4: Review and get feedback

The great thing about content calendars is that they allow you to review and tweak your future posts if you notice a flaw or typo. You can even show it to people you trust to get their honest opinion before you post.

This will result in an overall better-quality content — and might even point out some of the quirks, ticks, or gestures that you didn’t know you had, but might want to cut back on.

Social media calendar ideas

So far, we’ve learned a lot about content calendars, including:

  • What they are,
  • Why they’re incredibly useful, and
  • What you need to figure out before you start creating one.

If you’ve followed the steps so far, you should now be ready to start brainstorming your future posts. 

Are you having trouble with inspiration? No problem!

Here are 60 ideas for a social media content calendar to get your cogs turning.

  1. Share a personal picture or story
  2. Create an inspirational post (quote or a longer story)
  3. Share a funny or relatable meme
  4. Post product pictures and promotions
  5. Share testimonials
  6. Comment on common misconceptions
  7. Create a poll
  8. Create a long post that tells a story and points to your other platforms
  9. Share an infographic related to your niche
  10. Schedule a giveaway
  11. Share a new discovery (restaurant, store, app, etc.)
  12. Share breaking news
  13. Create a reminder for an event that’s coming up
  14. Do a live video for a new product launch
  15. Q&A
  16. Make a throwback to an older post
  17. Share DIY tricks
  18. Answer a commonly asked question in your niche
  19. Create a quick get ready with me (GRWM) video
  20. Share an interesting statistic and comment on it
  21. Reshare someone else’s post and comment on it
  22. Conduct an interview with an expert
  23. Share a day of your life as a (model, mother, store clerk, etc.)
  24. Introduce your pet(s)
  25. Create a sneak peek of an upcoming product or big reveal
  26. Share a relatable experience
  27. Share a quick how-to picture or video
  28. Make an announcement
  29. Encourage engagement with a thought-provoking post
  30. Ask your audience a question
  31. Hop on the trend train (music, dance, new tv show, meme, etc.)
  32. Create an “Ask me anything” request
  33. Share a book you’re reading
  34. Share an interesting tip or trick
  35. Make a blooper compilation
  36. Share a glimpse of your studio behind the scenes
  37. Put together a heartfelt “Thank you” post
  38. Celebrate a milestone
  39. Promote your product or service
  40. Talk about an inspiring person
  41. Raise a serious issue
  42. Share a picture of a new place you visited
  43. Share your favorite books/movies/music/shows, etc
  44. Take a family photo
  45. Share a photo with a fan
  46. Share the latest content from your primary platform
  47. Share a childhood picture
  48. Promote your team
  49. Create a challenge
  50. Describe your morning routine
  51. Share productivity hacks
  52. Create a mini-series of posts or courses
  53. Ask for recommendations
  54. React or comment on someone else’s post
  55. Talk about a current event
  56. Share an opinion
  57. Share a travel photo
  58. Talk about a show you’re watching
  59. Share a new shopping haul
  60. Create interesting posts related to holidays — “mainstream” ones, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, but also fascinating and obscure ones, such as the World Compliment Day, World Nutella Day, or even Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day (no, seriously, it’s December 8)
Throwback motivational Instagram post in Plaky content calendar
Throwback motivational Instagram post in Plaky content calendar

💡 Plaky Pro Tip

Have the ideas, but not the motivation to make them a reality? We’ve prepared for you 139 inspirational quotes to get you going:

Tips to make your social media posts pop

Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas on how you can fill out your content calendar.

But, this text wouldn’t be complete without a few tips that will polish your social media posts and make them stand out from the crowd. 

So, here they are.

Tip #1: Find your style

Just like you can recognize painters by their unique painting styles, your social media profiles should be a reflection of yourself. 

To create a recognizable brand, make sure to create a uniform: 

  • Font, 
  • Color palette, 
  • Picture style, and 
  • Tone of writing.

Tip #2: Recycle posts

It’s never a good idea to spread yourself too thin. 

Managing several different social media accounts is challenging and time-consuming even with a marketing team to back you up. This is why having a detailed plan with a timeline for posting is a lifesaver.

💡 Plaky Pro Tip

If you’re curious about what exactly a timeline is and how to create it so that it works in your favor, take a look at our guide below and snag a free editable project timeline template:

Creating unique content for each of them is neither smart nor sustainable.

The best way to go about social media marketing is to have one primary platform for which you will create high-effort and long-form content. This long-form content should be used to feed your secondary accounts and platforms. 

Never be afraid to recycle posts. 

For example, with YouTube videos, you can:

  • Cut them up and create Instagram reels or TikTok videos, 
  • Highlight the most striking information and turn it into a series of Twitter posts, 
  • Take your script, clean it up, and make a blog post out of it, and more.

Remember — always work smarter, not harder.

Tip #3: Be consistent

In the world of social media, consistency trumps frequency. 

This means that, even if you post only twice a week, as long as you do it consistently, over a long period of time, you will begin to see results.

Ideally, however, you should post at least once every day to take maximum advantage of the exposure social media offers.

Tip #4: Make use of every tool in the platform’s arsenal

Social media platforms are constantly being updated, and new features keep popping up.

Recently, short videos have soared in popularity — so much so, that even Pinterest now has them.

An interesting fact about new features on social media is that the platform actively encourages you to use them. In other words, the platform will reward those who popularize the new features with greater exposure. At least, this is what some influencers have noticed over the years.

So, if you really want to make it on social media, use everything it has to offer.

Riding trends is a great way to gain traction on social media. You’ll often notice videos from completely unknown profiles go viral simply because they were early to the party.

So, keep up with the trends, read the news, and catch the trends in their early stages — for the greatest impact.

Tip #6: Make use of international holidays

Yes, popular holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day, are all great opportunities for creative content. 

But, did you know that there’s a holiday for nearly every day of the year?

In the table below, we highlighted some of the holidays that we found interesting — for more information, you can visit Calendar Labs

Global Family DayJanuary 1, 2022Saturday
World Down Syndrome DayMarch 21, 2022Monday
World Water DayMarch 2, 2022Tuesday
Earth DayApril 22, 2022Friday
World Book DayApril 23, 2022Saturday
World Turtle DayMay 23, 2022Monday
World Bicycle DayJune 3, 2022Friday
International Yoga DayJune 21, 2022Tuesday
International Chocolate DaySeptember 13, 2022Tuesday
Talk Like A Pirate DaySeptember 19, 2022Monday
Interesting International Holidays throughout the year

Step #7: Engage with your audience

Think about it — a major reason people love social media is that they can get advice from or chat with the people they follow and admire. 

Engaging with your audience will allow them to connect with you on a deeper level. This will create trust, and, even, more importantly, loyalty — which will keep them coming back to you and your brand instead of millions of others out there.

Communication is one of the most important aspects in any business, and even more so in social media marketing. 

It is called social media, after all.

Conclusion: Content calendars are key to social media profile growth

Content calendars take a lot of effort and time to create and get used to. 

However, they bring the structure social media marketers need to juggle multiple platforms effectively and grow as a brand.

To get started with creating a social media content calendar, you can begin with something as simple as a spreadsheet. 

But, using a template that you can edit and adjust to your needs will allow you to make the best of what these calendars have to offer.

✉️ Do you use content calendars to organize your social media posts across multiple platforms? Have you ever tried them? Do you think there is a better way to streamline content production for social media? If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or feedback, you are welcome to write to us at And, if you liked this post and found it useful, share it with someone you think would benefit from it.

JelenaSamolovac Jelena  Samolovac

Jelena Samolovac is a project management author and researcher with 1.5+ years of experience in tackling project management topics. After a long day of juggling multiple small projects at work, she likes to relax with a casual TV show and a bowl of ramen. Besides content marketing and research on boosting productivity, her latest interests include breaking down complex project management concepts into easily-digestible guides that will aid beginners in getting their first project management certification.