How to use a social media template to plan your posts

We all know that posting regularly and consistently on your social media platforms is a great way to grow your following and increase your sales. But it’s hard to fit in regular Facebook, Instagram and blog posts while you’re busy making products, planning market days, doing your bookkeeping and all the other tasks that go to running a small business. Using a social media template is one way you can take back a bit of control of this and use your time more effectively.

What is a social media template?

There are many different forms of social media templates but what they all have in common is they help you plan your social media posting in advance. Often, this means you can physically schedule your posts all at once which is a really efficient way to do it. Sometimes, you might plan to include new content – for example, photos or videos live from a market you are selling at – but at least you know what content you will add that day.

Your social media template will include which platforms you are active on, how often you will post on them and at what time of day. By planning this out on a template or calendar, you can be sure you are posting regularly and also make sure that the mix of your content is good – that you are covering a range of relevant topics, and you are mixing up the type of content, such as photos, videos and links.

 

You might want to create your own social media template in a Word table or an Excel spreadsheet, or you can use some of those available online:

– Hubspot offers a spreadsheet that you can download for free (you will be added to their mailing list)

– Smartsheet has a social media content calendar you can download (plus a lot of other useful social media-related templates)

– Hootsuite has a long blog post about social media templates and calendars and offers a free Google sheets template for you to use.

Pick a format that works for you and even if it’s just a printed off calendar page and pen, that’s fine too.  Tip: Free calendar templates available in Canva!

 

Why scheduling your social media content can help

 For each social media platform, there are tools available that can help you schedule your posts in advance. For Facebook, for example, we recommend using the scheduling tool inside Facebook itself; for Instagram, we like using Later.

This means you can sit down once a week at your desk, schedule out your posts for the week, and then you just need to check in to respond to comments and questions during the rest of the week, rather than having to think about creating new content every single day.


How can I use a social media template well?

To use a template well, you need to figure out how often you should post on which platform, and which kinds of content work well with your audience. Take a half hour to sit down and look at how your posts on your social media platforms have worked out in the past – in Facebook, for example, you can use the Insights tab to see which posts have had the most engagement, what time of day your audience is online, and so on.

Once you’ve done some research, fill in a template with the platform, content type and time of day for your ideal posts and get to work! It can be a good idea to print out your weekly or monthly social media template so you can tick off which posts you’ve already scheduled or highlight posts you need to create at a certain time, such as live video from markets.


Will a social media template solve all my social media problems?

Well, probably not all of them, but it will be a great start and an important part of making social media marketing a key, successful part of your marketing strategy! If you need more help, you might need something like our Facebook Boot Camp, a month-long course which helps you refresh and reorganise your approach to Facebook and make it much more effective for your business. It’s part of our Growth Quarters Mastermind, and you can get more info here.