Social Media Tools

The Best Social Media Tools, Templates & Calendars to Plan Your Content

What does every big project need? A plan. While there are certainly times to improvise, social media strategy shouldn’t be left up to chance. Try these social media tools and templates as you plan your approach.

Most digital publishers in 2021 recognize the important role that social media plays in editorial marketing and reader engagement. With so many social networks to publish content on, it’s important to stay organized and have a solid plan for what—and when—you’re going to post on each platform.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest each come with their own idiosyncrasies, and cross-posting the same content across multiple channels is not the ideal approach. Social media tools make it easier to develop and schedule content that will resonate with users on each individual channel.

Reasons to Use Social Media Tools and Templates

template [ tem-plit ]: a pattern, mold, or the like, usually consisting of a thin plate of wood or metal, serving as a gauge or guide in mechanical work.

Social media templates help publishers standardize and optimize their posts. It’s not uncommon for larger publishers to have multiple templates for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest. Templates can be used by anyone on the staff, so the publication’s social media posts maintain a uniform format, tone, and overall look.

Scheduling templates are a separate type of social media template. These can be used by digital publishers in nearly every niche. Scheduling templates look a lot like specialized calendars, with space for the day, date, and time when tweets (or other social media posts) are scheduled to go up, along with the content for each post. Pre-scheduling social media content with a calendar template is one way that publications can ensure their posts are being seen by the widest possible audience.

Social media templates are widely available online, and they’re usually free to download. Publishers can also create their own social media templates from scratch using tool like Excel or Google Sheets.

The top three reasons to use social media tools are:

  1. The right social media tools can help get you organized, so you can avoid scrambling to come up with social media content at a moment’s notice.
  2. Tools help you plan out customized posts for each network, so you’re not spamming followers with the exact same message across multiple platforms.
  3. Tracking the performance of social media posts is easier when you’re using tools designed specifically for this purpose.

Social Media Tools and Calendars

1. Google Drive

Google Drive has a number of useful features for planning social media posts. It’s also free, making this a hard one to beat.

From a social media planning perspective, publishers can use Google Calendar to track editorial calendars and social media calendars, and to make sure both calendars are in alignment as far as content topics and timing are concerned. Google Calendars are easy to share, so staffers in different departments are always on the same page.

Google Sheets is another tool from Google that’s become popular among digital publishers. Publishers can use Google Sheets to schedule posts on social media and track the status of content. Advanced features make it possible to assign tasks to individual team members.

2. SproutSocial

Designed for both teams and individuals, SproutSocial’s platform includes tools for planning and scheduling all types of social media posts. Publishers can post content automatically to Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, and many other social media channels. Posts can be tagged with notes, making it easier to track campaigns. SproutSocial’s publishing suite also includes a post optimization tool that analyzes social media data to let you know the best possible time to publish your content.

3. Loomly

Loomly is one of the best tools for collaborating, publishing, and measuring social media content. Designed especially for teams, Loomly’s platform includes a content library where publishers can securely store and manage assets, along with a robust approvals workflow. Advanced analytics are useful for publishers that want to measure the performance of posts across channels, as well.

4. HootSuite

HootSuite is one of the oldest players in this space, helping digital publishers manage all aspects of social media for well over a decade. The HootSuite platform includes tools for scheduling, publishing, engaging, monitoring, and analyzing social media content. HootSuite’s integrated planner tool aids users in the development of ongoing campaigns and helps identify gaps in coverage or topic areas.

5. Trello

Is your team looking for a better task management platform? Trello is a popular solution used by many digital publishers. Trello’s task management and content scheduling capabilities are hard to beat for those working regularly on social media marketing. Users can quickly visualize what content is going out across various social media channels with Trello’s full calendar view. Social media managers can also use flexible assignment cards and boards to map out their to-do lists and manage ongoing campaigns.

Getting Started with Social Media

Now that we’ve reviewed the most useful social media tools and templates, it’s time to experiment. Try out a few different platforms, or combine the features from multiple tools, and let us know what works for you.