Crafting great social media posts take work. It also takes time to post to all your different sites, while keeping the conversation going with your followers. As such, it’s a great idea to schedule your posts in advance. At the same time, by scheduling days, sometimes weeks, in advance, it can be easy to make a faux pas and post something that isn’t appropriate based on the news of the day.
Even so, don’t let this detract you from scheduling your posts. Here’s why you should still schedule — and how you can avoid making a big scheduling mistake.
Benefits of Scheduled Postings
When you’re at work posting to social media, sometimes you’re awash in lots of new ideas, and it’s tempting to post it all at once. But you don’t want to bombard your fans. Rather, take those new ideas and use all of them — but just schedule them instead of posting immediately. One of the biggest benefits to scheduling is that it makes the most efficient use of your time.
Here are some other benefits:
- Allows your team to review your posts. You can schedule posts across all your social media profiles, and then have someone else review your posts to not only vet what you’ve written, but to also edit it.
- Take your vacation without worry. If you’re going to be out of the office for a few days, or even a couple weeks, you won’t have to worry about your social media sites going dark while you’re away.
- Post when you’re audience is active. You may work from 9 to 5, but your followers might be more active at night or on the weekends. And in the world of social media, timing can be everything. By scheduling posts, you can reach your followers when they’re available and listening. When your audience is online depends both on your industry, as well as the social media site.
How to Do a Scheduled Posting Right
There are a variety of sites and apps that will allow you to easily schedule your posts and keep track of what’s being posted where and when. While some of these scheduling sites only allow you to schedule for Twitter – like FutureTweets and Tweetsqueue – others are more extensive and allow you to choose which social media sites you’d like to publish to.
Hootsuite is just one of those options. It allows you to craft your posts just like you would in real-time by adding hashtags, links and photos, for example. The site also gives you a variety of options for scheduling. There’s the basic option of simply selecting a date. And even better, and a pretty wonderful option is auto schedule, in which Hootsuite picks the most optimal time to post what you’ve written. Last is the bulk schedule option: create all your posts in a spreadsheet and simply upload it to Hootsuite!
Havahart has a large following of animal lovers on their Facebook page – nearly 75,000 at the moment. They engage with their fans every day, multiple times a day – sharing photos of cute animals, gardening inspiration, trivia, and sharing uses for their products. So many updates would not be possible without Facebook’s scheduling feature. In order to provide the best content for their audience, they plan their social calendar up to a month in advance, occasionally updating in real time. However, they make sure to always promptly respond to questions and comments about their products.
Don’t Automate Between Sites
While scheduling can be a useful tool, it’s important to remember that all social media sites are about creating a conversation with your fans and not just talking at them. As such, don’t schedule 100% of your posts, and be sure to answer your follower’s questions, hit like on their comments, and hit reply on Twitter.
Along the same lines, people want to see diverse content on your different social media accounts. Don’t set up automation so that whatever you post on Facebook always goes to Twitter. Your fans follow you on your different sites for various reasons.
How Scheduled Postings Can Go Wrong… and How to Avoid It
Scheduling goes wrong for a simple reason: the post goes live after a big news event or tragedy, and in turn the post is incredibly inappropriate. One example of this is Joan Rivers’ endorsement on Instagram of the iPhone 6… after she had died. The post was forgotten about and went live. Before they deleted it, many took a screen grab.
But that’s not even the most inappropriate and disrespectful of scheduled posts. Shortly after the Aurora shooting, the NRA released a scheduled tweet that read, “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” That’s enough to make anyone cringe, and it’s not good PR by any means.
So how can you avoid making these big faux pas and stay in the good graces of your fans? For starters, always review your upcoming posts no earlier than a day in advance. If you are away for vacation for an extended time, either find someone to review the posts for you, or post on extremely vanilla topics that couldn’t be taken the wrong way, should some bad event occur.
Additionally, if you’re crafting posts that really encourage engagement, like questions or polls, you need to be around to answer. Or, if you say you’re going to be around the next day to help people with, say, their sleep training questions about their kids, show up on social media as people expect you to.
Social media can be a wonderful tool to market your business. But as with any marketing strategy, you need to have a plan in place should a tweet or Facebook plan go wrong. At the same time, don’t let that deter you from scheduling some posts!