Best Practices for Scheduling Social Media Posts
There are opposing views by marketers when it comes to scheduling social media posts. Some industry giants, like Gary Vaynerchuk, use both a mix of scheduled content and real-time interaction to create conversations.
Yet other well-regarded marketers such as Seth Godin treat it the opposite way. Mr. Godin’s active Twitter account is an RSS feed. A pure distribution channel. His personal account is just a placeholder.
So, which marketing giant gets it right? Tough to say. But, for businesses, there are plenty of good arguments in favor of scheduling content on your social media accounts.
If done correctly, it can benefit both your company and your audience as you look to share your brand information and thought leadership, while increasing traffic to your website and gaining more leads.
Keep these six best practices in mind as you work through your content calendar and start your social media distribution strategy.
Blog Posts and Basic Promotions Are Great Candidates for Scheduling
Blogging is essential to setting your business apart from its competitors. It helps your company stand out as a leader or expert in its field, while providing practical answers to those that visit your site. Blogs can open the door for offers to customers and help move them along in the buyer’s journey. That said, this type of content is great for Twitter scheduling.
Blogs can be pushed out to your Twitter audience a handful of times each week for 30 days. Once that article stops bringing in significant referral traffic from Twitter, you’ll know it’s time to stop scheduling that particular piece. Other items that can be scheduled to multiple social channels are special deals or promotions where you know the life cycle of the content in advance.
Space Out Your Content
If you’re not using the right scheduling or publishing software and relying on manual postings, your content will most likely fall into a pattern. A pattern that is similar to this: empty from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., links in the morning, quiet for the lunch hour, and then another rush of links when you have time in the afternoon.
Social media scheduling and automation can solve this problem for you easily. Social media is always “on” and scheduling allows you to push content at all optimal hours for your audience. Space out items and have a steady flow of information. But always remember, don’t be a spammer!
Keep a Human in Charge
Don’t schedule your content and just walk away. Whoever serves as the community manager for your brand should still take an active role with your scheduled content. Remember, social media is always “on” and needs to be ready in case adjustments need to be made.
These examples could include tragic events where scheduled content would look out of place or appear that you have no empathy to what is happening in the world around you.
Another good rule of thumb is to limit scheduling during campaigns. The main lesson to be learned is don’t set your schedule and walk away. Monitor your account, respond to replies, and thank people for sharing your content.
Test What’s Working
Nearly all publishing platforms offer some sort of reporting tool. Many are so easy to use that you don’t need to be analytics geek to digest what you are reading. So, what should you test?
- Is there a time of day (or day of the week) when you get the most engagement?
- Which headlines work best? (Remember to share the same piece of content in a variety of ways)
- Is there a decline in activity when you share too often?
- What happens when you share infrequently?
Schedule During Your “Best Times of the Day”
Now that you have tested and re-tested your content, begin to schedule the appropriate content during your company’s “best times of the day.” This rule mainly applies to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest as it’s best to post to these platforms no more than twice a day.
Another way to think of “best times” outside of your analytics report is to ask yourself: what is the normal work-week mentality for your consumers? People tend to respond to offers and special items as the weekend approaches, so pre-schedule strong content on Thursday’s and Friday’s at the appropriate times per your analytics.
Leave Plenty of Room for Real Time Posting
It’s important to remember that social media should be informative, but it can also be fun and conversational. Set a brand voice that allows you to interact with your core customers and allow for real time interactions. Monitoring trending topics and hashtags can allow your brand to post items in real time that are relevant to a larger conversation. Enjoy the freedom of knowing that you have content scheduled days in advance, so if there isn’t a trending topic to which you can add relevancy, your feeds will still be pushing content.
In essence, social media is an extension of your brand. Let your social media activities reflect that. A good mix of scheduled content and real-time post will ensure that you are representing your brand appropriately online.