How to Schedule your Social Media Messages

Whether you love it or hate it, scheduling your social media messages can save you bags of time and frees you up to do that all important interaction and relationship building with your community. Benefits of pre scheduling social media activity:

What if I told you that you could schedule a weeks worth of social media messages in 1 hour on a Monday giving you time to work on other things? Doing this will also make you feel super productive. You'll find you'll no longer be scraping around for something to say, you'll be able to better measure your messages response and the best times of day to post? It really does make sense now doesn't it?

How to schedule your social media

Find a tool or programme:

To schedule social media messages you can use tools such as Hootsuite. Hootsuite is my personal favourite for many reasons and at the moment they have a free trial available. Others include Sprout Social, Buffer App, Klout and the list goes on. Most include free trials, so try them all and see what works best for you.

Curate content and plan your messages

Open your tool of choice and run through set up, set your dashboard to auto schedule - this is where the tool posts your messages throughout the day at optimum times based on when your audience is most active.

You can also choose how many messages you'd like to go out per day. For twitter I go for 10, for google + 1 or 2, Linkedin 1-3. That's just me and you'll have a better idea how many messages are acceptable for your own audience. It really doesn't matter how many times you post but work out how many posts might become irksome! Also on Twitter it really doesn't matter how many as long as you aren't posting an update every second or one after the other.

You can also schedule messages to facebook but i've found that scheduling from a 3rd party app to facebook significantly reduces reach. So I normally schedule those messages directly from the facebook page. This does not include your personal facebook page, you can schedule to your personal facebook page from hootsuite for example with no impact on your reach.

Facebook content hack: I normally spend another hour creating images and quotes on Canva, i'm up to about 10 per hour at present, you can then schedule shareable images in the perfect dimensions that look stunning straight to your facebook page.

Go to your blog and take titles, facts, links and snippets of information and start to schedule. I also like to schedule fun facts and information that my audience will feel is helpful or valuable. Try not post sales messages as they can be irksome instead lead people to valuable and helpful information and include a sales messages at the end or add a lead collection form or other call to action so you don't miss out on sales.

Most tools such as Hootsuite will now recommend content for you to share, this is great just be aware that lots of people will be sharing the same content and also be aware that if you haven't read it and the content goes against your values you could be shooting yourself in the foot. One way to get around this is to add the RSS feed of your favourite blogs or information hubs to your scheduling tool - Only do this if you know all of the content will be top notch. This way each time they publish it will be added to your chosen social networks.

Do a search for your favourite industry quotes, facts and inspirations and use these as extra content to share, small snippets of information are very shareable.

What should you not schedule? Generally it's not good to schedule questions, responses or twitter chats. This is because the aim of social media is to connect with your audience, so although scheduling messages that your audience will enjoy will save you time remember that one of the reasons you are doing it is so you can spend more time interacting with them, thanking them for sharing, replying to messages and asking them questions in the moment. Scheduling on social media will never replace the conversation or the 'special moments' we create when we are building relationships.

Scheduling social media in a nutshell:

1. Find a great tool like Hootsuite.

2. Find and curate content from your blog and favourite resources.

3. Use tools like canva to create fun and shareable images.

4. Don't schedule interactions and conversations.

5. Measure your activity so you can see what worked best so you can be even more productive next week.

The target here is to free up time so you can make new connections, Grow your fan-base and create a really rocking interactive community.

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