When and how to schedule your Social Media

I HATE social media automation. It's just not social! However as busy business owners and marketers the need to free up time in today's world of digital distraction is imperative. Another good reason to schedule promotional content or articles that you have written is to be able to better measure and analyse it's success rate, by using scheduling tools you can work out how many impressions your brand received versus click though rate and also decide the best time to post content for maximum reach. With the time you could save you'll be freed up for building a targeted, engaged community. To help you cut through the noise (and possibly save you a few hundred pound per month on a social media manager), I have put together a handy guide on what to schedule, What NOT to schedule!!, when to schedule and how to schedule your social media activity.

Which parts of my social media should I automate?

First lets look at what we should be scheduling by making a list:

  1. Your own blogged content and articles
  2. Promotions and Special Offers (broadcast messages)
  3. Interesting information from your website or page
  4. Aggregated blog / news content (but only if you've read it! See my post on this:Thank you for sharing on social media! (even though you didn’t read it!)

Once you have some ideas, it's always good to work out why you are posting this information and what you hope to achieve. (this should be done as part of a social media strategy) - Although I always say you should be BRAVE and just try things, again...if we are being pedantic make being brave part of your strategy!

What should I NOT schedule?

Here is a list of what you shouldn't schedule:

  1. This is a grey area. If you know you will be online to jump in and reply when you get an answer then this is fine. But scheduling questions to get a response and then not being there to respond is not right (This is SOCIAL media!).
  2. Direct Messages - on Twitter! My favourite Direct Message is: Thank you for following me! What do you do? .. Of course you can't reply to this message because this person doesn't follow you! this is a massive no no and a big fail.
  3. Twitter Chats and Conversations - Twitter chat's are normally hours that take place once per week or day at a set time, the point is to connect with new people and join in the conversation. (find out more about twitter chats here:What is a twitter chat?) - If you schedule messages using the twitter chat hashtag such as #kenthour or #weddinghour you will probably be broadcasting which is totally the wrong way to approach the situation.
  4. Facebook posts - This is not 100% correct. You can schedule facebook posts by doing it directly on the facebook business page (here's how you do it) but do not do this through a third party tool as your reach be even lower than the standard. (what is facebook reach?)
  5. Debates - If you are starting a debate, you must be there to actually take part in it otherwise doing it in the first place is pointless.

As you can see a lot of the above is a matter of using your common sense!

When should I post scheduled content?

What tools can help me decide when I should post this content to social media?

Free tools such as Hootsuite - You can schedule content (both your own and suggested content) by using the Auto Schedule tool on Hootsuite. Hootsuite Auto scheduler claims to have an algorithm which decides the optimum time to post to your community based on previous activity and sharing patterns ()

For more tools like hootsuite, buffer app or Sprout Social, do a Google search: 'best tools for social media auto scheduling' and get some reviews, see what could work best for you, do your homework, use your common sense.

How do I schedule content on social media?

Start by putting together some social media post ideas

Try posting the same content regularly but saying/sharing it in a different way. For example:

  • 5 ways to get more sales online
  • Get more sales online with this trick
  • make 100% more sales online - read my fool proof system!

When you have some great content ideas you can use the tools available to schedule your social media posts.

For me the easiest tools to use are Hootsuite and Buffer App. These are the ones I use, but there are hundreds of tools out there now, it's a matter of doing your research.

I've scheduled my social media content.... Now what?

Be ready to reply if people interact with you. The very best way to do this and be available at anytime of day is by using your mobile phone or portable device. This way you'll be sure to never miss an interaction.

Measure and Analyse!

Watch for patterns, see what titles work best for people sharing or opening content. And use your chosen tools to measure the ROI.

Once you get going you'll be able to do all of this in under 1 hour per week! Freeing you up to interact with your audience and build a community.

Is there anything you would add to the above?

- So when will you start?