Have you ever felt overwhelmed trying to manage your brand’s social media accounts?
Or wake up in a panic wondering if you have published a time-sensitive promotion to your social media followers?
What about the feeling of being chained to your computer or mobile device to maintain a consistent presence?
It’s time to put an end to those feelings.
[Tweet “To get started with social media scheduling, use a calendar to map out all upcoming promotions.”]
Social media managers overseeing their brand’s online presence can sometimes feel that they always need to be accessible or publishing the latest content. During off hours, this need can cause those around you to feel neglected and ignored.
Today, I want to share how social media scheduling can remove the anxiety and frustrations that are associated with managing your business accounts.
What is Social Media Scheduling
Social media scheduling is as simple as creating a publishing or editorial calendar outlining your upcoming social media posts. When done correctly, this calendar notes when promotions and accompanying social media posts are published, when your blog posts are shared, when events are highlighted, and the like.
Rather than starting each day scratching your head as to what to post, you can relax knowing that your preparation earlier has you taken care of.
Not only does having a plan in place reduce the constant stress of creating new content, but it also provides a more consistent publishing pattern.
Social Media Scheduling Basics
To get started with a social media schedule, I recommend using a calendar and mapping out all of your brand’s promotions. Then add industry specific dates (for example, some of my clients are coffee shops and cafes, so we highlight International Espresso Day and Doughnut Day). After you’ve done this, look for other special events that your audience would appreciate (Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, for example). Lastly, factor in recognized local and national holidays.
When you are looking at 2, 3, or even 4 months into the future, you can easily come up with social media content that will serve as your foundational content. You can schedule posts for various time (check out the best times to post on social media), change up the days, and measure your results.
This gives you the ability to plan what supporting graphics and images you may need to create, how to tie local or regional events into your promotions, and design anticipation-building campaigns for larger brand events.
Social Media Scheduling Tools
After you have your calendar mapped out, you will need to use social media scheduling tools to fire the right messages at the right time.
I am a huge fan of HubSpot and their social media scheduling tools. Their platform is an all-in-one sales and marketing tool, and provides much more than just scheduling and social media monitoring. If you want to discuss if HubSpot is the right fit for you, let’s schedule a HubSpot consultation.
Alternative social media scheduling tools are HootSuite, Buffer, CoSchedule, and Edgar.
HootSuite is a pretty robust social media scheduling and monitoring tool. You can create different streams of content (Facebook comments, Facebook direct messages, scheduled messages, mentions, Twitter search stream, etc) to organize all the noise that comes with managing a social media account.
HootSuite is relatively inexpensive for the service and a great way to start your social scheduling. They also offer an easy bulk uploader to schedule up to 500 messages at once.
Buffer excels at spreading your posts out over a period of time – especially if you are a content curator. As you come across great content that you want to share with your followers, you save it to your Buffer account to be automatically published over time.
CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that makes scheduling your social media updates dead simple. After I write a blog post, I can schedule a message to be shared at the time of publication (most of my blog posts are written weeks prior to them being published), the day following (this is an excellent feature for publishing to Twitter), and then one week and one month after publication.
Remember, not all of your audience will see your blog posts when they are first shared. Sharing them again is a great way to expose more of your followers to your content — as long as you do it responsibly and don’t blast them.
Edgar is likely the least recognized member of the list. It’s strongest feature is the ability to reschedule past posts so your social media updates don’t go to waste. Let’s be honest, some of your posts are pure poetic gold, how sad would it be if they are only seen once.
Edgar uses a number of categories and tags to queue messages based on your schedule and perimeters. We used Edgar for awhile, but their pricing seemed a bit steep for the features. If you do not have the staff to manage re-publishing content manually, then I recommend Edgar.
We ultimately moved to a combination of HubSpot and CoSchedule.
Take Action & Next Steps
Now that you are more familiar with social sharing, how to get started, and what tools to use, your next step is to determine what content you want to share, create an editorial calendar, and start scheduling your posts!
Remember to track your results. I guarantee you’ll have more success with a pre-determined plan than and ad-hoc approach.