Deciding what and when to post to social media outlets can be a daunting task. Many business owners have rushed to create their Facebook and Twitter pages, only to find themselves stuck trying to figure out what to post about.
If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. As you work on preparing a social media posting schedule, it’s helpful to consider two things:
- Choosing what to post and setting up a schedule
- Scheduling your updates in advance
Setting Up Your Posting Schedule
Having a social media posting schedule simply means that you have decided, in advance, the type of updates that you will share on any given day. This will be easier if you’ve already prepared an editorial calendar for your blog. The reason for this is simple: you’ll have already given some thought to the questions that your clients have. When you know what your clients are interested in, it’s easier to decide what kind of updates to post.
In addition to client questions, brainstorm a few other things that your clients might be interested in. For example, they’re probably interested in updates related to their industry, tips to help them, and resources that might be useful. You can also liven things up by sharing quotes and pictures, which are especially important on Facebook.
Once you have a list of categories that your clients might be interested in, assign one to each day of the week for Facebook (be sure to include links to your own blog posts, too!). For example, your posting schedule for Facebook might look like this:
- Monday: industry update
- Tuesday: link to this week’s blog post
- Wednesday: audience engagement question
- Thursday: infographic/picture
- Friday: quote
This is just one example of what it can look like. You can also schedule more than one update per day, but as you’re getting started, at least one update each day is good (generally more than 3 is not recommended, since users will get annoyed if your updates are the only ones that they see in their newsfeeds). Of course, you should also log in for 10-15 minutes a day to like and comment on items in your newsfeed!
Setting up a posting schedule on Twitter is a bit easier, simply because the nature of Twitter makes it easier to post updates more often without annoying your followers. In fact, the lifespan of a tweet has been estimated at only 18 minutes!
To set up your posting schedule, review the items that you came up with for Facebook and then combine them so that you have a couple of different categories per day. For example, your posting schedule might look like this:
- Monday: industry update & link to previous blog post
- Tuesday: link to this week’s blog post & audience engagement question
- Wednesday: client tip & industry update
- Thursday: infographic/picture & client tip
- Friday: link to this week’s blog post & industry update
As with Facebook, you should also log in for a short period of time daily to respond to updates and retweet items that others share.
Scheduling Your Social Media Updates in Advance
Fortunately, the days when you had to log in to your account each time you wanted to share something are long gone. Now it’s easy to schedule your updates in advance.
Once you’ve set your schedule, you can write out your updates for the week. On Facebook, you can write out your update, and then click on the clock icon. You’ll be able to select the year, month, date, and time that you want the update to appear on your Facebook page.
For Twitter, a great tool to use is Buffer. With Buffer, you can schedule your tweets in advance. The compose window will look like this:
Also, when you install the Buffer add-on for your browser, you’ll see a small Buffer icon appear on your browser:
When you find something that you want to share on Twitter, you can click on the Buffer button and you’ll then be given the option to draft your update. The great part about Buffer is that it will then send out your tweets at predetermined times. For example, you can schedule tweets to go out Mondays at 8:43 a.m. and 2:14 p.m., Tuesdays at 9:03 a.m. and 4:13 p.m., etc. Buffer will even send you an email letting you know when you’ve run out of pre-scheduled updates so that you can schedule some more.
Again, using your posting schedule, you can take some time once each week to schedule all of your tweets in advance with Buffer. If you’re feeling overwhelmed because of the time needed for social media, having an assistant help you can make a big difference! Simply share with them your desired posting schedule and have them schedule your updates in advance.
Once your social media schedule is set and you’re scheduling your posts in advance, you’ll want to pay close attention to what’s working. Are there certain Facebook updates that get more likes and/or comments than others? Are there certain tweets that get retweeted or shared more than others? You can do this by using Facebook insights and Buffer analytics. This will give you insight into the types of updates that you may want to share more.
Also, as you get comfortable using social media marketing, you can expand your use. You can schedule more updates, for example, or you might want to branch out into other social networks.
Does this give you ideas for how you can more easily manage your social media posting? If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.