With over 4 billion users as of 2021, it’s pretty evident that social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And as a business owner, there’s no denying that establishing your presence on social media platforms is becoming a necessity.
However, the process does not end in creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter, or IG and getting your friends to follow you. You need a content strategy that is both consistent and engaging, which can be a full-time job in itself. This is where social media scheduling comes in to make your life 10 times easier. It’s a way to plan and publish your content ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about social media scheduling, from its benefits and the tools you can use to get started. Let’s dive in!
Why Schedule Your Posts?
It’s easy to shrug off social media scheduling as another time-consuming task on your to-do list. After all, you can always post spontaneously and see how it goes, right?
However, simply winging it may not always be the best idea, especially if you want to grow your following and actually engage with your audience. But in case you’re still a bit iffy, here are some compelling reasons to start scheduling your posts:
It Saves You Time
Of course, the primary benefit of social media scheduling is that it saves you time. Once you get into a groove, you can batch create your content for the week or month in one sitting and then have it automatically published according to your specified schedule.
This means you don’t have to be glued to your phone or computer 24/7 to ensure that your social media platforms are updated regularly. You can set it and forget it!
It Improves Your Consistency
When it comes to building a relationship with your followers, consistency is key. If you’re constantly disappearing for long periods of time and then resurfacing out of the blue, it gives off an unprofessional and unreliable vibe.
Scheduling your content ahead of time ensures that you’re posting regularly, even when you’re busy with other things or you’re at the beach on vacation (no one has to know!). This way, your followers will always know when to expect new content from you, and they won’t unsubscribe from your channels due to inactivity.
You Can Take Advantage of Optimal Posting Times
Later in this article, we’ll discuss the best times to post on social media. But in short, there are certain windows of opportunity where you’re more likely to reach a wider audience because that’s when people are generally scrolling through their feeds.
If you’re posting spontaneously, you might miss out on these windows and end up with very few views or engagement. But if you schedule your posts in advance, you can take advantage of these optimal times and reach more people.
It Helps You Better Understand Your Audience
By scheduling your posts, you can introduce patterns and see which types of content perform well at certain times. For example, you might notice that your audience is more engaged on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so you start to focus your content strategy around those days.
This helps you better understand your audience and their social media habits, so you can adjust your content strategy accordingly.
You Get to See Potential Threats Sooner
Let’s say you have a scheduled post for Thursday but you saw your nemesis, aka your competition, just posted something similar. If you were posting spontaneously, it may be too late to change your content and you’ll end up looking like a copycat.
But because you scheduled your post in advance, you have time to make changes to ensure that your post is unique and original. This gives you a chance to stay one step ahead of the competition and maintain your brand’s integrity.
Ready to wear your game face on? Well, you can’t go into the ring without the proper tools. Thus, here are some of the social media scheduling essentials you must have before you start:
A List of Special Dates and Events
One of the best things about marketing on social media is that you can easily take advantage of special dates and events. There are holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, as well as industry-specific events that you can use to create content that’s relevant to your audience.
Hence, before coming up with a social media content plan, make sure to check out all the upcoming special dates and events in your area and filter them according to your brand.
The Topics and Types of Content You Wish to Cover
As mentioned, consistency is quite important when it comes to social media marketing. You need to have a clear idea of the topics you wish to cover and the types of content you want. This does not mean, however, that you should limit yourself to a single subject or theme.
For example, you can allot certain days of the week for FAQs related to your industry and leave the weekends for more creative content like behind-the-scenes videos or graphics. Know your audience and what they want to see, and come up with a content strategy that will give them just that.
A Content Calendar
Combine those two above together and you’ll have a content calendar—a tool that will help you map out all your content for the month (or even longer!). Having all your content laid out in front of you will not only help with your social media scheduling, but it will also make it easier for you to track your progress and see what’s working and what’s not.
A Social Media Scheduling Tool
Alright, so now you’ve got a solid plan and an outline of all the content you want to post. The next and last step is to finally schedule your posts. But how exactly do you do that without losing your mind?
Well, if you’ve got multiple accounts across different platforms, then using a social media scheduling tool is a must. A good scheduling tool will allow you to automate your posts and make your life a whole lot easier. Plus, they let you track your analytics so you can see which content is performing well and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Some Social Media Scheduling Tools You Can Use
Aside from allowing you to schedule and publish your content on different platforms, Hootsuite makes it easy for you to manage your inboxes and respond to comments and messages all in one place. It also gives you insights on your social media performance and allows you to collaborate with other team members.
Hootsuite’s plans start at $49 per month and you get a free 30-day trial to test out the tool before officially subscribing.
Similar to Hootsuite, Sendible also lets you schedule your posts and manage your accounts in one place. However, what sets it apart from other tools is its social listening feature that allows you to track the mentions of certain keywords related to your brand and industry across different social media platforms. This makes strategizing your next move a whole lot easier.
You can subscribe to a Sendible plan for as low as $29 up to $399 per month.
If you’re just getting started and you have three or less social media accounts, then AgoraPulse’s free plan might just be enough for you. Aside from the basics like being able to schedule and publish your content, it also allows you to track your performance, run contests, and more.
Once you’ve outgrown the free plan, you can try out the paid ones which start at $79 per month.
Another popular social media scheduling tool is SproutSocial. What sets it apart from other similar tools is its robust reporting feature that gives you insights not just on your social media performance but also on your overall marketing efforts.
SproutSocial has three plans that cost $89, $149, and $249 per month respectively.
A Few Things To Remember When Scheduling Your Posts
And you’re almost done! But to make sure that your social media scheduling goes off without a hitch, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
Take Advantage of the Peak Posting Times
As mentioned earlier, there are certain time slots and days of the week when your posts are more likely to be seen by your audience. Make sure to take advantage of these times and schedule your content accordingly.
According to SproutSocial, the following are the best and worst times to post on some of the most popular social media sites:
Be Mindful of Time Zones
Apart from taking note of the hours with the most engagement, you should also be mindful of the time zones of your target audience. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to post something when they’re all asleep! Hence, if you’re catering to an international audience, make sure to consider their time zones when scheduling your posts.
Schedule Your Posts in Advance
The purpose of social media scheduling is to accomplish things ahead of time so you don’t have to do them manually every day. To do this effectively, you need to finish and schedule as many posts as you can weeks or even months in advance. This way, you don’t have to worry about running out of content or cramming to get everything done at the last minute.
Post Consistently and at Regular Intervals
As you schedule your posts, try to make a pattern out of it so you can better keep track of the content you’ve already published and the ones that are still scheduled for the future. For example, if you’re posting three times every seven days, make sure to post on the same days and at around the same time each week. This will help you better plan your content strategy and condition your audience to expect new content from you at certain times.
Don’t Neglect Your Engagement
Just because you’ve already scheduled your posts doesn’t mean you can forget about them entirely. You still need to monitor your social media accounts for any comments, messages, or mentions so you can respond accordingly. Aside from that, you should also take the time to like and comment on other people’s posts to foster a sense of community and build relationships with other users.
Monitor Your Results and Analyze Your Insights
Of course, you gotta know which of your strategies work and which ones need improvement. To do this, you need to constantly monitor your social media performance and analyze the insights or data that you get from it. Whether it’s the number of engagements, conversions, or the reach of your organic and boosted posts, make sure to track it so you can see which of your posts are doing well and which ones need some work.
Ready, Set, Schedule!
Creating regular content is already a challenge in itself, but making sure that your posts go up at the most ideal times? That’s a whole other level. Thankfully, social media scheduling tools make it a lot easier for you to get your content out there without having to sacrifice your me-time and social life.
So go ahead and give social media scheduling a try and see the difference it can make for you and your business!