Scheduling content can be your social media life-line. It can save you bags of time during busy periods, keep things ticking over on your channels whilst you’re enjoying the weekend and help improve the performance of your platforms with the posting of relevant, timely content throughout key points of the year. In theory if you nail content scheduling, it’ll quickly become your best friend…however, get things wrong and get ready for a catastrophic fall out. If you don’t look after your scheduling, it’ll transform from the most helpful social tool you’ll ever use to your worst nightmare – and the line is very fine.
Firstly, let’s kick off with the benefits of scheduling, because in all honestly, there’s a lot.
1. It’s quick, it’s simple to use and it’s key to maintaining a balanced stream of output.
The three main social platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all support content scheduling, allowing you to cleverly plot posts in line with your overall marketing strategy – and that’s where you’ll get the most success.
Whether you’re working on a specific marketing campaign or you’re dealing with the overall strategy, the most efficient thing to do is bank as much content as possible. Content that is timeless. Content without an expiry date. Content that you can write in February and schedule for December. Initially, this may seem like a daunting task, but predict as much as you can and you’ll reap the benefits. Seasonal content such as Easter, Valentine’s Day, Summer and Christmas activity is a given, you can this sort way in advance…so do it. This will free up time for you to produce reactive and proactive content, which will no doubt generate higher engagement stats across your channels.
2. It gives you control
Another benefit of scheduling content is control. You’ll know exactly when planned activity will hit, allowing you to predict performance spikes, rather than panicking and turning around last minute content because you’re falling behind your targets.
Now, here’s the age-old question…how many times should you post? You’ll get a different answer from almost everyone you ask, however, if you aim for one or two quality posts daily, that should be enough to keep your fans and followers engaged. It’s also worth noting that you should never post just for the sake of it – posting quality content trumps posting weak, rushed content. Don’t forget that.
3. It gives you power!
Knowing your audience is key. if you define your audience before scheduling your content then you’re on to a winner. You could produce and schedule the greatest piece of content ever, but if it’s not seen by the right people at the right time, then it won’t have the desired impact. By defining who your audience is and when they are most active, you can schedule relevant content to hit them at the most engaging times – then you’ll see the true power of scheduling correctly!
Right, over to the cons of social scheduling. As mentioned previously, if you get this wrong, you’ll know about it big time and the repercussions could damage your brand’s reputation. Some poorly timed posts can sneak under the radar without backlash, but depending on the circumstances, the situation and the nature of the post, it can cause havoc for your business.
1. Badly timed posts can be disastrous!
It’s always beneficial to keep track of the daily headlines in the lead up to your scheduled content going live. For example, if a major disaster or devastation has taken place and moments later you’re scheduled post containing conflicting or inappropriate messaging is published, then you’re putting your organisation at risk. It’s quite easy to rely on your scheduled content, but if you don’t manage it, then it’s a serious cause for concern.
Unfortunately, mis-timed posting isn’t the only downside of scheduling. Falling into a trap of being robotic is something you must avoid. Don’t schedule the same message across all your channels at the same time because it’s convenient -you’re inviting people to stop following. If they know they are getting the same content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then they’ll drop off and simply follow just one of your channels. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t push the same content across your platforms; you just need to position things differently. Experiment with CTA’s, images, videos and wording to ensure your followers continue to engage across all channels.
2. Don't favour scheduling over live posting
Finally, don’t favour scheduling over live posting. Scheduling is a component that’s designed to support your social activity, it’s not something that should constantly rely on. As eluded to a bit further up, your scheduled activity should act as a bank to hold and publish quality, targeted content – it’s then vital to follow this up with a regular hit of live posting. If you fall into the routine of allowing your scheduled content to steer the wheel, then you will crash.
So let’s recap. Do schedule, do monitor and do bank as much quality content as possible. Don’t solely rely on your scheduled posts, don’t ignore what’s happening around you and don’t stop live posting.
Stick to the above and scheduling will become one of the most powerful techniques you’ll incorporate into your marketing strategy…just make sure you look after it.