Save Time by Scheduling Social Media: A Handy Guide
You know it’s important but finding the time to post on your social profiles consistently can be a nightmare. This is especially true when you have a business to run and an infinite list of things to do.
Given everything that’s involved, it’s no wonder that social media marketing is a full time job for many. Not only do you have to create compelling content, you also have to post it, optimise it, place ads and engage. You also want your audience to see that you’re regularly active to keep them interested.
So, how do you do this when you don’t have the budget to hire a permanent member of staff? The answer? You schedule. That’s right, you set some time aside each week to schedule your content.
Here’s a guide to help you get started.
Step One: Create a strategy
If there’s one thing you need for effective social media, it’s a strategy. What do you want to achieve from your social media marketing? More sales? Brand awareness? To engage more with customers? Think about why you’re using social media before getting started.
There are so many businesses who dive into social media head first and hope for the best. Without a strategy, your content will be inconsistent and likely to leave your audience uninterested. If you look at some of the top social media accounts, you’ll notice one key attribute – consistency. Whether they’re consistently entertaining, consistently useful or consistently controversial – they do it well. Here are a few examples:
The key thing that all these accounts will have in common is a clear strategy. Here are a few things to think about when creating your own.
Organisation Goals/objectives: They should run consistently through your social content and help ensure you and your team are clear on what you’re trying to achieve. I.e. Increase brand awareness, upsell products, increase conversions etc.
Your purpose: What do you want to achieve through social media?
Priorities: What is your priority when creating your content? This could be anything from telling your brand story more effectively or creating more visual content.
Key measurables and KPIs: What metrics are you going to use to measure your social success?
Step two: Create a content calendar
Once you’ve outlined your goals and objectives, it’s time to set out your content plan. This is key to ensuring your posts are consistent and meet your priorities.
Firstly, you’ll need to think about your audience(s) to establish the topics you’re going to post about. When focusing on this don’t think you have to be too niche. For example, an estate agent doesn’t just have to post about property. They can post about area specific events, news and statistics – things that local home buyers would be interested in.
It’s a good idea to take a look at the competition and see what works well for them to get inspiration – don’t copy though, this never looks good.
When planning the month ahead, it’s important to ensure the content you’re posting is relevant. So, are there any upcoming events that you could trend jack? The Royal Wedding was a key opportunity for plenty of brands to hop aboard the news frenzy. Dunkin Doughnuts, HBO and KFC all took the opportunity to tailor their content around the hot event. Here’s a round-up of what they did.
If there are any noteworthy events or topics coming up, be sure to make a note of them in your calendar so you can tailor your content accordingly. There also seems to be a ‘national social media day’ for just about everything nowadays, from national kissing day to ‘Beer day Britain’ – there’s bound to be plenty that you can use to maximise your content exposure. Here’s a handy resource which lists all the dates you need to know about.
Once you’re clear on any upcoming events you need to focus on, it’s time to populate your calendar. To do this, think about the type of content you’d like to post and when. This could be anything from videos and blogs to ebooks and guides. Here’s 113 types of content to get you started.
Step three: Invest in a tool
Although some social platforms allow you to schedule posts natively, it’s far easier to do everything in one place. You’ll have a complete overview of your profiles and be able to schedule everything in one place. Plus, most of the scheduling tools available have comprehensive reporting features so you can review and adapt your content.
The big players in this field all offer some great features and it really depends on your personal preferences and budget when it comes to selecting the best tool. Here’s a great, impartial guide of the top scheduling tools in 2018 to help you decide.
Step four: Schedule
Set some time apart each week to schedule. If you don’t, it’s quite likely that you’ll resort back to posting as you go whenever you get a minute – not good! So, be sure to designate a few hours each week (or as long as you need) to schedule your content.
When doing this, it’s always useful to refer back to your insights and analytics. This will help you to establish when your posts get the most engagement and interactions. Be sure to schedule your posts for around these times to ensure you’re maximising your chances of engagement.
Step Five: Keep it human
Remember that when it comes to social media, you’re looking for engagement. So, businesses that just schedule everything and leave it to tick over are missing a pretty big trick. When they do this, they aren’t engaging at all with their audiences and remember, savvy users can sniff a serial scheduler a mile off.
You don’t want to run the risk of looking too scheduled or rehearsed. After all, social media is meant to be fun, engaging and relaxed so remember to keep it human. To do this, be sure to compliment your scheduled posts with genuine interactions and engagements. When someone comments on a post, react and strike up a conversation. This will help to demonstrate a personal side to your brand and reassure followers that there are real people active on your profiles.
To sum up
Social scheduling can be an absolute saviour, especially when you’re running a business too. It helps to ensure your social profiles aren’t neglected and don’t sit dormant until the next time you get two minutes to post. Your activity will also be far more consistent and your content will be more likely to help you to achieve your overall goals. Just be sure to keep it human and keep engaging with your audience between scheduled posts.