Social Media Scheduling Tools – Tips and Best Practices

Social Media Scheduling Tools – Tips and Best Practices

Automated Scheduling with HootSuite

Technology can be extremely useful when it comes to monitoring and maintaining your social media communities. Social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Social Oomph and Buffer can also help by allowing you to input a large number of posts all at once, which you can then schedule to be delivered at a later day and time. You can pick and choose the platforms they will be posted to and the specific time and date, often up to 364 days in advance!  All of this can be a valuable time saver, as long as you have created the content yourself and/or have vetted the content in the posts.

One common downside of this type of tool is people often think that this allows them to ‘set it and forget it’ which can be deadly. These should be viewed as tools to HELP you, not to obviate the need for regular interaction.  To really ensure your social media marketing success, use the time you save to actually go out and engage with your community!

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Here are some best practices for successfully using social media scheduling tools:

  • Do not use these tools to bombard your community with content.  These tools make it very easy to send a TON of info out on a regular basis – don’t!
  • Coordinate your live posting with your scheduled posts – check first to see if you have anything automatically scheduled before you live post so you don’t inadvertently send too much or in some way conflict with what is already planned.
  • Be sure to continue to MONITOR your profiles so you can see any comments that are being made on the posts and reply to them promptly.
  • Check to see what your posts look like in your stream – sometimes scheduling tools can abbreviate, shorten posts or add random characters – check regularly to see how the final results are appearing.
  • Technology can fail, be sure to go in and check that your site integration is working and that your posts are being sent. Sometimes, a small change made to a platform like Facebook can require that you renew your ‘permissions’. Your posts may not be sent til after that is done.
  • When renewing your permission, delete any old posts that may not have been sent so they are not all dumped out at once when they start sending again.
  • Be cognizant of daily news and events. If you have scheduled a cheery or silly post to go out on a day that turns out to be a day or mourning or otherwise serious occasion,  go in and re-schedule it.
  • The same content rules apply – aim to send 80% content of value and no more than 20% promotional content.

Sometimes, I will create posting plans for clients where we schedule ONLY promotional content or ONLY educational content. Then, they will live post the other category of content. For example, if we are promoting an event for a client, we can pre-schedule all the invitations, promotional content and reminders leading up to the event in a very strategic and well paced way. Then, they can live post daily, on their own, as they produce or find other content of value. They can consult the schedule to see what is going out that day if necessary but since we know it will not conflict, it is not crucial.

Another way to use social media scheduling tools is to create a series of educational or informative posts and set them to be distributed over a period of time. Excerpts from a book you have written or a series of ten posts on a specific topic, one released each week. This way, you know that content will go out on a regular basis and you can live post as you create or find other content to share.

Keep in mind that social media scheduling differs from social media marketing automation. See this post on Social Media Marketing Automation for tips and best practices on how to use social media marketing automation successfully.

Please contact us at 212.664.1872 or when YOU need help creating an effective social media posting plan and would like assistance identifying the social media scheduling tools that are right for YOU.  We can help with content creation and formatting and show you how to use the tools that are right for your goals or we can do it all for you – call us to see how!

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