How to Schedule your Social Media Posts Responsibly


Why Schedule?

The ability to schedule your social media posts has been around for a long time. Some people love scheduling and others do not. I’ve seen quite a few heated conversations about whether it is a good thing or not.

As with most aspects of social media, it comes down to acting responsibly. Scheduling can be abused and unfortunately I see this happening regularly.

Does that mean scheduling is inherently bad? No, of course not! Let me explain…

#1 Scheduling allows you to spend time offline with the people that matter most in your life

Daughter by Jodrell Bank Whether you use social media for personal reasons or to market your business, you won’t want to spend every waking moment in front of your computer or smart phone. I know there are some people that do, but seriously, there are other things that are more important!

I want to spend time with my wife and kids and I’d like to go on more walks, I’d like to eat my food slowly and enjoy each mouthful without looking down at my phone. I also love spending quality time with my friends offline. Scheduling my posts allows me to do this.

#2 Scheduling allows you to have some down time

relaxIt’s so important for us and our thought processes to unplug ourselves from the social web, and have some down time. That’s particularly important, if like me, you’re an introvert. I love being around people- I love to bounce ideas off of people. I don’t have an issue with public speaking or performing- in fact I love it. However, I do need to schedule regular down time otherwise I’ll just burn out.

Even if you consider yourself an extrovert, it’s important to have down time. I’ve spoken with many people who admit they have their greatest ideas whilst going on a walk. Scheduling some of your social media posts allows you to have that space.

#3 Scheduling allows you to spend time on your paid work

moneyWe all have to pay the bills and it’s sometimes easy to lose track of what is bringing in the money. To be really efficient in your work, you need to plan your day and focus on what is important. Monitoring your email and social media channels constantly throughout the day is never going make to you efficient.

There are exceptions to this- perhaps your job is to constantly monitor social channels all day- that’s fine, but scheduling is still a useful tool. I’m also not saying that social media isn’t bringing in money for your business- far from it! Social Media is part of my business and is crucial- particularly since I’m in the digital marketing business! However, you need to make sure you are focussing on your “bread and butter” business for extended chunks and allocate specific times for managing your social networks. Scheduling your posts throughout the week is going to allow you to focus on your work whilst having a good social presence.

#4 Scheduling allows you to Share Quality Content

Upwards GraphI also like to plan out my posts. I could share stories, photos, videos and articles as I find them across the web. I could share all my thoughts all in one go. However that is never an efficient way of using social media. Like many people, I have bursts of creativity and thoughts. If I post only during those bursts of creativity I’m not going to be very efficient and will frustrate my followers with dozens of posts in a row followed by nothing.

Scheduling allows me to build libraries of content to post at the optimum time- when my engaged followers are more likely to be on.


Be Responsible!

With the power of scheduling comes a big responsibility. It’s easy to follow the “so-called” social media guru advice and set it and forget it. Automation is incredibly powerful and I love it- but I always advocate doing this intelligently and selectively. There have been stories of businesses or individuals setting up a schedule and then leaving it switched on during a local, national or world disaster when it’s probably not appropriate.

It’s also incredibly important to make sure you set aside multiple times each day to respond to replies, mentions and comments. If all you’re doing is one-way posting then you’ve completely missed the point and power of social media. You can see 20 things you really should be avoiding in my ironic post – 20 Steps to become a Social Media Guru.


How

It’s been quite easy to schedule posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks. There are several tools to help. However, firstly make a plan of what you kind of content you want to share on each network.

Firstly, you’ll also need to think about what times you will want to schedule your posts at during the week. In terms of actually scheduling out the posts, there are a number of tools that will help:

Buffer

bufferFor many, Buffer is the perfect scheduling tool. It allows you to add your posts to a queue. Buffer then posts these out at times you choose throughout the week. The Awesome Plan is only $10/month and allows you to manage up to 12 social networks with unlimited posts in each queue. It also allows me to integrate with other tools such as Feedly – so I can share articles I want to share with my community. Visit Buffer

Friends+Me*

Friends+MeFriends+Me converts Google+ into a social media management tool. You craft your posts on Google+ and you can selectively cross post to your other social networks. It also supports scheduling and delated posting and it works like a dream. They will also be one of the only tools to support scheduling to Google+ profiles- keep an eye out for that one! Scheduling for Google+ profiles hasn’t been something that 3rd party tools have been able to offer. The Google+ API has always only allowed write access to Google+ pages. It’s never been possible to post or schedule to Google+ profiles without some work arounds. Visit Friends+Me*

Triberr

triberrTriberr brings bloggers together and allows us to help expand our reach by sharing content. I have my own Seriously Social Tribe and I have some amazing bloggers in there- all of whom I very much admire. My blog is connected to Triberr so that my latest posts are imported and appear on my stream. My Seriously Social tribe mates as well as all the tribe mates of the other tribes I am a member of will then see my posts and have the option to share to their followers. Triberr automatically schedules all the posts you share throughout the week. You can set the time delay or you can even schedule manually using the likes of Buffer. Visit Triberr

Edgar

edgarI mentioned Edgar in my previous post on Twitter Power Tools. It’s a tool which is currently invite only, but they are sending invites out all the time. Edgar allows you to create a library with different categories of content. You can then schedule out posts in each category across your social networks. You could have a category of evergreen blog posts, “how to” videos, amazing photos, questions and more. It’s a content marketer’s dream! Visit Edgar


How about You?

So, are you a scheduler? Or are you a social media scheduling hater? Let me know in the comments below!


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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a speaker, coach, social media consultant, web developer & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad and geek and is rather partial to tea, coffee & Indian cooking. Find out more



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28 Comments on "How to Schedule your Social Media Posts Responsibly"

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[…] time periods throughout each day. But there are some things to consider before getting started with social media scheduling. This post from Ian Anderson Gray includes some tips and things to consider when scheduling your […]

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[…] time periods throughout each day. But there are some things to consider before getting started with social media scheduling. This post from Ian Anderson Gray includes some tips and things to consider when scheduling your […]

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[…] time periods throughout each day. But there are some things to consider before getting started with social media scheduling. This post from Ian Anderson Gray includes some tips and things to consider when scheduling your […]

Helen
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Very interesting article indeed! In order to schedule social media posts for Comidor (https://www.comidor.com ) we use Hootsuite. Easy to learn and provides great statistics! Totally recommend it!

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks for your comment. Yes, Hootsuite does have a really useful scheduling tool and has a Buffer-like Hootlet browser extension. They also have a decent calendar view and you can upload posts in CSV format. The great thing about Hootsuite is that it integrates with so many networks and has a free account as well as a fairly inexpensive Pro account. I’ve written a review on the <a href="great things about Hootsuite before- and there is a lot to like. However, I don’t personally use Hootsuite- there are a few deal killers for me such as being forced to use the owly URL shortener and other points which I made in my article 7 Reasons NOT to use Hootsuite. Thanks again! Ian

Mallie Hart
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

I’m bookmarking this article to share the next time someone tries to tell me that scheduling isn’t smart or social. It’s so hard for some to grasp that smart scheduling actually provides us the time to more actively and personally engage with our connections. We all have the same 24 hours in a given day. What’s not smart about using each minute as effectively as possible.

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks, Mallie! I’m glad you found this article helpful. I think the problem is that there are many of examples of people using scheduling in a very dumb way- just switch it on and forget. It gives scheduling a bad name. Anyway, glad we agree on this! 🙂

Andy Detweiler
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Hi Ian,

This was a really thoughtful post. It’s always nice to see an issue examined from a critical thinking standpoint as opposed to throwing out blanket statements. I’m not sure why so many seem to say/think there has to be one right answer for all of the time.

Andy

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks, Andy, really appreciate your comment. I do try and make my articles fairly thoughtful. It’s the slow cooking approach! Although the social web is fast moving, it’s important to get time to think and post some quality as well as quantity! Ian

Lukša Obradović ( Luky )
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Please am interesting in my artworks promotion , can you help me somehow ?

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks, Lukša. Please let me have further information. You can contact me through my contact form.

Andrew Tint
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks for the great information. We are trying to figure out how best to support our #website with social media. http://www.windowtintpro.com is our site. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Hi Andrew, thanks so much for your comment. I’d be glad to give some advice and help. Please contact me via my contact form.

luciademejones
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thank you, great advise I will definitely use your tips! And I will also share them so that more people can profit from your information.

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks for taking the time to comment and glad I could help. Let me know how you get on! Ian

Maketta
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Hello Ian,

One of the bloggers blog who I read said that scheduling wasn’t a good idea because she said that you miss out on conversations. However, with tools like Hootsuite I don’t see how that would be. Hootsuite has really helped me keep up with my social media, especially Twitter. I agree with you about not wanting to stay plugged in all the time. I know some of my best ideas come when I’m not even online. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks for your comment! The blogger who said that scheduling wasn’t good because you miss out on conversations makes a good point, but that’s only if you schedule your posts irresponsibly. If you just schedule everything and then never respond you definitely are missing out on conversations. That’s why I advocate scheduling regular times throughout the day to respond and get involved with those conversations. I would go as far to say that this is vital. I know some people have a second monitor with their email and/or social media streams on the go. They constantly break from their work to reply to mentions instantly. Whilst that is great for conversation it’s a productivity killer. It’s much better to schedule 10 minutes of social media time every couple of hours (or even every hour if you can manage it) and then you can focus on your work.
Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and other tools are great because they let you see an overview of all your conversations in one go. It sounds like we have a similar view on all of this! Ian

Carol Lynn Rivera
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

I’m going to check out Edgar! I also totally agree on scheduling. People who say you shouldn’t schedule are insane. You can’t run a business and spend 24/7 “present” on social media. Nor can you be effective in 5 minutes of attention a day.

Carol Lynn Rivera
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

HOLY CRAP! That is expensive. It’s super cool and I love the idea but wow, no Google Plus integration, no LinkedIn groups or company pages and 10 accounts for $50?? That would cover me and Ralph… and none of our business pages. The next step is $500 (!!!!) and that could cover us, our company and maybe one or two clients. So yeah, one day when pricing gets in line with reality on some of these tools, they might be useful 🙂 But the idea is very cool!

Laura Roeder
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Glad to get your feedback! We definitely listen to all the feedback we receive and take it into consideration. Ian’s right — we’re adding new features all the time (Google+ is on the roadmap, and we’ve already added support for LinkedIn company pages, for example). If you ever have any questions about anything Edgar can do, or about what features and functions are on their way, you can always drop us a line at support@meetedgar.com!

Carol Lynn Rivera
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks, I love the idea but with the number of accounts I manage (too many for a low tier, not enough to justify the expense of a high one) it doesn’t make it feasible to spend that much. I may not actually like Hootsuire but it is $9 a month and I can manage everything for that. I’ll stay tuned and see how things play out!

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks, I know Edgar are listening and I hope they will sort out their pricing. It really is a great tool- and I do recommend checking it out.

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Yes, it is expensive. I’m currently on an extended trial (I am sure if you reach out to them they would do the same). If truth be told, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to carry on after the trial is done. I really love Edgar, but it’s a lot of money for us to afford. Moving forwards though, as our business grows, I definitely see it being worth it. They’re still very new so they’re adding new stuff all the time. I know Google+ page integration is on the horizon so hopefully that will come soon. I do think they need to sort their pricing out. Going from $49 to $449 is just a silly leap. To be honest I’d forgotten about the pricing- hope they’ll sort it out.

Chaz DeSimone
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

One program that I’d like to find would schedule to send to a list in chunks–basically time zones, but then if there’s a way to survey and find out what a subscriber’s preferred time would be to receive info, that could be programmed as well (automatically, of course, into the list by the survey)–but at least by time zone.

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks, Chaz. Certainly mailing list providers such as MailChimp can help here- and can optimise a campaign by time zone. I didn’t really go into tools that help with finding out the best time to post. There are many tools out there that can help such as Tweriod and SocialBro. Postplanner for Facebook works well too.

Chaz DeSimone
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Interestingly, AWeber allows sending follow-ups by time zone for each contact, but not broadcasts. I’ve determined that Tuesday between 6-9am PST is best, and then I send out another in the afternoon if same or next day, around 3-4pm, to everyone who did not open the first blast. I like the “save segment” feature very much in AWeber.

Kim
Guest
Kim
1 year 7 months ago

All great points Ian! I especially agree with the one about “bursts of creativity.” Scheduling definitely helps you make the most of those moments when you’re in the creative flow…and saves you from the times when those great ideas dry up 🙂

Ian Anderson Gray
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Thanks for your comment, Kim. I think many of us do have bursts of creativity. There are times in the day that are not well suited to posting on social media (for example after lunch when I am feeling sleepy!). Scheduling definitely helps with this!

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