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
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
It'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
We 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
I 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.
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.
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:
For 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
Triberr 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
I 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!