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Social Media Scheduling: How to Always Be One Step Ahead

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.” While it might have been a few centuries before social media existed, the same sentiment rings true to marketers and community managers today. When you make social media scheduling a priority, you plan for the future and stay one step ahead in an industry that changes so quickly.

It’s no longer about just existing on social, but being present and engaging with your audience. However, trying to organize, manage, and publish your social media content is no easy task. It takes time and investment to see results of a well-executed social media marketing strategy.

Learning how to effectively schedule social media content saves time and money, but it also makes your business adaptable and better organized. There are some nuances to learn with social media scheduling, but with the right tools, content and motivation, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Try Sprout Social’s social media publishing tools to schedule content across multiple accounts or platforms. Sign up for a free 30-day trial!

The Benefits of Social Media Scheduling

Social media scheduling provides plenty of benefits for your small business, agency or enterprise organization. The time and energy saved can mean the difference in a successful social marketing campaign.

Here are a few benefits of social media scheduling:

  • Reach the correct time zone: Some brands know their core audience is in different locations around the world. Taking every step to get in front of them is critical to maximize organic reach. Not only can you publish at any time, but you can also create content plans, schedule accordingly and get back to other tasks.
  • Post real-time updates: Whether you’re slated for a product launch or a company update, scheduling takes the stress out of social and allows you to focus on other things. Some business sales start at midnight, so why stay up and wait when you can schedule and be timely?

  • Map out your content: Along with being timely, you can work ahead with scheduling tools. Plan out your core social media content in advanced and limit same-day posting. Mapping out content allows you to be more strategic, better at targeting and ultimately post more content.
  • Limit promotional posts: One of the main reasons people unfollow businesses is due to overly promotional content. Stick to the 80/20 rule (80% creative and 20% promotional) to keep followers entertained and happy.

  • Consistency across platforms: An inconsistent brand voice can do more harm than good and this is true with social media as well. Maintain consistency in brand voice with scheduled content and ensure your posts won’t seem off-brand.

Social Media Scheduling Tips

It’s probably cool at this point to say you’re on board and understand the benefits to scheduling social media posts. Well, it’s just as important to know how to actually schedule content in the first place.

Native social media platforms weren’t really built for businesses in mind, which means you need a powerful social media scheduling tool. That’s why we’ll give you five tips to best schedule your social media content with a scheduling tool:

1. Adopt a Social Media Scheduling Tool for Your Most Valuable Networks

Listen–we’re going to be a little bias on what tool we think performs best for your social media scheduling needs. However, we have the software to backup our reasoning. Sprout Social’s publishing tools lets you see your scheduled content on a weekly calendar. Not only that, but our tools make it absolutely simple to publish to your favorite social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Instagram.

instagram scheduling publishing calendar view

Understand what social networks perform the best for your brand and hone in on them with the insights you can gain from an all-in-one social analytics tool. As you’ll hear from us often, don’t try to tackle all your social networks at once.

Instead, focus on the few networks that actually produce results. As you build out your social content strategy, you’ll be able to tweak and alter your publishing habits to gain more brand loyalists and engaged followers.

Compose from the Publishing Calendar

Every business on social will have different needs, but this shouldn’t prevent you from effectively tackling the networks you need. With a powerful tool like Sprout, your scheduling needs are answered.

2. Start Filling Your Content Calendar

Once you have your tools set, it’s time to start planning. Building out your social media calendar is the best way to keep consistency, continually publish and remain agile in your industry. There are some important questions to ask when building out your calendar.

First, how many posts per day do you plan to publish and on which social networks? While each network obviously has different posting habits, the amount of followers can also make your situation unique.

For example, posting twice a day to Facebook has always been the go-to for brands. But a HubSpot study found brands that post twice a day with under 10,000 followers see fewer clicks the more they post.

hubspot facebook grpah

And with Instagram’s latest social media algorithm, brands want the most engagement per post. This drives up the demand for quality content. If you’re wondering if your Instagram content is up to par, check out our Instagram best practices infographic!

Through collective research, CoSchedule dissected the best posting frequency from different studies. They recommended posting between these ranges depending on your audience size, content type and schedule:

  • Facebook: 1-2 times per day
  • Instagram: 1-2 times per day
  • LinkedIn: 0-1 times per day
  • Twitter: 1-51 times per day (recommended 15 per day)
  • Pinterest: 3-30 times per day (recommended 11 per day)

3. Know Your Different Types of Content to Publish

Each brand has unique publishing habits, but there are ways to get creative to fill up your calendar. For example, you can try to post content types for each day on a weekly basis. Here’s a small list of content types to use each week:

    • User-Generated Content: A simple way to highlight your power users, customers and brand loyalists is through user-generated content. You can highlight real customers and encourage others to share their product experiences with you. UGC is a nice balance between promotional content and highlighting your fans.

'Oh, boy!' It's #FreshEpcot! #MickeyMouse (Photo: @drblue)

A post shared by Walt Disney World (@waltdisneyworld) on

    • Industry News: Whether you’re in a so called “boring” industry or not, there’s always news. Find places on LinkedIn or Twitter to share industry news and show customers you’re an authority on the subject and stay in the know.

  • Behind the Scenes Content: Snapchat has made in-the-moment and behind-the-scenes content exciting for users. Brands have taken advantage of this and added weekly tours on Instagram Stories, influencer meetups on Snapchat and other behind-the-scenes content on other platforms.
  • Group Chats/Discussions: Twitter chats, Facebook group chats and other discussion-style formats work well at connecting your brand to users and others in the industry. You can highlight comments, questions and topics brought up in the chat and use them as discussion points for your content throughout the month.
  • Creative Contests: Don’t give away iPads or big screen TVs–leave that for the car dealerships. Instead, hold creative contests to get users to engage. Give out swag gift bags or small industry-related gifts to get users to participate on your social channels. Promote it each week to fill up a slot on your calendar.

Just remember not to go too far in advance with scheduling because you’ll likely lose the “freshness” of your content while sitting it on the shelf for too long.

4. Set Up a Message Approval Workflow

For agencies and enterprise businesses, message approval is critical to any social media calendar. With an approval workflow, content owners know their posts are curated, edited and on topic. Otherwise, you run of risk of scheduling content too quickly and carelessly.

Social media scheduling tools allow you to increase team efficiency through user-based permissions. That means you have only a select few that can review and approve the content before it’s published.

Submit A Message for Approval from Sprouts Compose Modal

Creating order within a social content strategy can be more daunting than it seems. However, using approvers prevents errors, untimely content and a better workflow for all. Content strategists can easily get content approved ahead of time to ensure a full schedule is in order.

Make sure your business has a proper workflow when submitting, approving and publishing content to allow more governance from team leads.

social media publishing learn more banner
5. Find the Best Times to Post
After your content is created, approved and ready to be published, you want to consider the best times to reach your audience. Properly scheduling social media content plays a major role in organic reach.
Building up your audience and reaching them at the right time is an art of its own. That’s why we previously collected data on the best times to post to give you a better idea of when to reach your audience. Feel free to read the entire guide to the best times to post on social media here!

Some of the major takeaways we learned about when to post, include:

  • Facebook: Thursday at 1 p.m. was the most efficient day and time, but data showed it was safe nearly any day between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Twitter: Noon on Thursday is the most efficient day and time. However, other strong days fall between Monday and Thursday as well.
  • Instagram: The most recommended posting times include 2 a.m., 8.a.m. and 5 p.m. with the peak days between Monday and Friday.
  • LinkedIn: Noon and 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday are the most optimal times to post to LinkedIn with safe periods between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
  • Pinterest: The most recommended times include 9 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday, along with late nights during the week.

Analyze Your Work

Get in the habit of tracking your content strategy and measuring what works best across each channel. You’ll quickly begin to see patterns and learn posting habits that best reach your audience. Make notes, scale and analyze your content to gain better insights into your social media scheduling.

It will pay in the end to have your content prepped and prepared weeks in advance. Don’t believe us? Feel free to try a 30-day trial with Sprout Social and see how social media scheduling can help your content strategy.

This post Social Media Scheduling: How to Always Be One Step Ahead originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

Daniel Rodgers
A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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