As more and more businesses embark on their own social media journey a number of apps and services have sprung up automating the process. You can now auto follow, unfollow, RT, favourite and message. You can also schedule content across most platforms (please someone make this so for Instagram) with apps such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Tweetdeck.
Why schedule? Scheduling gives you the ability to take the content you’ve spent so much time perfecting(right?) and having a piece of technology post it for you. You can choose the time it posts and can schedule as much content as you want at once. Got a months worth of content? Sweet! Bang it in a .csv file and upload it. Apps such as Buffer integrate with Chrome and give you the ability to click and schedule with a pre determined schedule of times. Nifty.
I’ll admit that I am in love with scheduling, and it does make managing a number of social networks easier. No more waiting for the right moment to post a Facebook update for a page, it’s already been scheduled the day before, I’m already enjoying a fruit based cocktail at 7pm.
Before you get excited about scheduling your life and your brand, don’t get caught up in the temptation to rely on scheduling everything, put your feet up and watch the engagement roll in. It ain’t gonna happen hoss . The whole reason you are using social media for your business or charity is to not only share content, but most importantly engage with your followers/fans by responding to them, proactively engaging with them and reacting to what is happening both online and offline. You can’t schedule a comment on something that is happening in real time.
So Charles you ask, how should I use the magical digital unicorn that is scheduling? Well friend I’m glad you asked.
Step 1: Create a content plan so you can evenly map out your content. Make sure you curate content appropriately for different networks. I.E please don’t use Hashtags on Facebook, they’re there but they’re just awful.
Step 2: Identify when the best times are to pust using analytics across your networks. The best time to post on Facebook may not be the best time to post on Twitter.
Step 3: Schedule! (oh and triple check that it looks great in the scheduler, syntax can be a pain with .csv uploads).
Unofficially there’s a step 4. Be aware of what your have scheduled and be prepared to remove or postpone if it need be. If something happens in real time that you need to post, you don’t want a completely irrelevant scheduled post getting in your way.
Automation of your digital networks is incredibly tempting but you aren’t going to see the results you would from an organic approach. In saying that they are incredibly helpful and effective when used correctly, but don’t forget your followers, they like you.