Social media marketers experience this constantly, social media keeps going no matter the time or the day. While social media refuses to sleep, social media managers would start to resemble zombies if they tried to keep up.
Fortunately, we have been graced with a plethora of tools that can help us get that 6:15 a.m. Tuesday morning post to go live. However, we know that technology isn’t fool-proof. So in honor of all that is not constant, we will take a look at the pro’s and con’s of social media scheduling while also identifying a few of the best tools to incorporate into your social strategy.
While social media scheduling can be an irresistible convenience for the busy social media manager, it is important to err on the side of caution when scheduling. As a personal preference, I am not a fan of relying too heavily on social scheduling for various reasons. However, I believe that scheduling tools are a necessity for social media managers to get the job done. Here are a few things to keep a close eye on when posting via a scheduling system:
Put Your Copy Editor Hat On
Pro Tip: Before you hit “Publish” slowly read over your post 3-5 times to check for typos, missing words, spelling, context, and grammatical errors.
Be sure to also check every hashtag. When your words are running together, spelling errors can sneak up on even the best of copy editors. Countless social media blunders have been made from social media managers making a careless error while rushing to get a series of posts scheduled (myself included). It is almost scary how easy it is for eyes to glaze over a pile of scheduled tweets while staring at a computer screen. If the time and resources are available, it may not hurt to have a fellow co-worker glance over your scheduled tweets before they are set to go live.
Even the White House Facebook has fallen victim with a misspelling of “Americans.”
Timing Is Everything
If you’re scheduling a post, there’s really no room for timing mistakes. There’s nothing worse than double scheduling the same post or scheduling a product launch the day before the announcement is supposed to be released. One wrong click of the mouse on the calendar in your scheduling system can bring your worst social nightmares to life.
Pro Tip: To avoid scheduling mistakes, review the publisher section in your scheduling system.This is the section that shows every post you’ve scheduled ordered by date and time. Review all scheduled dates and times to be sure they are being published when they should be. Here’s a look at what this section looks like in Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer:
Make It Picture Perfect
Long gone are the days that we post a simple text status update without the support of some type of graphic, photo, or video. When scheduling a post, it is important to double check to be sure you’ve attached the correct media to be delivered with your post. This is one of the most important reasons I prefer to not rely on social scheduling unless needed. When posting natively in a social platform you can:
- Edit the image, headline, and link description of shared links.
- Ensure that the image you’re posting meets the sizing dimensions for that particular platform. (It’s very easy to miss an image error on a scheduled post because you often can’t tell how it will appear on the platform until it goes live. Preview the image in the publishing section of your scheduling platform to be sure it is attached and sized properly).
It’s easy to be tempted to send out a post and simply click every social platform in your scheduling suite to share to, but so often social media managers get schedule happy and forget how important it is to tailor the message for each platform. Don’t forget to check your character limits for Twitter and remove hashtags from LinkedIn posts.
It’s also important to remember that your audience enjoys variety. If possible, try to schedule different content for each platform, and if the time and resources are not available, schedule your content to be shared at different times on each platform. That way, your audience isn’t bombarded with the same message, on every channel, all at once.
Pro Tip: Schedule each post individually for each social platform, or be sure that your post will make sense and fit in with the audience’s expectation for that channel, consider each option carefully when posting.
Also be sure to check to make sure you are linking to the right content. When you’re working in a scheduling system with several links to various pieces of content, one wrong copy and paste of a link can leave your audience on a goose chase for the content they are hoping to tap into from your social post.
Now that we’ve covered the cautionary tales of social media scheduling, we must hunt for the social scheduling platform that best fits your business.The good news is there are many options to choose from and the bad news is…there are many options to choose from. When choosing a scheduling tool, it is important to consider:
- Your Budget: Scheduling tool pricing can range from free to $60 per month.
- Desired Features: bulk uploads, keyword monitoring, analytics reporting, team collaboration, and custom branding are just a few of the options you may want to consider when purchasing your platform. Maybe you don’t need a scheduling system with all the bells and whistles, but you will be sent right back to the drawing board if five months down the road your company discovers that those features are needed and the scheduling tool purchased doesn’t meet expectations.
- Social Platforms: Be sure that the scheduling tool you purchase supports the platforms that your company posts to. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a scheduling tool that doesn’t share to a platform your company utilizes.
To help you narrow down the overwhelming process of finding the right scheduling tool for your company, here’s an excellent overview of the various social media scheduling tools available and their features by Kikolani:
Now go on a vacation, enjoy a nice dinner without pausing to post a tweet, and most importantly, sleep in on a Sunday! Just make sure you’ve picked the right social scheduling tool for your business, and run through every scheduled post with a fine tooth comb to avoid social media manager meltdowns.