Here’s the part of social media marketing that gives it the “ugh factor” for many businesses: you have to perform daily maintenance to start seeing success. It doesn’t have to be a major chore, though, if you take advantage of social media automation and status scheduling.
Why schedule social media marketing updates?
- Even when you are away from your computer or mobile device, scheduled statuses hlep you stay visible to your fans and followers. It helps you stay on their radar without creating new content constantly.
- You can reach people at the optimal time for their specific time zones if your audience isn’t strictly local.
Scheduling Apps If you read my earlier post on selecting an app to manage your social media marketing, then you are already familiar with some great online programs (some with mobile apps) that have scheduling capabilities. In case you missed that post, here’s a quick list of those apps plus a couple additions:
- HootSuite — my favorite (disclosure: we are a HootSuite Solution Partner, but we use the tool for our company, too).
- Sprout Social
Find the Right Time of Day
Obviously, the secret to scheduling effectively is to send your posts out when your audience is most receptive and active. When is that? That depends on whose research you read and what audience you serve. A B2B marketer may find that his audience is easiest to reach on LinkedIn on Tuesdays at 2:30 pm ET (I just pulled that out of thin air). A person marketing sleeping pills may do well to target evening hours. Your best bet is to check out research on your target audience and start experimenting with those times. Monitor the results through your social media dashboard and website analytics program. The data will tell you which days of the week and what times are most effective for your social media marketing efforts.
Respond to Comments
While you can schedule and automate some of your updates, you can’t let everything run on autopilot. It’s important that you check your profile and platforms for comments and mentions. Many apps have features that send alerts directly to your email inbox. Show your audience you are engaged and receptive by replying to comments as quickly as possible.
Don’t Be a Robot
The key to automated or scheduled updates is good planning. Make logical decisions on what content should go out on what date and when. A reminder about a partner’s upcoming webinar obviously needs to happen before the webinar takes place. Besides timing, sounding natural and authentic is important. Don’t let updates to appear automated or robotic, and be ready to adapt as necessary. If there is a hot topic trending now, get involved and post it now. Move around your scheduled updates to accommodate big news.
Scheduling some posts throughout the week coupled with automation of some posts will help ensure you have routine activity on your social media profiles. Set aside a regular time for creating or finding content and setting an update schedule. Then, you can spend the rest of your social media time engaging with followers.
Try this . . .
- Identify the types of content that you want to schedule for each day of the next week (e.g. promotions, tips, shared articles).
- Identify the best times each day to post each type of content. This can be your base for future experiments in timing. Your social media dashboard may also suggest best times of day.
- Create or find some of each type of content to share.
- Add the content to your social update scheduler.
- Check in each day for responses, questions, comments or other engagement with your followers.