Social media performance is much more about consistency than quantity. However, consistently posting at the right time, when your followers will be online and ready to engage with your content, takes a lot of planning. Some days you will be attending meetings, your digital team will be on holiday, or all manner of other things are getting in the way – also known as ‘having a life’.
So, it is no surprise that millions of brands and marketers schedule their posts. Besides making sure you publish your best content at optimal times, scheduling content in advance will save you and your staff a lot of time that can be put towards other projects that need your attention.
But how do you make the most of social media automation without killing your engagement and overall social growth? Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or in charge of a multinational brand, scheduling tools are still a long way away from creating meaningful connections and engaging on a human level. And although time is money, so is your content calendar. You also probably won’t want to self-automated all your comments and feedback moderations, as even major companies have seen this backfiring tenfold.
Here, digital media professional and business owners share their best guidance for scheduling content without losing sight of your core audience and vital engagement. This advice goes beyond bots, artificial intelligence, and scheduling platforms.
I am online when my scheduled content goes live
“I had to start scheduling my content for my company’s Instagram because it was taking too much time to do it individually, especially ensuring the images were cohesive, and the content was impactful. By doing it in advance and scheduling the posts, I have saved time in the long run and ensured there is a consistent visual appeal, as well as meaningful content. For real-time engagement, I spend at least 10 minutes engaging with replies and reaching out to followers as soon as a scheduled post is published.”
Nkem Okafor – Founder at business strategy consulting firm Vieve Enterprises LLC
I use the same scheduler for all my social medias
“I use Buffer to schedule not only my Instagram posts but also Facebook and Twitter. It does make a big difference in scheduling them all together, as I can ready all my images and load them up at once, then forget about posting for a while.
I don’t, however, forget about interacting. I engage with people on social media once a day; I hear a lot of talking about people wanting variety but, personally, I think online users actually like the comfort of being able to read fresh content dropping at the same time every day. And, of course, interaction is critical to building a social media following.”
Kevin Caron – Sculptor
We create in blocks to schedule
“We find that if we don’t set a block of time aside or chunking that we lose the ability to get into a flow state, where we are most creative, and the best work can happen. Chunking our time using a scheduler allows us to focus our time to get the most return out of our creative team. We also have a pretty large sales team and a dedicated social media team.
Since most of our followers are in their mid-to-late 20s, they live on Instagram. So, engaging with people who post videos, images, or reply to our stories is done organically, because they are on the platform already.”
Stephen Twomey – Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer at www.kennected.org
Show up consistently
“Bots and automation tools will never fully replace the feel-good, real-time social interactions that Instagram was built for. We use the scheduling app Plannthat.com to see when our audience is most active and schedule our posts and 15 minutes of active engagement around those times. That is how we built our following and engagement organically – by consistently showing up. Every day, my team and I show up to Instagram as if we have an appointment with the dentist.
Don’t overthink it. Just show up, be social, and let the benefits of a well-loved profile follow!”
Hanna Hermanson – Certified business coach at www.dreamlifeisreallife.com
Get your team involved
“Scheduling content on Instagram is a great way to regularly update your clients about your company and its products. That’s why we normally schedule the content on our business account. Then, we assign team members to our Instagram to interact with clients and follow up real-time engagement.”
Invest in meaningful engagement
“I’ve been working in the social and content marketing space as a freelancer and in-house staff person since 2014. However, for our business’ account, I still post most content manually, as Instagram’s API for third-party scheduling apps means that carousel posts (about 50% of our posts) can’t be sent out automatically. It saves time to schedule, but if I have to manually post them anyway, it’s easier posting as my first task every day rather than potentially missing an app notification on my phone. Plus, I like to manually share stories to keep things as authentic as possible.
Marketing agencies generally do a bad job of appearing human online, so my story sharing is one way I combat that. I share each new post to our stories, then engage on Instagram for 30-45 minutes after posting anything new.
For our clients, although every post is scheduled, an admin at our agency is responsible for posting carousels and stories that can’t be automatically posted. Real-time feedback is typically managed at least every 12 hours and we have not prioritized immediate responses so that we can add real value in our responses — as we learned that if we are responding in a meaningful way, followers seem to engage, even if the interactions happen hours later.”
Rebekah Edwards – Co-founder at www.contentcreators.agency
Leave room for spontaneous posts
“By scheduling our social media content in advance, our agency has actually found more time to meaningfully engage with our followers. We can reply in a timely, consistent manner rather than focusing on the intricate details or distractions of uploading.
We do leave breathing room for spontaneous posts, but most of our posts are scheduled in advance across all platforms and scheduled for optimal posting times. The spontaneous posts are great ways to focus on engagement – such as commenting on things in pop culture, the news, or fun and interactive questions/polls. Obtaining feedback and how people interact with our content, their needs, and suggestions is incredibly valuable because then we are able to shape our upcoming content.”
Tara Miremadi – Digital brand manager at digital marketing agency www.margauxagency.com
It increases productivity
“With the use of tools such as Facebook Creator Studio and Hootsuite, we schedule the content of the business Instagram for ourselves and clients. We schedule this content on a weekly basis. Scheduling social media content, especially for Instagram, helps increase our productivity.
As per, it is critical that time is taken throughout weekdays to reply, in the form of real-time engagement, such as comments. We also use SEMRush and TweetDeck to easily view all engagement, and Facebook Business Suite to see direct messages, comments, and other engagement.”
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