Social media is great isn’t it? You have a whole new way of reaching out to your customers, can make connections with leading figures in the industry and keep an eye on your competitors.
But the downside for many small businesses is the time factor. Sending a tweet or updating Facebook is so quick that it’s easy for businesses to underestimate the amount of time it’s going to take to keep on top of their social media channels.
People who find it hard enough to switch off from work suddenly find themselves tapping away at their smartphones all evening and weekend.
But why does social media take so much time?
- scratching your head and wondering what to say
- going back and ‘picking at it’ all day long
- getting side-tracked by all that interesting stuff people insist on posting.
Key to overcoming these challenges is planning and scheduling.
Planning your social media content
Do you plan what you’re going to say on social media? Or do you just tweet as and when, leading to a flurry of posts one afternoon then nothing for weeks?
Spending a few moments planning your updates can save you so much time over the course of the week. It doesn’t have to be word for word, but you may need to think about:
- the key messages you need to get across
- what to post in the run-up to a product launch
- typical queries and how you would answer them
- offering a good mix of content and formats: text, video or picture posts; questions and polls; links to your own content as well as stories in the press
- which networks to focus on
- who is going to be making the posts.
How to schedule your social media posts
Once you’ve got a plan in place you can think about scheduling your updates. You can sit down and schedule a load of posts in one go, then get on with your day, enjoying a satisfying feeling of having regained control.
How to schedule for Facebook
First, look for the little clock icon in the box where you post your update. It’s there on both the main website and the app on your smartphone.
Then pick the year, month, day and time you wish the post to go out. Once done, the post will sit in the Activity Log so you can go back and change the publishing date if you wish.
Tip: Always read back through your scheduled posts in case of human error. There is no option to edit though, so if you’ve made a mistake you’ll need to delete and start again.
How to schedule for Twitter
You can’t schedule posts in the main Twitter client; you need to use a separate system such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. You can schedule posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social channels here too.
Using Hootsuite as an example, this time look for the little calendar icon when you write your post. Simply click the icon and pick the date and time you want the post to publish.
Tip: Always keep a column for scheduled posts so you can keep an eye on what’s coming up.