There are dozens of great tools available today to help social media pros schedule their content in advance, like HootSuite, Facebook Scheduler, Buffer and more. They make it easy to schedule all your posts for the week if you want to handle your social media that way. But the nature of social is its immediacy, and the best posts most often take advantage of the current context – what happened today, so it’s key to find the balance between the convenience of pre-planning posts and spontaneity.
What we love about social media is its immediacy – its interactivity and engagement. If all of your content is posted days or even weeks in advance, you just can’t achieve the kind of engagement that current context posts allow. Take a look at what works in terms of scheduled and non-scheduled content for your particular audiences. There are no one-size-fits-all rules here. You may find scheduling just 70% of your content in advance works just fine if you’re a fashion boutique with predictable sales dates. Other brands may have better results posting content on a 50/50 ratio. One way to figure out what’s right for you is to look at your social analytics and audience engagement. Here are some tips to help you achieve maximum interaction and impact.
• Scheduled content should be creative, timely and engaging. Some channels (Twitter) move faster than others, so you may need to post content more than once. Be sure to rephrase your messages so your content stays fresh and interesting. Don’t just re-post what you wrote the first time.
• Schedule content when your audience is online. Use analytics reports to see when your fans are most likely using social media and when they engage the most.
• Monitor your channels and respond to feedback at all times, but don’t forget about it when your content is scheduled. Check for comments at those times so you can respond promptly.
• Embrace spontaneity. It’s important to have an “always on” mentality in social media, especially during important events for your brand or industry.
• If you are managing a team of social media professionals, trust them to do the right things. Too much bureaucracy and corporate approval can take too long to achieve the kind of spontaneity that will make an impact.
• Don’t automate content between multiple channels. Switch up content being posted on Facebook and Twitter for different times or even days of the week so that a user following both of your channels are getting fresh information on each. Also, keep in mind people use Facebook and Twitter differently, so adjust your content as needed.
If your social media plan was a chicken in a rotisserie oven, you could set it and forget it. But cooking up great content on your social platforms takes a lot of care and attention, even if you use the shortcuts.