Scheduling social media posts can be an arduous task. There are many steps between brainstorming ideas and reviewing analytics, and it’s easy to get off track. Successfully managing a social media content calendar necessitates standard procedures and planning.
Fortunately, with the right combination of clear workflows and scheduling tools, you can simplify the content posting process. Here are some amazing ways to schedule your posts and four simple steps for streamlining your process.
How to Choose a Social Media Scheduler
The first step in scheduling social media posts is to select a tool to automate the process. Using an automated tool still requires an ample amount of work on the front end of the process. Your team will still be required to ideate and create content. However, the scheduling and posting processes will become much more manageable.
When looking for a social media scheduling platform, some key considerations include:
- Pricing model – look for a scheduling platform that can be scaled to your needs. Consider a platform that can have various users attached to the account without having to scale up to an enterprise model.
- Platform connections – not all schedulers work with all platforms. Take a look at the bulk posting and platform functionality to determine if a scheduler is right for your needs. Consider extras, like posting to Instagram stories and creating grid displays beyond the basic posting capabilities.
- Account limits – consider how many accounts or platforms you can connect within your subscription. This consideration is especially important for social media managers who take on many clients.
- User Interface – evaluate how easy it is to use the platform and how quickly you can make changes or reschedule posts.
- Extra features – evaluate the extra features that make your scheduler work for you. These features could include anything from image resizing and optimizing to hashtag research and social listening.
Choosing the right social media scheduling tool depends on your needs and goals. For example, a solo entrepreneur with only an Instagram presence will have different needs than a social media management firm with multiple cross-platform clients. Fortunately, there are tools that fit both types of enterprises: go directly to Sked Social to learn more.
Four Simple Steps for Scheduling Your Posts
Outlining consistent processes will take the guesswork out of social media scheduling. Creating clear, concise steps also makes it easier to stay on track and make productivity a habit. Should you need to delegate your work or have a member of your team fall ill, having a process in place will help you share the responsibility and keep things moving forward.
Step One: Create an Idea Database
The first step in creating a social media scheduling process is to create an idea database. This step acts as a transition point between content creation and posting. The database will also help fill gaps in the content calendar and create a resource for ideas when something changes last-minute.
For example, you might come up with a great idea for a post that doesn’t quite fit this month’s content calendar. Saving it in the database ensures that you don’t forget it when the next planning session rolls around.
Consider another scenario: you’ve set up your content calendar around a new product launch this week. Something happens to delay the launch by a week, leaving you without content. By revisiting the idea database, you can create filler content on the fly without running the risk of radio silence.
Make your idea database accessible so that all team members can post ideas and share content for review.
Step Two: Outline Posts with a Calendar
Once you have an idea of what to post, start to outline the month ahead with a calendar. A calendar is a fantastic visual representation that will show you what days are scheduled and which days need content. This format also helps identify any holidays or other interesting events that you can create content around.
Many businesses and influencers choose theme days for posting to help simplify their content creation process. For example, a consulting service might use the #TipTuesday hashtag and share a relevant tip that caters to its audience.
If your business is having trouble with the planning process even before the scheduling process is a concern, consider using a calendar and theme days to map out a plan. If possible, look for a social media scheduling platform that offers a calendar view. Many of the DIY templates and project management platforms lack this capability.
Step Three: Create a Team Workflow
Creating a team workflow is a must, whether you have a team of ten or work alone. The team workflow will outline the various steps to be accomplished when preparing a post. This workflow could look something like:
- Graphics Created
- Captions Drafted
- Hashtags Added
- Submitted for Approval
- Rejected – Sent Back to Editing
- Scheduled in Platform
- Confirmed After Publishing
Some social media scheduling tools will have a customized team workflow built into the platform. Otherwise, it’s worth using a project management app like Trello or Asana to fulfill this need. Having a clear workflow will ensure nothing gets left behind, no duplicates are posted, and that everything meets the brand standards before publication. You can use this sample workflow to edit and customize for your organization.
Step Four: Schedule and Post
Once everything is in place, the final step of the scheduling process is to schedule the content and hit the post button. For many teams, this task can be accomplished up to a month in advance. Your posts will boost your brand awareness and customer engagement while you sleep.
One caveat when using an automatic posting platform is to be ready to pull the plug at any time. During the early days of the pandemic, many companies discovered the hard way that their scheduled content was no longer relevant. Some automated posts that weren’t removed were deemed to be in poor taste and required some PR management to get back on track.
While scheduling platforms offer the benefit of “setting it and forgetting it,” it’s important to take time each week to ensure the content is still relevant. If it isn’t, you can replace it with something from the idea database.
After the Scheduling
While the toughest part of the social media management process is complete when the content gets published, the work isn’t yet done. Reviewing the analytics is a vital part of the process. Even with the most intuitive scheduling platforms and well-planned content calendar, trends and audience behaviors are always changing.
Take the time to understand what posts performed well and which seemed to fall flat with your audience. Use this data as guidelines for your next content brainstorming session.
Another crucial aspect of the post-publication process is to interact with your audience. Many companies are using engagement boosting posts to ask questions and start conversations. Your audience doesn’t want to speak into a void; they want a response. Dedicate time and resources to engaging commenters after each post. It’s well worth the effort for your customer relationships and social media algorithms.
Use these four simple steps to simplify your posting schedule to take your business to the next level.