There are two types of people in this world: those who love schedules and those who hate them. No matter which bracket you fall into, there’s one thing to keep in mind: everyone should love a social media posting schedule.
We know, we can hear your objections already!
But I’m creative, I can’t stick to a schedule!
But I need inspiration and I get that in the spur of the moment.
But I am way too busy to come up with a whole bunch of social media content by myself.
Well, we have some news for you:
We’ll show you how to create a social media posting schedule that fits with your creativity and doesn’t make you feel like your hands are tied.
A social media schedule is the framework that guides all your social media postings. It gives you a solid foundation so that you are always consistent, on message and on-brand; all of which truly matter when it comes to social media.
There are now billions of people and millions of businesses on social media. Across the world, consumers are discovering new brands, becoming more loyal to their favorite one, and engaging with and buying from businesses all thanks to social media. You can’t afford to not be on social media.
And yes, that applies to you, no matter how busy you are. Social media management can feel like a full-time job and with the 10,000 other things going on in your day, it can drop to the bottom of the list. But we have to ask if you had a brick and mortar store and a potential customer was wondering around right outside of it, wouldn’t you make sure that you had an open sign out, lights on and a pretty window display, even if you were the only person who worked there? If you ignore social media, it’s the equivalent of keeping your store dark and closed up.
A social media posting schedule makes it easier for you to keep up with social media. It takes the “think-work” of wondering what to post and when out of the entire process. If you follow the steps we’re about to layout and structure your schedule, you’re going to find it much easier for you to stay consistent on social media.
Consistent posts make your content even stronger. If you have consistency in your posts, your audience will be trained to expect your content and your message. It will become familiar to them. So when you do have a big announcement to make or post to share that isn’t part of the schedule, your audience will be excited to hear it, instead of wondering “Who is this person and why am I seeing their post?”
Now that we have won you over, you may be wondering how you can create the best social media posting schedule? So glad you asked! Let’s walk you through it.
There are a lot of studies on the best times to post on social media and you can follow those best practices to create your posting schedule but the only thing that should ever really matter to you as a business owner is your audience.
Every audience’s habits are different. If you are a B2B company that sells to marketing executives, then your audience will have different social media habits than if you are a late-night food truck who targets college kids. One audience is probably more active on LinkedIn during weekdays. The other is probably more prone to SnapChat or Instagram on weekends and in the evenings. These would lead to two very different social media posting schedules!
Luckily you don’t have to be a mind reader to figure out how your audience acts on social media. Every social media platform provides some type of info on when your audience is active online. You just have to know where to look for the data.
Nearly everything you need to know about your Facebook page is located in the “Insights” section. From there, click the “Posts” option in the left-hand menu. Facebook makes it very clear when your audience is online to give you an idea of when you should post.
It’s important to note on Twitter that most of your audience doesn’t actually see your tweets (at least not right away!) but that doesn’t mean you should optimize your Twitter page as much as possible!
Twitter analytics are not as fully functional as Facebook analytics but you can get some insights, like which days your tweets have the highest impressions.
You can also use a free tool called Tweriod to learn when your audience is online. Tweriod analyzes your audiences and your tweets to determine when your audience is online and when your tweets get the most exposure. Simply sign in with your Twitter ID and Tweriod will analyze your stats and then just like magic, your Twitter posting schedule will become clear!
On LinkedIn, it’s a little bit trickier to find out when your audience is online but with some experimentation, you can piece this together.
On our chart below, we can see that our page is most active on Mondays and Tuesdays before dipping the rest of the week.
It’s not a perfect science but it gives us enough a place to start testing when is the best time.
Instagram is owned by Facebook so they have very similar analytics and it’s easy to find when your audience is online. Make sure you have a business profile and click the “Insights” button at the top of your profile. In the “Audience” tab, at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a graph that shows the average times your followers are on Instagram.
Figuring out the days and times your audience hangs out online will create the basis of a posting schedule. You’ll eliminate wasting great posts that are scheduled on days and times when your audience is offline.
But timing is just one piece of a posting schedule puzzle. The next up is finding the content.
You can’t just type 280 characters into the post box and expect anyone to respond to it. No, now social media is a place of videos, lives, photos, boomerangs and more.
The right type of content depends on two main things: the platform and…
Yes, your audience!
Each platform has its own unique niche when it comes to types of content. Here are some general guidelines as to what to post on each platform:
This is a good starting point for understanding what content to post but if you really want to create the best social media posting schedule (and why wouldn’t you?!), then you should dive a little bit more into your analytics on each platform to see what type of content works with your audience.
Facebook Insights just might become your new best friend after this blog post! In the insights section under “Posts,” click the “Post Types.” This breaks down the different types of posts and how well they do with your audience.
Now you may look at that and think, “Well now I know the type of posts that do well but not the actual content of the post.” Did you think Facebook would leave you hanging like that? Of course not!
If you switch back over to “When Your Fans Are Online” and scroll down, you’ll see a list of all your posts published, along with the type of post, reach and engagement rates. Here is where you can the actual content that does well. There’s no easy way to sort this so you just have to manually scroll through and review the posts with the highest reach or engagement rate to see what trends exist.
Similar to Facebook, Twitter breaks down your tweets for you and shows you how they rank based on impressions, engagement and engagement rate.
You can click on any of the posts to learn more detailed information about the tweet and the engagement on it.
We recommend reviewing your top posts for any similarities. Take note on whether images improve your tweets, if there are any topics that consistently receive high engagement or the types of content that receives clicks and the types that receive retweets.
LinkedIn also breaks down posts and engagement rates in their “Analytics” section under “Updates.” Once you get to the page, then you repeat the steps above of reviewing your top posts.
If you want a faster way to review these posts so you can save yourself time, LinkedIn allows for this information to be exported into an excel doc. From there, you can sort by highest impressions or clicks to get a quick look at what content is the most engaging.
Instagram is the platform that lacks the most when it comes to content insights. Since it’s a newer platform, this is expected but it’s not exactly devoid of all analytics so you can still get a good idea of the content that works on your feed!
In the Insights section under “Content,” you can review your posts and the various metrics associated with them. You can sort your posts by photo, video, carousel post or all content to get an idea of which format works better or what types of content work in each particular format. Instagram gives you plenty of measurement options. We like to view engagement and profile visits for our content to determine what posts our audience loves and what drives them back to our profile for more info.
Hopefully, going through all your content gave you a really strong idea of what formats and types of content your audience loves and you have a laundry list of ideas of things you can create and post on social media. You are a creative, after all!
But hang on a second before you start creating all types of great content, let’s talk about something.
You can have great content. You can know when to post it. But there’s one final step that will make your social media posting schedule really solid.
It’s time to organize your content so that it makes sense and is balanced.
You may have realized from reviewing your content that different content does different stuff.
For us, videos have the highest reach but it’s blog links that drive traffic back to our website. On Instagram, quote posts receive the most comments but educational posts attract more followers.
You probably have several different goals for your social media and different types of content focus on different goals. No one wants one million fans but no engagement. Just like no one wants the highest engagement rates but no clicks to their website.
There are quite a few moving parts in any good social media strategy so you need to mix up your content to keep all of those parts moving. This is why we suggest categorizing your content.
Creating categories keeps your content balanced and ensures you are posting everything you need to meet all of your social media goals.
If you have already reviewed your content in the step above, then your categories should already be becoming clear to you based on what types of content your audience loves and engages.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of our different categories.
Here are some other popular categories you may find your content fits into:
You can also separate your categories into content topics. For example, if we split our content into topics, our categories might look like:
Your categories can grow and change as your social media profiles and your business grow.
Let’s run through to make sure you have everything you need for your social media posting schedule.
You have all your ingredients now to make a beautiful and effective social media posting schedule.
Now you just need to put it all together:
Your schedule might end up looking something like this:
You can organize all your content like this in an excel sheet. Of course, if you want to make this process even easier, try Edgar! He automates the process for you. (You can give Edgar a try here. We offer a free 7-day trial.)
We pointed out in the beginning that a posting schedule will keep you consistent and consistency always wins, especially on social media. It’s also a scalable system that will grow with your business. It works for you, even if you’re not actively managing it. Like if you need to take a vacation or hire a VA to help, your schedule will still be posting, just as you want it to. Setting up systems and structures is how thriving entrepreneurs separate themselves from the ones who are struggling to juggle it all.
Do you want to learn all the secrets of our social media strategy? Our signature course, Social Brilliant, is free for a limited time! This is the step-by-step guide to the strategy our founder, Laura Roeder, used to build her personal brand and a 7-figure business on social media!