Social Media Scheduling & Automation

Written by Nicholas Garofalo

On May 26, 2016
Not social media scheduling tools

Welcome to Edgar Learn, where we share the strategies that helped us find success! This is Part One of our series on Social Media Scheduling. To read our series on blogging, start here!

Promoting yourself and your content on social media can be ridiculously overwhelming… if you don’t have the right tools in your arsenal.

The trick to managing it all without losing your mind is automation – which means getting a good scheduling tool to help do the job. Here’s why it matters, and what you can expect.

Social media scheduling tools get things DONE.

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: using a scheduling tool doesn’t mean that your social media is in anyone’s hands but your own. Automation doesn’t mean that some robot in a warehouse is writing and publishing your updates, or that you’re outsourcing your work to some sort of content farm, or that things are getting posted without your knowledge and approval. Social media scheduling tools simply allow you to upload your status updates in advance, set the times that they’re going to publish, and move on with your life.

When you update all of your social networks on the fly, things slip through the cracks. Typos and bad links, for example. You don’t really get to go back and edit, and strategically, you may not be able to see how every update fits into your style — its tone, its purpose, its message. Sometimes, you may even post things that you regret later on.

When you schedule things in advance, you buy yourself the time you need to do it right. You can see what works, and repeat your successes. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter give you free access to tons of useful audience and performance statistics – information about clickthroughs from your status updates, for example, or when your followers are online. When you pay attention to data like this, you can schedule your updates smarter, and over time you can get a clear sense of what works and what doesn’t.

This is just another reason that a good social media tool is so important – after all, you may not always be at a computer during peak posting hours for your business. And it’s a lot easier to let a scheduling tool make sure your posts go out at the right times than it is to organize your whole schedule around tweeting at the right time.

Why you should automate.

The idea of social media automation can sound pretty scary, or even a little reckless. After all, isn’t social media all about the immediate, authentic human connection? Well here’s the secret: automation gives you time to do more of that.

When you automate your social media, you still have complete control over everything. You’re simply scheduling the publishing of each post, and nothing more. Which means that when you DO spend time on social media, you can maximize your authentic human interactions because everything else is already handled.

Say you’re going to do three updates a day, five days a week. That would add up to 15 updates a week. With four weeks in a month, that’s 60 total updates per month. And if you think of your social content in categories (Funny, Inspirational, Facts About Beyonce, etc) you only need 10 updates per category, per month.

Fact: Beyonce's smile is roughly equal to 10k lumens.

Fact: Beyonce’s smile emits enough light to be seen from space.

Doesn’t sound so tough, does it? You could probably come up with your 10 Facts About Beyonce right now. You can easily sit down once a month and write those out in advance. Over time, it will become more and more apparent which types of updates resonate the most with your specific audience, and you can make adjustments. You’ll see what your audience likes the best, and you can adjust your social media strategy as you go.

The important thing is to start keeping track of those things now, so you can make those adjustments whenever you need to. And remember, when you’re playing the percentages game, you’re figuring things out on a monthly basis, not a daily one!

Reusing your content is good.

You know that recycling is good for the environment — well it’s good for your social media scheduling strategy, too! You can actually reuse your status updates as time goes on, making it significantly easier to maintain a consistent social presence. Heck, that’s literally what Edgar is designed to do!

“But… but what if someone sees something that I’ve already posted in the past?” You ask, “I don’t want to annoy my followers! I don’t want to be spammy.”

Well, here’s what happens when someone sees something you’ve already posted: nothing. Absolutely nothing! We get really, really worried about insignificant things like this, like posting the same inspirational quote that we posted three months ago, and somebody seeing it for the second time. But that’s not going to make anyone think less of you or your business!

You post the things you post because they mean something to you, and that makes them worth repeating from time to time. And remember, you may be seeing every single status update that gets posted, but your audience probably isn’t. Most people sign on to social media and see what’s in their newsfeed at that time — they aren’t digging through your archives and poring over every last update. So the odds that someone will notice a repeat are pretty slim — and if they do notice, they aren’t likely to care. (Unless you’re posting the same thing five times a week, because that would be pretty darn annoying.)

In general, you probably don’t want to post the exact same content more than once every two months or so. But that depends on you and your style, too — there are some people who post the same morning affirmation every day, or the same signoff every Friday afternoon, and it works quite well for them. Trial and error is going to be your new best friend when it comes to things like that, but in general, two months gives you enough time so that people in your audience don’t feel like they’re seeing the same thing time and again.

Just don’t go overboard!

Instead of just automating their updates, some people try to automate their interactions, too — and that’s when things get weird. The same automated reply goes out to everyone who mentions your company name on Twitter. Someone on your team posts messages and replies under your name without you knowing. Inauthenticity starts to creep in, and when it does, people notice — and it doesn’t look great. You can automate how the message gets delivered, but when it comes to the message itself, you should always have a direct hand in it, whether you’re reviewing a post that someone else wrote or you’re responding one-on-one to a customer.

Same with reusing content – if you post the same things over and over (and don’t give yourself that 2-month window) you risk boring your audience! But even if you re-post content only twice a year, you still need to make your status updates as evergreen as possible. That means they need to ring true at any time of day, any time of year — otherwise, you’re going to have to pretty rigidly police your schedule and make sure that things aren’t getting posted at inappropriate times.

Evergreen content

That goes for subtle things, too. For example, you could write an update that says, “Today is the best day of the year,” but what if it gets posted on the day of a natural disaster or the untimely death of a celebrity musician? You probably wouldn’t find anyone agreeing with you.

Of course, you can’t predict everything. You don’t know who’s going to die, or when a tsunami is going to strike. So while you should be aware of possibilities like that — however remote they may be — don’t stress about them. Automation becomes inauthentic when you pretend to be somewhere you’re not, so ask yourself, “Would this update make sense at any time on any day?”

Automating your social media schedule and recycling your content are two big ways to save time while embracing a more efficient social strategy. Just be sure to remain authentic, and you’ll be well on your way to success!

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