Anyone who markets a small business in 2018 knows that social media is vital for survival. However, with a million things on the to-do list of busy business owners, organizing and scheduling social media posts can be quite a hassle, especially on a tight budget!
Creating posts is already a time-consuming process… but delivering them efficiently and effectively is a whole other logistical issue. But, before we get into the “how” of scheduling social media scheduling, let’s start with the” why.”
Posting consistently not only helps you stay on top of your content, it also:
- It says a lot to your audience. When your followers see you posting on a consistent schedule, they learn to expect your posts… they might even look forward to them! This builds up a consistency that, over time, helps build professionalism and loyalty.
- It helps you reach as many users as possible. When you post consistently when your followers are more likely to be online, you know for sure that your social media marketing efforts are being followed through efficiently.
Now that you know why you need to post consistently, how exactly do you do it?
The fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to consolidate your social media marketing efforts is to use a third-party social media management platform. Some of the most popular include Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. The downside to using these platforms is that they sometimes cost money, but Buffer and Hootsuite offer free plans to start out with. The tradeoff is that free plans offer significantly fewer options and flexibility than paid ones… though this might not even be a problem for small businesses who only use a few social media platforms anyway!
Other free social media management tools include Facebook Business Manager and Tweetdeck. These built-in additions to Facebook and Twitter allow for simple scheduling abilities. They also provide you with great analytics tools to give you data on your audience that you can use to develop your strategy and grow your following.
Tip: If your business uses more than 3 social media platforms, take advantage of a free social media management tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite for 3 platforms, then use Facebook Business Manager and/or Tweetdeck to take care of your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Voila…totally free scheduling for ALL channels!
Now, there are a lot of reasons why you might not be able to use free scheduling tools. Maybe you have too many accounts, maybe you just prefer to post on your own, or maybe you need to tag people or places in posts (which is NOT possible on scheduling platforms). Although a bit more of a hassle, there are a lot of DIY ways to post your social media content consistently.
For any platform, one of the best ways to remember to post is to set an alarm for yourself. Set an alarm for the day and time you need to post, save the post in your phone (using anything from your “notes” app to emails, or any other app), and then post when your alarm goes off! This tactic is especially useful for Instagram since (at the time of this post) videos can only be shared with a push notification through a mobile device.
When to post
Let’s track back to the “why” of posting on a consistent schedule. One of the main reasons is so that your posts reach the most people, garner the most engagement, and ultimately, grow your following. Now, how do you know when is the best time to post?
There are a few different ways to figure this out. If you look online, there’ll be TONS of conflicting information regarding the best days and times to post. Some say early mornings, some say late nights. Some say only weekdays, some say weekends are okay. The truth is: There is no right answer. It all depends on your industry, your business, and your OWN personal audience.
A good place to start when figuring out the best time to post is by looking at the free metrics that are available to you. Instagram Insights is a great starting point. On your business profile, you can see the days and times that your audience is online. It’s the same deal with Facebook Insights. Be on the lookout for any changes in your analytics that might indicate that you should change your posting times. Social media is an ever-changing landscape. As your business grows, your strategy might need some adjusting, so it’s always important that you don’t get too comfortable in your posting schedule!
Now that you have all the tools you need to create a successful social media strategy, it’s time to get out there and build your following!
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