Scheduling social posts: What to watch out for

Walk the line

Social media scheduling tools can be lifesavers. Without them, the distribution of content to your audiences around the world would mean never sleeping and never leaving your computer or mobile device for the pleasures that make life worth living.

Yes, the benefits of scheduling your social media posts are compelling — but it’s important to find the right balance.

Providing a hybrid approach of scheduling evergreen content and still posting live updates should provide the balance of great audience engagement and maintain some type of sanity in your life. However, even with a good plan in place, there are several pitfalls to watch out for when scheduling your social posts.

Unanticipated context

It’s common to schedule a series of posts for weeks at a time, meaning you’re writing and scheduling content far in advance of when it will go live. In your effort to be original and attract others to engage, your tone will need to be conversational. While this approach can be effective 99 times out of 100, scheduling out your light-hearted commentary might become problematic if recent events — like a national tragedy — render that tone inappropriate.

When scheduling posts far in advance you risk missing the mark with relevance because of what’s going on, at the moment, in the world around us. It could cause huge problems. It has cost a number of folks their jobs.

Scheduling messages saves a large amount of time and money, but be careful. One of the biggest mistakes in social engagement involves scheduling messages months in advance with no periodic review.

Be sure to check over your scheduled messages to ensure they are still relevant, accurate and appropriate prior to going out. Consider what’s happening in the world at the time — unfortunate events, holidays, maybe an awareness month, or even meaningful days for your organization. Make adjustments as needed and don’t be afraid to slip in some additional messages based on current events.

Over-sharing

When it comes to consuming content on various social platforms, nothing is more annoying than someone filling up your entire feed with post after post of evergreen information minutes or even seconds apart. There are two sides to the over-sharing coin, and neither provide a desired result for your audience.

First, if you do not plan out your reposting schedule correctly, it will appear as though you’re simply repeating yourself again and again. Take the time to properly schedule updates for different audiences around the world, as this tactic might be the best way to significantly increase your social influence without overwhelming those in your existing community.

On the other side of the coin, if you’re scheduling so much content that you can no longer provide live updates, as it would cause the same over-sharing problem, then in reality, you are no longer engaging with your community. Be sure to provide significant space between unique updates to allow for the opportunity to capitalize on trending topics.

Duplicating updates across all social networks

It is understandable that when you begin expressing yourself on a topic you’re passionate about, the words will flow much longer than a 140-character tweet. That’s why it’s important to understand what types of updates are appropriate for certain social networks. Each social platform has its own nuances, etiquette and tone. Understanding how to follow these rules on different social platforms is important if you want to successfully build an engaging community.

One of the most important takeaways from this post is to comprehend the negative impact of sending one message out, via a social scheduling tool, across all the platforms.

Not all social networks have the same audience; don’t treat your updates like they’re one-size-fits-all. For example, using hashtags (#) and handles (@) are important on Twitter but don’t make a lot of sense on Facebook. Likewise, Facebook is typically a more personal space to stay in touch with family and friends, whereas LinkedIn caters to a much more professional crowd.

To help ensure your audience receives your messages positively, you have to craft appropriately for each platform. This will require more time and effort but it’s an important guideline to follow. If you find yourself falling into this duplication trap again and again, it might make sense to evaluate which platforms are producing the most value and modify your focus.

It’s often better to have a highly engaged audience on a few platforms than simply broadcasting noise out through all of them.

If you’re targeting businesses, being highly engaged on, say, LinkedIn and Twitter, might make more sense than blasting out identical updates on Facebook and Pinterest.

Unavailability to respond to comments and questions

Another potential problem from scheduling social updates is receiving comments and questions on a post and not being around to respond. Imagine a social feed where everyone on Twitter scheduled their tweets and did not respond to questions and comments. It would be like having newspapers delivered to a room where the radio and TV were on but no one ever visits.

Engagement and community are the most important aspects of social media.

To garner value from them, you need to be an active participant. So, consider scheduling informational sharing posts likely to generate likes and shares when you’re not around, and scheduling posts typically generating inquiries and commentary when you’re available to moderate the discussion. Furthermore, implement a social listening plan and set up alerts to notify you of comments and questions. This will allow you to provide more immediate response without constantly monitoring your feeds.

Don’t be scared off by the risks associated with scheduling social posts; you will miss out on significant time savings and engagement opportunities. The benefits far outweigh the issues you might encounter. When executed effectively, scheduling social posts allow more time to develop greater impact in your community and generate better outcomes. It is much more efficient to focus your energy for a block of time crafting and scheduling social media updates than doing so in real-time. By scheduling your posts in advance — while taking care to avoid the common pitfalls of doing so — you can ensure your social media audience is not neglected while adding more value in less time.

Image by: FullofTravel via Compfight cc

Bryant Tutterow
Bryant brings over 18 years of business acumen to DK New Media focused on strategic marketing and e-commerce. He has more than a decade of P&L responsibility, leading in-house marketing organizations at Fortune 500 companies and building three separate marketing departments from the ground up into world-class teams of as many as 14 people. As the Chief Marketing Officer for DK New Media, he provides overall strategic direction for marketing and e-commerce while leading business development of all strategic advisory and measured marketing services.