What do you do when it’s time to post on social media?
You probably sit down at the computer knowing your audience is there waiting to hear from you, but the words just won’t come. What should you say to them? How do you get started?
If you really want to do well on social media, you need to create a plan and posting schedule. This will remove any uncertainty and doubt. Your calendar will tell you exactly what to post and when.
Beyond helping you get started, creating and maintaining a social media schedule offers a number of other benefits:
- With a plan and schedule, you’ll steadily work towards achieving your social media goals and get results
- By monitoring your activity, you’ll learn the best times to engage with your audience
- Your schedule will help you post consistently, which is essential for social media marketing success
Social media is an excellent place to grow your audience and get to know them, but it can’t be done in a haphazard fashion. You need a targeted strategy to achieve tangible results.
Clarify Your Goals and Identify Your Audience
Initially, the purpose of setting up a social media schedule is to create a roadmap that will help you get a handle on content development and posting. Once you start using the plan and measuring your results, you’ll be able to refine it so that it’s even more effective.
Start by clarifying your goals.
What do you want to achieve with your social media activity? You may want to grow your audience, build relationships, establish your reputation, get feedback on your products, or boost sales using your social media channels.
Picture where you want to be in a few months’ time and how social media will get you there. This will help you clarify how to interact with your audience and what type of content to post.
Next, clearly define your audience.
You need to know as much as possible about them. Get familiar with their favorite social media platforms, their preferred content, and the problems they face.
You should be creating and sharing content that’s interesting for your audience. It should add value, no matter what your goal. This is what gets your audience to engage with it. So, it’s important to take some time and identify your audience and its needs.
Set up Your Social Media Schedule
The most popular social media sites right now are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. That’s doesn’t include YouTube, which can also be considered a social media site. And of course, there’s TikTok, if that’s what your target market loves. Use your target market research to get an idea of which sites your customers are active on and what they do there. Try to focus on at most three of these to post on regularly.
How often should you post?
Each platform has its own guidelines for posting frequency so take a look at what the most active people in your market do. For example, it’s recommended that you post on Twitter and Pinterest multiple times a day. For Facebook and Instagram, post once or twice daily. You can limit posting on LinkedIn to once or twice a week, creating longer, more in-depth content.
But remember that these are just basic guidelines to get you started. You may find that your audience is more active and responsive on one platform versus another. If that’s the case, shift most of your focus and resources to the platform with the most activity.
When should you post?
For each site and target audience, there is an optimal time to post. You’ll have to discover these peak times, but they’re usually evenings, weekends, and when people are off work and scrolling through their feeds.
Save time by scheduling posts across multiple social networks, using management platforms like Tweetdeck, Buffer, Sprout Social, MeetEdgar, Hootsuite, PostPlanner, and ContentCal.
What Content Should You Post?
Posting more frequently usually delivers positive results, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, remember that quality is as important as quantity. Don’t post so much that your content suffers as a result.
Also keep in mind your own time restraints and ability to develop content. How many posts can you reasonably produce per day? Increase your posting capacity by creating a mix of original content, shared content, and quick-and-easy content like visuals or quotes. You can also repurpose existing content from blog posts, emails, or other marketing pieces. All of this should be incorporated into your schedule.
Most of your content should be informational and helpful, limiting promotional posts to about 20% of your total content. Followers want content that helps them solve a problem or teaches them something valuable.
Content can include:
- Links to articles or blog posts you have published elsewhere
- Answers to commonly asked questions
- Questions for your audience to get them talking
- Pictures that take people behind the scenes in your business or industry
- Quick tips
- Motivational quotes
- High value offers
- Resources to help your audience with problems they’re facing
Monitor Your Results and Make Improvements
Once you’ve set up your social media schedule and are posting regularly, you can start collecting data. Monitor your social media activity and gather feedback, using this information to optimize your content. Make note of your most popular posts and the times of day when your audience is most receptive to your content.
In fact, you may want to post at different times as an experiment to see what works best. Keep in mind that social media content has a lifespan of anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the content and platform. Track your results and then refine your strategy.
Each platform has its own insight tool that monitors performance. But social media management tools, like Hootsuite or Buffer, provide comprehensive information across multiple platforms and also offer customized reports.
Social Media Posting Do’s and Don’ts
Now that you have the most important information you need for creating your social media schedule, it’s time to make some decisions and plan it out. But before you do that, here are some do’s and don’t to consider:
DO create posting guidelines. Create guidelines for what topics to covers and language to use so employees or virtual help can post without sounding off-brand.
DO use images. You may want to include finding or creating images into your regular social media calendar. Even if you’re posting text content, images help it get seen and shared.
DO engage with other users’ content as well as posting your own. Set aside time in your schedule for reading your feed, commenting, and sharing. This will help you get seen.
DO read through posts one last time before posting. Look for misspellings or grammar mistakes, and also anything that could be taken the wrong you. You won’t want to send the wrong message or accidentally offend anyone.
DO write for your audience. You know your target profile and social media followers. Write to them like it’s a personal message, and talk to them about topics they’re interested in.
DON’T be spammy! Posting too often can appear spammy for some users so strike a good balance. Posting too much promotional content and constantly asking your followers to please share or retweet can also seem spammy. If you do this, people may tune out.
DON’T steal images. Create your own or use stock images or creative commons. There are plenty of fair-use images available for free. Paying for a service can get you access to even more.
DON’T post the same content repeatedly. If you’re excited about something and want to post twice or three times, that’s okay, but don’t make it a habit. Keep creating or curating content so you keep it fresh. Repurpose if you want to use a piece of content again.
DON’T POST IN ALL CAPS. IT LOOKS WEIRD AND IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING ALL THE TIME.
It takes time to perfect your social media schedule. Platform management tools and posting best practices will flatten the learning curve, speed up the process, and maximize results.
Are you ready to maximize your results with a social media schedule? Contact us to see how we can help!