|Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.|
Scheduling Small Business Social Media Posts
If developing ideas and posting updates on social media feels like a job unto itself, social media scheduling tools can help you set up posts in advance so you can spend more time working on your business than talking about it online.
Marketing is critical to your company’s growth, of course, but it needs to be performed alongside a variety of competing priorities. By scheduling your social media posts, you know that they’ve been taken care of. You don’t have to try to develop an idea on the fly, and posting in advance frees up time for more pressing or important activities.
Social media scheduling tools offer a variety of benefits for small business owners, starting with the ability to develop posts when it is most convenient for you and sharing your content when your audience is likely to be most receptive to engaging with it.
In addition, social media scheduling tools allow you to post content to multiple services at once. While you’ll want to tailor each post to the different services’ audiences, you don’t have to post the content to each service separately when you use a scheduling tool.
Scheduling posts in advance also frees up time to engage with the audience reacting to your content. Replying to comments and answering questions, for example, increase the audience interaction and adds value to your social media feed.
Timing Your Posts
Consistency is critical in building a social media audience and promoting engagement. In broad terms, a steady stream of content is more effective than inconsistent flurries of posts followed by periods of digital silence. If prospects find your account, you don’t want your feed to look like it’s inactive.
You should try to schedule your posts when your audience is active on social media. If you’re primarily serving a business audience, for example, they are most likely to be online between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. in the time zone where you have the most customers.
In contrast, a restaurant may want to post its lunch specials daily around 11 a.m. when people start to feel hungry.
You may also have luck reaching prospects and customers on Sunday evening while they are planning their week ahead. It’s important to experiment.
You’ll likely come across a number of ideas for social media posts while you are online, and it’s helpful to save those ideas either in a digital notes file or, if you see an interesting article, using a read later app.
It’s also important to schedule dedicated time for creating social media posts. Setting aside an hour once a week, for example, will allow you to develop and schedule the variety of the week ahead content. You can develop posts, for instance, that highlight upcoming events or milestones (such as product launches, sales or promotions) or if you’re sponsoring community events.
Most social media scheduling tools also provide analytics so you can monitor engagement with your posts. Some tools will provide suggestions about the most effective time to share your content.
Over time, you’ll see patterns that indicate what’s working and help you develop more effective content for reaching your audience and building your small business.
Most services have monthly or annual plans, with pricing varying according to the number of users. Popular choices include Buffer, Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and others.
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