This post was originally published on Nick Lewis Communications blog.
Truth be told there are lots of people using scheduling tools on Social Media to posting their online content. Social Media influencers and online blogs all tell you about the features of Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, TweetDeck and a myriad of new, defunct and emerging tools that provide such social media scheduling options.
But should you use them? Is it, in a business sense, morally wrong?
SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
The problem is ‘noise’.
This noise is due to the sheer amount of people who are now using the social networks (Twitter, Facebook etc.) to promote just about anything. This ranges from Fortune 100 corporations announcing their trading figure to just me, trying to get rid of a litter of 3 gorgeously cute kittens.
Certain corners of the social world despise any scheduling of social media content. Scott Stratton of UnMarketing (a highly recommended podcast and blog) is a keen advocate of killing the scheduler inside of us.
On his blog, Scott says:
I reminisced about the old days, when people were on Twitter to talk to other people. When Facebook friends were actual friends.
I kept telling people/brands to get off my lawn, to stop automating, and filling my feeds with junk.
For example, when Twitter accounts fill your stream with link after link of articles, videos and other content types, it can (and has) become a very noisy place to gain real progress with your online marketing goals.
Scott goes on to say he was a part of the issue himself, auto-following back everyone on Twitter and accepting all LinkedIn connection requests without any filter in place.
He also goes on to say that this was his personal choice, and not necessarily what is ‘right’ on social media.
WHAT SHOULD I DO FOR MY BUSINESS?
It depends on your business’ goals, time and financial resources. It also depends on your preference to focus purely on engagement across social media, or in curating a healthy number of stories to share with your followers in addition to that.
There are tangible benefits to scheduling your social media content.
Sharing ten interesting articles on your industry may seem like a good idea at first, but in someone’s Twitter stream seeing you post ten articles within a 2 minute window can give the appearance of a spammer – flooding the Twitterverse trying to get as much reach or clicks as possible, whatever the cost. It’s like attending a network event and quickly running around introducing yourself and handing out business cards to everyone within the first 5 minutes. Spreading your tweets out is less intrusive to other people’s experience; after all, they’re not online only to see what you are talking about on Twitter!.
Scheduling your tweets also allows you to reach a wider group of your followers.
Each individual will have their own habits for when they browse social media. Some do so on the train as they commute to work. Others do so while they watch TV, when other people can’t fathom the desire to tweet while you’re watching (my partner included).
In other words, sending all your relevant and interesting content out at once means you miss opportunities to reach more of your followers.
Another benefit of scheduling your social media posts are for specific campaigns in your marketing calendar. Each day, week or month may have predetermined themes for your content, so scheduling these in advance means less time crafting updates each and every day.
SO, SHOULD I SCHEDULE ALL OF MY UPDATES?
In a word, no.
Social Media is just that, social. If all you do is post outbound updates then you’re not being very sociable. Be less self-serving and take part or start conversations around the topics your followers are involved in.
Social Media in its simplest form is networking. People visit their favourite networks to find and talk about interesting stories, ideas and to formulate opinions.
There is nothing wrong in my mind with keeping a steady flow of relevant, timely and interesting content across your social media profiles, but you must also engage with people to have an effective presence.
HOW CAN I SCHEDULE MY SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS?
As mentioned above, there are a host of options available. Hostile, Sprout Social, TweetDeck, Buffer and Meet Edgar are several of the better known solutions. The features of each individual tool, your preference for each design and also the layout of the respective software will ultimately dictate your final choice.
There are also tools that allow you to autoschedule content from websites to some or all of your social networks as soon as they are published.These can be very useful if you want to share your latest blog post with your followers as soon as you publish it.
You can also autoschedule content from third party websites to your social networks as soon as they publish it, although I would exercise caution with this tactic. You have no idea what their next article may contain until you have already shared it with your followers.
In short, use very sparingly.
Used in the right way there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider scheduling content across your social media profiles as a tactic to support your overall business goals.
Keeping your accounts active on days where you are less likely to be on hand to post interesting articles and find relevant content will keep your business or personal brand in the forefront of your followers minds.
Scheduling will also maintain a healthy image that you are a source of value and interest, not simply flooding the newsfeed or social stream with constant blocks of uninterrupted content, alienating you from your audience.
But like all things, especially things that are designed to help your social media efforts, they can be abused.
Schedule frequently within reason, consistently on topic, with high quality content your followers will value, don’t be predominantly self-serving and your scheduling experience should be a positive one.
More importantly, don’t expect the world to be delivered to your businesses feet by employing scheduling as a tactic. It is just that and may not achieve your goals alone.
It needs to support your overall marketing strategy to be worth your time.
What do you think? Do you schedule some of your social media updates? Click here and tweet me your favourite scheduling tool.