For those that work in the arena of digital content and online publishing, you’ll all treat scheduling functionality like a new born son or daughter, favourite coffee mug or a brand new set of wheels.
Because essentially, how else would you be able to spread the word about your product or brand without ironically having a social life outside guarding your phone 24 hours a day to wait to send your next murmurings.
Thanks to scheduling tools within social media publishing software such as Sprout Social or alternatively within the individual social media platforms such as Facebook itself, it is of course possible to schedule posts not only an afternoon in advance but next week, next month and so forth.
But like any revolutionary piece of functionality such as scheduling tools, it can also be abused.
Scheduling = tapping into peoples’ habits
Prior to the advent of scheduling tools within social media, online publishers would simply have to make themselves available to publish a particular tweet or engaging post at the exact moment you intended your message to be sent.
But naturally, the world won’t simply consume your content when you can be bothered to send it. In simple terms, people check their Twitter and Facebook feeds when they wake up during their breakfast, they try to get on with their daily jobs without distraction before checking again at lunch ahead of more elongated feed trawls in the evening in their own spare time.
This rather rough outline into peoples’ daily habits at the very least informs online publishers to schedule their content accordingly.
In short, that means either tweeting good morning to make your followers feel included come 9pm or saving your most engaging or best post of the day for the evening around 6pm to 8pm where there will be more ample time to digest your message, whether it is a hilarious meme or link through to an influential piece of blog content.
DME Power Tip: Saving your most engaging content for the evening time (around 6pm to 8pm) will ensure more people digest your message.
Never underestimate rolled eyes syndrome!
So scheduling is pretty neat huh?
Very much so but online publishers should tread warily while not becoming one hundred per cent infatuated with using it on a daily basis.
Say your online business revolves around the incredibly popular pastime which is football and you had last week scheduled in three or four tweets that revolved around the fact that now former Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood was travelling to face his old club Tottenham on Monday evening.
While you would’ve felt incredibly smug going home last Friday that you’d already planned and scheduled in this smart piece of highly relevant content, online businesses are incredibly busy.
Although you would of course know as a football fan that Sherwood was sacked as Villa boss last Sunday, it may have been an oversight that you didn’t go back and amend those tweets or posts because something else took away your attention since.
If those Sherwood-based tweets were posted live following their scheduling, this could result in what we’re calling ‘rolled eyes syndrome’ where loyal followers will immediately discredit and potentially unfollow your sports-based handle due to being out of touch.
So the moral of the story is by all means schedule in advance but not too far ahead and if so, document exactly what is going out and when, either in your iPhones memo section or somewhere handy elsewhere.
DME Power Tip: Don’t schedule too much content too far in advance to the extent where you may forget about what’s being published live outside your conscience
Hitting that 70% scheduled 30% live sweet spot
While there is no single answer to exactly what curation mix you should employ between scheduled and live content on your social media feeds, if you take a collective read of what leading digital marketing blogs are muttering about online nowadays, you’ll appreciate that a 70% scheduled, 30% live combination is endorsed.
DME Power Tip: Twitter handles that employ a 70% scheduled, 30% live content mix usually enjoy greater success in terms of engagement
By scheduling in the nuts and bolts pieces of content that distinguish your Twitter handle or Facebook page on a rolling basis, such as say dispersing 12 timeless retro PlayStation One games – one for each month of the year – as a #ThrowbackThursday piece of content, fine.
But recognise that this is only part of your job as an effective social media manager.
By reacting in real-time to key football fixtures or getting that hilarious over-used Vine of Steve Carrell mindlessly bawling “It’s happening, stay calm” while tailoring it to Liverpool’s recent appointment of Jurgen Klopp before competitor handles do, you’ll strike a chord with your followers who in turn will respect your content for not only being funny but being on point.
So happy scheduling folks; just make sure you’re always aware of what’s been posted and when.
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