SOCIAL MEDIA: Scheduling your posts

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Social media marketing can be incredibly time consuming! It’s very easy to start off focused when you first go into your account but then your attention is captured and you’re hooked. An hour later and you’re no further forward but have watched or read loads of interesting ‘stuff’.

To make social media work for your business, you have to post frequently and use the platforms where your ideal customer is likely to be. This means Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+ could all present opportunities for your business.

As I said in my last article, it is important to engage with your followers so you do need to turn up in person on a regular basis. However, if social media is an integral part of your marketing strategy, consider using a scheduling app for regular updates. These apps allow you to prepare a day’s, or a week’s, worth of posts all at once.

There are a number of different tools to help you schedule content. Finding which one works best for you depends on your needs and what type of social media channels you use, but there are a number of great tools out there to choose from. I’ve just listed the six most popular. Most of them are either free or have a free option which is a great place to start to experiment with using them.

1. Facebook

If you have a Facebook Page you can schedule your posts forwards and even backdate them! When you’re writing a post, you will notice a clock icon at the bottom. Clicking on it will let you schedule the date and time your post will go online. You can update your posts on either a desktop or through the Facebook Pages app.

2. Tweetdeck

Now owned by Twitter, it provides a stream of your Twitter account including sections for your news feed, interactions, direct messages and activity. It allows you to write tweets as you usually would while being able to schedule them to appear in the future.

3. Hootsuite

This app lets you schedule posts on all of the major social media sites, including Google+ and WordPress. The free version allows you to manage up to five social media accounts and view basic analytics data. The Pro plan, which costs $9.99 per month, offers more advanced analytics tools and scheduling options for an unlimited number of social media accounts. It also permits one additional user.

4. Sprout Social

Sprout Social’s primary purpose is a social media monitoring tool but it also allows its users to schedule posts and messages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If your social media responsibilities are broken down between three or more people, then Sprout Social is a tool definitely worth looking into.

5. Buffer

Buffer lets you queue up posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and App.net and automatically posts them for you throughout the day. It will space out your posts and post them during times your followers are online.

6. SocialOomph

This platform’s free option lets you schedule tweets, track keywords, reuse text from old tweets, and perform numerous other Twitter account-maintenance tasks. The professional plan, which costs $35.94 per month, allows you to post on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as less popular sites.

A potential drawback of using schedulers to manage your social media activity is they may lower your engagement rates. After Facebook fixed what was later called a software bug, their engagement rates did rise, so it is worth experimenting and finding a balance between the time scheduling saves versus being online yourself or not turning up at all!

BREAKING NEWS!

More Twitter news this week! Twitter is rolling out a new large-size cover photo and a few additional features to spice up your Twitter experience. Here are main features:

Best Tweets: Tweets that have received more engagement will appear slightly larger, so your best content is easy to find.

Pinned Tweet: Pin one of your Tweets to the top of your page, so it’s easy for your followers to see what you’re all about.

Filtered Tweets: Now you can choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles. Select from these options: Tweets, Tweets with photos/videos, or Tweets and replies.

Check it out at Twitter’s blog