If you talk to the purists, the ones who frequently litter their motivational talks with terms like “authenticity” and “connection,” you may come to believe that scheduling social media posts is a cardinal sin. You can’t be authentic, the thinking goes, if you’ve scheduled posts to be published at a later time or date. Social media marketing should be immediate and anything less than that is a crime. Variations on this argument have popped up here and there ever since the first scheduling tools were introduced.
That argument is bunk.
The thinking behind it isn’t wrong. Social media should be different from the rest of your marketing to a degree. That largely comes from being one of the few forms that directly with the audience, not only through a media vendor, be it paid or earned placement. It’s also more or less the only outlet that allows for immediate feedback from that audience. Social still needs to be part of the overall marketing plans, though and should be subject both to its own and overall business goals and objectives.
There are several advantages to scheduled content, including:
- Ensures *something* is being posted: Even the best content programs are going to want for lack of material from time to time. There were days where, even with a program that regularly posted 40 items a day across 15 social profiles, there was just no news to curate. Without those posts I’d already scheduled a couple days ago, things would have gotten awfully quiet, which would impact engagement and network growth. It also just would have looked bad.
- Gives the team a breather: Not everyone has access to a global team of a dozen staffers who can publish in the moment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People sleep, take the weekend off and are otherwise offline. Or maybe the whole team is being pulled into a day-long meeting. Whatever the case, scheduled posts let you keep posting when the team is occupied elsewhere or enjoying the rest of their lives.
- Allows you to resurface old content: If you’re running a decent content program you likely have a healthy repository of “evergreen” material in the archive that continues to be relevant long after it was first published. Spreading out new posts to old material is a great way to fill in those gaps where nothing new is happening and increase the ROI you see from that content’s production.
- Lets you hit consistent beats: One of the best things I did on a couple different client programs was say “This type of post is going to always be on this day at this time.” It meant that each morning we knew exactly what was going to be published and, more importantly, the audience had the same expectation.
The important caveat here is this: It’s all flexible. If you have a post scheduled for Thursday at 2 pm because you don’t think anything interesting will be happening that day but then all kinds of news breaks, move the post. It’s simple. Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, SproutSocial and all the rest of the software that allows for scheduling will let you edit that schedule. So adjust your ed cal, change the planned time and you’re set.
With X% of your daily content cadence planned and scheduled in advance, you’re also freeing up resources to focus on filling in the remainder of your editorial calendar. The team can then work on creating new material, curating outside news and other activities.
Don’t buy into the idea that scheduling social media posts is some kind of heresy. It’s not. It’s an effective use of resources and a great way to bring consistency to your content marketing program.