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Social Media Marketing

5 Best Practices for Using Social Media Scheduling Tools

Using scheduling as part of your social media strategy is essential for any brand looking to bring their content output in-line with the competition and the ever-changing demands of different platforms. However, like with any aspect of social media marketing, it’s essential to approach scheduling in a methodical, strategic way informed by established best practices.

If you want to ensure you’re getting the most out of your approach to scheduling, here’s five best practices for using social media scheduling tools in your campaigns.

1. Find Your Optimal Posting Times

When social media marketing was still in its infancy, those first savvy adopters could publish a piece of content and enjoy a healthy flow of engagement for days after. Now, unfortunately, things are a lot harder.

In the modern content cycle, engagement with a certain social media post can flare up and fizzle out in a matter of hours. In order to maximize engagement, one of the best things you can do with social media scheduling tools is determine the right time to post.

When you’re first getting started with scheduling tools, this will simply involve gathering secondary research and case studies that outline the browsing habits of your target audience. From there, however, you can start to study the data around when your specific audience is most likely to engage with posts, and adjust the timing of your posts to position them for the ideal time and day of the week for better engagement.

2. Determine the Ideal Posting Frequency

It’s common knowledge that being consistent is an important part of social media marketing, as it lets your audience know you’re an active account worthy of their following and engagement. However, “being consistent” can mean different things for different brands.

If you’re not posting often enough, your audience can start to drift off and become disinterested. Post too much, on the other hand, and your brand can start to appear desperate and spammy, which can be just as bad for your disengagement.

Like with finding the best posting times, you can start to figure out your ideal posting frequency by analyzing research from other industry figures that show generalized trends from your audience. From there, you should start to trial different posting frequencies within logical timeframes. This should be done with a view towards analyzing the results, then determining the kind of posting rhythm that seems to bring in the most engagement.

Though things can look a little shaky when you start using different frequencies, if you stay the course and look for nuances in the data, you’ll soon find a posting frequency that aligns with your audience’s activity and lets them know what they can expect from your brand.

3. Think Long-Range, But Stay Flexible

Scheduling content in advance helps you keep organized and avoids you having to scramble to come up with a new idea when it’s time to post. Having said that, if your content calendar is planned too meticulously, you could risk robbing yourself of some good opportunities to post content that’s more dynamic and flexible.

By leaving room for content that’s more timely and dynamic, you’ll help establish your brand as one that keeps their finger on the pulse, and show your audience you’re a source of unique takes on breaking news, and not just evergreen content.

To make sure you’re staying flexible and balancing your content out, we recommend coming up with a predetermined ratio for timely-to-evergreen content, for example one news post for every three regular posts. From there, you can add placeholders in your content calendar with a prompt to post about an industry news story rather than the usual fare. This will help keep your content formats varied and your audience excited to see what you’ll say next, while still allowing you to plan posts in advance and keep on top of content creation.

4. Automate Where Possible

Rolling out an effective social media strategy takes a lot of work. Aside from analyzing audience behavior and industry trends across the different platforms you’re using, you’ll need to draft content that’s interesting and unique enough to stop people scrolling and push them to engage.

To make sure you’re leaving yourself enough space for work that needs actual cognition, it’s a good idea to embrace automation in your social media scheduling to eliminate some of the more manual, repetitive tasks involved in social media scheduling.

Many social media scheduling tools, including our own Highperformr publishing platform, have an array of automation features aimed at eliminating manual labor and giving you time back for the more creative, challenging aspects of your social media campaigns.

Some common ways to embrace automation on social media scheduling tools include:

  • Automating reposts after predetermined time frames.
  • Distributing a large piece of content across several posts and publishing this as a thread with logical time delays.
  • Automatic cross-posting from one platform to another.
  • Using generative AI to adapt content to the requirements of different platforms, or simply entering original prompts to speed up the content creation process.

Automation is a hot topic in the social media scheduling tools industry, and the capabilities of publishing platforms are only going to expand over time. If you want to streamline your posting, and gain an advantage over some of the competitors who are behind the curve, then embracing automation wherever possible is likely the best way to do it.

5. Monitor, Test, and Improve

Your posting times and frequency, like any aspect of social media marketing, can always be improved. Even when you feel you’ve found a good approach to scheduling, the dynamic nature of social media can mean you’ll need to adjust to changes in audience behavior, industry norms, and more.

To get the most from your social media scheduling tools, it’s important to make sure they’re closely integrated with your analytics, and that you’re planning to continually monitor, improve, and forge a more ideal scheduling strategy.

Some of the ways you can analyze and improve the use of your social media scheduling tools include:

  • Segmenting by platform and content type to find more specific best practices for your posting times.
  • Experiment with different posting frequencies - even a difference of a few minutes can help you get your content in front of the most switched-on audience segments more consistently.
  • Use social listening to keep on top of emerging trends and think about how these can be incorporated into your schedule.
  • Study competitors’ posting frequency to either avoid competing for bandwidth or try to redirect their traffic to your own posts.
  • Experiment with different content forms and see if these help or hinder a certain posting schedule.

By using your social media scheduling tools for both analytics and forward planning, you’ll ensure that every new iteration of your content calendar is better than the last, and keep your social media strategy on a positive trajectory.

Making the Most of Your Social Media Scheduling Tools

Social media scheduling tools offer tons of potential, but unlocking that potential requires an informed user. We hope this guide has given you some helpful pointers on how to apply scheduling effectively through careful analysis, smart automation, and other practices to reach your ideal approach to scheduling.

To try out these tactics and see how scheduling tools can help your brand, sign up to Highperformr for free today!

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