Do you ever wonder how social media managers control all the posts they put out? Are you curious about how they do it? Once you know the trick, you can do it too.
Social media managers, marketing professionals, and community managers are all in charge of creating content, posting to various platforms, monitoring engagement, reviewing analytics, and creating reports. Each of these steps is an intense amount of work. Some people do all of them and some organizations are large enough that these jobs are split amongst multiple people. No matter which one they are, there’s a lot of work to be done and ways to cut down the time required.
Efficiency on the job
It doesn’t matter where you work, if you can do your job more efficiently, it’s a win. When it comes to digital marketing, I recommend deciding what content is important to your audience, what you need to be communicating, and with what frequency. I’ve talked about this before and you can read about editorial calendars and social media theme document (both have downloads.)
Every time you sit down to complete a complex process, there is a setup and tear down period in addition to the actual work time. Posting to social media daily, and often multiple times per day, requires planning otherwise it’ll be the only thing you accomplish all day (if that). So I call this approach “batch processing.”
Get out your gear
My gear includes: my laptop, wifi, an editorial calendar, a theme document, my phone or digital camera, a photo editing or graphic design software, video files, photo files, a URL shortener, a social media dashboard, access to company website, and a thesaurus. I need each of these tools in creating every day content. I might not need everything every day but this is my standard “kit.” Once I’m able to access all of these tools, I can begin.
My content is already determined by my editorial calendar or my theme days. I will focus on one theme day, such as Throwback Thursday, and brainstorm for a minute. What story can I tell? Should it be personal or historical? What can I teach or share that is valuable? What’s happening right now that I should be talking about? I usually only get through 1 or 2 self-asked questions before I’m inspired. I start with one idea then push myself to work on multiple posts.
This is the efficient part. I’ve got all my gear out, my creative brain is on, and I’m producing content. Why would I put everything away after I’ve accomplished only one post? I don’t because I make the most use of my time and batch process. Thinking like Henry Ford, I’m going to use the assembly line approach and mass produce content. If I were to focus on Throwback Thursday, I would create as many posts as I can before I have to switch tasks or I run out of creativity. Produce your content in batches and this reduces the lost time of setup and tear down. Get as much done as you can in each sitting and you’ll save yourself time.
Photo Ford Motor Company
This process also provides peace of mind. Tomorrow you might have a figurative fire to put out and not be able to post or you might be prepping for vacation or off-site days. Scheduling relieves the pressure on you to be creative every single day. I find that when I’m pressed for time, my posts show that I’m rushed, and don’t come out as well. Give yourself breathing room to do it well.
Now that you have 3-4 #tbt posts ready to go, how do you further your efficiency? You schedule your posts ahead of time! You’ve got enough posts for a month worth of Thursdays so let’s get them into Facebook (or another platform) and complete this batch content creation.
There are many fantastic tools such as Hootsuite (which is what I use), dlvr.it, Sprout Social, Everypost, Buffer, and many more that allow you to monitor and post content on a schedule. (Any tool you can use to enhance the experience on a major platform is referred to as a third party tool.) Facebook posting is an option in each of these but I don’t recommend you use them to schedule to Facebook. Using third party tools themselves will not effect your performance but it will impact the types of posts you create. See Buffer & Mari Smith’s thoughts on this topic.
Basically, when using these services, you can get lazy. I call this “phoning it in” which is the inclination to post boring content that isn’t optimized to the channel you’re on. If you’re going to be scheduling, is not an excuse to post just anything to have something there. It should be good and work on that platform. Period.
Using the Native Scheduler
If you are going to being scheduling Facebook content, use the one they provided us. You may not even know it’s there. I find building inside the native FB status box makes it feel more natural and you get better posts and stronger engagement as a result. I might have Hootsuite open in one tab of my browser and my Facebook page open in another so I can take post that I’m sharing on Twitter or LinkedIn and tweak it to fit Facebook since I’m already working on it.
A common question about scheduling, “Should I post the exact same post to multiple locations at the exact same time?” My answer is, “If I follow you on 5 channels and I get the same content no matter where I am, why should I follow you on all 5? I might get so irritated with your tactics that I stop following you altogether.” I will repurpose posts for other channels but alter the time I send it out or edit it just enough that it feels like new post or even a sequel.
Instructions with video below
Navigate to your Facebook page and put your cursor in the Status Update box
Write your post the way you would normally or paste in what you’ve written elsewhere
Instead of pushing Publish when you are done (which will post as soon as you hit the button), click on the arrow just to the right of it and choose Schedule
Choose the date and time you’d like this post to come out and select Schedule
The post seems to disappear but it’s only gone to your queue. Find the queue at the very top of your page in the menu bar under Publishing Tools
Choose Scheduled Posts from the left hand menu and visually located the post you just scheduled
If you double click on it, it will open and you can see the post
You can Edit the text, Publish immediately, Remove Schedule (will put it in Draft mode), Reschedule, Backdate or Delete
Watch me schedule content on Facebook
Consider this when scheduling
Again, your posts will be more natural when you create them inside FB because you aren’t in a one size fits all box as a 3rd party tool will offer you.
Every time I schedule a post, I take a look at my queue and make sure I don’t have posts coming out too close together or too many on one day. I take the opportunity to space them out or rearrange them as necessary.
I use odd minutes so that the posts don’t telegraph automation to the reader. If one were to scroll through my Timeline, they won’t notice times such as 10:00, 10:15, 10:30 etc. Back to back, those numbers say “automated!” and I want it to feel more natural and human so I will change the times if they fall on a “perfect” number.
There is no perfect time to post. Check out BuzzSumo’s data on what times are working better than others.
Sometimes I’ll schedule posts ahead of time just so I can see what they’ll look like completed. I use this as a Preview Mode and will hit Publish as soon as I’m satisfied with it.
In Edit mode you’ll only be able to edit the text and not the photo. If you need to change the photo or video, copy the text you’ve written, delete the post, and start over
Automating or scheduling doesn’t solve all of your problems! You must still be monitoring your page for engagement and comments. This process allows you to be creative in one sitting and monitoring in another so you don’t have to do both all day long.
Anything you’d like to know about how to schedule content on Facebook? Ask away in the comments!
Kerry is a Social Media | Technology Trainer | Speaker | Author based in Santa Rosa, CA. She offers consulting and social media training in the form of individual lessons, customizable classes, and is available to speak at your event. People and tech, together changing the world.