Social Media Scheduling in 5 Easy Steps
Scrambling for social media content at the last minute? Frantic last-minute posting risks typos, tone problems, and other mistakes. It’s much safer—and more efficient—to schedule your posts.
Using a social media scheduler, like iLoyal’s Social Genius, can also help you plan an effective content mix. You can look for opportunities to reinforce social messaging across platforms and you’ll be able to time your posts to reach the largest possible audience.
Step 1: Conduct a Social Media Audit
Before you can start building your social media posting schedule, you need to have a clear picture of your existing social media accounts. That means you need to start with a social media audit by cataloging your existing social media accounts.
You’ll want to track key information like:
- the social handle for each account
- the goals for the account
- key demographics for the account, derived from analytics
- who is responsible for the account
Make a note of how often you’re currently posting on each social network. Look at your analytics for any clues about how your posting frequency or time of posting impacts engagement and conversions.
Step 2: Use Social Listening
Now that you have a picture of how you’re currently using social media, it’s time to get a sense of what your competitors are up to with social listening.
Using social listening and iLoyal Social Genius tools, you can start to understand how other businesses in your industry approach social media scheduling. This is a great source of competitive intelligence to help guide your scheduling strategy.
To start, build a list of relevant businesses, brands, and topics in your industry. Then use iLoyal Social Genius to monitor your industry’s social posting frequency and content mix.
Step 3: How Often to Post
There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should post on social media. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to understand what other brands in your niche are doing. You can also go one step further by looking at the level of engagement they see on their posts.
In their own best practices for posting to Facebook and Instagram, Facebook says, “Don’t be afraid to post daily.” But they also make the point that “consistent posting is key.”
This is the most important rule: No matter how often you decide to post, be sure to post on a consistent schedule. That said, there’s no value in posting junk content just because it’s Thursday.
Sticking to a regular schedule is important so your followers and fans know what to expect. But if you post sub-par content, your fan base will quickly erode. Scheduling your posts in advance allows you to stick to your posting schedule while also ensuring you have quality content queued up and ready to go.
Step 4: Best Times to Post
The great thing about social media scheduling tools, like iLoyal Social Genius, is that they allow you to post at the optimal times for your audience, even if those times don’t line up with your core working hours.
The ideal time to post will vary for each business based on the demographics and location of your own specific audience. Keeping a close eye on your analytics can help you understand what is most likely to work for your audience. And testing can help you further understand what times of day work best for your posts.
Here are some examples of the most effective times to post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn:
- Facebook: For B2B brands, post Tuesday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. For B2C brands, post Monday to Wednesday, 12 p.m. EST.
- Twitter: For B2B brands, post Monday or Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. For B2C brands, post Monday to Wednesday, 12 p.m. or 1 p.m.
- LinkedIn: For B2B brands, post Wednesday, 7:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., or 5:45 p.m. EST. For B2C brands, post Monday or Wednesday, 7:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., and 5:45 p.m. EST.
For Instagram, based on the type of industry, here are some times that are most effective:
- Travel & Tourism: Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Media & Entertainment: Tuesday and Thursday, 12 to 3 p.m.
- Food & Beverage: Friday, 12 p.m.
- Retail: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 12 p.m.
- Professional Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.
- Non-profit: Tuesday, 10 a.m. or 4 p.m.
- Non-retail E-commerce: Thursday, 4 p.m. or 9 p.m.
- Pharma & Healthcare: Wednesday and Sunday, 9 a.m.
- Personal Care: Thursday and Friday, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., or 3 p.m.
- Technology: Monday and Tuesday, 2 p.m.
- Education: Thursday, 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.
Remember that these times are just guidelines. Each business is different, so make sure to tailor your posting schedule based on what works best for your specific audience.
Step 5: Determine Your Content Mix
Deciding what kind of content to post is a key part of building your social media posting schedule. This is called your content mix. There are a couple of standard content mixes you can use to get started:
1. The Social Media Rule of Thirds
In this standard content mix, you divide your schedule among three types of posts:
- One-third of your posts promote your business or drive conversions.
- One-third of your posts share curated content from industry thought leaders.
- One-third of your social posts involve personal interaction with your followers.
2. The 80-20 Rule
This mix takes a slightly different approach. But like the rule of thirds, it specifies that only a minority of your posts should directly promote your brand.
- 80 percent of your posts are designed to inform, educate, or entertain
- 20 percent of your posts directly promote your business or drive conversions
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