One thing I hear frequently when speaking to potential clients is how they just don't have time to...
A Beginner's Guide To Social Media Scheduling
After setting up my social media content calendar and planning out my posting schedule, it's time to actually schedule my posts! I'm going to show you how to easily do this for each social platform we've been tracking making my social media marketing strategy that much easier to execute.
In last week's blog post (READ HERE), I set the following goals for post frequency on each of the above social media channels:
Facebook: 3 posts per week
I was a little over that number but it's not necessarily a bad thing. This will happen when you plan your content calendar - something interesting or important will come up and you'll want to post about it. It may be time-sensitive like an event or offer, or it may be a last-minute scheduling availability. The important thing is that those three posts I set as goals happened. My page likes and engagement were both in the positive which is great!
Twitter: 10 tweets per week
While I didn't hit my goal of 10 posts, the volume did increase. This is because I've automated both my Facebook and Instagram posts to automatically go out as tweets as well. Right now at the very most it should be around 8 posts if I stay consistent with both my Facebook and Instagram posts. Still, I'm not gaining a ton of traction here with my content.
Instagram: 5 posts per week
I nailed things with Instagram last week. I hit the set goal of 5 posts and I saw growth in both my followers and my engagement. Those are great results that will provide me with the data to make adjustments.
How do you schedule social media posts in advance?
I promised I would go over the ways in which I could schedule my social media posts in advance now that I've got my social media content calendar set up. So let's take a look at the free scheduling tools I can use for these three social media channels first and then I'll discuss additional options that are more advanced and involve fees.
Scheduling your content in advance is going to save time and free you up to focus on other parts of running your business.
Facebook & Instagram Post Scheduling
If you weren't aware, Facebook owns Instagram. The benefit here is that Facebook will allow you to schedule posts to both social media platforms directly within Facebook. But you *do* need a business account for both in order to do so. You also need to connect your Instagram account with Facebook, as well. I'm assuming you've connected your account already but if not, Facebook has easy to follow instructions HERE. One negative aspect of using this method is that there are some limitations to the type of visual content you can post and I'll mention those later. Let's take a look at the process.
1. Facebook Business Page
Log into Facebook and locate your Facebook business page in the list of menu options to the left. Select your business page.
2. Publishing Options
Once there locate "Manage Page" to your left and there will be a list of options for you to choose from. Locate "Publishing Tools" about 3/4 of the way down the list and select that option.
3. Creator Studio
Once inside Publishing Tools, you can actually schedule your Facebook posts from here. However, we want to take things a step further. To the left, look under "Tools" in the menu options and select "Creator Studio" This option will open a new window and allow you to schedule both Facebook and Instagram posts from one screen.
4. Facebook Post Scheduling
The default option in Creator Studio is the Facebook scheduling area. From here, select "Create Post" in the upper left-hand side of the screen. You'll see a number of options display in the drop down menu but, for the time being we just want the "Create Post" option. Select that.
A post creation window will display to the right with a number of options for posting types. We're just going to use the "Share a Photo" option for now. Add your photo, enter your caption, hashtags and any links you'd like and you're ready to schedule your first post.
In the bottom right, you'll see a blue button that says "Publish" with an arrow. Select the arrow and you'll see options to "Schedule, Backdate, and Save as a Draft". Select, "Schedule".
A new window will then display that has a few options. For our purposes, we're not going to use the "Distribution Schedule" and just focus on "Publishing Schedule". Make sure "Publication" is checked and then clicking inside the date window will bring up a calendar that allows you to pick the month, date and year you'd like this post to publish.
Clicking inside the next window allows you to select the exact time you'd like to publish. Just make sure the time AND time of day are correct before moving on.
Finally, once everything is the way you want it select "Schedule" and voila! You've schedule your first post!
5. Instagram Post Scheduling
Now, let's schedule an Instagram post - which we can do from this same area. In the top-middle of the Creator Studio screen, you'll see two icons: Facebook and Instagram. Select the Instagram icon and you'll be switched over to your Instagram account.
From here you'll follow pretty much the exact same steps as scheduling your Facebook posts. In the upper left hand side, select "Create Post" and choose "Instagram Feed".
The same type of window will display to your right. Add your photo, caption and hashtags (Instagram doesn't allow hyperlinks in individual posts) only in your bio. You have to add an image to your post or the "Publish" button will not be available. Once you've added your image. Locate the "Publish" button in the bottom right as before and select the arrow. Select "Schedule" and make your choices as before. Once you're reviewed your post and are happy with it, select "Schedule" again and you're all set!
As mentioned before, there are a few limitations with this method of social media scheduling but they're mostly with Instagram. When posting to Instagram from the Creator Studio, you may be prevented from scheduling a post with image or video dimensions that aren't standard. Otherwise, it's a pretty suitable free option when scheduling your social media posts.
You can now schedule and save drafts of your tweets natively within Twitter. Twitter previously experimented with this option for folks who had ad accounts. Now, everyone has the ability to schedule. Let's look at how it's done.
Log into Twitter and make sure your feed looks similar to mine. Next, look to the left hand side menu and select the large button that says "Tweet" at the bottom of the menu.
The Tweet window will display. Add your text, links, hashtags and any additional media as needed. When you've reviewed your tweet and you're ready to post, select the calendar icon with the clock in the bottom left section of the tweet window.
A new window with month/date/year and time will display. Once you've made all your selections select "Schedule" and you're all done!
3. Making edits to scheduled tweets
If you need to make any edits to your scheduled tweets, it's easy to access them although it may not seem that way at first glance. Simply select the "Tweet" button again and select "Unsent Tweets" in the top right of the tweet screen. Once there, simply select "Scheduled Tweets" to access all your scheduled tweets!
Third-Party Social Media Scheduling Tools
I could spend an entire day pulling together a list of third-party social media scheduling tools and new ones will have launched before I'm finished. Rest assured, they're are plenty out there and there's probably one that's just right for your needs. I've used quite a few and I may have some reviews available soon but for now, I'd suggest trying out the free trials or free tiers to see what you like. I'll link to a few of the big names so you can begin your social media scheduling tools research in earnest.
Tons of integrations with various social media networks including the big names. Can autopost Instagram posts directly. Offers a free plan with 30 scheduled posts. Paid plans start at $29/mo.
Integrates with most big social media networks. Can autopost to Instagram directly and has options to create post variations for evergreen content. Offers a free trial then starts at $19/mo.
Integrates with Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok. Offers a hashtag suggestion tool and a free account with 30 scheduled posts. Starts at $12.50/mo.
Integrates with most of the big social networks. Can post directly to Instagram. Offers a free trial of any tier and then a free account with 10 scheduled posts. Starts at $15/mo.
Integrates with most big social media accounts. Post directly to Instagram and offers free trial, paid accounts start at $15/mo.
My chosen social media scheduling tool. Integrates with most big name social networks. Offers a robust free plan with 5 social accounts and 50 scheduled posts, then starts at $10/mo.
Social Media Scheduling Tip: Automating your Tweets
If you're interested in making life even easier with your social media scheduling, you could automate your Facebook and Instagram posts to tweet to your account. I do this using IFTT, but there are a number of other automation tools to accomplish this as well. I'll leave the IFTT links below that I use.
As you can see, by using the native features in these social media networks, I have an easy and free way to go about scheduling posts and creating a consistent flow of content. By maintaining a content calendar for my social accounts, I'll now be able to schedule my posts weeks in advance and simply monitor and engage with my audience.
Have questions about this method or about the third-party apps I mention? Let me know in the comments below!