The world of technologies never sleeps and since we are only humans we must find a way to keep up with this super fast pace in order to be successful in our business. You will hear marketing and business coaches scream "Engage! Engage! Engage!". And while this is certainly the right approach, does it mean you have to stay up till 3am in London to catch the evening readers in Los Angelis if they are part of your target audience? Of course not! That's why we have automation and scheduling tools.
Why Use Automation and Scheduling Tools?
#1. It saves you a huge amount of time.
If you post manually on all of your social media channels every day and engage with your audience yourself, you would barely have the time to create valuable content. Don't forget that the content itself is why you are on social media in the first place. Dedicate a day from your weekly content calendar for creating content and then another one for scheduling it. This way you would be able to concentrate on other tasks throughout the week and keep the overall progress of your business moving.
#2. It helps you be more organised.
When you schedule your posts you know what time slots you should clear each day for direct engagement with your audience if you expect your posted content to generate a high level of response.
#3. It increases your engagement.
Your followers and potential customers should always feel your presence, but you don't actually have to be there at any given time. You could use automated tweets to thank users for following you or set retweets on tweets of particular accounts you follow. The possibilities are endless and if done properly, people won't even know you have automated your responses.
You can also set automated replies in Messenger for customers who want to contact you via private message on your page. It helps build good response time, which is important for Facebook's content showing algorithm.
#4. It allows you to catch the right audience at the right time.
Many scheduling tools like HootSuite and Social Flow give you the estimated best time for posting on various social media platforms for optimal engagement. You just need to set the location of your post and the tool will tell you what's the best time to schedule it for posting.
#5. It makes complying with the '411' rule easier.
What is 411? The ratio at which you should post educational/entertaining content to soft promotion to hard promotion content. Frequent failure to follow this rule will result in your content being penalised on social media, especially on Facebook and your reach will significantly suffer.
What Tools to Use for Automation and Scheduling?
This will depend on the social media platform you want to post on.
Facebook - Facebook Scheduler, HootSuite, Buffer
Although you can use pretty much any other scheduling tool, stick to the inbuilt one on your Facebook page. This is because Facebook's algorithm tends to hide posts scheduled from external platforms. Here are some more common mistakes on Facebook you may be making.
Twitter - TweetDeck, HootSuite, Buffer, IFTTT, Social Flow
My personal favourite is TweetDeck because, well, it's free. Also it lets you see all you need to see. The downfall of it is that it doesn't give you any insights on trends or good times for posting, but you can use Social Flow for that. IFTTT is the app that lets you automate mentions, replies, tweet quotes and retweets in a cheeky interaction with other accounts.
Instagram - HootSuite, Later, Buffer, Tailwind
Instagram is the really tricky one. There's no scheduling tool that will post fully automatically on your behalf. With each one of them you will still have to perform at least 1-step action before the post goes live, but HootSuite will give you a good idea when you should post.
Pinterest - Tailwind
Originally created for Pinterest scheduling, Tailwind seem to be a favourite scheduling tool for bloggers, keeping in mind that Pinterest has the potential to bring huge traffic to your website. It's not a complicated platform once you have gotten the feel of it and has proven to be very effective.
LinkedIn - Postcron
Professional service providers and particular brands need to make sure they are constantly present on LinkedIn and a good tool to help with this task is Postcron. It has some free features and some paid ones. You can also use it to schedule your posts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you have content to last you a month, you can just create a .cvs file via Google Sheets and use it to schedule all of your posts.
I hope this read was helpful for some of you. One more piece of advice: I know that the holidays are coming and you are either super busy serving customers or already giving in to the festive mood, but if you haven't started creating your content for 2018 you must do it now! Check how to create a content plan for your business and use it successfully.