How the F*#$ Do You Do It All?!? [Social Media Scheduling Hacks for the Over-Scheduled]
I hear this question come up a lot in the various Facebook groups I’m a member of: “What tools do you use to help you schedule your social media posts?”
I think it’s REALLY important to schedule things in batches as much as possible. I currently work a full-time 9-5 at one of the top digital marketing agencies in New Orleans in addition to running my own business.
I wouldn’t be able to get anything done for my own biz if I didn’t schedule things out in batches. Here is my personal method of scheduling everything for the social media channels I use.
Skip ahead to find out how I schedule social media posts for:
An Editorial Calendar and Content Buckets
I’ll be honest… I try really hard to use an editorial calendar and weekly content buckets to guide my social media posting schedule, but it’s not a perfect science.
Sometimes things come up last minute that need to be posted immediately and those topics usually take priority over whatever the weekly theme for that day was.
That said, having a “content bucket” or theme for each day of the week is helpful because it gives me a guidepost and makes it easier to plan and come up with ideas for content.
You might have different content buckets or themes for your different social media channels, but for me, I’m trying to use the same themes across the board to keep my sanity.
The Solopreneur Juggling Act
There’s also the problem of me being a solopreneur. At my day job, we have whole teams of people who work on each client:
- An account executive coordinates with the client to determine their priorities for content and to get everything approved.
- Digital content producers (DCPs) actually create the content to be posted. This includes writing captions & blog posts, taking photos, curating user-generated content from each client’s fans (UGC as we like to call it in the biz) and a whole lot more.
- Community managers then schedule all of the content that the DCPs have created for each social media channel. Community managers are also responsible for the customer service and engagement side of things – they respond to comments from fans and seek out new ways to engage with people who are currently outside of their existing fanbase in order to build each client’s community.
Since I launched Miss Malaprop back in 2006, there’s pretty much been just me. In that time, I’ve seen some social media channels come and go and I’ve definitely had to pick and choose what channels are most important for me to focus on with my limited time.
This part is KEY! Even for clients at my day job at FSC Interactive… not every business needs to be on every social media channel!
Let’s repeat: Not every business needs to be on every social media channel.
A company that is B2B (business to business) might be better off just focusing on LinkedIn. Having an Instagram presence might not make sense for their business, depending on who their target customer is.
Meanwhile, an e-commerce company that sells fashion, jewelry or home decor should ABSOLUTELY be on Pinterest.
Making sure you have the time and resources to do it all means cutting out the stuff that doesn’t matter to your business. Focusing on one or two things and doing them EXTREMELY WELL is a much better use of your time than trying to tackle a million things all at once and only half-assing them.
Scheduling Posts for Facebook Fan Pages
Facebook is kind of the granddaddy of social media at this point. I mean… your granddaddy is probably LITERALLY on Facebook if he’s still around and kickin’ it.
As one teenager put it, Facebook is like “an awkward family dinner party we can’t really leave.” Everyone is on it. So you probably should be too.
All that said, it’s increasingly harder to get organic reach and engagement on Facebook. As they’ve become the giant elephant in the room, they’ve really nailed down the pay-for-play model. If you have a fan page for your business or brand on Facebook, odds are you’re going to have to pay to run some ads and boost some posts in order to see a lot of engagement.
However, the more awesome and engaging your content is to begin with, the more you can skirt around paying to boost each and every one of your posts. Create truly amazing content that people will naturally want to share, and well… people will naturally want to share it.
For my own Facebook fan page, I schedule most of my posts natively using Facebook’s built-in scheduling tool:
I’m also guilty of using Instagram’s cross-posting feature, where you can push your Instagram posts over to other social media channels, including your personal Facebook profile or your Facebook fan page.
This is something we don’t recommend doing for clients at my day job, and I try to use it sparingly. If I’m tagging people in my Instagram captions using their @ Instagram handles, I won’t push those posts through to Facebook, since it looks weird and the usernames don’t work the same. But if I’m posting a photo on Instagram with a plain text caption, I will totally push that content through to my Facebook fan page to save some time for myself.
Scheduling Tweets for Twitter
Once I publish a new blog post, I’ll schedule a bunch of different tweets about it over the course of the next few months. This way I’m always driving traffic back to my older blog posts. (This also goes for promoting content I write for other sites, like my guest posts for Caitlin Bacher.)
(Sidenote: I’ve heard nothing but great things about Buffer, I just haven’t used it personally because I’ve been using Hootsuite for so long and I’m comfortable with it. I’ve also use Tweetdeck in the past and for other projects for scheduling tweets.)
Scheduling Pins for Pinterest
For Pinterest (my biggest social channel & largest source of referral traffic to my website), I recently upgraded to the “Plus” version of Tailwind* to help me schedule plenty of content out in advance.
I was using the free version for awhile and loved it, and since Pinterest is my site’s biggest traffic source, it was worth it to me to pay for it. (You can only schedule a handful of pins per day using the free version, and I wanted the unlimited pin scheduling option!)
Beyond scheduling, Tailwind also gives you analytics that are a bit more digestible than Pinterest’s own analytics.
Pinterest is a platform that’s been near and dear to my heart for a long time… I think one of the reasons I love it so much is because it blends my love of beautiful aesthetics with long-term SEO strategies. (Pinterest IS a search engine, after all.)
After hearing Moorea Seal give a talk about Pinterest at Texas Style Council in 2013, I grew my account from 1,200 followers or so to around 3,500 in about 4 months. Since then, I’ve grown to more than 11,600 followers.
Earlier this year, however, I’d let my account become sort of stagnant. Pinterest banned affiliate links from reputable programs like RewardStyle, and I was spending my time focusing on other social media networks, like Instagram.
In June 2015, I spoke at iRetreat Conference about how I’ve more than doubled my Instagram following since the beginning of this year. While I was there, I attended Jill Levenhagen’s presentation on her Pinterest strategies. It was then that I realized I needed to get back on track with my Pinterest game.
A lot of the bloggers at iRetreat were fans of BoardBooster, another Pinterest scheduling tool which I have not personally used. However, after doing some research, I found out that Tailwind is an approved Pinterest marketing partner, and BoardBooster is not. I even discovered a detailed case study which explains why Tailwind is better than BoardBooster.
Tailwind is awesome because I can batch schedule a pin from my website and have the same image pinned to different boards, but spread out over the course of a few weeks using what they call “intervals.”
To make sure that my Pinterest account doesn’t look spammy or full of nothing but my own content (how rude!) I also make sure to schedule plenty of re-pins from other inspiring websites and blogs I love. This is something I’ve recently been having my new intern from Young Creative Agency, Diamond, help me with.
I created a Google Doc that has some guideposts of various sources and other pinners that I know it will be safe for Diamond to schedule re-pins from. For instance, I know that anything that people have already pinned from A Beautiful Mess will be fine for her to re-pin to my account, since I love pretty much everything Elsie and Emma do.
Now, every couple of weeks, I have Diamond schedule a bunch of re-pins for me so that I constantly have stuff being pinned to my account. I go into Tailwind and double-check everything, and shuffle around the scheduled order of the pins if needed.
If you’re interested in checking it out, Tailwind was nice enough to offer me the opportunity to pass along invites for one free month of Tailwind Plus! If you want to take it for a spin, just contact me with the email address you’d like me to send an invite to!
Psst! Like this? Tweet it:
— Mallory Whitfield (@MissMalaprop) October 25, 2015
Scheduling Posts on Instagram
Lately I’ve developed a system using Dropbox as a way to help me schedule and plan my content for Instagram.
Hilary Rushford can take credit for this idea, because it never occurred to me to use the Dropbox app to coordinate getting photos from my desktop to my iPhone until I took her Instagram course.
I’ve used Latergramme for scheduling as well, and Hootsuite now offers a type of scheduling similar to Latergramme, but personally this Dropbox system is what works best for me these days.
Instagram’s API doesn’t allow true automatic scheduling – even with Latergramme and Hootsuite you still have to manually push a scheduled post through when you want it to go live. So for me, it’s just as easy to set everything up in Dropbox as it is to use one of those services.
In the screenshot above from my iPhone, you can see how I upload photos and text documents from my desktop computer to Dropbox, so that I can easily access them on my phone.
I use dated file names for both the photos and the text file with my captions. For example, I’m planning a Frida Kahlo post for my “Women In History” content bucket on October 28, so I included 10-28 in the file name for both the image and the text file. This keeps everything sorted chronologically in Dropbox so it doesn’t get confusing.
I have the Dropbox app on my phone so it makes it easy to save the image to my iPhone and copy & paste the caption from the text document into Instagram.
I also have a Google Calendar just for my social media content, so I use that to set up reminders about what I’ve scheduled to post each day on Instagram.
If you’re curating user-generated content from a branded hashtag, or even if you just want to find out what content from your feed tends to perform the best, Iconosquare is an amazing tool. Here I can see that anytime I post some colorful and iconic New Orleans scenery, it tends to perform really well:
I don’t pre-schedule all of my Instagram content. A lot of the colorful New Orleans photos and inspirational quotes I post just happen sort of organically – I usually post them when I wake up in the morning if I don’t already have something else planned for the day. But most of those photos are stockpiled on my phone already from walks I’ve taken around town, and I also use the Notes app on my phone to keep a running list of quotes I like and other inspirational content ideas.
Want more Instagram tips? Check out this 1 hour video presentation about how I’ve grown my own brand in Instagram. It’s adapted from a presentation I gave at iRetreat Conference and Rising Tide in 2015.
Psst! Like this? Tweet it:
— Mallory Whitfield (@MissMalaprop) October 26, 2015
Remember, what works for me may not be the best method for you.
Anytime this sort of discussion comes up, people are bound to have their personal favorite tools and apps to use for social media scheduling, which may be totally different than mine. And that’s perfectly fine!
There are plenty of great social media scheduling tools out there that I don’t use, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not great for someone else. Much of my personal methodology comes from working at a social media marketing agency and adapting the tools we use for clients for my personal use. That said, I’ve figured out some of these methods on my own and I’ve brought back to the agency so we could start using them for our clients.
(* P.S. The links to Tailwind are affiliate links, which means if you click and upgrade to one of their paid plans, I get a small commission. That said, these are the tools I actually use to schedule posts myself, and I would recommend them whether they had an affiliate program or not!)
Questions? Got a great social media scheduling hack of your own to share?
Reach out and e-mail me: hello @ missmalaprop.com