Scheduling Social Media Content – What To Share And When To Share It

Scheduling social media content - what to share and when to share it. Tips for bloggers or entrepreneurs using social media to marketing their blog or business.

I used to work in a highly regulated corporate environment – the company blocked access to gmail, basically every social media network, and any site with even remotely questionably content. Even though my other site Bitches’ Guide to NYC is not at all offensive (IMO), I’m pretty sure it would have been blocked for using the dictionary approved term for female dog! In some ways I’m thankful… because it’s amazing how much more productive you can be when you don’t have access to social media all day. Though even now that I own my own business, like most people, I don’t have time to post/ tweet/ share/ publish social media content throughout the day so scheduling social media is key!

SCHEDULING SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m the type of person that needs to schedule anything and everything if I actually want to get it done. My to do list (I love Asana) and various calendars (google calendar + WordPress editorial calendar), are the only way I can function. So once a week, I schedule time to schedule social media. Yes, that’s right. I schedule time to schedule. Technically I scheduled time to write this blog post about scheduling time to schedule. Welcome to my type-A, workaholic life.

I strongly believe you don’t have to be active on every social network out there.

Honestly, if you try, you are probably not using them all effectively. If you’re posting for the sake of posting, you’re wasting time. Quality above quantity, always.  

Your last post / photo/ tweet may be the first post / photo / tweet that someone sees when they come across one of your social media profiles. If it doesn’t send the right message to your audience, don’t post it. True story: a couple years ago I was interviewing potential assistants and googled one candidate. She had literally just tweeted about how much she hated working. Just no. 

WHAT TO SHARE

To be honest I don’t care what you ate for dinner. I don’t care that you spent the weekend hiking with your friend from college. I definitely don’t care that your baby threw up this morning. There is definitely someone that cares… it’s just not me. That’s why it’s crazy important to know your audience. Which goes back to identifying your dream clients and defining your personal brand. If you are a nutritionist, maybe your audience does care what you ate for dinner. If you’re a fitness coach, your audience would probably love to see photos of you hiking. If you’re a mommy blogger, you’re audience can actually relate to your baby vomit.

Focus on sharing targeted content that is either: 1) educational 2) inspirational 3) community building or 4) promotional.

EDUCATIONAL CONTENT

Educational content could be anything that teaches your audience something (duh). This is the best way to get people to TRUST you, because the more you give away your “secrets” – the more people will perceive you as an authority in your field! You don’t have to an expert, in fact, many people relate better when they know someone has had similar problems. So try to fill in this sentence with things that relate to you and your audience: I used to struggle with _____, until I learned _____. For example, I used to struggle with time management, until I learned how to batch process photos or I used to struggle with getting my lipstick to last all day, until I learned to use a straw when I drink diet coke and buy all the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayons (seriously, they are SO good). Spread the love and share what you know!

INSPIRATIONAL CONTENT

Inspirational content is probably the easiest type of content to share, but it’s not always useful. If you are a graphic designer who sells letterpress stationery, sharing photos of your beach vacation could be “inspirational,” but how does that really help your business? It would probably make more sense for your brand strategy to share a photo of a beautiful wedding or a styled desktop where people could actually envision your products in action. Your inspirational content should actually inspire your audience to DO something, not just be inspired for the sake of inspiration. Unless you are selling inspiration… but I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing.

COMMUNITY BUILDING

Community building content is anything that encourages engagement and builds a relationship with your audience. Regardless of how many followers you have, engagement matters – because if you’re not being social on social media then you’re doing it wrong. Community building content could be asking for feedback on a new product idea or running a challenge / contest and incentivizing your followers to participate. Community building could also be sharing other people’s content (with credit!) and promoting like-minded businesses that may appeal to your audience as well. Try a few different things and see how your audience responds. If you don’t consistently monitor and track engagement levels, you have no way of knowing whether your social media strategies are working!

PROMOTIONAL CONTENT

Promotional content should not just be “buy this product!” or “shop our sale!” but if you’re not taking advantage of your social networks to promote your own products / services, then you are seriously missing out on some (really affordable) marketing opportunities! Yes social media is for being social, but it’s also a valuable tool you can leverage for sales. Your followers are following you for a reason, and if you are sharing the mostly a mix of educational, inspirational, and community building content, then integrating promotional content won’t seem as icky. Give, give, give, then sell.

WHEN TO SHARE IT

The short answer is (again) know your audience. There are a ton of resources that will tell you when the “optimal” times to post on social media are, but it really comes down to who you are trying to reach. Experiment at first, and then let your analytics guide you. The best times to post on social media are the times when your target audience is active on social media – so the specific times are different for everyone!

There are a lot of tools you can use to schedule social media but these are the ones that I currently use and recommend:

INSTAGRAM:

Scheduling: Planoly / Analytics: Iconosquare, Instagram Insights

TWITTER:

Scheduling: Edgar / Analytics:  Edgar, Twitter Analytics

Facebook: 

Scheduling: Edgar/ Analytics: Edgar, Facebook’s Insights

Pinterest:

Scheduling: Tailwind, Boardbooster / Analytics: Tailwind, Boardbooster, Pinterest analytics

Also, just because I schedule most of my content, that doesn’t mean I put social on autopilot. Because I schedule it, I have more time to actually engage on social – leave / reply to comments, find new people to connect with, etc. Unless you have all the time in the world, you probably want to spend less time managing social media and more time growing your business. So schedule time to schedule it.

If you’re already scheduling social media, I’d love to know what programs you’ve found to be most helpful! 

Defining Your Personal Brand

Defining your personal brand - and why this matters for your business. Get the 10 question guide to defining your personal brand.

Have you ever met someone in real life been and been kinda disappointed because they were different than you expected based on their online persona? I have. More than once. More than a dozen times to be honest. I hate being disappointed.

If you think your brand is just a logo or some colors or a clever tagline – you’re wrong. If you’re a blogger or small business owner, YOU are your brand. In addition to your logo / colors/ fonts, the way you speak, the way you dress, and the way you relate to other people are all part of your brand. Your personality should reflect in your branding – so if you’re funny, be funny. If you’re sarcastic, be sarcastic. If you’re boring, think about getting a personality.

Kidding. Sort of. Not really.

To me, branding is the key to differentiating yourself from the millions of people doing the same thing you are. It’s about providing a consistent experience and relating to your audience in a way that makes them feel like they KNOW you. Like they could be 62 weeks deep stalking your instagram feed and see a photo of a project you worked on (or a meal you ate) and think #ThisIsSoME – and that’s a good thing.

Your brand is your promise to your customers. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

People LIKE people they can relate to.

People TRUST people that are consistently delivering the same brand message.

People buy things from people they LIKE and TRUST.

Not everyone is going to like you and not everyone is going to trust you. That’s also a good thing.

Developing your personal brand goes hand in hand with attracting your dream clients – because how they perceive you is just as important as how you see yourself! I like to think people aren’t ever surprised to meet me in person because I look and speak the way they expect from my presence online. I also make it a point to look on brand when I’m networking – chances are if we’ve met at an event, I was wearing black, white, and/or pink with bright lipstick and gold jewelry. That was intentional. 

I’m not saying you need to wear your brand colors at all times, but I do think visual consistency matters – whether we are walking about your website, blog, social media accounts, or in person. If your brand is bubbly and colorful and in person you wear all black and have a dry, sarcastic tone, your clients are going to be confused… and probably disappointed. Don’t disappoint them.

If you haven’t defined your personal brand, do it now.

5 Tips To Save Time Creating Blog Posts

5 tips to save time creating blog posts - because being busy isn't an excuse! Learn how batching + other strategies can make blogging easier.

I currently run 3 completely different blogs in addition to creating content for my day job and other clients. I don’t have time to waste. Since a lot of work can go into a blog post – from coming up with new ideas, research, photography, copy and not to mention all the social media scheduling to actually get people to SEE all the work that I did, it’s incredibly important for me to streamline my blogging process as much as possible so that I have time to do everything else! Maybe you don’t run 3 different blogs, but I’m guessing you have other things going on in your life that you’d rather spend time on – like making money, making dinner, or making time for Real Housewives… Yeah, me too. Minus dinner because that’s what Seamless is for. Make room for more of whatever YOU need in your life with these 5 tips to save time creating blog posts – #trust, they have helped me out immensely!

Use An Editorial Calendar

Plan your posts. Whether you are using a planner, your google calendar, or another online calendar, plan your content out ahead of time! I’ve tried plugins like CoSchedule, but I always come back to the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin – I love it because it’s simple, but I can easily drag and drop post ideas into the calendar and move them around if I need to. It also allows me to see what drafts I have in process versus which posts are already done and scheduled. Any time I have a post idea, I’ll start a quick draft with a few bullet points if I can. Then towards the end of each month, I sit down and try and schedule out as much as possible for the next month. I find that its usually harder to come up with post ideas when I’m under pressure of a deadline, so planning things out in advance makes things much easier.

Batch Process Photos

Whenever possible, I prefer to use original photos for blog posts and my social media content – but I don’t want to take time out of every day to take and edit photos. I keep a running list in Evernote of ideas for photographs, and every couple of weeks I’ll schedule a few hours to take a TON of photos. Then I’ll edit them down to the ones that I think I will actually use and save them to dropbox so I can access them whenever I’m actually working on specific blog posts or social media promotions. Since I try to use natural light as much as possible (and I have a day job), batch processing photos also helps me to get consistent lighting and not have to worry about trying to set up studio lights in my living room at 9 pm on a Tuesday before a deadline (been there, done that, and it was awful).

 

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Create Templates For Blog Post Graphics

I also have templates for blog post graphics (like the one above!) so I can basically just swap out the image and the text when I’m creating a new post. Not only does this help save time, but it also ensures that my graphics are consistent with my brand!

Start A Series

If there are certain topics you write about frequently, save time coming up with new blog post ideas by creating a series. If you’re not sure what topic to create a series around – check your stats to determine which posts are getting the most traffic! Chances are a few of them have something in common. If not, do a little brainstorming. Maybe once a week you can feature your work or interview a client or ask your readers a question – there are so many possibilities. If you need help coming up with ideas, let’s chat!

Consider Contributors or Guest Posts

Potentially the easiest way to save time creating blog posts – have other people create them! Whether you have people contribute regularly or accept occasional guest posts, enlisting other people create content for your blog can be a great way to free up some of your time while also growing your community. When we launched BGNYC earlier this year, I knew that I already had a lot of other things going on and probably wouldn’t be able to post as often as I would like. Taking on contributors has been a HUGE help, but it’s also important to make sure that anyone who you are allowing to publish on your site clearly understands your brand standards. You need to manage expectations (especially if you are like me and have high expectations!), so be clear on exactly what you want from the start.

If you are a blogger, what other tips do you have for saving time creating blog posts?

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