This post originally appeared in its entirety on Medium. An abridged & revised version has been reprinted here:
I’m a big proponent of social media for businesses. I’ve written about it as a non-negotiable for business owners in this age. I also think that if you’re not going to do it right, you just shouldn’t do it at all. Half-measures not only mean little in the digital sphere, they can sometimes hurt more than they help. Which is why it frustrates me to read other advice on the internet recommending to business owners that scheduling social media posts reeks of laziness, or a lack of authenticity–that it’s not “in the moment enough.”
I’m here to tell you: scheduling social media posts is not a bad thing. Not only is it not bad, scheduling can be highly effective and productive for your business. Here are a few myths I’ve read on why business owners shouldn’t schedule social media posts, as well as why they’re wrong:
Myth #1: Scheduling social media posts is inauthentic.
Correlation does not equal causation: if someone’s social media posts are inauthentic, and they use a social media scheduler to post them, the posts are not inauthentic because of the social media scheduler. They are inauthentic because the person who is penning the posts is not being authentic.
It is possible to schedule your standard two Facebook posts a day or four Twitter posts a day and still be honest, transparent, and authentic. How, you may ask? Great question. BE honest, transparent, and authentic.
Chances are that you got into a business because the product or service that you are offering is something that matters to you — it’s something that you believe in. So share content that is important to you and your customers. Create content that shows your experience and authority and that will be valuable to your customers. Post photos and videos of things that your customers will find interesting, amusing, and delightful. Then, schedule for that photo to be posted on Tuesday at 1 PM, when your customers are online and will see it. If the content is authentic, transparent, and honest, it should not matter that it’s scheduled.
There is a caveat here: let’s say (and this is a real-life experience from a customer I work with that happened last week,) that you have a beautiful customer-generated photo you’ve got scheduled…one that depicts a sunny day on a patio with champagne glasses and easy living. And then, the day it’s scheduled to post, it dumps 17 inches of snow on your city and the customer has to close for a snow day. Your sun and patio and champagne glasses would look a little silly being posted just then. What do you do now?
Easy. Reschedule the post for another day when it makes sense. Then, go take a picture of the crazy blizzard or post a meme that depicts your feelings about being stuck inside and make sure to let the customers know you’ll be closed that day. Another option: run the photo, change the copy. “This is what our patio looks like in our dreams,” or “Dreaming of a world where there’s no blizzard and only day drinking.” You can be relevant, current, authentic, honest, and transparent and still schedule your social media posts. You just have to make authenticity and honesty your first priority — but if it’s not, it scheduling won’t make a difference. You just won’t be authentic in general.
Myth #2: Scheduling social media posts is lazy.
There’s this pervasive idea among certain groups of people that that which is more efficient or which saves us time is also lazy. This is preposterous.
Is it lazy to drive three blocks to the store when you could walk? Maybe. But maybe not. Things to consider: Is it snowing? Is it raining? Are you on your way to another location directly after your stop at the store? Are you getting so many things that it would be an undue burden to try and carry them all back in one load? Are you able to lift heavy things? These will all be factors that you weigh when you think about whether you should drive or walk the three blocks to the store.
As with your trip to the store, scheduling social media posts is not inherently a lazy task. You have to consider all of your tasks and outside factors that would affect your decision and a judgment on whether or not it is lazy. Do you have a ton of meetings that week and will not have time to give your social media audience “in the moment”? Maybe you have a blog published but you did it at 4 AM when no one else is awake–it’s likely that no one will see it if you post it immediately. Scheduling out your social media posts can be efficient and even incredibly beneficial for your business and your audience, as opposed to trying to keep up with posting “in the moment” each day.
Myth #3: Scheduling social media posts is a poor use of social media platforms.
Social media is an art, yes. But it is also a science. And to do it well, you must understand that there is a governing algorithm on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn that dictates how well you will or will not do with your social media efforts. You have to understand the algorithm well enough to know how all the pieces affect the success of your posts. These things affect the will-or-won’t success of your social media posts. (It should be noted that Twitter and Instagram will soon be moving to algorithms as well, so this will be imperative advice for these platforms, too.)
If scheduling social media posts were a terrible use of the platform, Facebook wouldn’t have created a native scheduling option themselves. Now, here’s another caveat: scheduling posts from an external scheduler (such as HootSuite) to Facebook is a poor use of the platform — it will affect your algorithm. But that’s because Facebook has their own native scheduling tool — they want you to use their tool for their platform. That’s all.
When it comes to your personal social media use, it’s silly to schedule content…but not for your business social media use. Overall, social media scheduling is not the enemy. The enemy is not having a strategy for connecting with your audience. The enemy is not giving a shit about the content you push out to your audience. The enemy is thinking that you are better than the playground and refusing to play by their rules. The enemy is thinking that social media is a free-for-all that doesn’t even have rules. These things are your enemy when it comes to connecting in a meaningful way to your current and potential customers.
So develop a strategy, be authentic in your content, and schedule away — you’ll maximize your outcome if you can do it well!
Do you want to make social media algorithms work more effectively for your business? Let us know who you are and what you want to accomplish–we’ll sit down with you and figure out how we can help!