How to Create a Social Media Posting Schedule for Your Business

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Time is a precious resource. Planning your social media posts will save you time so you can focus on creating better content. This guide walks you through the planning process.

Social media can be chaotic. Millions of posts compete for attention every minute. If you try to keep up with posting manually, you will have little time to do other work on your social media strategy.

This is why social media publishing tools are essential today. They handle the routine administrative side of social media by automating your social media posts, allowing you to focus on the creative side.

The best tools will even give you advice on what types of content to post, based on your historical data.

This guide will help you understand the benefits of this automated approach, before taking you through the steps that will help you get more impact from your content.

5 steps to creating a social media posting schedule for your small business:

  • Audit social media
  • Conduct industry research
  • The objectives set
  • Schedule posts
  • Measure and adapt

4 Benefits of Having a Social Media Posting Calendar for Your Small Business

Preparing a social media calendar will give you these four important benefits.

1. Scheduling social media posts saves time

One of the biggest benefits of social media planning is that it frees up time to focus on other areas of your business. It takes more up-front effort to prepare and schedule content, but it eliminates frantic last-minute posting.

You can set a reliable, automated schedule and then make minor adjustments as circumstances change. Managing a multi-channel social media strategy is complex enough. Scheduling messages will add a welcome simplicity.

2. Post content any time of the day

If your social media content strategy includes different countries and time zones, you’ll need to be active outside of your regular office hours.

With a social media post scheduler, you can set up your content to go live at any time of the day. Your business can be active online, even when you’re not.

3. Manage Multiple Social Media Accounts

You can create a social media content calendar for all your accounts, using a single interface. This means you can plan your content across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to ensure you have an appropriate message for each.

Since your social media management tools provide performance data, you can make quick improvements to your schedule from a central platform.

4. Consistent messaging

Although each social network seems distinct to marketers, the customer expects the brand to communicate with the same voice across all platforms.

By planning content, you can create brand consistency across all your social media channels. This helps you build loyalty because the audience will know what to expect from your content.

How to Determine What Your Social Media Posting Schedule Should Look Like

Deciding to schedule content is the easy part. Next, you need to decide what content to post.

These steps will help you prepare a successful timeline for your social media strategy.

Social media audit

You need to take stock of what works with your existing content. Conducting a social media audit will help you identify posts that resonate with your audience. From there, you can decide which items to keep and which items to discard in your future efforts.

Consider the following:

  • What is the place of each social network in your strategy? Is it to increase brand awareness, increase audience or sell products?
  • What time of day does your audience typically engage with content?
  • How often do you post on each account? Does it affect engagement levels?
  • What is your audience demographic? Does your content match this audience?

industrial research

After auditing your accounts, take a broader look at the social media landscape. This will highlight the opportunities you are missing and feed into the next stage of the planning process.

Assess the following as part of your industry research:

  • Trending topics and hashtags, using social listening tools to follow new ideas.
  • Top performing content types. Do users prefer text, image, or video posts on each network?
  • What worked well for your competitors?

Now you can start positioning your own business in this landscape. What will make your business stand out from the competition?

The objectives set

You need to identify meaningful metrics related to your business goals. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of chasing after likes or new followers, without having a clear vision of how these measures will translate into new business opportunities.

Instead, think about the actions you want your audience to take. It can be a purchase or a download of a brochure, for example. They’re unlikely to buy immediately when they see a post from you on social media for the first time, so work back in small steps from the end goal.

What actions tend to precede a purchase? Do customers interact with your informative content for a period of time before shopping with you? Do they like non-promotional content that talks about the news?

As long as you can tie these activities together, social media metrics like new followers can be beneficial. Take the time to set a clear target for your social media content before you start planning.

Prepare the schedule

Now you’ll start creating content and filling your social media calendar.

Review the different roles that each social network plays in your overall strategy. This will help you decide how often to post sales-oriented content and how often to engage with trending topics.

Also incorporate industry events and major cultural celebrations into your calendar. Now you’re ready to schedule your social media posts. Technology will do the rest.

Measure and adapt

Content planning gives you more time to analyze the performance of your posts and make improvements. Use this planning resource to adapt your strategy based on your social media data.

For example, shift the balance between conversational and promotional messages if you’re not delivering the sales numbers you expected. As long as you’ve set goals that you know will help the business, you’ll have something clear to aim for.

The best social media posting and scheduling tools

There are many tools that will help you plan content. These are three of the best available today.

1. Social Sprout

Sprout Social is a fantastic social media management tool, built on the foundation of a reliable and intuitive scheduling platform. It prepares content, assigns tasks to your team, and monitors the performance of social media campaigns.

Sprout Social’s listening tools are also among the most effective on the market.

A social listening dashboard from Sprout Social.

Sprout Social listening templates help businesses find trending topics quickly. Image source: author

Read the full Sprout Social review of The Ascent

2. Hoot Suite

Hootsuite is a fantastic all-around tool, with a free scheduling app for automating social media posts.

The platform’s browser version scheduling tool can post to multiple accounts at once and provides convenient image customization features.

Hootsuite Publishing Scheduling Dashboard

Hootsuite is a very efficient planning tool and ideal for customizing images. Image source: author

Hootsuite connects to over 35 social networks, so you can be sure it’ll cover most of your accounts in its library of calendar templates.

Read the full Hootsuite review of The Ascent

3. Meet Edgar

MeetEdgar is a smart social media assistant with a range of unique features. It can analyze your website to identify new ideas for social media content, and it offers useful tools for categorizing your posts.

This helps you gauge the performance of your brand awareness messages against your sales messages, for example.

Social Media Posting Schedule on MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar helps you decide when to post content on each social network. Image source: author

MeetEdgar doesn’t have the same range of features as Sprout Social or Hootsuite, but it does a smaller number of things remarkably well.

Read the full The Ascent Reviews on MeetEdgar

Bringing order to a chaotic world of social media

Content programming adds an element of control and strategy to the hectic world of social media. The latest tools will use your historical data to even suggest the best times to post, so you can rely on more than just your gut feeling.

Of course, a schedule is only as effective as the content you use to fill it. Take advantage of the extra time planning gives you to create content that engages and converts your audience into loyal customers.

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