Social Media is a habit, a tool, a network, fun, a resource… the list goes on, so if you aren’t using it to grow your business On Your Terms — you are missing out!
But because there are so many platforms and so much you CAN do — it can also be overwhelming and confusing and you could lose hours of your day watching funny cat videos!
The Truth of it all
You can’t be everywhere at once, and you want your social media to be something that is uplifting and energising, not draining. As a speaker, author, coach you have things to do and people to serve. You NEED to use a social media scheduling tool. It really is your best friend.
But finding the one that’s right for you can be a minefield (trust us, we know and took a good few months of testing different ones because each one is feature rich in their own way).
Here’s why you need a social media scheduler.
If you are not convinced, let us first walk you through why you might want a social media scheduler and present some things to think about when choosing one that works for you, your extended team and for your business.
What most people struggle with is consistency with their content and that’s why in previous blogs we have always urged you to have regular posts that encourage conversations and engagement and they become familiar content in your groups/pages/platforms
Scheduling frees you up!
We currently have 66 scheduled posts that go out weekly across our Facebook groups and the Speaker Insight FB page. That would take up a lot of time if we were manually scheduling them or even using the FB scheduler as you can only schedule 2 months in advance.
But it also frees up our time when we are live on social to interact with the comments on the posts which increases the engagement — and make it much more fun and informative for you.
The key here is to get clear on what you need to know to choose a scheduler that’s right for you.
1) Know WHAT and HOW MANY channels you are on.
You need your social media management tool to be able to schedule and post on ALL your channels. Finding the right one for you is a bit of a minefield, so we created a comparison guide of scheduling software to make it easier. You can download that here (but read to the end to make the most of it!)
The first page gives you an overview of the most common social media, but if you know that you have success using something like Google+ or even Xing, you need to check that the scheduler you want can handle what you already use.
You need to understand HOW MANY platforms and/or profiles you have and want to schedule on, as this can impact on the price you pay and the plan you choose (more profiles = more money — for SOME of the schedulers). We recommend that once you know how many you work out the most cost-effective solution for you.
Action: make a list of all the channels you have (including profiles, groups, pages, shops etc.)
2) Choose a scheduler that matches your primary platform.
Some schedulers are specifically designed for the functionality of a specific platform E.G Planoly is designed primarily to support Instagram & Later supports Pinterest. That means they have features that make it easy to use the options inside that platform. For example on Instagram you might to use the ‘Linkin.bio’ or first comment scheduling features — so think about what you use most, and make sure your chosen software can handle the requirements you have and that you can make the most of their features.
Some tools like Buffer and Sendible link directly into FB ad campaigns and let you comment on those straight away. Or for us it was REALLY important that we found a scheduler that could post into a FB group as a Page and not an individual … and the only software we discovered that could do this was Publer.
This is why getting clear on WHAT you do in the business and how you run it is so important.
ACTION: think about what on a channel you most use (shop, ads, commenting) so you can check that your scheduler optimises how and what you want to use your channel for.
3) Is your focus more on scheduling only or on engagement too?
For some of you, just being able to schedule content may be enough. Showing up on LinkedIN via posts may allow you to stay present and do reach outs by yourself. But if you are expecting or already generate a lot of comments, you may want a way to organise that. Several of the schedulers have a ‘social inbox’ — a place from which you can answer and respond to everything from everywhere all in one place. If your business is built on conversations you may want to look out for this feature. Social Pilot, eClincher and Planoly all have these ‘inboxes.
Some schedulers go even further with a CRM system inbuilt with which you can tag and track your interactions. AgoraPulse, Sprout Social and Sendible all have this. Sprout Social even has an inbuilt chatbot, as do a couple of others. Again, what’s important to you?
Finally in this section, ‘social listening’ or trends happening in the wider content world is also a feature of a few — so if you are wanting to understand the competition and how your content is performing/ what you can be bringing in that is ‘on trend’ there are several that focus on this in their monitoring and analytics. Software like Meet Edgar will also repurpose your most engaged content to increase your analytics.
4) What do you want to publish and how and how often?
The terminology can be slightly different so be sure about the features you require:
– ‘Publish’ usually refers to you directly posting from within the social media scheduling software
– ‘Schedule’ usually means to schedule posts in advance.
Some questions to ask yourself about scheduled posts are:
o Do you want to ‘bulk’ upload posts?
o How far in advance do you want to schedule?
- Some software has the facility to pull from others’ content. If you are setting yourself up to do this kind of posting, sharing — from others in your industry or field as a curator, make sure you use something that has the capacity to do RSS, or a direct browser extension that will allow you to queue others material
- Auto posting and recycling may also be important to you — where you upload all your content and the calendar will schedule from this ‘pooled’ content. This might be relevant for you and your audience.
We created a course to help you think through all these things, so if you want to get clear on when, where, what and how much to post, check out Market Your Way small course
ACTION: Determine how much of your content is static, organic, promotion led, and how often you need to ‘create’ or curate.
5) The ease of use and the UI/UX and analytics.
a) Most software has now got a ‘visual calendar’ making it easy/ easier to ‘drag and drop’ your content into a calendar, and for you to look ahead and see what you have scheduled. (this can be good if you are doing auto scheduling and want to make sure the right stuff is going out alongside your promotions for example).
But they are all SO different, and we really do recommend using the 7/14/30 day trials to figure out if you LIKE the software. You won’t use it (or you team might not) with joy if you don’t. And it’s still a MAJOR part of your business. It’s managing how you ‘show up’.
b) Reporting, tracking and analytics is fun (honestly, it really can be!) and informative, so again, work out what you base your own METRICS on. How will you determine what’s working and not? Engagement stats, followers, database increase, conversion?
All the stats will show you these, but you need to determine what you want to see, to then decide if you like how the software you choose presents you with information — whether it’s easy for you to understand and useful for you to make changes.
After all, you are running a business and you need to know that your content marketing is making the difference you want it to make. Come and join us inside The Connection Hub to continue the conversation or if you are serious about really streamlining, managing and growing your business, check out our Changemaker Central membership, where we help speakers, authors and coaches to build a steady, sustainable business that works On Your Terms. 🙂