In the field of digital marketing, time is of the essence and we need to be organised to stay efficient and to be effective. Each project comes with so many different levels of communication that start within your personal team, run into the broader circle that includes your clients, and then extend even further to incorporate the client’s audience. Staying on top of our work and each conversation is made easier with the use of tools that allow us to be more productive. Social automation tools such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck, as well as Facebook’s built-in scheduling tool, are perfect examples. They allow us to schedule multiple pieces of content in one go, freeing up time later in the day or week. But does there come a point where we rely too heavily on scheduling and not being present enough in our work?
There is a fine line between using social automation tools to enhance a professional appearance and to degrade it. Here are a few dos and don’t of using social media scheduling tools.
Don’t Schedule And Sign Off
Often, we schedule our posts in bulk and then forget about them until the engagement levels start to rise. This “set it and forget it” mentality can often lead to trouble, especially when scheduling content weeks in advance. One only has to look at the social media fail that involved the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 and the late Joan Rivers. Obviously the popular socialite was to be the perfect person to endorse the new phone, that was until she died and the scheduled posts were not removed from her accounts.
The other aspect of this is that people fail to engage with their users once scheduled posts are up. A stream of content can be added on a daily basis, but without any engagement with the audience that receives it, it is robotic, soulless and pointless.
Don’t Schedule During Live Events
Scheduling posts for live events can result in them coming across as stale and… well, automated. As much as we use these tools to automate our processes, we don’t want them to come across as such. We want to sound relevant, authentic and spontaneous, and when relating to a live event, the only way we can be 100% authentic is to tweet or post in the moment. Certain generic posts can be scheduled, but these should not form the basis of your entire live campaign and should be combined with live, contextual posts.
Don’t Forget To Touch Base With The Outside World
Scheduling posts and responding only to those that offer you a notification will result in you becoming disconnected from your audience and current events within your area of expertise. Keeping track of competitors, industry leaders and all relevant events will help you keep your content and responses fresh.
Do Schedule Posts When You Know You Won’t Be Around
If going away on holiday, or simply having to sit through a conference, make sure that your posts are covered when you’re not around. Social media is a 24-7 affair, no matter what your plans may be! Engagement can be managed from your phone or could even come at a slight delay, but don’t forfeit putting up a post just because you won’t be able to get around to it at the time. Use your social media scheduling tools for their intended purpose.
Do Take Advantage Of Automated Scheduling
Hootsuite has a pretty awesome feature called AutoSchedule that uses analytical data to determine when would be the most effective time to post. Another time saver that will ultimately post content when your audience is online. If you don’t use Hootsuite then there is a little more work to be done to determine when your audience will be most receptive, but it’s not data that you should be without. Use it and maximise on it.
Do Maintain The Same Tone Of Voice Throughout
All your scheduled communication should be aligned to your overall marketing strategy and should comply with your style guidelines. Social content is right in the public eye making its delivery especially important. Make sure that everything you write and schedule is targeted to your audience and is carried through using the right brand guidelines and tone of voice.
The use of social media scheduling tools should be advantageous if you use them consciously and professionally. If not, saving time will cost you more in negative feedback or the loss of clients, which is definitely not worth the time saved. Always triple check… I think that’s a good motto to live by!