The Key to Posting Schedules.

A lot of business owners wonder if they really need to have a strict schedule when it comes to Social Media, and our answer to that is usually "no," but you do want to develop some kind of generally consistent plan for when you're going to post.  This can be as simple as setting a reminder on your phone to post every Tuesday & Thursday.

Once a Week or More?

Most businesses should be active on social media at least once a week.  This assures customers who happen upon your page that you are, in fact, still in business, and creates opportunities for post discovery and gaining new followers.

That being said, we find that posting three times a week or more gives you the opportunity to provide a good mix of entertaining and engaging content and drier, but potentially more important calls-to-action.  

Three Categories of Content

We've already taken a look a the different types of content you can provide - for scheduling purposes, we sort this content into these three categories.  Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on only one of these categories, which can lead to issues with growth and follower retention. 

1. Self Promotion - Content that directly sells your product or service
This is the type of content that appears most on small business social media.  Posts about new products, service descriptions, and real estate listings can be great for conversions and leads if used thoughtfully.

Although this type of content is key to making use of the audience you already have, it doesn't always generate growth, as it is unlikely to go viral or spread beyond your existing followers.  Although coupons and sales have been shown to inspire people to click the "follow" button, social media algorithms now appear to track the use of typical sale terms and put a stop to organic reach.  Additionally, when overdone, these types of posts give the impression that you're not invested in what your followers care about, only in selling. 

Our suggestion: limit direct self-promotion to about 25-30% of your posts.

2. Entertaining Your Audience - Content that expands your reach
So, if only 1 in 4 posts are self-promotion, what should you do with the rest of your content?  Entertain your audience.

Keep in mind that social media is ephemeral, and "entertaining" has a pretty broad definition on most platforms.  Come up with something that entertains in a way that relates to your brand voice.  Some categories of content that entertains: 

  • Inspiration: Certain target markets really love moving quotes, inspiring stories of triumph over adversity, and other sources of positivity and inspiration on social media.  Think about how your business can relate to this highly sharable content. 
  • Humor: If it fits with your brand voice, injecting some light humor in the form of memes and jokes can add some diversity to your posts, and can earn you some shares if done right! 
  • Visuals: Especially on platforms like Instagram, simply providing visually interesting, unique, or beautiful photography or video can add some value to your brand's social media presence.
  • Information & Education: teaching people something new that somehow relates your brand. This can be done via links to interesting blogs, videos, or infographics. 

These types of posts should typically make up about 50% of all content. 

3. Driving Interactions - Content that engages with your audience. 
The third and final category of content to add to your plan is content that directly engages with your audience.  Asking a question that encourages your brand's followers to respond. 

  • Contests & Giveaways - engage customers by offering a prize drawing to customers that complete a certain engagement task, such as sharing a post.
  • Polls - from fun & silly polls to serious questions about your product or services offering, people on social media love giving feedback. 
  • Requests for Photos - ask your audience if they have any great photos of themselves with your product, or at a recent event you hosted.  Share the best submissions to further engage these customers. 
  • Requests for Feedback - it can be daunting on the internet to ask for feedback, but customers will appreciate the opportunity.  
  • Go Live - utilize social media "live" features to create a question & answer session, or discuss some great news you have.  Respond to people's comments live as they pop up! 

These types of posts make up about 25% of content, though as you're just getting started building your following, it may be a bit less. 

Can Some Content Do All Of This? 

The primary purpose of dividing your content into these categories is to assure that you're not being too heavy-handed with your self promotion content, but experienced social media experts can often find a way to blend these types of content together.  For example, maybe you sell hiking backpacks, and you have a beautiful photo submitted by a customer of her using the backpack.  Feel free to use this great type of content more often than you would straightforward self promotion, but use caution as you're captioning the post.  In this example, it would be best to focus on the customer and the beauty of her photograph, and be subtle in your mention of the backpack. 

Content Format

As you develop your content plan, you want to consider the format of the content your planning, especially with regards to how time consuming that content is to make.  Consider the most time consuming elements of your content first, then sales and promotions, and then try to fill in content around those.  For instance, if you plan to write blogs, take a realistic look at how often you'll be able to do that and don't commit to more than what you have time for in your content plan. 

BE FLEXIBLE

Lastly, always remember that social media is social and happens in real time, and therefore you should be prepared to react to unexpected events and adjust your schedule accordingly.   Your business will also benefit from being sensitive to negative circumstances impacting your community.  For example: 

  • If there's a forest fire impacting your town, you could postpone any planned posts that could be seen as insensitive (such as a funny meme) and instead post a "thank you" to firefighters or offer sympathy to victims
  • If a customer sends you a really great photo, or posts a really great review, don't hesitate to postpone your planned post for the day and share that instead. 

As you continuously develop your content plan, keep an eye on your interactions.   On social media, each audience is different - some may love a good dad joke, while others think they're ridiculous.  Look for signs of a poor reaction to post quality, content, or cadence:

  • Significant follower gain or loss on the day of a post
  • Interaction percentage on different types of posts
  • Significant follower gain or loss after adjusting your post cadence
  • Making adjustments if you feel stuck (follower number is unchanged)

Many brands leave room in their content schedule for "ad hoc" content - content submitted by users or inspired by current events or trends.  Consider this especially as your following grows. 

Content Schedule Worksheet

If you need some flexibility, looking at your content in weekly chunks can help you to plan ahead, while giving you freedom from a strictly regimented schedule: 

 Weekly Posting Worksheet (2 posts per week) 

Week 1 
- Entertaining Post:
- Promotion Post: 

Week 2
- Customer interaction Post: 
- Entertaining Post

Week 3
- Entertaining Post: 
- Promotion Post:

Week 4: 
- Entertaining Post
- Customer interaction Post

 

Note how the cadence of promotion posts is impacted by the number of posts you do.  For example, if you're interested in posting one promotion per week, consider posting 4 times per week:

 Weekly Posting Worksheet - 4 Posts Per Week

Week 1: 
- Promotion Post: 
- Entertaining Post:
- Entertaining Post:
- Customer Interaction Post:

Week 2: 
- Promotion Post: 
- Entertaining Post:
- Entertaining Post:
- Customer Interaction Post:

Week 3: 
- Promotion Post: 
- Entertaining Post:
- Entertaining Post:
- Customer Interaction Post:

Week 4: 
- Promotion Post: 
- Entertaining Post:
- Entertaining Post:
- Customer Interaction Post:

 

Looking at your content in a calendar format can create a cadence to your posts - for instance, you could get your customers in the habit of checking every Saturday for a new weekend sale, or on the first of the month for your monthly giveaway or contest.  Additionally, you can track fun hashtag holidays and inspire some trending posts related to those. 

 CALENDAR
MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT SUN
1st of the month - monthly giveaway WEDNESDAY - HUMPDAY INSPIRATION CUSTOMER SHARE WEEKEND PROMO
MONDAY HUMOR
WEDNESDAY - HUMPDAY INSPIRATION
CUSTOMER POLL WEEKEND PROMO
MONDAY HUMOR
WEDNESDAY - HUMPDAY INSPIRATION
CUSTOMER SHARE WEEKEND PROMO
MONDAY HUMOR
WEDNESDAY - HUMPDAY INSPIRATION

#nationaldonutday

special post

WEEKEND PROMO

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published