Do You Pre-Schedule Social Media Messages?

CarolineMelberg
Caroline Melberg Chief Engagement Officer, Small Business Mavericks

Posted on January 21st 2014

Do You Pre-Schedule Social Media Messages?

ImageAs more and more small business owners take up social media marketing, applications have been developed to make that process easier. Some of those applications have features that allow you to pre-schedule your messages for various social media outlets.

There’s nothing wrong with using these pre-scheduling features as long as you don’t come to rely on them. A part of the social media marketing success for those who use it boils down to making messages personal and interacting with your audience. Marketers who do that well report the best results. If you pre-schedule all of your messages, then you’ll never interact with your audience and you’ll lose a certain amount of spontaneity.

Social media is about audience engagement. To the extent that pre-scheduling messages allows you to do that, it’s okay to pre-schedule some of your messages. I would not, however, pre-schedule all of them.

So which messages should you pre-schedule?

I’d say it’s safe to pre-schedule the following types of messages on most social media websites:

  • Recurring messages that you send out on a regular or semi-regular basis
  • Self-promotional messages for specific products or services
  • Timed promotions (so you don’t forget or get overrun with events)
  • Dated messages

In essence, anything that MUST be posted by a certain date or time can be pre-scheduled if you think you’ll forget, you might be traveling, or there is a chance the message won’t get posted. Otherwise, you should spend a few minutes each day checking in to your social media accounts.

CarolineMelberg

Caroline Melberg

Chief Engagement Officer, Small Business Mavericks

I'm the founder and CEO (Chief Engagement Officer) of Small Business Mavericks, a full-service Marketing Company based in Wayzata, Minnesota. We specialize in Web Design & Development Services, Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking and Social Media Strategy, Implementation and Training. We make online marketing simple for business owners. I believe that marketing is not communication, it's a conversation. I speak frequently about social media and the social web and have been told I have a talent for demystifying online marketing concepts and explaining them in down-to-earth terms.
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Comments

This article is clearly well-intentioned but about two years behind the times.

There is absolutely no point in scheduling tweets and other status updates; doing so makes the twitter account in question look automated and impersonal, essentially turning it into a broadcast channel.

Walk into any bar with a TV on in the corner and watch to see how many people engage with it (talk to it) - the answer is none. Of course.

Now, in the same bar say hello to someone...   what happens? A conversation.

Automating social media updates is bad practice and ineffective. Don't do it.

Thanks for your comment, Jason. And we agree that social media is about engagement and conversation, absolutely. 

In my post, I've refrenced scheduling some social posts but discourage the practice of publishing the majority of posts pre-scheduled for that very reason.  We have found in tests with our clients that pre-scheduling some posts, while maintaining the large majority of posts spontaneously, coupled with a strategic engagement plan with their target audience, produces a higher return on investment from their efforts than relying on spontaneous posts alone.

This is far from the "robo-posting" that we see happening with some folks who try to put their social media on a "set-it-and-forget-it" automated routine ... there is no such thing with social media, as you know - it requires participation in the form of transparency, authenticity and true engagement to be effective.