Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Joy here: I am a last-minute kind of person. Seriously. I’m writing this blog and flirting heavily with the deadline.
For a long time my social media posts were no different. It would be Tuesday and I would need a post for Tuesday.
Panic settles in. An anger builds towards 'Monday Me' who made assurances that this would be “easier tomorrow.”
For a while I sit and wait for inspiration to come, waiting for it to hit me like that first cup of coffee (or third, depending what kind of day it is). And it doesn’t. So I start scrambling.
I look through content I’ve already created. I scan Pinterest and other platforms for inspiration. I try to choose a topic we often talk about.
I throw something together, spend a while in Canva trying to make it look perfect.
Nothing says “you might have some issues” like leaving things to the last minute and still expecting them to be flawless (I know I'm not alone in this club).
It ends up that I spend nearly half my working-day just creating one post. Does this sound anything like you? (Hey there, friend)
What’s even worse, you end up with posts saying, “Happy Spring!” or “It’s National Cucumber Day!” and you know it doesn’t feel right. And the truth is, it’s not right at all.
"The goal of your social media should be to connect, to build and foster relationships and create relatability and familiarity with you and your brand."
So how do we fix this? How can we stop this endless loop of waiting, forgetting, rushing and closing our eyes while quickly tapping, “Share”?!
I’m not going to pretend that this is super easy or that I’m in any way great at it. This is a work-in-progress, but I’m going to tell you why it’s a necessary work-in-progress.
1. Scheduling Social Media: You can do it for free.
Of course there are paid platforms that you can use, and maybe you've thought of trying one.
Using a scheduling platform for your content strategy does more than just schedule posts, it can also help you with optimizing your posts.
Here are a few options:
You can integrate Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn and YouTube
It requires very specific photo and video formats for each platform
It doesn't allow Instagram carousels
Plans start at $26/month
Integrated with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Pinterest
Doesn't allow videos over one minute to be scheduled for Instagram
Plans start at $49/month
Integrates Facebook and Instagram
Fewer size restrictions for photo and video formats (still provides optimal format)
It's FREE (and our personal favourite)
If you are in need of some extra structure surrounding your posts and remembering hashtags and other features, or if you need to post across many social media platforms and you have some money set aside for marketing, you may want to try a paid platform.
Otherwise, we recommend at least starting with Creator Studio. It works great for Facebook and Instagram posts, and we just save some Tweets and TikToks in our drafts to post later.
2. Scheduling ahead of time on social helps you stay consistent.
You’ve probably heard before that consistency on social media is key. You don’t have to post every day, but you need to post consistently.
The problem with this is that sometimes (well, often) life gets in the way and you realize on Thursday that you were supposed to post something on Wednesday. And before you know it, that happens a few times and then your posts are all over the place a hap-hazard.
Scheduling allows you to have your Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts ready to go before you even get there. You don’t have to worry about what to post in the moment.
I find that consistency helps me remember and avoid procrastinating because it forms a habit.
Instead of scrambling at the last minute, you can spend some of your extra time engaging with comments and other's posts, or finding pants for that meeting you just realized is now in-person and not on Zoom.
3. Scheduling allows you to provide better value to your audience
When you put aside time to schedule posts, you are thinking more deliberately about what you're sharing.
It eliminates that last-minute, "TGIF!" post that provides zero value to your audience. Even if I completely forgot it was Friday.
Scheduling posts ahead of time stops you from what we would call “cop-out” posts that don't really say anything, like National-whatever-it-is Day.
If it’s National Puppy Day and you run a pet store, then by all means, you can use this to share a cute picture (or video!!) and remind your audience that puppies need special toys and food for their tiny, softer teeth.
If you are going to post these national days, bring it back to you. Relate it to your business, your brand and add value.
When you schedule social media posts you can think more about what you have to offer to your audience, or consider customer comments and questions. Your posts become more intentional and more in-line with your brand values.
4. Scheduling moves you away from just selling
Showing what we have to offer, whether that’s products or services, is part of the point of social media. We want people to know what we sell.
But it can be easy to forget that it isn’t the only part of social media, especially when it’s last-minute and you’re looking around at whatever is closest to you to snap a quick photo to post so you can check it off your mental to-do list.
Too often we see businesses on social media that seem to focus only on selling.
The goal of your business is to sell and make money, yes. But, the goal of your social media should be to connect, to build and foster relationships and create relatability and familiarity with you and your brand.
When you’re planning ahead you can think about what you would like to communicate to your audience. You can think more about what problems your audience might have that you can help to solve.
It gives you time to think about tips to share and thoughts to connect.
5. Scheduling really does save you time
I know you’re probably thinking: “If it takes me 2 hours to come up with one idea, create it and post it, how will it save me time to do three or more?”
It will. I promise. When you sit down to power through, say, six ideas for the next two weeks, it becomes simple. You're dedicating time, not last minute, to think. The ideas will begin to flow. Write down as many as you can and create as many as you can.
Here's a few tips for where I would start for any business type:
What are questions your customers often ask you/your staff?
What are you like at work vs. at home? (in relation to your business)
What do your kids/family think of what you do?
How does the change of season, change: your decor, your atmosphere, your fabrics, your ingredients?
Your favourite thing that you offer and why
Don't forget, you can repeat posts that are evergreen, once every month or two months, re-work previous ideas for different seasons of your life.
6. Scheduling frees up time for other more timely posts
Once you have your scheduled posts, you can use stories for more in-the-moment, “happening RIGHT NOW” content that you might think of during the week, or that might just come up.
Maybe you want to hop on Live and show an un-boxing. Maybe you want to share a relatable thought with your audience.
Show sales that are happening for this weekend only.
7. Scheduling allows more variety in how you post
I don't know about you, but video is not my go-to form of communication. I prefer photos and text because it feels a lot safer. It's also less personal (which isn't ideal).
Before I'm ready to even think about creating video, I need to have some idea of what I'm talking about. I need to have my make-up on. I need to make sure there isn't a mountain of clothes or dishes behind me.
Because I now plan out what I'm doing, I can think more intentionally about how we share, and how I share. If I need something from Bonnie or Toby I can ask them and give them lots of time (and give Toby lots of reminders).
I have become much more comfortable with being in videos because I can set aside the time to do it, knowing I have a plan, and because I'm not rushed at the last minute with a blank brain of anxiety.
We have our content ready ahead of time. That means I can go beyond posting it on Facebook and Instagram, but I can see what works for TikTok, Twitter, for stories and Reels. We get our content out in many forms because it's no longer a last-minute post that we immediately walk away from.
I have not perfected this art. I'm still learning and I still make mistakes.
Although, not to brag, but it looks like this blog is going to be done four hours early. And with my extra time, I'm going to create some videos and schedule more posts for next week, and then feel that sense of accomplishment.
Once you create a content strategy, you will feel that sense of accomplishment too.