Who pre-schedules on social media?
Yes, I pre-schedule some of my social media posts.
Some refer to this practice as 'batching' or simple pre-loading content into a social media planner.
Is it wrong? No, but it's not perfect (more on that later).
Does everyone do it? Many more than you probably think.
Should you do it? You can, there are good ways to do it and less preferred ways of doing it.
So how do you do it thoughtfully?
There are some things that are 'safe' to pre-schedule (or batch) into your social media scheduler that will likely not come back to bite you. When I started in social media (2010) we didn't have the tools to schedule everything the way we do now, we could only schedule 30 items at most, I would argue that this practice did make us all a little more conscious of how much we scheduled.
I do tell clients that they can batch (pre-schedule) or that I will for them but I use some simple rules for doing it:
I review everything I have scheduled for the week every week, sometimes looking at all accounts daily so I know exactly what will be going out and when. Sometimes things need to change on the fly and I want to be well versed in what I am publishing.
It's a good habit to review your planner on a regular basis.
2. EASY CONTENT
I tend to pre-schedule items that have no-harm-no-foul context --- my #wordwednesday posts are prescheduled. Words generally don't change too much and this makes it easier for me to keep track of which words I have published by doing them systematically in one go.
Other items that are good to pre-schedule would be your motivational Monday quotes (but yet, make sure the quoted has not ended up in a scandal (ie: Kevin Spacey) that would be odd, or that it pertains something that is currently in the news -- or at the very least that it makes sense if it is.
Generic and on-going product images -- if you have a regular shoe line that you always re-stock, you can pre-schedule a couple image shots. A standard menu is good as well. For both, make sure prices are still current and that nothing is sold out - that makes customers angry.
Until Christmas is actually cancelled, it's fair and reasonable to presume holidays will still occur as planned. I tend to also consider a standard post for holidays unless I find something really unique then I will use that instead.
These are some of the best practices for pre-scheduling or batching your social media to help you save some time. I still use my social media management tool for instant images, but this is only so I know what I am posting out and where.
4. STAFF /TEAM/LOCATION
Imagine you saw a staff member on a social media page then you went in and that person looked different or no longer worked there... how weird.
What a location shot and it's sunny but it's obvious that it's raining outside... it looks really false.
So what shouldn't you get too carried away with when pre-scheduling?
I know people want to look a certain way on social media, whether checkerboard or themed but I would caution against getting too carried away. When you look overly scripted your page tends to look pretty but inauthentic. Behind the scenes and in the moment shots generally resonate better with audiences so they are always better in the moment, not scheduled for next week.
Hashtags get banned, some get ghosted, if you have pre-scheduled a bunch of posts and then find out your hashtag is on the banned list, it may defeat even sending out that post.
Some examples of how it went horribly wrong > HERE
Sales change and stock does change, menus change, prices change, real estate changes... anything with high variables are not good to pre-schedule too far in advance.
For some fails on social media -- even pre-posting fails, here's some fun CLICK
I know we all want to save time, but we want to save face even more so there is a time and a place for loading too much content into your social media management tools. I never suggest creating your content all in one day.
WHAT DO I RECOMMEND?
Load your easy, go-to content. A great social media manager will tell you that reviewing your insights offers a lot of great insight into the content your audience wants to see from you. Review this on a regular basis and adjust your content to be more favourable to your audience.
I would tell you 1 month in advance is as far as you should go, you really need to pay attention to your audience or just posting anything will not serve you in the long run. why post stuff if no one cares, your insights are important.
Be wary of anyone that suggests more than this, this are really easy and general rules that will help you save time while still allowing you to show your brand personality in a genuine way.
If you have questions or would like to hear my thoughts on anything, please feel free to drop me a line.