If you want to learn how to create a social media schedule so you can be consistent on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, here are the five easy steps you need to take. If you want any further reasons for creating a social media schedule, that’s explained in the last blog post about why you need one.
1. CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORMS
You have limited time, so choose the platforms that are giving you the most return on your time and resources. Review these every quarter, to make sure that they’re still working for you and to check if you need to change anything about your posting schedule or content.
If you want to leave a platform, you can explain in your profile and/or a pinned post that all your latest news is now on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you are active.
If you’re just starting out and have no idea which platforms to choose, have a word with a couple of your clients and see what platforms they’re on. Also bear in mind that photographers deal in the visual, so you may be better off with visual-centric platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, rather than podcasts and Twitter.
2. CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING SCHEDULE
Choose your social media posting schedule based on what you want from it. Someone wanting to build a Facebook page to 1000 fans inside a few months might post two or three times a day; someone who just wants their Facebook page to look up to date for visitors might post once a week.
Start out with the minimum viable posting schedule for each platform if you haven’t been able to post consistently until now. Better to start out slowly and make sure it’s sustainable for you than to crash and burn. You can always increase your posting schedule later.
Your schedule is also reliant on you creating content. As a photographer, you’re ahead of most in having a selection of professional photos to choose from. But if you’re including video in your scheduling, you still need to create and edit that. Make sure that you have enough time in your schedule to curate and create social media content including captions and hashtag research.
If you don’t have enough time to create all the content and/or schedule it, you could hire a social media manager to do some or all of it for you. They may also be able to provide a strategy for you.
3. WHAT TO POST – YOUR CONTENT
Well, photos, obviously. And video if at all possible. Facebook and Instagram stories are perfect for vertical video that you’ve shot yourself and looks a little messy. The buzzword is ‘relatable’ – the kind of video anyone could shoot – the antithesis of corporate or polished.
Think about your audience and what would be useful to them – that’s what is most likely to get most engagement. You can vary the format too: for Facebook, this can mean Lives, memes, gifs and questions.
Think of this as a bit of a science experiment: try lots of things, look at what is most engaging for your audience and do more of that.
4. CHOOSE YOUR SCHEDULER
A scheduler can make or break your social media posting. Sure, you still have to engage with your audience, but schedulers mean your content goes out when it should.
For Facebook, I recommend its own native scheduler. It keeps Facebook happy, by which I mean you are staying on Facebook which it likes, and is easy to use. You can find it on your page’s publishing tools just below published posts.
For Instagram, Planoly and Later both have paid and free schedulers, which cover up to 30 posts a month. If you have an Instagram business account connected to Facebook, both services will post single images automatically for you. For many people, that’s enough. HootSuite will also do the job, just not as visually.
For Instagram Stories, it’s a bit trickier. Although you can plan your Stories in Planoly, Later and a number of other schedulers, you need to post Stories at least partially manually. So when scheduling, you want to think about when you’re available to post.
5. KNOW WHEN TO POST
The best times to post your social media content are when the highest number of your followers are online. You can check this on Instagram in your insights / audience, assuming you have a business account. On Facebook, it’s a similar story. Go to your page insights / posts / when your fans are online. Pinterest (no, technically not a social media platform, but useful to include here as it helps amplify our marketing messages) does not have a ‘good’ time of day to post, but it does like daily posting of new content.
So that’s how to create a social media schedule for your business or blog. When you set it up, it can help you be consistent and totally on top of your schedule through batching and your scheduler.
JUST ONE MORE THING …
If you’re a visual thinker or want to have a bird’s eye view of all your platforms, you can use a spreadsheet such as Google sheets or my new favourite AirTable. The basic version is free and more than enough for a social media scheduler, although I upgraded, for some of the extra capabilities including watching my posts change colour when I’ve created and scheduled them. There are even social media templates you can find in the Universe section.