If you’re anything like me — and I think you are; that’s why I like you — you like anything that does work for you automagically. DVR? Now I don’t have to remember when my favorite shows come on and set a recorder every week! Roomba? A vacuum that cleans for you? Sign me up!
One thing I hate…well, not hate so much as “can’t abide the idea of spending so much time on,” is social media. With the constantly shifting algorithms on Facebook and Instagram (Facetagram?) you have to post in multiple places, multiple times per day, but never the exact same content, and be sure to interact with anyone who interacts with your OP in order to increase engagement and sow and nurture relationships.
That’s all well and good, and I fully support it. But damn, it takes a lot of time.
This isn’t a post about content creation. Creating your content is a whole other ball game, covered much better by other people. No, this post is about the shortcuts I take in scheduling my content after it’s been created.
The Set Up
Like many content creators, I create several posts that I rotate throughout my Facebook group, the groups I belong to, my Facebook page, and my Instagram account over the course of a week. Every day in a particular week, each of my social media arenas gets a different post. There is some overlap, but that’s not a big deal, and really can work in your favor by reinforcing your message.
When I say that I create posts, that means I have them written, have the graphics created, and have confirmed any relevant links ahead of time. It’s that “batching” thing everyone keeps talking about. I also plan out which post I’ll post where, on which day, avoiding too much overlap and repetition.
The worst part, the most tedious part (and I hate tedium!) is the actual posting. Especially if you belong to several groups you want to post in on a daily basis. You’re still going to have to post in groups you belong to separately, each day. If you’re not an administrator, you can’t schedule posts in a group either through the native Facebook scheduler or a social media scheduling app. But, you can take care of a few other postable areas beforehand to cut down on your cutting and pasting.
Your Facebook Group
By now, we all should know that a) having your own Facebook group is a great way to build your audience and grow your engagement and b) using a scheduling app is a great way to lower the chance of anyone seeing your posts. That’s why it’s awesome that Facebook finally introducing post scheduling in groups! Finally!
Since I already know which posts will be going in my group on which day, I can schedule them ahead of time using the native Facebook scheduler. So, for example, I scheduled four weeks’ worth of posts for February at the end of January. It took about 45 minutes to an hour to schedule 20 posts. That includes verifying the correct date and post, copying and pasting the post, and uploading the images, and accounts for the few times I accidentally hit “post” instead of “schedule”. Whoops!
An hour might seem like a long time, but it’s approximately only three-ish minutes per post. Plus, it’s done. For the entire month. Of course, I’ll still go back and interact with comments, but for the next month, I don’t have to worry about creating a new daily post in my group. And, because I used the native scheduler, there’s a greater chance my group members will see my post in their feeds.
Your Facebook Page
Here is where a scheduling app comes in handy. Particularly one that lets you recycle content. For me, that app is SmarterQueue. With SQ you can create different types of content and schedule it to post to various platforms on whatever schedule you prefer. You can also make content evergreen, meaning it will recycle and repost after SQ has gone through your entire queue.
Why this is good: I already have a queue set up to post on my Facebook business page, populated with original content. Said content is evergreen, so it keeps reposting unless I turn it off or give it an expiration date. Once I create these new posts and graphics, I add them to the queue, increasing the amount of content I have to post to my Facebook page. I don’t use every post I created for the month because some of them are time-sensitive. And, if necessary, I rework the wording to make it evergreen.
Then, I hit “shuffle”. “Shuffle” might be one of the best features of SQ. Just like a playlist on your iPod, it shuffles the content of a particular queue into a new, random order. So now my new content is interspersed with my old content, rather than just being tacked on at the end. This is great if, also like me, you mix in fun quotes or graphics posts with posts that have more written content. Not all of one type of post will be lumped together in your queue.
There are lots of apps that let you schedule your Instagram posts, but my personal favorite is Later, for a couple of reasons. One, when you upload your images, they go into a “media library,” so you only have to upload them once. You can edit notes attached to each image, so you have a pre-written caption associated with each image. Or you can create a new caption each time you post, it’s up to you. I like having it already done. There are also saved captions, which I use for different sets of hashtags.
Again, because my Instagram account is one of the platforms I rotate through with my posts, I already know which post will be made on which day. All I have to do is upload the graphics, copy and paste the posts into captions, and schedule the posts, and done! Each day, I’ll get a push notification on my phone and will put the post on Instagram. Scheduled and organized in under an hour, and only a couple minutes time to get it posted. No brain power required.
Being visible on social media requires effort. But every bit of “set it and forget it” makes it that much easier to handle.