August 24, 2020 Hanna Selman

Scheduling Your Social Content: How Far Ahead Should I Plan?

Some of us in the world are planners by nature, while others prefer to see where the wind takes them. In life, there’s something to be said for both sides of the coin; however, in the realm of social media, we’re all about planning in advance. It is our opinion that the benefits of scheduling your social content ahead of time heavily outweigh the slight inconveniences of doing so that can sometimes arise.

The benefits of scheduling your social content in advance

Ensure accuracy and quality

The main reason for scheduling your social content in advance is the same reason you plan any important work or project ahead of time. Scrambling to get something done at the last minute can lead to errors and compromised work quality. The same rings true for your brand’s social media content.

Stay consistent

Consistent posting is key, and scheduling ahead means less of a chance that you’ll skip a day in your rotation. Set time aside periodically to schedule batches of content at once so you are not stressing about it every day. There is certainly a time and place for posting “in real time,” and we encourage our clients to do so. However, if all else fails and you can’t get a “real time” post out one day, you know you have your set calendar of already-scheduled content to fall back on.

Acknowledge important dates

Planning and scheduling a social calendar in advance also helps to certify that you don’t forget important dates, like federal holidays, relevant hashtag holidays, community events and so on. For example, if you’re a coffee shop, and #NationalCoffeeDay is coming up, that’s an easy one to go ahead and plan out a post for. Planning something like this in advance could also set you up to offer special deals or featured menu items on that day—which is not something as easy to do last minute.

Give yourself peace of mind

As a business owner or manager, you’re busy! Having a pre-set social media schedule helps to ease some stress and allows you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

Where scheduling in advance doesn’t work

Keep in mind that last-minute content needs can and will arise. That being said, don’t think you can set up two weeks’ worth of content and then go off the grid until it’s time to schedule again. You should consistently be anticipating last-minute content ideas and changes—whether it is a critical piece of information that you need to pass along to your customers, a holiday you forgot or a deal or discount that corporate decides to add (or discontinue). Some of these things are beyond your control, and that’s OK! You can’t know everything ahead of time.

We also referenced “real time” posting. Live streaming an event at your business. Taking a picture of the line of customers outside on a given day. Unpacking a new shipment. These are all great examples of “real time posting” that we encourage.

Words of caution

Scheduling your social content ahead of time offers peace of mind. However, when you schedule content ahead of time, make it a point to check periodically that it will still be relevant by the time the post date comes around. For example, if you have a post set to go out in two weeks featuring a specific product, and that product sells out, then you need to be keyed into your calendar to adjust the post accordingly—or replace it with something else.

How far out should I schedule?

At minimum, we recommend having your social content scheduled out a week in advance. Two weeks is great, and even a month’s worth of scheduling ahead is common. For fixed dates on the calendar like holidays, you can start planning your posts at any point in time throughout the calendar year, and then fill in the rest as you go.

Summary

Scheduling your social content in advance is the ideal way to ensure quality control over what you are posting. Your business’ social media is one of your most significant ways of connecting with your customers, so streamlining the process of creating and scheduling social media posts is critical to digital success.

Don’t have time to schedule in advance? That’s where we can help!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

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