We’re constantly being told that we must be present on social media, but for some of us when we’re starting out, that can be quite hard. Creating a simple social media schedule (emphasis on SIMPLE!) that works for you, as well as your business, is a great place to start.
When I first started my business, I was in one of those phases where I was trying to cut back on my social media usage. I was fed up with the fake friends, fake news and pointless posts that no one ever reacted to. So, for me, I was starting from scratch. Re-building my trust in the networks and learning how things had changed during my time away.
You know that having a plan for your content, social media included, is essential for your business’s online presence. You also know that creating regular posts means your audience will know when to expect your content on their news feeds. It encourages engagement and helps to build your brand credibility.
But, I also think that having a social media schedule in place is just as important for you. It means you can allocate your time wisely. It means you know what you need to do and when. It’s peace of mind and helps to relieve the social media pressure I know I felt when I first started.
Whatever happens and no matter how confident you might feel, I would not recommend ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ when it comes to your social media schedule. Irregular posting can be damaging to your reach and, depending on the service you’re offering can affect your credibility, too.
Look, in all honesty, what’s important is that you realise, really early on, that there is nothing wrong with starting small. If you take the time to create a good habit, embed it into your schedule, and then grow it, it will be easier to maintain. You’ll feel more in control and your confidence will grow.
Taking the time, early on, to make this plan will be essential and ensure consistency.
Step 1: Get Started
So, before you can get your teeth sunk into the schedule itself … I know you just want to get moving, I was the same! It’s important to set some goals.
Keep them simple, especially if you’re new to this social media for business stuff. Think about a few short-term and one long-term goal to focus on.
Think about goals based around commitment, building quality content, consistency and don’t worry about your following, likes or engagement too much to start with. A lot of people will tell you they are vanity stats, anyway.
Or how about a goal dedicating additional time for engagement. One of my social media goals is to spend up to 30 minutes on each social media platform, engaging with my audience on my posts and elsewhere.
EG. this was my first goal relating to social media posting.
"I will post once per week for the next 3 months and spend 30 minutes on each FB and LI engaging with my audience and followers."
It’s simple and realistic.
In the early stages of my business set-up, I came up with an idea for a weekly post on my social pages. I wanted to provide my audience with a tip, every week, that they could learn from, implement, or would just generally help improve the daily running of their business (or life).
#toptiptuesday was born and is something that I continue to do now. Every Tuesday, without fail, I post a tip that is going to help my audience. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram to stay up-to-date with my helpful tips.
Just remember that going too hard, too early can sometimes result in you struggling to keep up the momentum. You may start to resent your content, feel overwhelmed or just hate the whole thing and wish you’d started with a Content Manager (LOL)!
Once I came up with my initial content idea, it was relatively easy to commit to posting once per week. In those early days, it was just as important for me to build my following and, at that time, my main platforms were Facebook and LinkedIn, so engaging with people all over the place was my focus.
OK. Have you written down your goal? Are you just wishing away my words so you can get into the social media schedule? Are you waiting for the end of the blog?
Step 2: Brainstorm content ideas
Hopefully, my last blog (here) has given you some good ideas for what sort of content you can post on your social media profiles. Most of my content revolves around the main topics discussed in that blog and, when sprinkled with a few of my own (sometimes last minute) ideas, does me fine for regular posting of relevant and entertaining content.
OK, so the social media schedule I recommend working with is so simple you’re not going to believe how quickly the rest of this blog disappears!
Step 3: First posting schedule
This is the original posting schedule I started with and developed over the past 12 months. It is just an example and I’d recommend doing some research for your focus platform, to ensure days of the week and times of the day are best suited to your business.
Of course, stats on your posts will help too, but to get you started I’d recommend looking at a few of the below links which are different reports on the best times and days to post on social media based on your industry/audience.
I know they're all American websites, but there is quite a lack of information for Australia. I've looked a lot of places and really do struggle. My recommendation is to use the information in the above blogs as a guideline, a starting point, and work with your experience and statistics to tweak where needed.
NB. This graphic was created using a Canva template. You could create your own to stick up on your wall to remind you of where you’re headed.
Let’s start simple and realistic. One post per week for the next xx months.
To give you an idea, I did 1 post per week for almost 6 months. It got the habit of content creation instilled into my weekly routine and allowed me time to focus my time and research tips that were of value to my audience.
It also allowed me time to work on a side goal which was to use that same tip to start building a blog.
Anyway, I digress – continue your plan for xx months (or whatever your goal is).
During this time make sure you take the time to look at your insights, stats and similar stats (refer to your platform analytics to get the best information).
Step 4: Increase posting frequency
As you start to feel more comfortable with your posting schedule you will start thinking about the next step. It’s time to increase the number of posts and update your goals.
As I said, this is just the plan I used, you might find you’re ready earlier, or later, make a plan that works for you.
Add 1 more post per week, so that’s now 2 per week.
Remember to keep monitoring your insights regularly. Tweak things to suit you and your audience and change things up if you don’t think they’re working. Just remember to give it time, too. It’s not instant results!
It was during this second stage, 2 posts per week, that I found I had some loyal followers and commenters. It was nice to connect with them off the page, messaging them to thank them for their contribution and ask their thoughts on what content they’d like to see moving forward.
One of the things I learnt during this stage was that there are people who ‘watch’! That’s right these are the people that watch you, read your posts but don’t engage much, or at all.
They are there, be sure of that, and you just never know when one of them will pop up their head and say:
“I’ve been watching you on LinkedIn for a few months now. I love what you post about and I’d love to work with you.”
“I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while now, but I’ve never had the opportunity to buy your products. Well, so and so’s birthday is coming up and I’d love to buy that candle gift set you were posting about a few weeks ago.”
This does happen, honestly, you’ll hear about it occasionally. My tip, regularly thank your audience and followers. Make it public and also message specific followers privately.
Step 5: Increase frequency again
It’s important to know when comfortable means you’re ready for the next challenge.
It’s time to add another post per week and let’s keep that going, consistently, for 6-12 months.
There is no rush when it comes to building your online presence and as long as you continue to post valuable and entertaining content, your audience will come.
Keep looking at your insights, play around with days of the week, or times of the day (ensuring you allow time for the change to show on your statistics). Find a rhythm that works for you.
See, I told you the back end of this blog would go quick!
Remember, this is your journey.
Your journey, your goals. You know your strengths and your weaknesses. Use them, listen to them, and drive yourself to be the best representation of your business that you can be.