TimeManaging your social media content can be quite the challenge. First, there’s deciding what topics to cover and what content to produce. Then, there’s the question of which platform or platforms to use and what time to publish. Bottom line: there is a lot of planning and thought that has to go into managing your social media. .

Quality content can require some serious time and preparation. The same applies to quality social media posts. Planning out and scheduling your social media ahead of time can do wonders for your business, free up your time, and boost your potential reach.

Here are some tips and tools for scheduling out your social media ahead of time:

Decide When and Where

Knowing when and where your customers’ attention is focused will increase your chances of making an impact and reaching your audience. Finding out the right times to post takes data mining and outside research. Luckily, there are a variety of tools that can help you to determine your customers habits like Hootsuite and SproutSocial. These sites analyze the habits of both your followers and potential followers to help you strategically plan out your social media.

Pick a Scheduler

Let’s just assume you are a West Coast-based company, but your target customers are spread across multiple time zones. Chances are your East Coast customers are checking social media updates earlier than your Midwest or West coast customers. In order to reach your target audiences, you have to ensure that you’re posting at the optimal time on each social media platform. To achieve this you need to pick a social media scheduler.

Savvy social media communicators know that scheduling content ahead of time is extremely useful. It frees up time and can boost your potential reach by optimizing posting times. There are quite a few different social media management tools available for small businesses; however, here are three you should consider using:

Hootsuite: This scheduler is compatible with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Bloggers, marketers, and small businesses use Hootsuite to manage their social media content. It offers a user-friendly interface and can archive your tweets making it easy to track your online communication.

Tweetdeck: This scheduling tool is compatible with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Tweetdeck is known for its speed and ease of use. It allows users to manage multiple accounts at once and see different breakdowns of account activity.

LaterBroUse this tool to schedule Twitter and Facebook. It’s an easy to use and simplistic platform that takes care of your scheduling needs. It’s a streamlined platform with less glitz than the other two, but it gets the job done.

Schedule Ahead…but don’t over post!

Scheduling content ahead of time does have its limitations. Each social media platform should have a specific amount of content shared per week. If you go overboard with social media posts, you risk loosing followers and hurting your brand image. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow for each platform:

: With Facebook, less is definitely more. 1-2 posts-per-day spaced out over the day should be your benchmark. Some businesses have found better engagement by posting even less often: 3-4 times a week. Experiment with what works for your audience!

LinkedIn: Generally, 1-3 posts-per-week is effective, however some businesses should use up to 5. It depends on the nature of your industry. Tip: Be sure to schedule posts during the weekdays rather than the weekends for this platform.

Pinterest: Beware of “pin dumping,” aka posting an excessive about of posts at one time. Either schedule pins with Viraltag or pin in groups of at most 5-7 at a time.

Instagram: Consumers love photos and videos and Instagram is a great platform to share them. Stick to several photos spaced a few hours apart each day. Avoid annoying your followers with an abundance of photos in one sitting.

Twitter: Twitter is the granddaddy of slick and quick content updates. On this platform, the more the better, however never post all at once. 5 tweets spread out over the day as opposed to 5 tweets 
within 10 minutes is far more effective.

Google+: Just like with Facebook, Google + should be used sparingly but daily. 1-2 posts per day should be plenty for your business on this platform.

Scheduling ahead of time will help keep your social media on par. Remember to schedule weekly and keep your content fresh even if you are recycling content. As a small business, knowing the habits of your target market is essential. Picking a scheduler can be a lifesaver and limiting the amount of posts per platform will keep your audience engaged. Social media is a powerful communication highway that can help build your business and brand awareness. To help you with your social media endeavors, we offer social media management and planning. Check out our product page and, as always, share your social media success stories with us!