What Are Scheduled Posts?
Do you know you can schedule your social media posts in advance? Through the use of native and external software, you can pre-load posts into all kinds of social media channels. Using a paid web service like Hootsuite, for example, allows you to control your businesses Facebook and Twitter posts so they go out at the same time with similar messaging. You can also schedule posts directly in Facebook, and if you’ve linked it to a Twitter account, it will share there as well.
This is a great feature when used correctly. Scheduling your social media posts gets you in the habit of thinking ahead, which is good. But, if you only use this feature, you’ve removed the ability to post on the fly about up-to-the-minute news in your field. In social media it’s important to stay up to date on current events; when something happens that’s worth mentioning you need the flexibility to post immediately. For example, you might want to ask your followers how they feel about topics that relate to your industry, and you should! It’s a great way to keep engagement levels up.
Regretful Social Media Timing
While pre-loading all your posts for the week (or month) might sound like a good idea, there are some instances when doing so can result in a PR nightmare. Most people probably wouldn’t willingly try to do what American Apparel did during Hurricane Sandy and come across as completely insensitive to people in need, but you might do it unwillingly if you rely solely on pre-loaded posts. Take for example the hero of the New England Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady. He is one of the most well-known (and well-liked) athletes in the world, so it seems there would be no issue in having his page post a question like: “How many of you will be watching the big game on Sunday night?” Under normal circumstances this would be no big deal. However the status update was auto-posted just hours after the tragic shooting in Sandy Hook had occurred. As you can see, fans weren’t thrilled about it.
It was a few hours before his marketing team realized what was happening and removed the post, replacing it with a sincere message about the recent events. Of course Tom Brady and his marketing team didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but the poor timing of the post made it appear that way to many of his followers. What’s the lesson? It’s important to understand that most people don’t realize how fan pages work and probably don’t even know that pre-loading status updates is even possible. And they don’t take kindly to insensitivity, even if it is from a beloved brand or public figure.
A pre-loaded posting schedule can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, but only if you remember not to use it exclusively. Always turn off your scheduled posts in time of national emergency, or if no one is around to monitor incoming responses. Be sure to leave room to post about what’s hot at the moment. Not only will this encourage engagement among your followers, but it will also assert you as a leader in your field and up to date on current events.