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Planned Social Media vs Reactive: Which is best?

Blog Post Author – Kirsty
12th August 2020
planned social media vs reactive

What is the perfect balance between a steady stream of planned social media content and on-the-spot engagement? This is a point debated time and again by social media marketers.

Conducting all of your social media marketing spur-of-the-moment is not an effective use of time and, with the best will in the world, expecting inspiration to strike at the precise time you need it to is not a realistic strategy.

Too often brands fall into the habit of shifting community management to the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ pile, and rather than a robust, clearly thought out strategy, posting becomes a cursory effort at best.

The result: Content is sporadic, uninspired and, fundamentally, boring.

But does an entirely pre planned social media publishing schedule overlook a vital opportunity to connect with your target consumers? In the age of social media, the gates have been opened for brands to directly connect with customers and influencers in their ‘natural’ environment, and to seize valuable right place, right time opportunities for their brand.

The Case For Live Response

Social media is a living, breathing entity. With 43% of 18-24 year olds in the UK and 62% of US adults now citing social media as their primary news source, brands that fail to keep their finger on the pulse risk coming across as disconnected and insincere.

Tapping into trending topics and news stories, and engaging with your brand's followers in real-time, could hold the key to social media success. In a recent interview with We Are Social Media, Tim Hughes (founder of Digital Leaderships Associates and author of Social Selling: Influencing Buyers and Changemakers), shared his thought on how brands should approach social media in the digital age.

"Social media is not a broadcast medium. It's a two-way conversation. And brands need to try and engage with their customers as such."

Opening a dialogue with customers on such a public forum can seem a rather daunting prospect. However, a recent Twitter study found that 69% of people who tweet something negative about a business actually report feeling more positively after that business responds.

These comments are particularly pertinent when considering that users whom brands directly engage with on Twitter are 44% more likely to share their experience, both online and off, and 30% more likely to recommend your brand to others.

71 Social Media Scheduling Tools for 2021 (with verified reviews)

The Case For Planned Social Media


Realistically speaking, busy schedules as well as limited resources and manpower can deem an entirely conversational approach unsustainable. A consistent schedule of pre-written content, scheduled ahead of time, peppered with responsive posting could hold the answer.

Informing potential customers of your business's products and services is a no-brainer as far as social media marketing is concerned, and a steady stream of evergreen, brand-based messaging should be a staple when looking at schedules and social media management tools.

But more than simply a portal to direct users to your website, use your brand's social channels as a hub for all things 'you'. Promoting blog posts, links to your favourite articles and company updates...all of these tell a story about your brand - all of these posts can also be created any time you want.

NowTV are reporting time savings of 3-5 minutes per post using ContentCal to plan and auto-schedule content. This might sound small in isolation, but it actually equates to 25 days per year. Reducing a two-step process down to one has freed up valuable time which can now be spent engaging and interacting with followers.

Creating content in advance and using a content scheduling tool to publish posts automatically to your brand's channels helps maintain a consistent publishing schedule. More importantly, it allows social teams to prioritise proactive community engagement - safe in the knowledge that their strategies are bolstered with consistent and timely messaging.

How ContentCal Can Help

Built with teams in mind, ContentCal helps accelerate the planning-to-publishing workflow, including:

  • A clear visual calendar which allows you to easily spot gaps in your calendar and plan ahead accordingly
  • Placeholder posts to serve as visual reminders for reactive engagement
  • A live-updating dashboard to keep your whole team up-to-speed with your social media publishing - including the latest edits and developments.

READ MORE: Social media analytics: why monitoring results is crucial for social media success

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