Debunking the myth: Do social media scheduling tools affect reach or engagement?
20th July 2018
The short answer here is no. But for those of you who need a little more convincing, we suggest you read until to the end.
Social media management and scheduling can sometimes be a controversial topic. But to be honest, it really shouldn’t be. Planning your content in advance can help your channels to be so much more consistent in their output, and allow you to be more strategic by posting at peak times of traffic. Creating and scheduling your social media content in advance can even lead to better quality content. Therefore having a social media marketing plan in place gets you organised.
Well, of course. Social media scheduling doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be consistently logging into your social media platforms to respond to comments, engage in conversations, and generally nurture your following. But while being reactive and having social media marketing automation in place, sound like opposing concepts, they’re actually two very complementary ways to manage your social media that can lead to an increase in follower growth, engagement, and all that other good stuff.
Social media scheduling is something that can help the busy 9-5 worker manage their social pages when it suits them, without having to drop everything they’re doing multiple times a day just to send out a tweet or push out an Instagram post. While we absolutely encourage people to be keeping their accounts active by checking in daily (at least), social media scheduling is just one extra step you can do to give your pages an extra push into the limelight when planning social.
It’s a very good question, and there is a logical answer. Way back in 2011 Facebook confirmed that their algorithm at the time was favouring content that was posted natively. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Facebook has undergone several updates in the last 7 years, along with all of our other favourite social networks. Nowadays algorithms are more content based and completely unbiased towards content posted from a third-party source. It's important to work with the right social media marketing campaign scheduler that is approved as a third party tool such as contentcal.
No seriously - there’s even research to support that scheduling or natively posting your content makes absolutely no difference when it comes to engagement or reach.
Starting to believe us now, hmm? Here’s a few quick points to keep in mind if you are going down the social media scheduling route
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with scheduling your content, but you still want your channels to appear as if there’s a person on the other side. To avoid looking too automated, make sure to vary your content and post about lots of different topics (that are still relevant to your content plan). You also need to post at times of day that seem natural, by spreading your content out across the day and not, for example, posting every hour, exactly on the hour. And finally, if you schedule any content that’s prompting a conversation with your audience; be present when it publishes so you can engage with the responses.
While scheduling your content comes with a whole range of benefits, it’s still important that you take care to stay up to date on relevant news, keep an eye on trending topics, and get involved wherever you can. Jumping on some ‘hot topics’ will get more eyes on your content, as well as making your posts more valuable to your existing audience. While you can predict some trending topics and schedule content in advance (such as pancake day), you can’t account for everything. Make sure you benefit using a Social media calendar.
If you’re looking to keep your channels healthy and growing, you need to be checking in on content performance to assess which content received the most engagement and was ultimately the most successful. Many social media management tools will be able to show you this kind of analytical information allowing you to learn and improve your content for the future. Just remember… if your content isn't as successful as you might have hoped, you now know not to blame the scheduling tool.
Social media can be intimidating for those who aren’t too experienced, or have a tendency to overthink. While your long terms goals might be pretty ambitious, you don’t need to go straight from zero to hero; start slow, learn the ropes, and gradually work out which content speaks to your audience. It's all about putting the right social media plan in place and finding the right social media marketing automation tool for you.
As with most things, learning by doing is a great way to get comfortable with something as quickly as possible. Set up your social accounts one by one, start following and exploring all areas of the social media platforms and social media planning tools, and get familiar at your own rate. There’s no pressure to kick-start your social media strategy asap or start stressing about what you’re going to post. Take things step by step.
Mistakes can happen from time to time; the odd typo, the wrong image attached to your tweet, perhaps even the wrong @handle has been tagged. But you know what? It’s hardly the apocalypse. If you’re really concerned with preventing mistakes then introduce a system for checking content before and after it’s published. You can even make a habit of scrolling though your recent social posts at the end of every day just to double check that everything is correct. If one slips through the cracks, it may be a little embarrassing, but chances are - nobody will even notice.
One of the biggest reasons people put-off getting started on social media is because they don't know what to post. The solution? A social media marketing strategy. Begin by defining your purpose; is it brand awareness, lead generation, or customer service? Who is your target audience? What can you do to create content that appeals to them? From here, work out some appropriate content themes and decide what you’re going to post about. Check in with your analytics regularly to see how different content is performing and learn to improve for the future. A content marketing calendar can help you categories and plan ahead.
The most important thing to remember here, however, is to avoid repetitive promotional content. Thinking about it, would you follow a brand (even a brand you like and already use) if all they do is encourage you to buy more from them? No. Would you follow a brand on social if all they’re doing is trying to sell to you over and over again? No. Focus on posting content that is genuinely valuable and interesting to your audience. having a social media plan can help this ahead.
Stop right there. Social media is not a waste of time. In fact, if done right it could be incredibly lucrative for your business, again though only with a correct social media marketing plan in place. We’re not going to lie, getting your social media channels to a point where you’re getting regular engagement and consistent follower growth might take a while. But it’s only a waste of time if you stop trying and give up. If you’re willing to put in the time, and take note from your results, then you will start to see results (they may even take you by surprise).