What to Post on Social Media and When to Automate Things

Which Networks Are Right for You?

When working out your social media posting plan, the networks you choose to post to should be an important part of that plan. The good news is that there is no absolute right or wrong choice when it comes to knowing which social networks you should sign up for. It depends on where your audience typically hangs out and which medium you prefer to interact with.

How Many Social Networks Should You Use?

Using social media automation, you might think that you may as well just sign up to as many social networks as possible, since posting will all be scheduled ahead of time. This isn’t true. You’ll still need to put time and effort into writing your social media posts in the first place, and you’ll also still need to physically login and interact with your followers on a regular basis.

Again, there is no right or wrong answer here. Smart marketers know where their time is best spent, and it’s recommended that you choose between two to five social networks to really focus on. When you’re just starting out and limited on time and resources, start with just one, then add a second, and so on… It’s better to be awesome on one or two than to just be kind of blah on all of them.

What to Post to Your Social Media Accounts

What to Post and When to Automate on Social Media

When you’re putting together a batch of posts to schedule to your social media accounts, it’s a good idea to think about the types of content you’ll send out. It’s important to make sure you provide different types of content to keep people interested. It’ll also help you to test what works best for your particular market.

Remember, you don’t need to post the same things on all of your social networks. For example, you might use Pinterest to showcase some of your favorite products in your niche, and you might use Facebook and Twitter to share quick handy how-to tips related to that niche.

Your posts can be related and link to the same content or landing pages, but the updates don’t have to be exactly the same. In fact, many social media marketers find it best to customize content to each social media platform. People use the various platforms differently and respond on them in different ways, so it’s beneficial to customize and know the audience likes and dislikes for each platform.

7 Post Type Ideas for Your Social Media Updates

These 7 post ideas should make it easy to come up with content to schedule on all your accounts. Just remember this one rule: it should always be relevant to your niche and your target market. People follow you on social media for a specific reason, so keep things relevant.

Images

Some networks are based on images, like Pinterest and Instagram, but they’re still hugely popular on most other networks and they’re being incorporated more and more to the different platforms.

There’s a reason why images make up the most shared posts around the web. It’s because they’re so easy to look at and quickly like or share.

What kind of images should you post? Not necessarily images of your day-to-day life, unless that’s what is most relevant to your niche and topic. Think inspirational quotes put into images, funny cartoons, memes, anything that would appeal to your ideal customer.

Shared Links

You never want your social media feeds to be full of links to your own websites and products, but it’s perfectly fine and good practice to share useful content from other people. In fact, your fans and followers will welcome the fact that you point them in the direction of good quality content in your niche, even when that content isn’t yours. Think 80/20 rule, shared knowledge, a kindness economy, and have fun sharing things that you enjoy in your niche.

Get a pre-filled calendar of post ideas for every day, including holidays, historical events, and trends.

Quick Tips

Put together some short “quick tip” posts related to your niche. For example, if you review high quality kitchen equipment on your blog, put together tips for getting bargains, cooking with that equipment, or cleaning it quickly.

Fast Facts

Just found out some cool information relating to your niche? Post it as a fast fact on your social media feed and people will love learning from you in bite-sized chunks. These are short and sharable 😉

Questions

Believe it or not, you’ll actually get more comments and shares if you actually ask people a question. I know, you’re probably shocked entirely.

Yes or no questions work very well, as do those where you supply your followers with specific options to choose from. Open-ended questions tend to get less response, because they require more thinking time.

This is also great for getting to know a new audience. Ask some fun questions and find out what they really love.

Links to Your Email Newsletters

Many email marketing service providers will give you the option to automatically share a link to your latest newsletter on social media. Doing this can put your newsletter in front of a bigger audience, and some people may even choose to sign up to your mailing list after seeing this. This is a great way to make the most of your followers and ultimately direct them to your own website and products.

Links to Your Own Site and Products

Don’t overdo it, but do be sure to direct people back to your own website from time to time. If you have a sale going on, make sure your followers feel special by making sure they’re the first to know about any discounts. You can schedule these posts to go out in advance, but do make sure you’re around to check in on customer questions and complaints if you’ve launched a new product or sale. (You guessed it, 80/20 rule again)

How Long Should Your Posts Be?

Studies have shown that shorter posts get the most likes and comments. It’s because they’re quick and easy to read before people move on to look at the rest of their news feed.

That doesn’t mean all your posts should be short, however. Depending on your market, you might get a good response from posting longer posts.

Many people even essentially write blog posts on Facebook and Instagram and get amazing engagement from those. It just depends on your audience. Test out some longer posts now and then to see what happens.

Timing Your Social Media Posts for Maximum Impact

One of the best things about automating your social media posts is that you can post at any time of the day. Doing so means you can reach potential customers all around the world, not just those who are awake and logged in at the same time as you. But how do you decide on the best time to post?

Why You Shouldn’t Just Post All Day Long

You could simply post an update every hour all day long, but this is not the best way to do social media. Spray and pray approaches are rarely effective.

Instead, a good idea is to choose a “window” of time. This could be between 9am and 5pm; it could be 10am-midday then 5pm-8pm. It’s whatever works best for you. Then you’ll space out your scheduled social media posts within those times.

Mix it up, test it, and don’t get too caught up on the exact timing minutes. You don’t want to be confused with a bot posting at the exact same times of day every day.

Benefits of Automating Some of Your Social Media Posting

Automation is a great tool when used carefully and it can free up your time to focus more on the engagement and interaction pieces.

Be More Present

Automating your social media posts makes it a lot easier to space them out in a way that means you’re showing up in people’s feeds throughout the day. You can spread your posts out within a certain window without having to actually be online all day long. When you are physically on, you can spend your time engaging and talking with people instead of thinking about what to post.

If you post within a very small window each day, chances are most people won’t see it. Even if they’re following you, they only see a certain percentage of posts at any given time.

Be on More Social Networks

Many marketers and small business owners find social media overwhelming. There are just so many social networks these days that it can be hard to think about running just 1 or 2 successfully, let alone more.

Automating your social media takes a lot of the pressure off, and means you’ll find it easier to manage accounts on a greater number of social networks than you would have been able if you had to login into them all individually multiple times throughout the day.

Reach More People

Being on more networks and being able to post at various times consistently throughout the day through automation means you’ll be able to reach more people in total. There’s just more chance that different people will see your posts at different times, helping to get your message out in front of a greater audience.

Save Time!! The most valuable asset.

When you automate social media, you’ll still need to take the time to write the posts. However, since you’re scheduling them in advance you can now do this in batches rather than one at a time.

Many people find that batching processes like this helps them save a lot of time. Not to mention that certain parts of social media automation can easily be outsourced to take the work off your hands.

Get Your Message Out There Consistently

Let’s face it; we’re all busy and can easily get distracted on social media. If you don’t have any social media plan in place then it can be pretty easy to forget to post for certain periods of time, or to post inconsistently throughout the day.

Automation will ensure you’re consistently showing up on people’s social media feeds. It also means you’ll consistently promote the products and blog posts you need to as you keep these links in your social media schedule.

Avoid Getting Sucked In

This sort of goes along with saving time. If you’re a one-man or one-woman show trying to run a business, it’s very easy to get sucked in by social media. You think you’ll just login for a minute to update your Facebook page, and before you know it an hour has past and you’ve been browsing your friend’s photo album. Automating your social media, and then deciding on very fixed time windows to log in and check on things, can avoid the social media trap.

The Dark Side of Social Media Automation

.Social media automation can help us achieve more than constantly having to log in and out ever could, but there are downsides too. The key word in social media is social after all.

You Can’t Automate 100% of Your Social Media

Before you start any social media campaign, note that you can’t automate all of it. Sure, there may be individuals and companies who do, but they probably don’t get much response, interest, or engagement from their followers that way.

On social media, you really want engagement. You want to spark conversations, you want to get people talking about your business, product or offer, and you want to build relationships that could take your business further in the future.

You won’t achieve any of this if you’re treating social media as a one-way street. Social media needs back and forth conversation, so incorporate that into your social media plan and schedule times where you’ll chat, respond, and be involved.

Automation can do the posting for you, but a human needs to do the real engagement. Schedule yourself (or a virtual assistant) a block of time each day to reply to feedback and join conversations.

You should also consider how many social networks you’re signed up for. If your time is limited and you can’t commit to them all, that’s okay. Don’t try to do everything at once! Just pick the main social sites where your audience is and work on building a really strong following there.

Watch Your Timing and Be Aware

Sometimes you might have something scheduled in advance that ends up being posted on a bad day. This gets overlooked all the time and can create a really negative impression.

For example, if a global tragedy has just occurred, you should be very mindful of what you post on social media that day. Instead of keeping all your automated posts going, login and either change or pause them.

Watch Your Social Media First Impression

When it comes to getting people to follow you, your first impression counts. Sure, many people will just hit like or follow without looking at your profile, but most followers will come from your profile page.

If your profile page is obviously full of automated posts then that really isn’t a good look. Think about what you would do if you went onto someone’s profile and all you saw were auto-tweets from someone promoting their own site or product. You’d probably hit the X on that tab and never become a follower.

About Loretta

Transcriptionist, passionate cross stitcher, writer at heart, wife, mom, and finder of lost shoes...

Loretta Oliver, married to the comic book geek of her dreams and mother of four amazing young men, has been working from home full time since 2001. With a busy transcription service business, a few niche sites, and a handful of other internet marketing projects on the go, the computer is always fired up and the ideas are always flowing.

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