How to be a Time Master

Managing your social media properly doesn't happen in a matter of minutes. From drafting the right copy to making a great graphic to remembering the right hashtags to keeping up with the newest features, it can be a full-time job.

In fact, for many people (including us), it is!

The flow of updates is non-stop, even if you're faceplanted on the couch. How can you find the time to publish all day and all night? When are the right times to be posting, anyway?

Good news, everyone! There are timesaving solutions for scheduling posts in advance and knowing when your followers are perked up and ready to engage with you.

Before you start, make sure you have your trusty 🔥 editorial calendar 🔥 on hand so your content is ready to go. 

Level 1: Facebook and Twitter

Facebook has the simplest scheduling tool that you might already be using. If you haven't been, go to your page and get ready to write a post like you normally would. You see that little arrow next to the Publish button? Click that and you’ll see “Schedule."

Use the next window to select the date and time you want your post to appear.

Not sure what time to pick? Review the basics of timing posts (and a fabulous cat gif) here.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 6.44.45 PM.png

Wham, bam, scheduled. Easy, right?

In order to harness Twitter’s scheduling potential, you can use Tweetdeck! Tweetdeck is one of our fave (free) Twitter tools. You can manage multiple accounts and use the columns to keep up with anything you need to monitor on the reg, from hashtag searches to competitors you're stalking to rereading what you've posted in the past. In short, it’s your new Twitter bestie.

More on all the things Tweetdeck can do later; we’re just going to focus on scheduling right now. (But if you really want to know, check out a full guide right here.)

So! You see the Add New Post button on the top left of your page? Click it and you’ll see something like this:

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 6.47.59 PM.png

Write your tweet and select “Schedule Tweet” to pick your date and time. Note that it’ll schedule it in whatever timezone you’re in, so consider where your audience is located if you’re abroad. 

Level 2: LinkedIn and Pinterest

While neither LinkedIn or Pinterest have built-in scheduling features, they can be scheduled using tools like SproutSocialHootsuite or Buffer. These are social media management platforms that offer lots of benefits beyond just scheduling. Next week, we'll introduce you to each of these tools and help you think about which one is your social media soulmate; for now, here are the how to's for scheduling if you need them:

Pinterest Bonus: If Pinterest is your channel of choice, try Tailwind. It will recommend new content to you, give you tons of metrics, and make scheduling pins to lots of boards really easy.

Level 3: Instagram

Instagram really takes pride in the “instant” part of their name. So much so that you can't actually schedule posts in advance on the platform. Automating posts in this way actually goes against their terms of service, so while many scheduling tools have a "Schedule Posts to Instagram!" feature, don't be fooled: most of these tools will send you a reminder to post at your selected time, and you still have to go through the scheduling process yourself. It may be better than a calendar reminder, but you still have to hit that post button at the right time. 

If you do want something to make managing Instagram easier, start with the big three. Here are the deets on Hootsuite's Instagram scheduler, and here's the 411 on Buffer's, and here's what you need for SproutSocial. All of these let you upload your content in advance, and when it's time to post it just takes a few clicks. And they let you update via your desktop or your mobile device.

(There are a couple of tools that say they'll actually schedule posts for you, but we can't recommend them in good faith, since Instagram might shut your account down for doing it. You've been warned!)

Now that you're an expert on scheduling, how far in advance should you schedule your posts? 

We know folks who schedule their posts months in advance, but we like to stick with a few days to a week at most, so that we're regularly checking on our feeds and notifications, and so we're ready in case any breaking news throws a wrench into what we've got planned. And these days, that's pretty much guaranteed to happen, are we right?

Happy scheduling!