Whenever I ask my readers to share their biggest blogging struggle, social media marketing is always at the top of the list. Social media isn’t just for broadcasting your content and your products and your service offerings, the best results come from a combination of sharing your stuff and authoritative, engaging and useful content from others in your industry. That’s where things can get rough for many. The time involved in sourcing and scheduling that amazing stuff weighs a lot of bloggers down – some to the point they just abandon social media altogether.
The good news, you don’t have to spend hours and hours every week or every day seeking out great updates to share. I’m sharing with you here the tasks and resources that have allowed me to get great results from social media while only spending a few hours each month sourcing and scheduling updates.
Note: This post will focus on Facebook though many of the same techniques can be used on Twitter, Pinterest and more.
The Best Tools for Scheduling
For those of you who like to put things into action as you read, let’s start with scheduling tools. There are tons of great tools out there that will allow you to schedule social media updates in advance. When it comes to Pinterest, you can’t be BoardBooster for the price and ease of use. When it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, I have some specific things I am looking for when choosing a tool.
- a visual calendar that lets me see what updates are scheduled on what days
- I need to be able to schedule things “on the fly” without having to visit the site itself, this usually requires a browser extension
- great reports that show me what content performed well and what days of the week and times of day work best for posting to my profiles
A few scheduling tools that currently meet my requirements:
- Buffer: free – $10+/mo – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest
- Hootsuite: free – $9.99+/mo – supports over 35 networks
- SproutSocial: $59/mo – Supports LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+
I have used all of the above and more, and my preferred social media scheduler at this time is SproutSocial. It’s not only a scheduler but also a full suite social media management system with great reporting. Most schedulers come with a free trial so try them all if needed until you find one you are comfortable with and that you will actually use. That’s the most important thing!
How frequently should I post?
Finding the sweet spot is different for everyone. I personally try to schedule morning, noon and night during the week and one post in the evening on the weekend. You may feel most comfortable posting twice per day to start, or maybe you have a huge, engaged social media following and like to post every hour or two throughout the day. The choice is yours. The most important thing is to not get yourself overwhelmed and, on the other hand, not let your profiles go stagnant. And, choose quality content over quantity always.
There are a few essentials for any social media content calendar, regardless of your niche. These are things that we sometimes overlook promoting regularly, but they are often are most important when it comes to income and influence.
Popular Posts – You should always keep a running list of your most popular posts. These should be evergreen articles that will be relevant and resourceful for months or years to come. These pieces can be updated as needed to remain the authoritative pieces they need to be. Frequency of sharing: Once per day, can be alternated with new posts
Newsletter Sign-Up – Your main goal through any marketing activity should be to get people signed up for your email newsletter. Social media is fickle and platforms come and go. You never need to worry about your email subscribers – provided you treat them well. They will be there when you need them and you can contact them at a moment’s notice. This is THE most important thing you have as a blogger. Frequency of sharing: 2-3 times per month at different times of day
Sales Pages – If you have a product or service for sale, a lot of your readers may not know about it. And with social media, people are coming and going every day. They may only visit social media once per day. Consistency and repetiveness is key when it comes to reaching people by social media. Frequency: 2-3 times per month at different times of day
Popular Posts from Others – Social media platforms are not intended to be your personal bullhorn. Sharing things only you created can hurt your reputation. Share the love. Frequency: Once per day
Industry News – Social media is a great place to build your brand and start being seen as an expert in your industry. Share important things in the news that are relevant to your followers. Spark discussions on hot topics. Stay away from things that can alienate your followers like politics. Frequency: As they come up, no more than once per day
Other Profiles – We all have one social media platform we love above all others. A few times per month remind your followers to catch you over there for some additional good stuff. Frequency: 2-3 times per month
Where Do I Find Content to Share?
Before we dig into where to find content, let’s jot down if there is anything important going on this month. Is there a big holiday or an interesting holiday that we could work into our niche? Do we have a product launch coming up? Is there some seasonal shift going on (spring cleaning, back to school, etc). Maybe your industry has something really important and “newsy” going on right now. These are all things we can incorporate into our editorial calendar and make our search easier. Some popular seasonal topics for social media:
- January – New Year’s, Organization, Fitness/Health, Starting a Business, Money, Super Bowl
- February – Super Bowl, Spring Cleaning, Gardening, Valentine’s Day, Taxes
- March – St Patrick’s Day, Spring Break, Homeschooling, Easter, Budgeting, Gardening
- April – Spring, Getting Ready for Summer
- May – Mother’s Day, Graduation, Memorial Day, BBQ, Travel, Summer Vacation
- June – Father’s Day, Grilling, Summer Weddings, Camping
- July – Fourth of July, Summer Recipes, Grilling, Gardening
- August – Back to School, Football, Organization, Canning, Tailgating
- September – Meal Planning, Back-to-School, Harvest, Fall Weddings
- October – Halloween, Fall Recipes, Football
- November – Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, DIY Gifts
- December, Christmas, Hanukkah, Parties, Organization
Always be looking forward to the next month as many people start planning in advance. This is especially the case if you are wanting to create new content around one of the above topics. But, we’re here today uncovering existing great stuff!
There are so many places to find great content. You will first want to dig through your own stats to find the top 10-20 posts that are already receiving a lot of traffic and are either evergreen or relevant to this season. Give them a quick glance as you create your list to make sure they don’t need any updates, any links still work, maybe give them a fresh photo, etc. Keep these in a spreadsheet for easy picking.
When looking for content to share outside of my own, I’m hitting up BuzzSumo first. This site will try to get you to register for a paid account, but the free account has always worked just fine for me.
I’m going to search BuzzSumo for keywords relevant to my niche or maybe those important holidays or trending things we discussed previously. I can set the time frame for searching – 24 hours to 1 year. I can also sort the results by Total Shares, Facebook Shares, etc. If I’m looking for things to share on Facebook, I want things that have already proven to be popular on Facebook.
Next, I’m going to start clicking through these links and checking them for relevancy, quality, etc. The good start is going to get plugged into my scheduler.
I also really like searching Pinterest for things to share on not only Pinterest, but also Facebook, Twitter, etc. Just do a search for your topic in Pinterest and they will serve you back some of the most popular results. Add these to your Pinterest scheduler. Click through again and gauge for quality and relevancy. The good stuff can go into your content scheduler.
Do a Google search for your topics of choice and then narrow down your results to include only News results. The benefits are twofold. You will not only be seen as “in the know” by your followers, news organizations often come with a lot of built-in social media credibility. You will hopefully find these things have a great reach on Facebook.
Facebook Page Posting Tips
Facebook can be really fickle and their algorithm is constantly changing. If you aren’t seeing great results right now, don’t be afraid to experiment with what you share and how you share it. Regardless, links with established social credibility always seem to do great. This is why I put so much time and emphasis on choosing already popular posts from myself and others. Links from news outlets and other authority sites usually have great reach as well.
Analyze your results & reschedule
You won’t know what’s working and what’s not without analytics. One of the reasons I love SproutSocial is the reporting. I can sort all of my status updates by Engagement, Comments or Likes. I can then Send the Post Again, Boost It or Remote It from Facebook without ever leaving SproutSocial. This is invaluable information as I can not only use it to keep engaging updates on my Page going forward, I can also use it to create more content based on what’s trending.
Want to learn more of my blogging success secrets? Check out Primp My Post.