Balancing your social media presence with the day-to-day demands of your business can be challenging. Creating a social media posting schedule can help you prioritize and streamline your efforts.
A posting schedule, or social media content calendar, defines what, when, and where you post. Creating your social content in advance and scheduling it ahead of time makes it easier to maintain social media for your business.
Why You Need a Social Media Posting Schedule
If you are only posting on social media when inspiration strikes, it can easily become inconsistent. You may keep up with posts for a week or so, then suddenly you’re distracted and swamped with other work. Or worse, you’re feeling uninspired but need to get a post up and only put in the minimum amount of effort.
This type of process doesn’t set you up for success. However, organizing a social media posting schedule and creating a content calendar can keep you organized and consistent.
- Stay Organized: Keeping up with a social media calendar lets you plan ahead and batch your social media tasks. This is an efficient approach that reduces the time you need to spend on social media.
- Post Consistently: If your audience sees new and regular posts, they can see that your business is active, legitimate and that you care about them as customers. Old posts or very few posts suggest that your business isn’t active anymore or that you are not invested in your customers.
- Minimize Mistakes: When you plan ahead, you incorporate more steps to ensure each piece of content is accurate. Creating a content calendar in advance builds in time for copy-editing, fact-checking, or getting stakeholder approval for your posts.
What to Include in Your Content Calendar
Your social media posting schedule can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. Maybe it’s a Google Calendar reminder to post. Or, maybe it’s a Google Sheet that includes all the creative assets for the month. You may want to create the calendar and share it with a team member who is responsible for posting and monitoring your accounts.
When you create a social media calendar, each entry includes a combination of these elements:
- The exact date and time of the post.
- The social network and account where it should be posted.
- Any copy and images for the post. If you’re designing your own images, we recommend using Canva.
- Any links to be included in the post. If you need to shorten a link, we recommend TinyURL.
- Any other relevant details (for example, a post for Instagram Stories).
We recommend starting with a calendar for the next month. If you plan the majority of your posts in advance, you can still supplement your regular posts throughout the month with timely or trending content.
When is the Best Time to Post?
There are days and times when more people use social media. However, there’s not a universal best time to post. Your audience may engage at different times. Using tools like Facebook Insights on your business page can help you uncover patterns in your target audience.
In general, these are some of the best times to post on different platforms:
- Instagram: This platform favors recency, so it’s important to be online when your audience is online (or right before). If you don’t know when that is, try in the late morning or early afternoon, about 11 am – 2 pm. Tuesday is usually a peak engagement day.
- Facebook: You may find consistent engagement throughout the week on Facebook, but peak days usually include Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The best times are from morning to early afternoon, about 9 am – 1 pm.
- LinkedIn: Because it’s a business and career-oriented platform, the most engagement is seen during the workweek. Best days include Tuesday – Thursday from 9 am – 12 pm.
- Twitter: Peak engagement on this platform typically happens in the morning and afternoon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Specifically, Tuesday from 9 am – 3 pm and Wednesday from 9 – 11 am.
You should experiment with the days and times of your posts to see which times lead to more engagement. Once you’ve found the sweet spot for your audience, that’s when you should post.
We recommend starting with weekday posts in the 9 am to 1 pm window.
How Often You Should Post
How often you post depends on your business and your resources. Because of the algorithms on different platforms, it’s unlikely that you’ll overwhelm your audience with content even if you post every day (or more). And you may struggle to reach them organically if you post too little.
As a starting point, we recommend posting at least 3-5 times a week on any account. More specifically:
- Facebook: Daily, at least 3 times a week
- Twitter: 8-10 times per day
- Instagram: Daily, at least 3 times a week
- Instagram Stories: 2-5 times per day
- LinkedIn: Weekly, at least 1-2 times
Keep in mind, your social media strategy should identify which platforms you want to be on. It’s unlikely that your business needs to have all of these social media accounts.
Additionally, you should always focus on the quality of posts over quantity. Don’t fill your social media calendar with empty content that doesn’t engage your audience.
Planning What to Post
You should always aim for engaging, memorable content. One way you might find ideas for posts is by researching your competitors. Take the time to see what they are doing well (and not so well). You have the opportunity to learn from them, adapt and do better.
A large chunk of your social content should inform, educate, or entertain your audience. The remaining portion can be used to explicitly promote your brand, direct to your website, collect leads, etc.
Here are some content ideas you may want to include in your calendar:
- Create a recurring series: Circle back to the same topic weekly or monthly. You could make a series of how-to videos for your products, FAQs you receive from customers, or employee spotlights. This will help you save time on some of your posts because you’ve predetermined an ongoing theme.
- Share company info: This could be major news and announcements, job postings, or even company history. When you reach significant milestones as a business, social media is a great place to share.
- Behind the scenes content: You can use Instagram Stories to show a more human, behind-the-scenes look of your business. For example, a dance studio may have a team member who films rehearsals. You could get more personal by having an employee “take over” your stories for a day and share more about their role. You could also post about team retreats, company events, and more.
- Share success stories: By highlighting testimonials or case studies, you draw attention to the benefits of your product or service. For example, a dental office might frequently post photos of their smiling patients or share before and after pictures. You could also share user generated content. For example, a furniture store might repost a photo of a customer’s living room setup that showcases their products.
- Repurpose company content: If you have white papers, ebooks, blog posts, etc., you can share them on your social media accounts. Maybe you want to plan a recurring spotlight on certain products on your website. You could also promote your email list by posting about an offer for new sign-ups.
- Share something fun: Maybe you host an “ask me anything” event in your Instagram stories and reply to all the questions. You could run a seasonal contest or make a post about a holiday. It may be challenging to plan posts around trending topics, but you can always throw in an unscheduled post about the latest Netflix show or recent meme.
Scheduling Your Social Media Posts
You can set your own reminders to post, but most platforms let you schedule posts in advance. For example, your Facebook business page lets you choose to post now or later. There are also several social media scheduling tools, like Sprout Social, CoSchedule, or Hootsuite.
Creating a social media content calendar makes it easier for you to batch schedule posts. Dedicate some time at the end of each month to create your posts for the next month. Then, either schedule them all at once or schedule them at the start of each week.
Scheduling your posts ahead of time will help you stay on track with your pre-determined posting times, and it’ll help ensure you don’t miss posts when your workday gets busy.
Plan Ahead for Better Quality
One of the greatest benefits of setting up your social media content calendar is the potential to improve the quality of your posts. When you work ahead, you have more time to brainstorm types of content, create engaging visuals, and ensure you are posting at the right times and frequencies.
You also have more time to pull in a team of experts like our content writers, graphic designers, and digital marketers. If you’re interested in improving the quality of your social posts, contact our team for advice specific to your business.