Don’t slip up!
Each and every one of us is fallible. Mistakes happen. Have you ever tripped on the pavement in public? Or sent an email to the wrong person? Embarrassing, isn’t it? Luckily, for the most part, the mistakes we make are in private – like when I topped up a cup of tea with cola. Yup. That happened! But at least no-one saw me do it. Even the harmless mistakes feel embarrassing when someone sees them. Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to slip up on social media. Scheduling automated social media posts can lead to some seriously embarrassing mistakes that everyone can see! So, to avoid the red faced, ‘ground swallow me now’ feeling, here’s 10 mistakes to avoid when scheduling automated social media posts.
Mistake 1: You only post scheduled messages
Scheduling social media posts ahead of time can save you time. But that doesn’t mean that you never have to post anything live! Not only will there be last minute things that you’ll want to tell your followers about, but you leave no room to be reactive to talking points. Take the time to log in, see what your audience is talking about, and take part in the discussion. Ask a question about something that’s happening within your industry, or create a post that discusses an event taking place that day – some of these things cannot be planned in advance! If you’re stuck for ideas of what to talk about, you can view another of our blog post that gives you tips and ideas by clicking here.
Mistake 2: You set it and forget it
Let’s remember that the aim of the game here is engagement – creating discussion is a big part of generating business on social media. Let’s say you’ve scheduled a post to go out to tell everyone about an event that you’re holding. Someone comments, asking a question about the event but you don’t reply because you’ve not logged in to see the comment. You’ve set your scheduled post and left it at that. Not only will that person feel like you don’t care about them, but you might well be losing business too. Remember to follow up any comments and replies to your posts (whether they were scheduled posts or not) in a timely manner.
Mistake 3: You don’t check up on the content that’s scheduled
You’ve found yourself to be super organised and have scheduled your social media posts for the next month! Huzzah! But then you wait until next month before you do anything more… Just because a link in a post you scheduled a few weeks ago was working, doesn’t mean that it is still working, and it doesn’t look good on you if you’re sending your potential customers to a ‘Page not found’ message. Check your scheduled posts regularly.
Mistake 4: You don’t personalise content curation tools
Have you seen those Twitter accounts that share nothing but links to other people’s news? Is it worth your time visiting those social media accounts just to see news you could find easily elsewhere, or sign up to an RSS feed to receive? No. And it’s not worth your customers’ time either. While it is an easy option for you to have lots to share on social media without having to actually create content, to your customers it looks lazy. You want to show off your skills, your knowledge. Not someone else’s. Then there’s the issue that you might not even have read the content that you’re sharing. I once helped someone who had scheduled automated posts using a content curation tool that picked up on particular keywords. One article she automatically shared did contain those keywords, but it was advising people not to use the kind of services she provided! And some content creation tools used (I won’t name names) really do make you look spammy. Share awesome content that your audience cares about, and they won’t mind that you may have scheduled it in advance. While this requires a little work on your part, remember why you are doing this… getting your hands dirty will impress your customers and generate more engagement.
Mistake 5: You forget about your scheduled posts during times of disaster and tragedy
Social media automation and scheduled posts will go out without you even having to think about them – which sounds great. But, life happens. There are natural disasters, terrorism incidents, and national tragedies unfolding all the time. Something that seemed harmless when you scheduled it might be interpreted completely differently in the aftermath of such an event. You don’t want to look like the American Rifleman, who, while the USA were coming to terms with the aftermath of a shooting in Colorado that left 12 people dead, let a scheduled Tweet go out that read “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?”.
Mistake 6: Your timing is out
Double check the date and time you’ve scheduled your post to go out. You don’t want to look like the dysfunctional robot, wishing mums a very happy Mother’s Day a day late… or, much like Nottingham Castle (and many others, it has to be said), that tweeted their Happy New Year message at 00:01 on 31st December instead of 1st January – 24 hours before anyone in Nottingham would be watching the fireworks (this made the news!).
Mistake 7: You never change your posting schedule
Scheduling social media posts is actually a good way of testing when your audience react to a piece of content. You can schedule the same piece of content to go out at different times and test to see when there’s more engagement and use this info alongside data from Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics. Once you’ve found this out, obviously you know when’s best to schedule your content to go out. But don’t neglect your schedule. The social media schedule you spent so much time researching and perfecting might not be the best one for you a few months down the line. As your audience changes, so too will the best time to post.
Mistake 8: You auto-post from one social media platform to another
If you’re using social media to market your business, your first priority should be your audience, NOT what’s easiest for you. While it’s quick and easy for you to have your Facebook update appear on your Twitter timeline and your Instagram post to appear on your LinkedIn feed, it doesn’t work for your audience – it can save time, but it is always a compromise on how the content appears. Each platform has its own nuances (let’s not forget, they’re in competition with each other) and posts don’t translate particularly well from platform to platform. Let’s say some of your potential customers ONLY use Twitter, and they come across your Twitter account which is filled with nothing but links to Facebook posts, and looks like this:
What will they do? They won’t be clicking through to see what the posts are about! If you’ve set your accounts up in this way and don’t know how to revert back, click here to see how to unlink your social media accounts.
Mistake 9: You schedule the exact same post to go out on different social media platforms
Each social media platform has its own audience. LinkedIn is full of business professionals, while Pinterest attracts educated, wealthy females. So, it follows that what works on one social media platform may not work on another. Here’s a confession. I do post the same content across several social media platforms! If I have something that I feel will benefit the audiences on each platform, I’ll post it on each platform BUT I’ll tailor it before posting – I will change the text, using hashtags on Twitter, change the image sizes so that they are mobile friendly, double check any @ mentions (usernames often differ between social media platforms)… I’m thinking of my audience before thinking about what’s easiest for me.
Mistake 10: You schedule huge volumes of posts, just because you can
Just because you can schedule automated posts to go out every day… every hour… every 5 minutes… doesn’t mean you should. The frequency at which you should post will vary from business to business, and is dependent on a number of factors, but test it out. See what works for your audience. Too many posts will soon put them off – you’ll look spammy.
It’s not about the quantity of posts you publish, it’s all about the quality. I’m not saying that you should never schedule social media posts. Scheduling is a good way to make sure regular content is posted on your social media accounts. But, to see decent results from your social media marketing efforts, make sure that being present and actually engaging in conversation is the biggest part of your social media strategy.