Oh yeah, The Ultimate Guide to Social Media. Social media can be a time suck. So often I find myself, while waiting for a file to upload or something like that, saying, “I’ll just go on Twitter for a minute.” The next thing you know, it’s been an hour, and my file has long since been uploaded.
As solopreneurs, the last thing we need is to lose a precious hour of our time. Many of us are doing it all. We haven’t reached the next level yet in our business, and can’t afford to hire an assistant. If you’re like me, you write your posts, take your own photos, design your own graphics, create your own products, and market your business, all by yourself. (Kudos to you!)
If there is one thing I can do for myself as a blogger it’s that I can find ways to make the best use of my time. And, that’s why I created this ultimate guide to scheduling social media. It’s one area of my business that I can 100% say has been the best thing I’ve done for increased traffic.
Pick A Social Media Planning Day
For me, I plan all of my social sharing (outside of my own marketing efforts) on one day a week. This is where I share excellent posts from other bloggers that I find beneficial to me, and that I think my readers and followers would appreciate.
The day that I choose to plan my media shares is on Fridays. If I can’t wrap it up in an hour, then I will do the rest on Sundays. It’s rare that I can’t get it all done in one sitting, but Fridays can sometimes take me away from my desk early, so I make do.
It’s important not to make what you share all about you. You need to be active in the community of your peers. Interaction helps you get noticed. My take on this is that for every one post you share of your own, try and share three to five more from someone else.
[Tweet “For every one post you share of your own, try and share three to five more from someone else.”]
Give yourself an hour of your time to focus on this. Following through and being consistent is how you grow your audience.
How To Find What To Share With Your Social Followers
So, how do I choose what to share and where do I find it all? For me, I find many of the things I want to share on Pinterest. While many people consider Pinterest a social media tool, it’s actually a search engine.
Using Pinterest to Source Content
When I’m searching through Pinterest, I will pin relevant content consistent to whatever blog post I’m writing for that week. Then, when I’m ready to share posts from Pinterest, I can look at these boards to find something to schedule on my social media calendar.
Make sure that your pins and repins go to a blog post that is legit. If they aren’t, don’t pin them. Delete them if you already have. It’s helpful to have good pins on your account if you want to make sure Pinterest sees you and thinks you matter. It’s all about algorithms, and Pinterest is no exception here. Want to make that easier? Subscribe to BoardBooster (affilliate link). I use BoardBooster to run reports to comb through my pins and help me find pins that aren’t quality, broken links, or duplicates.
[Tweet “Make sure the pins you’re sharing on Pinterest go to a blog post that is legit!”]
Using BlogLovin to Source Content
Another place I find relevant content to share on my social media calendar is by using BlogLovin. This is a feed reader of sorts. I so miss the days of my Google Feed Reader. That thing was how I was notified of new posts, and it rocked my world. BlogLovin is similar.
When I find a user that has interesting content, from someone I have found on Twitter or Pinterest, I will add their blog to my BlogLovin feed. This makes it super easy to scroll through and see posts that will work for my social sharing schedule.
Sharing Other Bloggers’ Content
Alright, so now that you have all of the places to find great content, and you know what day you want to plan to schedule your social media, let me share how you can do it so you can set it and forget it. Well, maybe not totally forget it, but to make things ready to share, which is super helpful if you get busy.
First off, here’s a schedule for how I feel you should consistently share another blogger’s posts to social media. I am no expert on this, but I believe it’s the right amount without making you look like a total asshole as an over-sharer.
Facebook: Twice a day
Twitter: Three to five times a day
Google+: At least once a day
Be sure to link back to the other blogger’s user account by using something like via @username so that they know you shared it and will help them engage with you. Plus, your followers can choose to follow them too!
You can also use other social media platforms for sharing, but these are what I choose to give my focus. I just feel overwhelmed with everything out there, so to be good at it, I hyper-focus.
How To Schedule Your Blog Social Media Posts
Sharing your own social media is important too. You NEED to be out there. It’s free, and if you don’t talk about yourself then NO ONE WILL KNOW ABOUT YOU! Why do you care about all of those followers if you aren’t making money? If you’re afraid of being too salesy, then I give you permission – piss them off, who cares!? Those aren’t your target audience.
[Tweet “If you don’t talk about yourself then NO ONE WILL KNOW ABOUT YOU!”]
First off, I recommend blogging consistently. I do believe that quantity is as important as quality. So post as much as you can weekly to gain exposure! But, don’t post crap. Post relevant, great content. And, share it.
When to Post to Social Media
According to Kissmetrics, 80% of the US Population is in the Central and Eastern Time Zones. By doing a Google Analytics check (go to Audience, Geo, Location, and click on the country with the most users) I can see that the majority of my visitors are in California and Texas, but the top 10 show that my users are in the Central and Eastern Time Zones. I live in the Mountain Time Zone, so I may adjust mine for Central users to be right in the middle.
There are so many reports and other bloggers that go further into this subject and state exactly which days are better than others. But, to be honest, if you are just trying to get started, create a regular routine first. Then, when you’re comfortable, pick one platform to try and perfect. Social media planning can become a job of its own if you let it.
Share your new blog post on Facebook once on the day of the post and again the following day. Facebook posts stick around longer than a Twitter, and the best times are from 1 to 4 p.m. Then, I make sure to share that post again a week later, and a month later.
Example: Publish post on Tuesday. Share on Facebook Tuesday at 1 p.m., Wednesday at 3 p.m., following Monday at 1 p.m. (then schedule for a month out).
When it comes to Twitter, you can share much more frequently. Twitter is about quick sharing. A tweet can lose it’s visibility after about 16 minutes. So, you want to share often here. You’ll want to share your content tweets from 12 to 3 p.m. and again at 5 p.m.
On the day of your post, post to Twitter three times minimum, two the following day, and then once a day every day with the 7th day sharing two times. And, as always schedule to share your old content a month later. It helps bring life to old posts!
Example: Publish post on Tuesday. Share on Twitter Tuesday at 12 p.m. 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., Wednesday at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., Thursday at 12 p.m., Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 12 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m., Monday at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. (then schedule for a month out)
I still am not a super fan of Instagram. I haven’t given it the proper attention it deserves. Wah Wah. But, try and post something of your own at least once a day. I am going to challenge myself later this month to grow my account, so stay tuned for that!
According to some research I found that there are best times to post to Instagram. Apparently during the week is best for engagement on Instagram so take that for whatever that’s worth. Sharing on the platform seems to work best from 8-9 a.m., 2 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Example: Publish post on a Tuesday. Share something about it on Instagram at 9 a.m. and then something else later in the day at 5 p.m. If you choose to share once, choose the earlier option.
Many people consider Pinterest another social media platform, but it is, in fact, a search engine. I still treat it like social media. I pin to Pinterest during my peak times (based on my reports from BoardBooster). Then I will re-pin my original pin to other relevant boards including group boards. Yes, I pin one time from my blog and then re-pin that pin. The reason is that it helps your pins in that algorithm deal.
I also work to share 20-30 pins a day of my own and other blogger content. Keeping my Pinterest active helps me grow. Pinterest has been the driving force for traffic to my blog. So I believe in it and continue to put efforts into it.
According to research, the best time to pin is actually on Saturdays from 8 to 11 p.m. But I highly recommend determining what times are working great for you. Test it out for you. With a quick updated peek at my Best Times to Pin based on BoardBooster, funny enough it’s 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. overall. With BoardBooster, I can actually look at individual board peak times to dig deeper. However, I still try and schedule most of my pins in the evening.
Example: Pin my blog’s content to Pinterest Tuesday (day of publish) at 8 p.m. and then re-pin to various boards it will work with, including any group boards.
Ahh, Google+, it’s like this necessary evil. You probably will never get any engagement here. But, it helps with SEO and organic searches so just do it. The best times to post here are 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. I share once on the day of the post and then a week later.
Example: Publish post on Tuesday. Share on Google+ Tuesday at 9 a.m. and then a week later at 11 a.m.
Be sure to download my social media planning page so this will be a lot easier, and give you a check list to follow.
Automating Social Media
All of this information is probably a lot to take in, but I promise it becomes like second nature the more you do it. Set reminders and make a cheat sheet for where to share and how many times. I’ve created a calendar planner that you can download and use when planning out your social sharing.
Using CoSchedule to Automate
To make this all MUCH easier, I use CoSchedule (affiliate link). If I had to get rid of everything I pay for in my business and only keep one thing, CoSchedule and my hosting costs (duh) would be the things I would keep.
AND, all those crazy times above, CoSchedule just introduced a Best Times Available feature so it figures it out for you. GAH! This is so genius! THANK YOU CoSchedule!
CoSchedule is a monthly subscription service that allows you to plan all of your blogging and marketing efforts. Sure you could do this manually, or get by using a free account with other schedulers, but there is something about CoSchedule that feels like I’m soaking my cares away in a big ass bubble bath.
[Tweet “There is something about CoSchedule that feels like I’m soaking my cares away in a big ass bubble bath.”]
Via the WordPress plugin, I can view my CoSchedule calendar within the WordPress admin area and begin adding social shares, I can plan out my blog posts, and I can view stats on how my data was shared out in the interwebs.
How I Use CoSchedule
CoSchedule also allows you to customize the social shares for each platform to meet the requirements, including the right image sizes and post length. So, I just finished up a post, and I go to the CoSchedule section and begin planning how I’m going to share this post via my social media. I can color code the category of the post, and I can upload the right photo for the platform I’m sharing to…it’s genius. I simply set the date and the best time for the sharing during a specified period.
With CoSchedule, I have an editorial calendar and social scheduling manager in one. I’ve been able to see which posts do better socially, and which ones aren’t. Then, I can choose to re-share those posts and keep life on my blog. I’ve seen more growth with this program, and I’ll never give it up. Ever.
I can look at my calendar and be blissfully happy to see that everything is set up for automation. I input my social shares for other blogs here. The color coding of those helps me see how much I’m sharing compared to my own. And, you can easily drag and drop items to other days if you want to fill up some space that needs it.
Here’s A Snapshot Of My Filled Calendar
The stats that I can see through here make it worth every penny. I currently use Asana to do my project planning, but I probably could put it here too. There are tasks that you can set up and check off as you complete. I just like having mine separated. I’m sure that you can see all of the possibilities!
How Much Time I Spend Per Week on Social Media Planning
So if I had to guess how much time I spend on social media – just in automating, I take about 60 minutes to schedule a week for sharing other bloggers’ posts. Not a ton of time, and I find some new people every week to add to my BlogLovin feed.
For my own posts, I create each graphic for the platform requirements (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) and between that and scheduling my posts to the calendar for sharing it takes about 25 minutes per post. I may take less time depending on how quickly I can take one of my templates and modify it for the blog post. Having my own templates created for each size spec is the best (workshop coming up on that very soon!)
Be Active Real Time
I do believe it’s still important to be live on social media. Set it and forget it is a nice concept, but if you aren’t going on social media and responding to people, and commenting then you’re missing the point. Social media is about being social and not just all about you. So plan some time each day to spend about 25 minutes just scrolling through your feeds and interacting. I tend to do more after lunch and in the evening.
Invest in social media. Do it. You need it. You’ll want it even more when you see the results for increased traffic to your blog. You’re welcome!