I found an interesting post on Inside Facebook today about using Hootsuite to post to Facebook.  Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know I’m a big fan of Hootsuite (affiliate link).  I rarely use it  for Facebook but  from time to time I need to schedule posts if I’m not going to be around, It’s important to be consistant and Hootsuite scheduling allows me to do this even when I’m with clients or teaching a course.

The disadvantage of using Hootsuite for Facebook according to the article is that Facebook penalises your content as it comes from a third party app.  This means posts sent from it are less likely to appear in the ‘Top News’ feed of Facebook users and may get overlooked.

I do use Hootsuite scheduling far more frequently for Twitter, in fact I use it on a daily basis.  Unlike Facebook there is no penalty for using third party apps to post on Twitter.

Whenever I mention scheduling it usually sparks a debate.  There are advantages and disadvantages but used properly I believe it can help you create an effective social media strategy.

The argument against scheduling

The idea of scheduling makes some people prickle and I think I understand why, social media is social, users value authenticity and interaction, the perception is that if you schedule you don’t care, you are not there to respond.  However I don’t believe we should all be chained to our computers or phones all day long to interact on Twitter.  Scheduling doesn’t preclude interaction, it just guarantees you are able to reach your audience when they are online even if you are not. Those who schedule must respond and interact live too but if you schedule you can do this when it suits you without loosing your audience.  In this respect scheduling tweets actually makes you more social not less so.

The advantages of scheduling

I find scheduling invaluable for many reasons.  As I mentioned in my opening paragraph I can’t always be at my computer, If I’m out of the office I’m still able to share with my followers, I’m able to be consistent.  If I kept my tweeting to when I had computer access I’d be in danger of flooding my followers streams with my tweets.  There is nothing worse than logging into Twitter and seeing it dominated by a string of tweets from a single user.  By spacing my tweets out I’m giving people time to digest them. As the tweeter this means followers are more likely to look at the links I tweet .  The biggest advantage of all is that scheduling is a massive time saver and it helps me avoid those procrastination moments. I spend time in the morning scheduling and then dip in throughout the day to converse and engage.

How to schedule

Before you start scheduling I’d recommend analysing your followers using a tool like Tweriod or CrowdBooster, this will give you a rough guide to when your followers are online and you can create your content calender around this. Use Hootsuite (affiliate link), Buffer or Crowdbooster to schedule your tweets and assign timeslots during the day to check in on your account and read tweets from others.

Do you love or hate the concept of scheduling? I’d love to hear your opinion so please leave a comment below.