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Muddywall | July 30, 2014

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Create a backbone for your social media communications by scheduling updates

Create a backbone for your social media communications by scheduling updates

Silence on social media is not good. In fact it’s one of the main reasons fans stop following a social media profile.

Social media is all about communication, conversations and engagement. Without regular updates your social profile will go unnoticed and you’ll soon be forgotten.

Doesn’t take long for your once loyal fans to lose interest in following a silent social profile.

Always try and maintain regular updates. Even just one a day is better than none.

But how to do this and find the time to run a successful business?

I’m the first to agree that social media is a time-consuming occupation. Finding the opportunities to sit down and write updates or respond to your followers is difficult, especially in an age when the demands on our time are at a premium.

This is where scheduling comes in, by doing two important things:

1. Keeps regular updates being posted to your social media profiles at times when you may be at work or asleep!

2. Provides a backbone to your social communications, on which you can build your interactions and engagement.

There are three social media management tools that I can recommend for scheduling your updates:

1: Hootsuite

The most popular social media management program out there and for good reason. You can schedule updates to most networks using Hootsuite including LinkedIn Company Pages. There is a free version but this has its limitations. The Professional version is only about $10 a month and has more features than most businesses will ever need.

Hootsuite has a clever AutoSchedule button designed to make your life even simpler. Just write an update and click on the button. An algorithm decides the best time that your update should be published based on the performance of your previous posts.

My main complaint with Hootsuite is the cost of the analytics. And the platform can become confusing and a bit of an eyesore if you are working with many social media profiles.

2: Buffer

My favourite scheduling tool basically for its ease of use. The Buffer button integrates into many of the major social networks like Twitter and Facebook making scheduling even simpler.

You can only schedule updates to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (personal not Page), App.net and recently Google+ but this restriction is outweighed by the simplicity of use. Plus Buffer includes free basic analytics which are surprisingly useful for discovering when the best times are to post your updates.

Buffer has a free version (with restrictions). The premium version is about the same price as Hootsuite Professional.

3. Sprout Social

This would be competing for my favouritism if it was not for the price. Currently three times more expensive than the other two but they do offer a one month free trial to new users. The layout is very user friendly making scheduling a pleasure. And they do include some good looking analytics for free but to be honest they are more style than substance.

All three scheduling tools include automatic link shortening and it is simple to attach images. Plus they all have an extension button that you can add to your browser. When you find an article you want to share, click the extension button and this will automatically take you to the scheduling tool with the update written for you, plus the shortened link. Add your own text if you want (recommended) and then choose the time and date when you would like the update to be published – job done!

In this way you can create a backbone for you social media communications, by scheduling updates to be posted throughout the day (or night). But DON’T leave it there. Dip in and out of your social media profiles during the day to respond to replies, comments and mentions. This interaction is so important and the way you will create a successful social media presence for your brand.

Remember, social media is all about conversations and building communities. Positive and regular interaction is required to do this.

I created the blog Muddywall to share social media trends, ideas, opinion and advice. I'm a social media specialist working with businesses, organisations and individuals to improve their social media communications. Happy to connect on any of my social media profiles.