Check out my strategy for scheduling blog social media posts, including how I automate Facebook Twitter, use Tailwind to optimize my Pinterest post times, and make Instagram as visually appealing as possible!
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Alright, the cat’s out of the bag: in spite of how it might look on my blog’s social media accounts, I don’t spend hours a day posting and interacting with content on those platforms.
As a matter of fact, I don’t think I even spend hours a week on the Lamberts Lately Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram pages. With our busy life, that just isn’t feasible (or healthy, for that matter). It’s a great thing for a blog to have active, interactive, and regularly curated social media accounts; it drives a lot of traffic to my blog and lets readers know when I have new content (and even gives them a glimpse into my everyday life now and then). But the whole process of maintaining multiple social media accounts by yourself can be daunting; how do I manage it without it overtaking my life?
The answer: schedule, schedule, schedule.
I am a big believer in using scheduled posts to keep the content on those social media pages fresh. I use a combination of services to do this; some paid, some free (I’ll get into those in a minute). I would literally spend hours a day on my computer/phone without these services. There are times when it’s worth every penny to invest in your blog; I’m a big believer that using scheduling services, which adds hours upon hours back to your life a week, is one of those times.
So today, I thought I’d walk you through how I schedule a week’s worth of social media content (on all four major platforms) in about an hour a week. I also write my blog’s email newsletter in this time; my social media content and my newsletter content go hand-in-hand and work together to drive tons of new traffic to old posts!
(For reference, I’m writing the post you’re reading right now on 5/17.) I organize most of my social media posts using this spreadsheet. I work in weekly chunks, which is why you see the first week highlighted in blue (it was completed the week before). On this day, I’ll be working on the email newsletter for 5/25 and the week of 5/26-6/1 for social media (so, at any given time, my social media and email newsletters are completed 1-2 weeks in advance). I also work a week ahead for my blog posts, so the blog post for 5/22 has already been completed and well…I’m writing the blog post for 5/24 right now. 😉
When I’m starting a week, I add it to the bottom of the stack by copying/pasting that little template you see in columns G-K. I highlight the days I’ll be publishing a new blog post in that bright green – right after I write that blog post, I’ll schedule a Facebook/Twitter social media tout and an Instagram post to promote the new blog post, so it’s not necessary for me to schedule content that will publish on that day just yet.
I start the process with that spreadsheet and this blank email newsletter template open. I use Convertkit for my email list – it’s an amazing platform for bloggers that allows for so much optimization and targeting. I love it!This is the general structure of every week’s newsletter; I’ll occasionally promote a sale in there too, and I have another header for that (I just didn’t have anything to promote this particular week). At the very top, I write a quick blurb about my new posts for the week.
(This is actually the newsletter that will be going out tomorrow, so you guys get a sneak peek!) Once I finish promoting new posts, it’s time to fill in archive favorites; this is where the integration with social media really comes into play.
I go into my WordPress dashboard and pick 3 relevant but different old posts to promote that week. I try to stick to posts that are seasonal (so no Christmas posts in June) and usually try to mix it up; I don’t do all recipe posts, or printable posts, or organization posts. It’s nice to have a little something for everyone!
If you have an older post that might need updating (especially things like gift guides with outdated/broken links), this is a great time to do it. I normally try to give posts a quick look when I pick them for social media promotion to make sure there aren’t any updates needed.
Then, I start promoting!
As you can see from the spreadsheet above, I have three separate posts that have to be scheduled per day. Each day, I schedule the same post around mid-day on Facebook and Twitter that promotes an old post; one post on Instagram that promotes that same post (in a different day of that week); and one post around 6-7pm on Facebook that shares some kind of relevant content from another page. These night posts are great for building reach and engaging with your audience.
To schedule most of my social media posts, I use Hootsuite. It’s an incredibly easy way to automatically post Twitter/Facebook posts and makes Instagram posts as easy as possible (more on that in a minute).
For my first promotion post of the week, I chose my 50 Toddler Beach Trip Essentials post from a few years ago. I’ve been noticing few hits to it recently, and it’s a great, relevant post right now, since there are lots of summer vacations coming up. I head over to the post and update links (quite a few were broken or sold out). Then, I right-click the main image on this one to save it to my computer; that makes it easy to upload to Hootsuite as an embedded image on my Facebook/Twitter posts.
After that, the process is super simple. I go to my spreadsheet to see what dates need a post. Once I see that 5/31 is open, I schedule Facebook and Twitter to get a post promoting this at around noon that day (that’s just the time I’ve seen the most activity on my Facebook/Twitter analytics; check out your analytics page to tailor to your own time needs). Click schedule, and that day’s Facebook/Twitter posts are done…simple as that!
When I promote a post, I also put it in my Tailwind que to be pinned on Pinterest in regular intervals.
I have Tailwind’s browser add-on installed on my computer, so when I scroll over any image on a website, I get this little pop-up at the bottom left of the image. When you click on this, Tailwind pops up in a separate window to allow you to schedule pins from this image/site.
This is the screen that pops up. You’ll automatically get the text you put in for alt text on an image (which I highly recommend doing if you rely on Pinterest for traffic at all), but you can change it if needed.
At this point, I push my content to relevant tribes as well. Tribes is a feature exclusive to Tailwind – these are basically just groups of pinners that share their content with the group and, in return, pin content from others in the group. It’s a great way to get your content out there and find great things to share on your account. It can be used without a Tailwind subscription!
Then, I go back to that original screen in Tailwind and pick the boards I’d like to publish this post on. Tailwind allows you to make groups of boards (I love this feature)…so, for my recipe posts for example, I’m able to click the “Food” button and automatically select all relevant boards for recipes. It’s so much easier than going through and picking the same boards each time. For this one, obviously, I picked the Travel group. I also added a couple of relevant boards as well.
Once boards are selected, you can even choose the interval at which you’d like this post to pin.
I usually select the “optimized” option, which chooses the most relevant times for your account. Then, simply click “Schedule,” and your pins are ready to go!
Scheduling for Instagram
Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t schedule Instagram posts – you can, it’s just a little more complicated.
Recently, Instagram has allowed outside schedulers to actually automatically publish an Instagram post – this is new. Before, you had no option for automatically publishing an Instagram post. I can’t speak to the automatic programs; call me old-fashioned, but I like to publish my own. 😉 It allows my to check in on posts and hashtag the current post with relevant (and important) tags to draw attention to your post. But that doesn’t mean you can automate the process as much as possible!
I also use Hootsuite for Instagram. It really does make the process as easy as possible.
I usually only promote “pretty” posts on Instagram – it’s a highly visual platform, so if I published the image you see about for the Beach Trip Essentials post, it was just look downright strange against my other content. So, to balance out my schedule and make sure it’s filled, I keep kind of a stock of home image posts that I can post instead to “fill in the gaps” when a post I’m promoting isn’t really visual. I’ll go around my home once every few weeks and get pretty pictures of my decor that’s suitable for Instagram. No, you’re not promoting old content on Instagram this way – but that’s ok! Your social media content doesn’t always have to drive traffic; sometimes, it’s about building a relationship.
I write my message, upload my picture, then give the post five lines with just periods (just so the hashtags won’t show in the reader’s main message feed). I have a spreadsheet of relevant Instagram hashtags for lots of different categories (decor, food, printables, organization, etc…even a few that are for specific days) saved on my computer and I usually just copy/paste some in from that, maybe adding in a few relevant ones as I see fit.
Then, I use this awesome app on my phone to determine when to schedule my post! It’s the WhenToPost app – it analyses your Instagram account and tells you the most relevant three times of the day to post. I love it – and it’s free to use! (And apparently it’s made by Tailwind – I had no idea until I was writing this post!)
I’m posting this on Monday, 5/28, so by looking at the app, my most popular time is 11:00. I schedule it, and it’s done!
Now, I mentioned that it won’t automatically publish to Instagram. Instead, it sends a push notification to your phone when it’s time to publish. Not a huge deal – it copies to photo to Instagram and copies the text you put in the schedule for you. At that point, I put the info in Instagram, cut/copy the blank lines and hashtags, and put that in as a comment under the Instagram post (so it still gets the traction from the hashtags but isn’t in the original wording). You can check out my Instagram posts to kind of see how I do it!
After all of that…once my post is scheduled in all four major platforms, I put a link in my email newsletter.
I note that I scheduled those slots on my spreadsheet…
And that slot is done! I repeat this until all of the slots are filled (and publish three of those posts in my newsletter each week).
I promise this all sounds daunting and time-consuming, but it’s not. Once I’m in the groove, I can typically promote a post across all of my social media platforms in about 10 minutes. That typically averages out to about an hour a week!
Now, what about that nighttime Facebook post?
This one’s actually incredibly easy. As I see popular posts that would resonate with my readers, I save them in a post as a draft on my blog’s Facebook page (simply by writing the post and selecting “save as draft” from the drop-down menu).
Then, go to your publishing tools once a week and schedule one for each night. It’s really easy – maybe takes 10 minutes a week. If I don’t have 7 total posts when I go to schedule those nightly posts, it’s time to go hunting. 😉 I usually go to my pages feed (that shows other bloggers in my niche) and select from things they’ve been sharing to fill those gaps.
How do you keep it personal with so much scheduling?
This is where Instagram (and Facebook) stories come into play. I like to share little snippets of my day through those platforms. They are totally unscheduled and unplanned – I just share as I see fit. I don’t get too personal (I drew a pretty firm line a few years ago between what’s on the internet vs. what’s personal), but it’s nice to share little peeks into our home and family through those platforms. I also love interacting with other bloggers’ social media, whether it’s through liking or commenting. This is a great way to get out there and meet other bloggers in your niche! And, of course, I respond to comments on my own posts as I can.
Phew – as with most of my blogging posts, that one got way longer than it was supposed to be! I am a nerd – I could talk about blogging all day. 🙂 I hope this helps a few of you bloggers out there!
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