Over the past 2 weeks we have gone over the process of creating a Facebook business page, and we have discussed the 5 different types of Facebook posts.
So what is next?
Today we are going to talk about the timing of your posts – whether you use live or scheduled posting – as well as some of the tools that you can use to become more effective and efficient with your Facebook marketing actions.
Posting Live vs Scheduling Posts. Which is Better?
When social media first became popular you did not have a choice whether you wanted to make your post go live immediately, or at some future point. Every post was done live. However, over the past few years it has become more and more common to schedule posts rather than posting live.
At first thought live posting makes the most sense. The purpose of social media is to connect with others. It is to create a network and a conversation. The idea of being in the moment, and posting live, seems like it would be the only way to go.
There are some great reasons to post live:
- More genuine
- Allows for more immediate interaction
- Helps you to avoid posting the wrong thing at the wrong time
There are also some great reason to schedule posts:
- Increases likelihood that you are consistent with posting
- Helps to build a content plan
- Allows you to “batch” social media to save time and energy
You will find that some people have a strong stance on the idea of live posting vs scheduled posts, but there isn’t a “right” solution. Each person and each business is different, and you will have to decide what works best in your unique scenario.
In reality, a good Facebook marketing plan – and any other social media marketing plan – will include a mixture of both types of post timing.
In the coming weeks we will go over this same topic for Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.
But for today we will be focusing only on Facebook.
If you choose to post live you can do so directly through Facebook, either on the website on your computer, or through one of their mobile apps.
You can also post live through one of the many social media posting tools that are on the market (more about this below).
But what if you choose to go the scheduled route? Where can you do that at? And what are the different ways that you can schedule posts?
The Basics of Scheduled Posts
There are two options when it comes to scheduling posts. The first option that Facebook, and many other tools offer would be a basic scheduled post. In this scenario you would create the post and then select an exact future date and time that you want this post to go live.
Note: Within the Facebook app, or on Facebook.com on your computer, you can also select to backdate a post if there is some specific reason that you want to have a post appear in the past – however there are not that many uses for this feature.
Scheduled posts can be great for specific scenarios. Holidays are a great example. You know that Christmas will be on the 25h of December, so creating a post that will go out at a pre-determined time on Christmas to wish you fans and clients a Merry Christmas would be a great use of the scheduled post feature.
Another way to use the scheduled post would be if you had a specific time each week that you wanted a certain type of post to go live. Let’s say that each month on the third Wednesday of the month you want to create a “market stats” update for your fans, you can create it ahead of time and then schedule to have the post go live at a specific time on the third Wednesday of the month.
How about another example?
Lets say that every Thursday you want to post a reminder for your clients to give you a call with any homes that they would like to see this weekend. You could use a scheduled post to create a handful of these types of posts, and then you could schedule them for the next month so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting it each week.
There are a number of ways that you can use this feature. Play around with different types of posts that you can create ahead of time and then schedule for future dates. This will allow you to batch process the creation of the posts, to help save you time and ensure that they will be ready to go when you want them to go live.
How to Schedule a Post Within Facebook
If you want to schedule a post within Facebook, it is very simple to do.
All you have to do it create a post or update just like you would ordinarily do, but rather than clicking the blue “publish” button, you will click the down arrow on that button and then select “schedule”. Pick a time and date that you would like to post this update and then click “schedule” again.
Posting Tools That Can Simplify Your Efforts
There are a ton of great tools on the market that can help you to create and post for Facebook, both for live posts and scheduled posts.
Many of the top tools allow you to have 2 options when you are not creating a live post. The first option would be a standard scheduled post. Just like when scheduling a post through Facebook itself, this option allows you to create the post and then select an exact date and time in the future that you would like that post to go live.
The second option would be to queue your posts. This is the option that I use the most, and I believe that it is one of the best ways to post content to your Facebook page.
Using Tools to Queue Posts
How is this type of post different from a scheduled post? Queued posts, just like scheduled posts, are sent at a future date. The difference is that a tool that allows your to queue a post will have you create a schedule for when you would like posts to go live, it will then post the next “queued post” at the next available post time on your schedule.
How does this work?
First you have to create a schedule. You will want to start by deciding how many times per day to post.
I would recommend that you begin by posting no more than twice per day. Once you see how your fans react, you can experiment with increasing the number of postings if your would like. Many times posting once or twice per day is more than enough.
Remember, quality is far more important than quantity. One great post per day, is way better than 3 so-so posts per day.
Once you have decided how many posts per day you will next want to decide on the posting times. To do so you will want to analyze the times of day that you have the largest amount of fans online.
You can see this in the insights tab of your business page. Click on insights, and then on posts.
You have the choice to post when the most fans are online, which many times correlates to when the most content is being published, or at a different time.
According to Neil Patel at QuickSprout.com the best time of day to post for shares is 1 pm, and the best time of day to post for link clicks is 3 pm. However, this is a general statistic. To have the greatest success you need to take this into account, along with the data that your post insights shows. Once you have a time, or times, that you believe will work for you, make sure to test it.
Lets say that after analyzing your insights, and taking into account the 1 pm and 3 pm guidelines, you decide that best times to post are either 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm. Now you can create a posting schedule that allows you to test these different times. Try each time block on specific days and see how the content that you post at those times performs.
After analyzing this for a number of days you will begin to see what is working best for you, and then you can go and refine your posting schedule to make use of the optimal times for your audience.
Now that you have a decided on the quantity of posts per day, and the time for those posts, it is time to create your schedule. Each tool is different, but below you can see the schedule screen for both Buffer and Sprout Social.
Within Sprout Social:
This is a great way to create a schedule one time, and then load your queue with great content and allow the tool to post on your behalf at the appropriate times.
How does a queue work?
When you create a post and choose to place it in the queue, the tool will save that update and place it at the end of the line of posts you already have waiting in your queue. If you have 5 posts already loaded into the queue, the next post you create will become the 6th, and will be sent out at the 6th next posting time.
With many tools you have the option to add it to be “next in queue” so that it will go out in the next available spot. This is great if you have an update that comes up and is more urgent. It allows you to send it out as soon as possible without messing up the posting schedule you have already created. The tool will just move your current updates all back one spot, but keep them in the same order.
What are the best posting tools?
I personally use all of these tools and love different aspects of each of them. You do not need all of them, but each does offer unique strengths.
Buffer is my go-to posting tool for social media. It is the first tool that I ever used, and I believe it is one of the best tools on the market. I especially love their mobile app.
The strength of buffer is in the ability to “buffer” posts throughout the day by creating a schedule of posting times, and then creating a queue of posts that will be posted at those pre-selected times.
Currently Buffer supports integration with the following platforms:
- Facebook Profile
- Facebook Page
- Facebook Group
- LinkedIn Profile
- LinkedIn Page
- Google+ Page
- Pinterest Profile
Another useful feature of Buffer is that they give you analytics on all of your posts to show you the number of comments, likes, clicks, reach, and shares that each post recieves. They even let you sort by these and re-buffer the post if you want to share a popular post again.
There are a couple of options available for plans ranging from free to $250 per month. For your real estate business you should be able to use either the free plan, or the Awesome Plan which currently costs $10 per month. To find the right plan for you visit http://buffer.com
Much like Buffer, Sprout Social offers the ability for you to create a queue and schedule posts. So what makes Sprout Social different?
To start off with Sprout Social is a complete social media posting tool that allows you to not only post updates, but also respond to any and all messages that you receive over social media. They refer to this as having a “social inbox” where you can access all of the social media messages for all your connected profiles all in one place.
Currently Sprout Social supports integration with the following platforms:
- Facebook Profile
- Facebook Page
- LinkedIn Profile
- LinkedIn Page
- Instagram Profile
- Google+ Page
- Feedly Account
Another very useful aspect of Sprout Social is in their analytic reports. This is one of my favorite things about using Sprout Social. They give you so many useful options when creating reports to analyze your social media efforts.
You can create reports for all of your social media accounts combined, or you can break them out one by one to analyze each individually. You can also adjust the timeframe for the reports.
There are so many useful things that you can learn by analyzing your reports, and Sprout Social makes it extremely easy for you to do so.
To learn more about Sprout Social and see if is the right tool for you, visit http://sproutsocial.com.
Another great tool for social media posting is Edgar. Much Like the other tools, Edgar allows you to create a queue and a schedule for posts. What makes Edgar different is that it is the only tool that lets you schedule based on categories of content, and they are also the only tool that saves your social media posts and will auto repost them for you at specified future dates.
What do I mean by scheduling based on categories?
Edgar allows you to create different categories for content. For example: I have a category called “Jeff Prewitt: Blog Archive” where I can create posts based on past blog posts. I can then create a schedule for this content category and tell Edgar to post a post from “ Jeff Prewitt: Blog Archive” every Thursday at 1:15 pm. Anytime I add a post to that category, it becomes the next post to go out, but then reverts to cycling through all the existing content in that category.
This is great because it means that if I want to share an old post every Thursday, I don’t have to worry about creating that post each week. I create it one time and Edgar will make sure that I have a post to share every week at that time.
How can this come in handy for real estate agents?
One great type of content to share is saved searches. If you create 10 different posts for saved searches, and place them in a “saved search” category, you can tell Edgar to post a saved search once per week on a specific day at a specific time. Doing so will result in Edgar reposting each search once every 10 weeks. The more posts you have in the category, the less often the posts are repeated.
There are so many ways that you can use Edgar to make sure you always have content ready to post.
Currently Edgar offers support for the following platforms:
- Facebook Profiles
- Facebook Pages
- Facebook Groups
- LinkedIn Profiles
- LinkedIn Pages
To find out more about Edgar visit http://meetedgar.com.
Now that you have a bit more insight into the different options for posting – live vs scheduled – and a few of the tools that you can use, it is time to begin putting some of this into action.
By now you should have created a Facebook business page and learned about the post types, tools, and timing that you can use to make your efforts on Facebook a success.
The next step is to create a posting schedule, or a content calendar, which is what we will talk about next week.