If you manage social media for your brand and business, you probably already know how important forward planning and social media scheduling is for success.
Not only can it help you save time and increase your productivity, but it can also help you better optimize your social content, drive more traffic, and grow your business faster.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned pro, here are 5 tips and tricks to help you get more from your social media scheduling:
Table of Contents:
Social Media Scheduling Tip #1: Organize & Plan Your Content in Advance
If you’re looking to grow your social media presence, you’re probably posting not just to Instagram, but to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too.
Each platform is different, with different image requirements and even your aesthetic and content may differ — that’s why keeping your content organized is so important if you want to plan in advance.
Using a social media scheduling tool like Later that lets you upload social media posts from your desktop will save you a ton of time (not to mention frustration) when trying to get your photos from your computer to your phone.
With Later, you can quickly drag and drop all your photos and videos to your Media Library and immediately start scheduling your posts in just a few minutes.
What makes Later’s Media Library such a useful tool for businesses is that you can label, star, and segment your content so it’s easy to find what you need, exactly when you need it.
For example, you can create labels for user-generated content (UGC), social campaigns, or even for photos that have a certain color palette.
Once you have all your content and assets, it’s time to put everything together and plan out your social media content calendar!
And while there’s no right or wrong way to plan your content, making sure your social accounts are planned in advance (at least 1-2 weeks in advance!) is non-negotiable in our eyes!
That’s where Later’s social media optimization tools and easy-to-use content calendar comes into play. You can schedule your photos and videos to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and view all of your social posts on a content calendar together to have a comprehensive view of everything that’s going out.
Even if you’re not ready to actually schedule your posts yet, you can still plan out your social posts with Later’s calendar notes feature. You can add notes to remind yourself to post on that day or time, create placeholder content, or indicate which posts will be a part of your new product launch.
When you start planning your posts, Tweets, and Pins in advance, you give yourself more time to be selective and deliberate with the content you post.
And while this is, of course, important for all your social accounts, it’s even more essential on Instagram where the look of your feed as a whole is just as important as the look of your individual posts.
In fact, creating a cohesive Instagram aesthetic for your feed is one of the best things you can do to level-up your strategy, boost your engagement, and gain more followers — and this means you need to start thinking in “grid” format and start planning your Instagram posts about 2-3 weeks in advance.
This way, you’ll be able to easily see what your images look like side by side, on top of and below one another, and even diagonally across.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with a tool like Later’s Visual Planner. It allows you to quickly drag and drop your photos and videos around your feed so you can select the layout that looks best. Plus, once you’re happy with the way your future feed looks, you can automatically schedule the posts on your calendar, so posting to Instagram is one step closer!
Sign up for a Later account today to get a complete look at your social media strategy and scheduled content!
Social Media Scheduling Tip #2: Craft Higher-Quality Captions
The story you tell on social is just as important as the images and videos you use, so it’s worth spending time crafting your captions.
Today, social media audiences want to learn more about the brands and businesses they follow — they’re curious about the behind-the-scenes, the personalities behind the brand, as well as your product info!
And let’s not forget that you may use your social profiles for different reasons — for example, your Twitter profile could be dedicated to product and service announcements, where your Instagram is much more informal and focused on the community you’re building. And your captions will reflect that.
A great caption can also be the difference in whether someone clicks on the link in your bio, comments on your post, or takes some other kind action on your account.
When creating your social media captions, you should think about what the intention behind the post is — are you trying to encourage conversations? Drive sales? Or simply entertain your audience?
Whatever your social platform’s use and goal, take your time and don’t be afraid to go through several drafts, especially if your captions are more than a few lines long. Plus, don’t forget to think about the basic best practices for each of your profiles and ways to optimize your captions for more exposure!
Know Best Practices for Captions on Each of Your Platforms
For example, while Twitter recently increased its character limit to 280, the most common length of a tweet is 33 characters. So brevity is clearly important on that channel. The same is true on Facebook, where the ideal length of a post caption is somewhere between 40 and 80 characters.
On the other hand, Pinterest recommends sharing longer captions — upwards of 500 characters! Just keep in mind that the first 50-60 characters are most likely to show up in people’s feeds, so you should put your most important info first.
It’s a little confusing, right? Well here’s the good news: if you use Later, you can write and edit your captions in advance, and save them with your posts ahead of schedule. So even if you’ve scheduled a post for 3 weeks’ time, you can still jump in and make changes to your copy.
Make Your Posts Easier to Find with Hashtags
Let’s not forget about hashtags! Despite originating on Twitter, today hashtags are an important part of content discovery on Instagram, Facebook, and even Pinterest!
But as we’ve said before, not just any hashtag will do. You need to be deliberate with your hashtags and only use relevant ones that focus on the content you are sharing and relate to your brand.
Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your social media posts is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences. And this can translate into more engagement, followers, and customers for your business.
Need some help finding those niche and industry-specific hashtags for your account? Then you may want to check out Later’s Hashtag Suggestions feature.
Hashtag Suggestions works by automatically finding relevant hashtags for your posts based on other hashtags that you use. All you have to do is know one relevant hashtag (like #livesimply), put it into Hashtag Suggestions, hit “Suggest,” and the feature will immediately generate 30 other hashtags, sorted by relevance.
You can then pick and choose which of these hashtags to add you to your caption. Just click “Insert Hashtags” and they’ll be added to the end of your caption.
Just keep in mind that each of your social accounts will have different rules and best practices for hashtags. For example, while Twitter recommends using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet, Pinterest says 20 hashtags is the recommended maximum.
The “right” number of hashtags is even more uncertain on Instagram, where you can add as many as 30 hashtags to your posts (unless you use an Instagram hashtag hack).
One way to be more consistent with your hashtag use is by using Later’s Saved Captions feature, which lets you create multiple hashtag lists based on your frequently used hashtag categories and then easily insert them into your captions with just a single click.
Let’s say that you run a travel brand and often post photos of beautiful locations around the world. Instead of trying to remember (or find) relevant hashtags for every post, you can use Saved Captions to keep them all organized, so you can quickly add them when scheduling in the future.
If you want to schedule a photo of a beach in San Diego, since you’ve already saved hashtags for different categories, you can insert relevant hashtags for beaches, California, travel, and San Diego with just the click of a button!
After you’ve written your caption, just click on “Saved Captions” and then click on the appropriate hashtag list to instantly add those hashtags to your caption.
Saved Captions is available on all Later plans — including our free plan!
Social Media Scheduling Tip #3: Optimize Your Content Calendar for Maximum Engagement
If you’re taking your social strategy seriously (which we know you are!), you’ve likely put a lot of time and effort into creating great content for your accounts.
But you want to make sure that all this awesome content is actually reaching your audience! And one of the best ways to do this is by finding your best time to post.
Plenty of studies have tried to pinpoint the best time to post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and almost every other social media channel, but the reality is that “best times” are personal to your account, audience, industry, and a host of other factors — and the only way to find this out is through consistent testing and tracking of your analytics.
Discover Your Optimal Posting Times For Each Social Platform
The best time to post on Instagram, may not be the optimum time for your Facebook, or Pinterest audience. So it’s so important you take the time to find out the times when your engagement peaks on each of your social platforms.
The first place to visit is your Instagram Insights by tapping the bar-chart icon on the top right of your profile page. Here you’ll find all the analytics for your account and you’ll want to look under the Audience tab.
Under the Followers section, you’ll find a breakdown of the times and days when your audience is most active. The windows where you see spikes in activity is when you want to schedule your posts!
On Facebook, the best place to start is your Facebook Page Insights. From the Insights dashboard, select Posts in the left-hand column menu. This will take you to a detailed breakdown of the days and times your fans are most active on Facebook:
You can also open your Audience Insights to find key demographic data, including a breakdown of where your audience is located.
Like Facebook, the jury’s still out when it comes to the best time to post on Pinterest. While some say it’s later in the evening, between 8 pm and 11 pm, others say the best time is between 2 am and 4 am.
Once again, it really pays to listen to your analytics. By tracking when your Pins get the most engagement and views, you can optimize your posting schedule so that your Pins are published when your audience most active.
You can either check in with your in-app Pinterest analytics or if you have Later Business plan and schedule Pinterest posts with Later, you’ll have access to Later’s Pinterest Analytics! Here you can monitor key trends in your Pinterest’s overall performance, including when your Pins are driving the most engagement.
Use Later’s Best Time to Post Feature
You can also use Later’s Best Time to Post feature, which automatically calculates your top 7 posting times for the most engagement. It takes all the guesswork out of figuring out your best time to post completely!
Your best times to post are displayed in your content calendar, and you can then create time-slots so that your posts will automatically be scheduled for your best times — saving you from having to choose the time and date over and over again for every post.
If you’re on one of Later’s business plans, which start at just $19/month, your best times to post will automatically be highlighted in your weekly content calendar, making it super easy to schedule your Instagram posts for when your audience is most active!
Social Media Scheduling Tip #4: Save Time by Scheduling to Multiple Accounts at Once
One of the best ways to save time with your social media scheduling is by scheduling your content to several social networks at once!
Some platforms, like Instagram for example, allow you to share the same post to your Facebook profile when you hit publish. But that means you need to be actively posting from the app itself — so if you’re looking to buy back some time, scheduling your posts to go live across all your social platforms at once is key!
To do this with Later, simply click the “+” sign at the top of your Later calendar to select the social profiles you’re scheduling posts for.
Next, drag and drop the photo you want to schedule and customize the caption to optimize each post for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Later makes it easy to shorten your caption for Twitter, or remove the tagged @usernames in your Instagram caption for Facebook.
Just keep in mind that in order to keep your brand looking fresh on every social network, it’s important to customize your posts for tone of voice, image size, and character length. For example, longer, skinny images perform better on Pinterest, while Instagram is notorious for square images, and Facebook is optimized for landscape images.
With Later, you can easily crop your photo to the optimized image size for each network, so there’s no better time to add your Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter accounts to start scheduling along with your Instagram posts!
One more thing! You can now get a bird’s eye view of all your scheduled content by viewing multiple profiles in one content calendar. You can view the scheduled posts for multiple Instagram accounts, or you could view all of your scheduled posts for one account across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The choice is up to you!
Social Media Scheduling Tip #5: Keep Track of Your Analytics for Future Success
Your job doesn’t end once your post goes out. A key part of social media scheduling is tracking your analytics so that you can reproduce your success — and achieve even better results in the future.
Think of it as a feedback loop. After you’ve shared your content, you need to track how it performed and then use that information to make better choices in the future, like posting at a different time, writing shorter captions, or using different hashtags.
Most major social networks offer their own internal analytics tools, like Facebook Insights and Pinterest Analytics, but if you’re managing multiple accounts on several different platforms, keeping track of all your data can be a challenge.
It’s much easier to have a single point of reference for your analytics — like Later’s analytics dashboard.
With Later’s analytics, you have a centralized place to track and monitor all of your social profiles.
If you want to view the analytics for one of your social profiles, simply open your Later analytics dashboard and select the profile from the drop-down menu.
If you’re on one of Later’s paid plans, you’ll be able to monitor trends in your overall performance, measure weekly and monthly growth, and discover which of your posts, pins, and tweets are driving the most engagement.
Because Later’s analytics are conveniently located on your Later dashboard, it’s much easier to take the insights from your analytics and then apply them to your strategy when you’re scheduling posts and planning your content.
You can even export your Instagram analytics as a CSV file with Later, which is perfect if you’re presenting analytics to your boss, team, client, or you’re just measuring your own progress!
When it comes to social media marketing, using with an all-in-one social media scheduling tool like Later is a great way to save time while improving your performance, engagement, and growth rate!
Ready to get organized and plan your Instagram content in advance? Start scheduling with Later — it’s free!