When social media first came out, developing a following and getting likes and shares was the task at hand. It was largely reactive, rather than proactive and responded to the trends of the day, rather than setting trends. As professional marketers expanded the social media space, being proactive and building trends became the pathway for much of the traffic. As this has continued, organic social media has taken a back seat to paid social efforts. As with most endeavors, paid advertising is what grassroots efforts use to go from local hotspot to regional or national trends.
With the advent of planning proactive social media, and paying for results, scheduling your social media posts ahead of time was hand-in-hand. The ability to schedule social media posts helped compartmentalize the workload. It allowed for a division of effort so that your daily rituals were more about interacting with what was posted, rather than crafting the post. Reaching your audience is easier when you plan ahead. So, today we'll look at some of the advantages of social scheduling, including how it has benefited the division of demand generation and lead development to their own specific ends.
Demand vs. Leads
One of the primary marketing divisions within the sales cycle is the awareness caveat being differentiated from the potential customer pipeline. An awareness campaign seems like a normal part of marketing these days, but it wasn't until the advent of social media where it took center stage in large scale marketing efforts. Likewise, many organization's lead development, scoring, or capture efforts were focused on phone calls, emails, or even fax-blasting before the social media revolution.
Demand generation has become a significant force for social media users, especially in a paid social environment. Building a following is a good byproduct of these efforts. Still, from a campaign perspective, interaction around a specific post, article, or promotion has become the main focus of the ever-changing social landscape. As awareness has become more about relevant voices to a topic, the online persona is fed more by connection than distinction.
On the other side of demand generation is lead development. This division within the marketing landscape is where you turn that relative campaign into cold hard leads ( or more appropriately, warm scored leads) that fill your customer pipeline. This is where your scheduled social has power — attaching a call to action that asks someone to trade their connection, information, or association for what you have to offer transitions people from awareness connoisseurs to an audience marked by engaged buy-in. So what do you do with that buy-in; you schedule content to keep them engaged.
Adding Content to a Schedule
So, let say you have a particular type of post that rings true with your followers. You're a bread maker, and every Tuesday, you release a tip on how to make filo dough, bake a croissant, or the trick to the perfect sourdough loaf. Scheduling social is as easy as building your steps and scheduling each step to drop on consecutive Tuesdays.
Maybe you're all about inspiring quotes from famous people, and #MotivationMondays are the perfect time for you to pay it forward on good vibes. Scheduling your posts is as easy as finding 4-8 quotes, and then scheduling them for the next four to eight weeks. Then, when Monday morning hits, you're not scrambling to find what to say, you can spend your time responding to how people are interacting with your pre-scheduled post.
The Secret Sauce
The important part is to stick to a day and send content that hits an audience that is engaged. This is the secret sauce for scheduling social. Today's social audience is attuned to the moment, so your timely content should supplement your scheduled content. Your scheduled content is where you speak to your engaged audience, and their regular engagement builds your baseline. When you supplement that with posts concerning trending topics, current events, or cultural responses, you engage at both ends of awareness impact and engaged followers.
Coupling this one-two punch method with your scheduled content and impromptu content is having a direct lead capturing pipeline to send people to. Whether it's a content offer of some kind (like an insider how-to video), access to a discount on services or subscriptions, or even an opportunity to win something big, you trade capturing their information for a promised value in return. This usually works better with scheduled content, as the audience is more engaged, but you may surprise yourself with who responds to an ad-hoc post, based on the content you put out.
So, what's the 1, 2, 3?
Scheduling content is relatively straightforward. You may want to use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social are good options when cost-effectiveness is key, and you need to get the job done. We recommend Hubspot (and others like Salesforce and NetSuite) because of the integrated power of lead capture mechanisms built-in. Whatever tool you use, you will still start out building a post list.
Whether you use a Google sheet, Excel, or a document listing posts, line out a month's worth of posts by topic. That means four posts on Summer activities or four posts on ways to repurpose furniture, whatever your audience, come up with themes you want to speak to, and build four pieces of content. Then take the one day a week you want to post on, and schedule them over the next four weeks.
Pro Tip #1: Do a little research into what days and times people are looking at your social, to make sure you are hitting your prime audience.
Next, you head to your tool of choice. Again, as a Hubspot partner, that's the go-to tool we use, and we recommend it. Having a built-in CRM, and workflows that automate the follow-up process, as well as having one of the best calendars to schedule social across channels makes it somewhat akin to having an extra hand in your marketing department. It does come with a cost, but staying connected with actions and analytics makes the C-level happy and reporting on your successes a breeze.
So, now that you have your list of posts, and your tool of choice, check your copy, your hashtags, and your images and start entering them into the schedule. Fill your queue or set your dates, depending on your list or calendar function in the tool, and schedule day, time, and channel. Before long, you'll have a month of social schedule and can focus on the interaction with the rest of your time.
Pro Tip #2: Be flexible with your ad-hoc content, but try to be more focused, calculated, and consistent with your scheduled content.
Scheduling your social takes the pressure off of the daily demand. It's always easier to be working ahead, rather than for an imminent deadline, so time management is one of your best friends in social scheduling. When you can view your posts' progression in the schedule, you can strategize ways to make each post an active step toward your conversion goals.
For example, let's say you've created a goal-setting guide that you've loaded into a story, and those who swipe up can download it by entering their email into a submittal field. (This redirects to a page on your site with a form to capture their information.) Then, you decide to post about your new goal setting guide four different ways, each time directing your audience to your webpage where they can download the guide. The first post asks them to write one goal they have for the year in your comment section. The second asks them if they're likely or unlikely to accomplish the goals they set. The third is a snippet of the guide for them to look over, and the fourth is a strong ask. You could spend hours posting each one of these to each of your platforms, or you could use a tool like Hubspot to schedule them in advance. You could copy and paste your messages, tailored to each platform, all in one place, schedule them out for the month, and call it a day.
And there you have it: A bit of the secret sauce from PRIME. We can help you get the best out of your social, and use tools like Hubspot to transform your marketing and sales into a pipeline of success. Let us know if we can help you.