How To Schedule Your Social Media Content FOR FREE
When you start your own online (and offline) business you'll soon realize that you need social media to promote your business and products. The sad truth is that if you just post your articles on your blog nobody will read them and then you won't be able to build your audience, your email list, sell your products and earn money.
But posting to your different social media accounts can be overwhelming and it's very much time-consuming if you do it daily and one by one. I know, because I did it and if you're following one of my accounts you might have noticed that recently I didn't post anything. Yes, I disappeared, because I just couldn't find the time for it.
So, I started looking. I wanted to find a good, effective and possibly cheap solution, a real strategy that could work for me. And ta-da! I am lucky because I found it.
The good news is that I'm going to share this powerful strategy with you, so that you can feel lucky, too!
Before getting to the steps let me give you a hint: You don't need to create an account on every platform! It's enough to have only 1-3 profiles at the beginning. Later, when you can afford a (virtual) assistant or you have more time to manage your accounts then you can have 6-8 profiles, but I really don't think it's necessary for newbies.
Instead find out which platforms work best for your target audience, where your audience spends the most time. Also, from these let's say 3 channels pick one that will be your main channel and put your biggest effort in maintaining that one. The exciting part is that for the other platforms we will use automation 🙂 sounds good?
Currently, I'm using 3 social media platforms: Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
My main channel is Pinterest, so this is the only exception where I'm thinking to go for paid scheduling tools: BoardBooster and/or Tailwind. For now, I used BoardBooster's free plan to fill up my boards, plus I pin manually (several times per day).
Until now on Facebook and Twitter, I was manually and randomly posting, but it's definitely not the way to go.
I need rules, great content (!), and a (strict) schedule because this is the only way I can be effective. I only have 2-3 hours per day to work with my business, so I have to focus on the important things.
And if we can automate some tasks then we should do it, right?
My strategy for Facebook & Twitter
I'm going to show you how I schedule my content for Facebook and Twitter using Buffer and HootSuite and how you can do that, too.
Tools you'll need
Woohoo, yes, so many tools, but don't get scared, it won't be difficult, I promise!
Before we start let me explain why I use both Buffer and HootSuite. Normally people only use one of them, because both of them are great scheduling tools. The thing is that I like HootSuite a lot, but it just can't do one tiny but important thing. It can't re-post or re-cycle an older post. But Buffer can Re-Buffer!
So, I decided to split my content scheduling into two part:
- I schedule my own content with Buffer - because I want to repost my older content from time to time.
- I schedule other, 3-party content with HootSuite - because I want to post these articles, posts, videos only once.
You think it's weird sharing others' content on your social media? It's not. In the world of social media if you only show yourself, people will get easily bored with you and they will leave you.
Scheduling curated content with HootSuite
1. Sign up for HootSuite - this link takes you to the free plan. It allows you to manage 3 social media profiles, and schedule up to 30 messages! Just perfect for us!
2. When you create your account you will be asked to connect your social media profiles to HootSuite (Facebook and Twitter or whatever you choose) or you can do it later, too.
3. Install HootSuite Hootlet extension in your Google Chrome browser - with this tool you can quickly share web pages to all of your social networks.
4. Sign up for Feedly
We want to use Feedly because it really saves us a lot of time. The goal is to follow our favorite online sources like websites, blogs, YouTube channels, etc. in one place. Just imagine, how much time it would take to read all the newsletters about new posts or check every blog for new articles.
Well, Feedly is just doing that for us. We can select the blogs, websites we want to follow and we'll get a wonderful list of articles every day. The only thing you have to do is to select the posts that you want to share on your social media accounts.
5. Create your feeds in Feedly and check them regularly for new content.
6. Pick the content you want to share on your social media profiles
Now that you've set up who you follow you will have a nice list full of valuable content. Don't get scared, I don't want you to read all of those articles, but pick those by the title that you think might be interesting to your audience.
Let's say I would like to help my audience with some WordPress tips and since I'm following some good WordPress related websites I can easily pick some posts. First I mark them for reading later - because I always want to check the articles before I share them with my readers (the little green bookmark sign). I only want to share quality content, something that I find useful, too. Then find a time when you can read those marked articles and start scheduling.
7. Schedule the selected content with HootSuite Hootlet - open the article you want to share from Feedly in your Chrome browser (at the bottom of the article there is a 'visit website' button). On the top right corner of your browser you have the small Hootlet icon. Click on it when you have the article open and schedule it to Facebook and Twitter at the same time. Make sure you have all your social media profiles selected, because this is the advantage of this method, that you can schedule content to multiple profiles at the same time.
(In the paid version of HootSuite you can schedule the posts both with Buffer and HootSuite without leaving Feedly, but in the free version we have to open the post in a new tab.)
8. Repeat step 7 for every article you want to schedule.
Some additional notes for HootSuite
- With the free plan you can schedule up to 30 messages. In my current strategy I schedule 2-2 posts per day for Twitter and Facebook. It means I can have this job done for a whole week ahead!
- You can set how many times, which days and when you want to schedule your content. HootSuite will schedule your posts at the best times (based on stats) between the time range you set. But if you don't like it you can select a specific time for each post.
- I think it's a good practice that you assign a certain time every or every 2nd-3rd day to check Feedly for new content. Like this you'll always have fresh content for your audience, you'll just have to schedule them.
- Of course you can still post randomly - e.g. when you're just browsing the internet and find something interesting that you want to share immediately.
- Here's some help to set up your Feedly.
Scheduling my own content with Buffer
For the curated content we used 3 tools (HootSuite, the Hootlet extension and Feedly) and now we will need Buffer and Google Sheets or Excel (optional) to share our own content.
1. Sign up for Buffer
2. Schedule your own content with Buffer
3. Use the Re-Buffer option when you want to re-post an older item
4. Track your postings in Google Sheets - it's just a good advice. I use Google Sheets for almost everything. In this case I want to track how many times I share the same post and what message I use each time.
Additional Notes for Buffer
- In the free version you can manage 1 social profile per platform and 10 scheduled posts per profile.
- You can set the posting times and the frequency, too - go to Settings - Posting Schedules
- Click here to learn more about Buffer
Success in social media
In this post, I was talking about content (blog posts, articles) created by yourself and others, but you must know that there are many other things you can share on your profiles.
You can post quotes, ideas, questions to get more engagement, holiday-related photos, and 100 other things.
With this strategy, I wanted to show you that it's possible to schedule great content for days ahead stress-free and without spending a dime. I hope you'll find it useful. If you have any question or difficulty with any of the tools, just let me know in a comment.
Let's get Online!
You can make it happen.
Thanks for sharing!
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