Social Media for Writers: How to use scheduling tools to boost your social media presence

Scheduling tools are a blogger's best friend. In this post, I share a few of my favourites for different social media platforms, and explain why you should use them.

When you’re trying to blog and maintain a social media presence but you’re also juggling full-time studies or a job – or both, even – it can be hard to find the time. This is where scheduling tools become your best friend.

 First, I’ll talk about what tools are available.

Most blogging platforms – if not all – have an option to schedule the post. You create a new post but instead of uploading it there and then, you just find the option to schedule instead.

YouTube also allows you to schedule in advance – the option comes up when you go to upload a new video. Click where it says ‘Public’ on the upload and choose ‘Schedule’ instead. If you’re having trouble working it out, there are tons of guides on Google that will walk you through step-by-step.

Twitter isn’t quite so schedule-friendly, and neither is Instagram. You need to use a third-party program. My favourites are:

  • Hootsuite – the free version gives you all you need. I did pay for more features for a few months but found I didn’t really need any of them. You can add several platforms – including Facebook and Twitter, and there’s a link-shortener built in. The only thing I’ll say is that the times for scheduling are every five minutes. (More on this later.)
  • – with the free version, you’re limited to something like ten posts at a time, and two platforms. I do really like it though, because you can set up your schedule in one tab, and then you just add content to your queue, which means that whenever you schedule new content you just add that content and don’t have to choose a time to post it. It’ll use your set schedule automatically.
  • TweetDeck – obviously only works for Twitter, but ticks all the boxes. User-friendly, lets you schedule at any time you want, and you can also use TweetDeck to keep tabs on a particular hashtag, or just your timeline and mentions.
  • Bettr – app, for use with Instagram. You can only schedule posts up to three days in advance and only one post per day in the free version, but I like it.
  • Later – also an app for Instagram. Now this lets you schedule more than one post per day and more than three days in advance, even free – but it doesn’t post to Instagram automatically as Bettr does. Instead the app sends you a notification, and you have to click through to say ‘yes post this on my Instagram,’ and ‘yes, allow this app to post on Instagram’. It’s okay, but to be honest the drafts in Instagram are a better way of doing it. Speaking of which…
  • Save as drafts – not so much a tool as a feature on basically everything. I only really use this for Instagram, though. I’ll upload photos, edit them, create a caption – and then go back out and save as a draft to post another time.

Now when I mentioned that Hootsuite only lets you post at five minute intervals, I’ll explain why this is something I don’t like as much about it.

If you’re posting at 10.28am, it looks more like you’ve actually posted it than a post at 10.30am, which looks more automated and scheduled. Now this really isn’t a big deal, but if all of your Tweets go out at 10.30am, 4.00pm, and 6.45pm, every day, and that’s all you post, it starts to give you away. At the very least, change up which times you post every day.

The next part of this post is going to address exactly why you should be using scheduling tools, and how they will help to boost your social media presence.

The most obvious reason is as I mentioned at the start of this post: they help you maintain a presence even when you’re too busy to post.

They also make your life a hell of a lot easier. For instance, I schedule Writing Wednesday posts for 10am on a Wednesday morning. This is way easier than sitting at my computer waiting for it to turn 10am and then hitting ‘upload’. If you have a blog series, it’ll help you be consistent.

In the same vein, you can schedule things like vlogs and blog posts for months in advance. If you’ve got a free weekend and manage to knock out ten blog posts, you can set them up as scheduled posts over the next few months there and then. Which means you’re not at risk of forgetting to post them, and you know you don’t have to worry about content for a while.

Scheduling Tweets is also a really great way to share content on your blog – especially older content. ‘Check out this post I wrote on X’, you can say. Or even if it’s as simple as, ‘Are you following my blog? This week’s post will be about X. Follow me here.’

It also just keeps you on people’s timelines. If you only Tweet when you can, and that turns out to be about three times a month, you’re not really going to build your audience. But if you’re sharing, say, three to five Tweets a day – maybe a Facebook post twice a week, one blog post per week, and an Instagram every couple of days – it’s going to keep people paying attention to you.

Which, really, is what you want, right?

Pinterest is actually one of my favourite platforms for social media advice. There are tons of infographics on what the best times are to post on various platforms, and how many times per day you should post. (A quick search on Pinterest of ‘social media’ will probably yield half a dozen of these infographics, at least!)

Do you use scheduling tools? Do you have a favourite I didn’t talk about? Share in the comments below!

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