The Perfect Social Media Posting Schedule for 2020 [with template]
Planning what social media content you’re going to put out in advance, and when, means you’re more likely to get it done.
It’s easy to put off a social media update if you can’t think of what to write. Or, if you’re in a hurry to get it out at the usual time you’re more likely to make a spelling error or hit the wrong tone.
That’s not a good look.
A social media schedule helps you turn your social strategy into a manageable plan by mapping all key events against important dates. Download our social media posting template now and start planning for the year ahead.
Most great social media marketers recognize that success comes from consistency. Consistency of brand, regular posts, being there to reply, the list goes on.
A social media posting schedule gives you that consistency, helping you find a rough framework to post and ensuring you don’t have any content gaps.
Planning your content in advance gives you more opportunities to involve others in your work too, so the whole company can feel like they’re a part of your social media and wider company brand.
Having a well-managed social media posting schedule doesn’t stop you from posting updates when the moment strikes.
Being organized isn’t the opposite of being creative...
A well-managed social media posting schedule gives you more time to search for and write news updates and company info.
You don’t have to stick to your schedule either. It can be altered with original content for a particular slot - or moved to a different day.
Instead, a social media schedule gives you enough time to plan for important dates.
Got a product launch coming up? Is there a big holiday that’s relevant to your industry? You’ll want to make room in your schedule way ahead of time.
You may think that a social media posting schedule is the same as a social media content calendar. You add the posts and then they’re scheduled to go out
A social media posting schedule is a step before you use your social media content calendar, and a step after you’ve built out your social media strategy.
A social media posting schedule is where you begin to plan how you’re going to implement your social media strategy.
It’s a doc that tells you things like
- How often you’re going to post
- What channel you’re going to post to
- What types of content you’re going to post
- What key dates or themes you’re going to post around
- What times of day you’re going to post (if you want to go into that detail)
Your social media posting schedule should tell you everything you need to know about the content you plan to post, without actually going into the details of what that content will be.
There is often a slight overlap between your social media posting schedule and your social media calendar if you choose to outline what dates and times plan to send out content.
If you get that far, many social media calendars, including ContentCal, let you add in the copy and imagery - and then schedule that social post to send.
We wanted to create the perfect social media posting schedule that’s flexible to the way you work.
That's why we've put together an awesome schedule to help you get started.
Step One: Download your free Social Media Posting Schedule
If you haven't already downloaded your free Social Media Posting Schedule you can download it here.
To get started with your content calendar, go to the grey box on the left of your content calendar and answer the six questions asked there.
Your answers to these questions will automatically pull in to the right-hand side of the sheet, and help you get organized when you're filling out your content calendar.
Every good social media schedule begins with an understanding of what the strategic objectives are for your social activities.
Then, when you're adding to your social media marketing schedule, you'll have these front-of-mind, helping you focus on activities that will make a difference in the long-term.
This one’s easy. Just add the five channels you post to most. That could be Facebook., Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and TikTok, for example. There may not be five channels - that’s fine too!
When you start to post to more than five social channels you may begin to lose focus, so we wouldn’t recommend it!
Here you just need to decide how active you want to be on social media. This will depend on your access to resources, how much time you have, and how interesting your updates are.
What content types help you engage with your audience? List them here.
These could include guest posts, social image cards, client case studies, and many others. We've added a few examples within the doc which you could use.
What have you done so far that’s worked? Add more of that and throw in some other promising channels.
Along with the content types you expect to post, the number of times you’re should expect to post will pull through here.
Change the numbers here to get the right balance of content types posted per month.
If you're not sure, just leave it as it is. You can come back later and change any of this, the spreadsheet will update automatically.
This bit is easy. Just tick all the key dates that are relevant to your business and these will automatically appear in your schedule, so you know to build content around them.
These are a mix of US & UK dates, but don’t feel limited by these. Add any other dates directly into the schedule by replacing the date number in the calendar.
As you filled out the answers to each of the questions, you'll have noticed that some cells on the right-hand side of the screen started to populate automatically.
Once you've answered all the questions, you should be able to see:
- Your social media objectives
- Your target social media platforms and channels
- The different types of social posts you’re planning
- How often you plan to post each content type each month (on a grid of numbers)
Now you all you need to do is populate your schedule.
Each of the colored boxes represents a different content type to paste into your schedule. Choose Edit > Copy. Then go to the relevant place in the schedule and hit Edit > Paste Special > Paste Values with Formatting.
To the right of the colored boxes you'll see a countdown of how many times you still need to add that social post type to the schedule.
This will count down to zero and turn green every time you've added your quota of social post types to each calendar month.
This rest is straightforward. Add your colored content type boxes to the schedule until the grid goes green.
Once the grid is green, you're all set up for the year, and you know exactly what to do.
A good social media posting schedule will help you find your perfect ratio of types of content to post.
How much of your own blog should you share vs entertaining content vs other content you find around the web?
There’s no decisive rule for this, although there are industry ‘norms’. If you’re looking for a place to start, the 411 method is pretty effective:
However, as we find, it pays to break these rules. In marketing, you never really get rewarded for doing exactly what everyone else is doing…
Here’s how Marketo does it: “For every one self-serving tweet, you should re-tweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”
So what’s everyone else doing?
- Gist.com use a 5-3-2 ratio. That’s 5 pieces of content from others, 3 of your own, and 2 personal status updates.
- Buffer uses 90% self-led content and 10% from others
- Hootsuite talk about a rule of thirds - 1/3 of updates are your own content, 1/3 sharing content from others, and 1/3 personal content
- Rallyverse have devised a Golden Ratio where 30% is your own content, 60% curated from others and 10% is self-promotional
Let’s look a bit closer at Buffer’s recommendations for posting on social media. They really dig into this topic and have some useful advice for social media marketers that are just starting out.
They work by a rule called the ‘Golden Ratio’. They recommend starting with five basic types of content (links, images, reshares, quotes, and text updates).
This works if you’re just starting out and you don’t have much access to self-created resources.
However, we’d recommend you to create as much of your own content as possible, because this gets the most engagement.
Dialing back on curated content and swapping it out for personal content is a great way to boost engagement.
These are guidelines, not rules. Find what works for you by continually testing what works. Before long you’ll have your own guidelines that you can input into your posting schedule.
What are ContentCal’s posting guidelines? Ours is simple. Post as much high quality, original content as you can.
- Content we’ve built for the social media platform is best (e.g. Insta-specific images)
- Content we’ve created that we can post over all channels is good (e.g. our blog)
- Curated content is only worthwhile if we can add something meaningful to the conversation
Right, let’s get into the actual social media scheduling. How do you schedule your posts?
We don’t need to tell you that there are many, many social media scheduling tools (71 by our count).
And as you’ve already guessed, ContentCal is just one example of those tools.
But you don’t strictly need a social media planning and posting tool like ContentCal to schedule your social media posts.
Did you know you can schedule social media posts on Facebook? No? Well, you can. And it’s as free as the social network itself.
In recent years, Facebook has built-in functionality like this to encourage content creators to find more use in its admin tools, vs tools like Buffer or ContentCal, which take users away from its platform.
Here’s how it works.
To schedule a post on Facebook from your News Feed, click Pages in the left-hand menu.
Go to your Page then in the left-hand column click Publishing Tools and Create Post.
Once you’ve produced your post, select Schedule from the dropdown menu in the ‘News Feed’ area. Choose a date and time then click Schedule.
If you want to edit, delete or reschedule a post you’ve already scheduled then go to your Page and click Publishing Tools in the left-hand column.
Below Posts click Scheduled Posts and choose the post you want to change.
Click Edit to change. By clicking the downward arrow you can select publish, reschedule or delete. Then ‘View Edit History’ will show you all edits to a particular post.
Facebook and Instagram are the same, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to discover that Instagram allows you to schedule social posts from its platform too.
To get access to Instagram’s advanced native analytics you have to have a business account. This also allows you to schedule feed posts.
For these steps, you’ll need to access Instagram from your desktop.
Your Instagram account will need to be linked to your Facebook Creator Studio account.
To do this, go to Facebook’s Creator Studio and check whether the Instagram icon appears at the top of the page. If not, connect it in Settings, then hit the Insta icon at the top of the page.
Then hit the ‘Create Post’ button in the top left of the page.
From there you can create your post. Add your copy, your imagery, and hit ‘schedule’ rather than publish to choose the time for your post to be put live from the drop-down menu.
You can mention, add hashtags, and edit images and videos you upload within Facebook Creator studio.
So don’t feel like you need to use another software to do this - unless of course, you are posting to more than one social media network.
However, once you scheduled a post with Creator Studio, you won’t be able to edit it. You’ll have to cancel it and try again or go into Instagram itself to make changes when the post goes live.
Ready to start planning? Download our free template now.
It’s also easy to schedule social media posts with Twitter. It’s not just a Facebook Creator Studio thing!
Twitter probably developed this feature knowing that some people just want to schedule Tweets - and not much else. So if you’re not on Facebook, Instagram, or other social channels, this one’s for you!
To start, go to ads.twitter.com, then to Creatives and Tweets.
Click New Tweet in the top right corner to get to the Tweet Composer. Here you’ll upload videos, photos and add your copy.
To schedule a non-promoted Tweet, unselect Promoted-only. This allows you to create regular Tweets, and there’s no need to spend more on these.
Then write your Tweet and add any imagery or anything else that you think will wow your audience.
When the post is complete select the down arrow next to Tweet and click on Schedule. Pick a time and date for your Tweet to go out.
To edit or delete a Tweet choose the Tweet you want to change, select Campaigns and then Tweet and then filter to show your scheduled tweets. After you’ve changed your tweet click Scheduled again to save your updates.
Delete by clicking on the three dots at the top right corner of the Tweet. By clicking the box next to Tweet and pressing Save, you can add or remove the Tweet to campaigns.
If you’re looking for different ways to schedule your posts, there are so many tools to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular tools:
Let’s start with what we know best: ContentCal.
ContentCal’s Social Media posting scheduling app is fully integrated with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages, meaning you can schedule and post directly to these channels all from one calendar view.
It’s easy to schedule posts with ContentCal. To schedule a post, go to ‘new post’ on the left-hand side of the page and choose the social media account you want to post to.
Next, write the post and upload images in the central column. It’s possible to tag users on Facebook and Twitter here too.
Once you’ve done that, click on ‘Schedule’ where you can choose a time. Finally, Post allows you to upload it onto the social media platform itself. You can post to multiple platforms at one time.
Keep content organized and separate by creating different color-coded Categories in the Manage Calendar section. You can then select a particular category for your post.
Hootsuite provides one central dashboard where you can manage all your different social media channels in separate columns. You can monitor activity on the Company Page and engage with different audiences.
Sync your LinkedIn Page to Hootsuite account and use the app to schedule text, images or video posts. This can be done individually or even in batches. Then monitor the results.
On your Hootsuite account go to ‘Create New Post’ and choose Post.
Under Post to choose the LinkedIn pages you want and in the text area write your content. You can also tag and use emojis. It’s also possible to see a link preview on the right of the page. Shorten if need be using Ow.ly, Hootsuite’s link shortener.
Add images, a GIF, or video to your post by drag and dropping files into the Media area or using your Media Library. Change the size or add a filter to an image by selecting ‘Edit Image’.
Review the post on the right of the page. If ok, select Post Now on the bottom right of the page or Schedule for later, choose a time, press Done, and then Schedule.
Just like ContentCal and Hootsuite, Buffer is a tool for scheduling your social posts.
Go to the top row of your Buffer dashboard and select Schedule. Then choose the account you want to post on at the left-hand side of the dashboard.
Select the appropriate time zones and the days you want to post on before adding a posting time.
To write your post select Content at the top of the dashboard and Queue. Click the camera icon to add an image:
Share your content using Add to Queue (comes up after other posts have been published according to a list of pre-selected posting times), Share Now, Share Next or Schedule Send.
A social media posting schedule is a tactical way to know roughly what you should be posting and when.
Too often people jump straight into content creation and miss out on the engagement they’d see if they were a little more organized.
If they were a little more organized, they’d probably be using a social media posting schedule.
So download your social media posting schedule below and get planning!
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