What is scheduling and why should we do it?
Find out about scheduling tools, content plans, best times to schedule and how to spread out content.
Scheduling is when you create your content but plan it to go out at a future date. Your followers won’t know that you aren’t really posting at that time, but it means you can make sure you’re content is going out at the best times for engagement, even when those are outside working hours – at weekends for example, or on bank holidays.
Scheduling doesn’t work for content that encourages responses though, like asking followers to reply with their thoughts about a particular object or story. We’d want to make sure we’re available and ready to respond for that type of content.
It also means that you can plan for months, and sometimes years in advance, when it suits your workload to do. For example, we know that every year on 31 October, it’s Halloween. In one afternoon, we could gather content relating to ghost stories, or ‘creepy crawlies’, or objects in our collection, and schedule a post for Halloween for the next few years.
Likewise with exhibitions. Once you have the object list, you can schedule a post to go out every week telling the story of them for the duration.
If lots of people are inputting into your social media content, it’s a great way to centralise it all and keep tabs on what’s going out and if that content is still relevant, accurate, and in keeping with the tone of voice.
At LMG, we use Buffer as a platform to schedule content across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
View a step-by-step guide on how to use Buffer:
For venues that don’t have Buffer, you can still schedule natively on Facebook and set up tweets to go out at a later date on Twitter. To do this:
- Open Twitter and click the left-side blue “Tweet” button to access the tweet composer.
- Type your tweet copy, and add images or gifs.
- Click the Schedule Tweets button to choose the date and time, click Confirm, then click Schedule.
Having a venue content plan is a helpful way to make sure that key messages and promotions are being posted on social media.
This will work differently at each venue, but the way to approach a content plan is to treat it as a calendar, and fill it in starting from your programme, then press priorities, then look at awareness days and anniversaries – like Black History Month, or the date that the museum was first opened. Lots of these dates will be the same every year, so half the work will be done for you after the first one you create.
Next to each day, put the name of the person responsible for creating that content.
View an example of a basic monthly content plan:
Spreading out content
When planning content, make sure messages are spread out so that we aren’t posting about the same thing again and again. 1 in every 10 posts should be directly selling something, like tickets to an event. The rest should be behind-the-scenes content and stories relating to our work and collections. Those things don’t necessarily mean we aren’t selling still – it’s just that they’re selling our brand, and building relationships with our followers to earn them listening to us when we do talk about our commercial offers.
When to schedule
The scheduling tool you’re using – be that Buffer, or one native to a platform – will tell you when the best time for you to post is. You can do this manually too, by looking through content that you’ve posted and working out patterns of engagement.
As a rule of thumb, before 9am and post 5pm are the best times to post on weekdays, for followers to see as they scroll through their phones on a daily commute. Mid-mornings and evenings are the best time to post on weekends.