How to Rock Social Media Scheduling Like Dustin Stout with Social Templates
So you created a blog post. Good for you! If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent close to eight hours writing that literary masterpiece.
You’ve got the perfect headline crafted, you’ve got great visuals sprinkled throughout the post, and you’ve probably got some great quotable moments throughout it just dying to be tweeted out.
There’s only one thing left to do–schedule out all your social media promotion.
Even the most brilliant and savvy social media managers dread this task. Why? Because it’s a crap-ton of work. And the more savvy you are, the more work you know it is to schedule the right posts, at the right times, on the right networks.
But, dear friends, you no longer need to dread this arduous and tedious task. Our good friends at CoSchedule have liberated us from the tyranny of mass social status scheduling.
With this one, glorious feature, you and I can be 1,000% more productive (rough estimate) at scheduling our literary masterpieces to be promoted on the social interwebs.
In this post, I’m going to show you a handful of ways my team and I are taking advantage of a CoSchedule feature called Social Templates in the most effective ways possible. Following these tips and strategies will help you and your team save dozens (dare I say, hundreds) of hours and make your social promotion more effective.
Before I go straight into how we build our social templates, there’s a few things I think everyone needs to understand about the thought process behind them.
Understand This: Every Network is Different
One of the first things I often teach when talking about social media marketing is that you must never have a shotgun mentality. Forget trying to “spray and pray” one message across all the networks— it simply won’t work.
Your content will sink, and your followers will tune you out.
Each social network has its own culture and you need to treat it accordingly. A message you share on Twitter will not have the same success on Facebook or Google+. And a post that does well on Pinterest will not do as well on Reddit. The platforms serve different audiences with different content expectations and intents.
Suffice to say, you need to understand what types of content expectations the audience on each network has and then craft your messages accordingly.
Understand This: Timing is Crucial and Different for Every Network
There are two types of ideas I want you to understand here:
- Network posting volume
- Network peak hours
Network Posting Volume
Firstly, let’s take a look at what I mean when I say “Network Posting Volume”. Basically, each social network has a different tolerance for how much content should be shared in a given day. This is also referred to as posting frequency.
Some social networks naturally have an expectation of lower posting frequency while others have a higher posting frequency.
Twitter, for example, is probably the highest volume social network. You can post 15-20 times a day and still be considered a “low-volume” tweeter in some circles.
So for the sake of simplicity, our team has decided to list out each network and its daily posting frequency (or volume).
Now, the given here is, of course, how much can your specific audience tolerate? Always run all these types of generalizations through your own audience filter.
But if you don’t know where to start, this is a good place to do so.
Now, the important thing to understand here as well, is that in the long-term promotion sense, lower-volume means you need to spend more time between resharing the same things. We’ll keep this in mind when we get to building our social template.
What Are Peak Hours?
In addition to each network’s volume you need to know when your social audience is most active. This will vary depending on your audience, so I’m not going to give one of those “Perfect Time to Post” tips.
Now, having covered these considerations, it’s clear that the task of content promotion is not an easy one. When you publish an epic blog post and you want to maximize its reach with your social networks you need to think about:
- How to craft a message unique for each social channel
- What time(s) to post it on each network for optimal reach
- How many times you need to share it on each network and how frequently to reshare it
In the old days (as in a few months ago) this process would add an extra hour or more to the production of every single blog post. Not anymore.
Setting Up CoSchedule’s Social Templates for Maximum Effectiveness
When CoSchedule announced Social Templates, it was like the heavens opened. I instantly saw that we were now able to maximize our content promotion with efficiency. I’m going to show you how we’ve broken down our own social templates.
And all the efficiency geeks said:
On top of being efficient with your promotion, we also want to be as effective as we can, being sure to create templates that will change based on the type of content we are promoting.
Step 1: Know Your Content Categories
Before you create a template, it’s important to know what categories of content you’re creating.
If you follow a strict set of categories for your blog posts, this should be easy.
You will want to create a different social template for every Category you post to. For example, here’s what ours look like on the Warfare Plugins blog:
The reason for this is because your social templates will likely include posting to Pinterest Boards, Facebook Groups, or other targeted social channels. Having a template for each category means you don’t have to go in and specify the Board or Group for those specific channels every time—it’s already in place.
So, for example, our New Blog Post: Social Media template has only Social Media Pinterest boards and Facebook Groups that get posted to. This takes one more step out of the equation when we go to apply the template to a new blog post.
Step 2: Set Your Helpers
Helpers were a real game-changer for us as well. Being able to set up our templates with custom-built helpers means we only have to write the message one time and have it applied to all the corresponding social media posts.
The helpers we use are consistent across pretty much all of our templates (which also makes possible the duplicating of templates mentioned previously). I’ve come up with an “anatomy” so to speak of social messages. This was adapted from my own “Anatomy of a Perfect Google+ Post.”
Our text helpers are as follows:
From these 9 text helpers we can now create an infinite amount of social messages. For our templates, this usually means 29 different messages sent out over the first 30 days.
There are then also a handful of Image Helpers that are applied to each template:
Now, you may not always have every single one of the above types of images for every blog post, and that’s okay. You can always just use the same image multiple times for different helpers. These serve more as a guide rather than absolute necessity.
Step 3: Schedule the Messages
This is the most time-consuming step, but ultimately will save you the most time. After you do this, you never have to worry about scheduling your promotion ever again.
The way we did it is we took one social network at a time and scheduled all of those out over the first 30 days. Then we went back through and did the next network.
I won’t spend time telling you what times work best or what volume you should post for each network. CoSchedule’s Lance Hendrickson already did a fantastic job at putting together a Social Media Posting Schedule Kit that I, myself, actually used as a starting point.
So if you don’t know where to start with your audience, use that. You can always edit the templates later if you want to refine it based on your own results with your audience.
How Will You Use Social Templates?
With CoSchedule’s new social templates, our content marketing game has been revolutionized, and yours can too. Not only can you save literally hundreds of hours of scheduling and planning time, but you can be more effective at it.
Spend the time you’ll be saving wisely. Use it to engage with your communities and learn how to better serve them. The better you serve them, the more everyone will thrive.