Digital/multimediaSocial media best practices

How, when and what posts to delay on social media

As you know, social media doesn’t go dark the hours we step out of the newsroom. Our readers are still poking around Facebook, Twitter and other platforms at night and on weekends – times when many of our smaller newsrooms are unstaffed. You can still have a presence on social media using a few tools to delay posts.

Here are three ways you can delay posts to Facebook and Twitter (the HOW). And since I’m a bit of a visual learner, I thought I’d just show you how in three quick videos.

After, I’ll show you how you can figure out the best times to post (the WHEN) and then what kind of generic or evergreen content you can put up days in advance (the WHAT).

HootSuite scheduler

THE HOW

The easiest way to delay a post in Facebook is to use Facebook’s own scheduler tool. It’s super easy. This is how:

You can delay a Tweet by using TweetDeck. This is especially good for managing more than one Twitter account. This is how:

Or you can use a tool such as HootSuite to delay posts to multiple social media platforms. You can post to both Facebook AND Twitter. I will caution you – be sure you’re still monitoring comments on Facebook and @mentions in Twitter. Don’t just post through HootSuite and not actually engage with your followers. Here’s how:

THE WHEN

Now that you know how to delay a post, you might want to be thoughtful about when you post. There are a couple of ways you can find out when people are looking at your stuff on Facebook and Twitter. If most people are poking around at 1 p.m., be sure you have a post up around then. It’s one thing to post, it’s another for people to actually see it, especially on Twitter where a tweet can get buried by new tweets in minutes. This video walks you through checking out Facebook’s Insights and a tool called Followerwonk for Twitter:

THE WHAT

It can be a challenge to post content days in advance. You’ll need content that has legs. Here are some evergreen and sort of generic things you can post Friday for Saturday and Sunday or before leaving for the day:

  • this day in history item (no links, just a factoid)
  • a link to your weather page with a generic comment such as “Will the sun come out today? Find out here.”
  • a link to a letter to the editor or editorial you haven’t yet promoted
  • a promo for a local blogger, linking to their landing page
  • a reader photo callout
  • promos to the paper’s other social media accounts
  • a shout out to a follower, picked at random each week or because they engage often
  • a poll, either native to the platform or linking to the site
  • a heads up for which meetings you’re covering next week
  • a link to the calendar, suggesting people check out what to do that weekend or week ahead

Some CMSs allow you to “predict” a URL, so you could actually delay a Tweet or Facebook message on Friday for a story that isn’t going to post on your site until Saturday or Sunday. (NOTE: if you’re a GateHouse paper and don’t know how to do this with our CMS, drop me an email and I’ll teach you how, nsimmons@wickedlocal.com).

Have any other ideas for what to post? Comment below.

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