Why You Should Be Scheduling Social Media Updates

Yup, I said it. If you aren’t scheduling tweets and Facebook posts, you’re doing social media wrong.

Well, maybe wrong is a strong word. But, you are certainly wasting a lot of time.

When the topic of social media marketing comes up, I often remark that the things which worked a few years ago often either don’t work today, or they are considered outright spam. This is sort of the opposite. Just a couple of short years ago, there were few things considered more spam-like than racking up lists of scheduled tweets and broadcasting your message. Today, on the other hand, smart social media marketers are scheduling content all the time. And not only is it not spam, readers actually benefit from it.

One of the reasons it was considered bad practice is because, if you managed to get lucky and actually have someone respond to one of your tweets, there was nobody there to react. This would leave people frustrated and confused. If it happened often enough, they would unfollow you or your brand, and everybody would lose. There is a fatal flaw with this logic, however. It assumes that you’re scheduling tweets because you are away from the computer.

Today, on the other hand, social media marketers have a different problem. We’re pretty good at coming up with interesting things to talk about on our social media accounts – so good in fact, that we have a hard time finding time to say it without flooding our followers with a stream of tweets one right after another. That’s where scheduling can come into play.

Imagine for a moment: You’re sitting at your desk, Hootsuite is running in the background, but you’ve working on a blog post for an hour. You finish, and start scrolling through your feed to see what people are talking about, and there’s lots of great stuff being shared. You start replying and RT’ing, but you notice that you’ve sent a lot of tweets rapid fire. If you don’t comment on that next tweet now, the opportunity will be lost. But if you do, people might get upset that you’re hogging their stream. A smart marketer will simply respond to the tweet, but schedule it for 10 minutes from now. It still goes out, you’ve still engaged someone, and everybody wins.

Here’s another scenario: It’s late at night, and you’ve just finished a new blog post. You want to share it with people, and you’ve done enough of your homework to know that a lot of your followers are active on Facebook at 9am. The problem is, from 8am to 10am you’re going to be at a seminar. You could wait until 10:30 to share your blog post, but then you won’t get as much traction, and you won’t help as many of your readers. You have access to your cell phone during that time, but it’s a pain to share  links from the Facebook for iPhone app, especially since you’re a smart marketer and you’re using bitly to help you measure your response and the bitly link is ungainly. Schedule the post now, so that it goes out at 9am, when you can’t send it out. You still have your phone – and you can still engage in a conversation with someone who reads the post and wants to talk to you, but you get to take advantage of timing.

One final scenario: You have a link that you need to promote, and you want to make sure that you promote it everyday for a week, but you’re going to forget. It’s not that you aren’t sitting at your computer screen all day long, it’s just that – OH LOOK! SHINY!  So, you schedule your posts. Monday it hits the 11am crowd, Tuesday the 1:10pm crowd, Wednesday the 4:45 slackers… I mean crowd. And so on. You do all of this on Monday morning, and you don’t need to worry about it all week! Then suddenly on Thursday someone asks you a question – “Hey, does that ebook really guarantee I’ll get rich buying and selling bulk cabbage?” And you minimize TheOatmeal.com and respond to your customer. Everybody wins.

The key in all of these scenarios is this – YOU ARE STILL PRESENT AND ACTIVE. You aren’t scheduling tweets because it’s Friday afternoon and you want to head out to the lake for the weekend, so you decide to schedule a bunch of posts so that you can take off early and come back Monday morning to see if anybody was talking about you. Instead, you’re taking advantage of the natural traffic patterns on social media platforms to get the best results. I know that a lot of my Twitter friends are going to be active around 9:45 tonight, but I want to go play pool with a friend, and I’ll never remember to stop to tweet. So I schedule that tweet and my message goes out at the best possible time. If someone replies, I get an instant notification and I can read it or respond, but I didn’t have to stop what I was doing to actually send the tweet.

Some of you are going to read this and say “yeah, I’ve been doing this for months,” and others are going to say “OMG RYAN IS A SPAMMER!!!” But I encourage the rest of you to give it a try. I believe that you will find, as I have, that not only will you be MORE ENGAGING with your friends and followers, but you will be a lot more productive during the day.


  1. Earlier today I read about 5 reasons not to auto DM on Twitter.

  2. I’m not a fan of auto DMing either. Although, I know of at least one social media manager who not only loves auto DMs, he’s also done tests proving that they are effective for him.

    That being said, I wouldn’t do them for myself – but it is a lesson that what works from me might not work for someone else, and vice versa.

    Thanks for the comment!

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