Social media is a powerful communications channel for membership managers, but no two managers use social media in the same way.

For some organizations, social media is a critical part of day-to-day affairs, staffing social media experts to manage messaging across various platforms.

For others, social media is more of a casual affair, engaged with intermittently to engage with the community, or spread awareness of events and initiatives.

No matter the scope of your organization’s social media use, understanding best practices is a great step towards getting more from the time and energy you put into social media.

If you’re looking to grow the impact that social media has on your organization’s success, we’re here to help by filling you in on all you need to know about scheduling.

A critical component of any social media strategy, understanding how to manage your posting schedule is more than a matter of simply picking days of the week to post. Getting value from your posts is a matter of understanding what ‘value’ means to your organization with respect to social media, and knowing the methods you can rely on to cultivate it.

So lets take a look at how to get the most from your social media schedule!

Define your goals in measurable terms

What do you want from social media?

It’s easy to answer this question with a few intuitive responses:

  • “I want to get more members.”
  • “I want to grow my events.”
  • “I want to spread awareness of my organization.”

If you were to approach your social media schedule with these goals in mind, in a year, would you be able to confidently explain the impact your social media work had on these various goals?

By changing the way we state our goals, with an emphasis on measurable terms, we can enjoy a lot more confidence in our understanding come year-end. Consider:

  • “I want to funnel at least X leads to our application form.”
  • “I want 20% of event newsletter signups to come from social media posts.”
  • “I want to increase site traffic by 15%.”

In any of these cases, because we’ve defined our goals in measurable terms, we’ve set ourselves up for success. Now, when asked how social media work contributed to your organization’s success, you can confidently offer clear metrics that answer the question clearly and immediately.

Pick your software

Once you’ve got a firm grasp on your goals, it’s important to evaluate available software to ensure you’re using the one best set to deliver what you need.

Before you start exploring the social media systems available on the market, it’s helpful to get a firm grasp on your selection criteria. Depending on your goals, you’ll have different needs.

Trying to boost awareness of your organization? Pick a system that can help you identify and engage with conversations on social media that you can contribute to. Social monitoring tools can keep you apprised of ‘what’s hot’ in terms of conversation around given subjects, and can help you craft posts readers will love to share.

Even if you’re happy with your current social media management system, asking yourself if it’s the optimal choice for your organization is worthwhile. You might have the system your organization needed 5 years ago, but is it right for you now?

For more information on how to pick the best social media system for you, take a look at our article “5 Best Systems for Managing Social Media“.

What’s the best time to schedule a post?

You might turn to Google with that question, but that approach isn’t likely to offer the answer you’re looking for.

Google can give you good candidates for the optimal time to schedule posts, but the only way you can confidently know which time is best for your organization and audience is to experiment.

Many sources claim that the best time to schedule a post is Tuesday shortly afternoon when office workers are likely to be on their lunch. But what if your audience isn’t office workers?

Other sources might claim not to post on the weekends, as professionals are enjoying personal time. This rule-of-thumb works for most, but if you’re an organization of hobbyists, there might be no time better than the weekends to post as this is when your audience is most likely to be enjoying their given hobby.

Picking the right time is a matter of knowing your audience and experimenting.

When do you think the best time to post might be? Think of a few possibilities, and justify why they might be good candidates. Your case doesn’t have to be iron-clad, it just has to be worth testing.

Schedule posts for each of the times you think might be good candidates, and measure the relative success of each.

Discover your audience with data

After your schedule has run its course, take a look at the metrics for each post. Do any stand out as particularly successful, or particularly low-performing?

Evaluating impressions is a great way to establish which time is best for reaching your audience. If you thought a certain time might be good, but impressions are low, this is a strong indicator that you might be wrong. If you still feel confident that you’re right, consider testing further. It could be that some other factor was responsible for low performance.

Maybe – despite having poor impression metrics – one of your posts performed very well at driving individuals to your website or application form. Consider taking this same post and, next week, schedule it at a different time.  If sending it at a different time exposes the post to a larger audience, this will not only help you bring more traffic to your site/application form, but indicate that this particular time of the week is a high-performer!

Be ready to respond!

Social media is not a broadcast medium. Those you talk to through social media can talk back, so it’s important that your social media strategy goes beyond just scheduling posts. Be ready for individuals to reach out to you, and have a plan to recognize and respond to them. After all, scheduling posts should be about making more time for engaging with people, not just your posts!