Creating updates ahead of time and scheduling them using various social marketing tools is ruining your brand’s social marketing strategy!
And your Digital Marketing agency is probably doing it!
No matter how much your agency tries to tell you that this is the way to go or, worse, “everybody does this”, it is the worst thing you can do to your money.
There’s a very good reason why we say this – and here’s an generic example to elaborate.
We all have a decent idea of what we are going to do later this week – whom we are meeting for dinner, where we are going for lunch, and what wedding we need to attend over the weekend, right?
We also have a general idea about what we are going to talk about with the people we meet – unless it’s a business meeting, in which case we should be quite certain.
We know we’re going to talk about their health or food or share news and so on.
The one thing we don’t know – usually – are the specific words we’re going to use to talk to those people.
We don’t plan that when telling someone about a new car we just bought, we’ll say “So, I bought this new Porsche 911 Carrera last month after I got my bonus.”
You have a basic idea in your head – you want to tell them about your car and when you bought it – the rest you put together once you are there.
Why is your Social Marketing Plan any Different?
It’s about forming a connection over common interests – about generating value for the people you are talking to.
We wholeheartedly agree with this point of view!
Essentially, it is no different than what we mentioned above in our example – that is the essence of social media marketing.
Then why the hell would you go forward and schedule your updates a week or month ahead of time?
Why would you decide what you are going to post well before a given date?
How do you know what’s going to be happening that day, that your post is going to become relevant to the people you’re talking to?
Two Sides to Creating Social Media Posts
If we were to generalize the overall social media strategy, there would be two major types of activities your brand would run:
- Short/Long Term Social Media Campaigns
- Daily Updates
The primary objective of long and short campaigns is to drive traffic – either to your website (lead or sale generation) or to your social media pages (Likes).
Things like “Summer Sale” or “Friday Fury Discounts” or “half-off” campaigns are pre-planned (not pre-scheduled mind you).
These short and long term campaigns are planned well ahead of time but even so, execution cannot be planned far ahead of time due to an inability to predict market conditions accurately.
The second aspect is daily updates – and this is something where you can only pre-plan to a certain degree.
The primary role of daily updates is to encourage engagement – driving traffic is a part of that process too but comments, post shares and Likes are the main objectives.
Daily updates are things you share to generate value – for example, commenting on a match that’s going on or trying to help someone who’s in some kind of trouble – that’s daily activity.
This you cannot pre-plan!
Where Brands are Making Mistakes
Recently, while interviewing a candidate for our social media team, we learnt that one of the leading agencies in India was pre-scheduling posts a minimum of 30-days in advance.
Individuals like our candidate didn’t even know what the Digital Marketing strategy actually was – besides creating a bunch of posts for clients as soon as possible.
So, posts for July – of each client – would be scheduled in June and execution would be automated.
The shocking truth is, this isn’t an isolated incident – it is the norm in social media marketing!
Whether you have in-house personnel handling this or an agency on your payroll, the one thing you have to be afraid of is Pre-Scheduling.
Agencies and personnel generally take this approach to save time and ensure that no unforeseen event disrupts the daily publishing schedule.
Secretly, we think it is their way of putting in the least amount of work for the money they are making, and trying to work with as many clients as they can.
Unfortunately, none of those are good-enough reasons for your brand to choose pre-scheduling.
Problems with Pre-Scheduling
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with pre-scheduling – you ensure that all updates are published like clockwork.
However, that’s also the problem with pre-scheduling – it’s like clockwork… mechanical!
Social media marketing is about forming a connection with prospects and customers – it’s not about publishing posts on time.
It’s not about how many posts you publish or when – it’s about how people respond to it!
To give you an example, here’s what is trending ‘Worldwide’ on Twitter right now:
All three weren’t trending a couple of hours ago, when we began writing this article.
So when the trend is so dynamic, how can your content be planned a week, two weeks or a month ahead of time?
How will people see your brand if you are not where everyone else?
In the Right Place at the Right Time
A lot of people will disagree with this but let us say this: Look at all the viral moments that were not part of pre-planned campaigns – they were all on the spur of the moment.
Sure, there is an overall plan to target trends, but there is no real tweet or Facebook update planned in advance!
Take the ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet by Oreo – could that have been scheduled a month in advance?
Sure, there could have been a plan to keep an eye on the Super Bowl, but predict a power-outage?
1-timely tweet resulted in over 6,700 favourites and over 13,000 re-tweets – all in the space of one game!
Oreo isn’t the only one – remember the Oscar selfie?
Real-Time Marketing is huge and if you are looking for any kind of real engagement with hardcore results, you need to know what the trends are and piggy-back on them!
It’s not your social media personnel’s or agency’s fault that they pre-schedule social media updates for everyday engagement.
Digital marketing is still new and isn’t taught in most countries – moreover, the Oreo and Oscar tweets are exceptions.
You may not get the same amount of engagement if your brand is putting out similar updates.
Again, it’s about creating an update that others find valuable or funny or interesting – that’s has always been the case!
We only share those stories, in parties, that everyone will find valuable or funny or interesting – it’s the same with Social Media Marketing.
If you are not posting about a weekly sale, a monthly discount, a new offer, or your product’s features – try and generate value in real time by using real-time events.
You will squeeze out more value for the money you’re spending on digital marketing agencies or personnel!