Marketing How-to Series: Social Media Scheduling Tools- What Are They and Why You Need Them.
Once you have your marketing content ready to go, the next step is to get it out there in front of your audience. For nonprofit organizations, it is so crucial that all fundraising events are properly marketed before these events take place, more so than ever in a virtual fundraising world. This may sound like an obvious statement on the surface; however, executing a marketing plan requires more than just a good plan. It requires the right set of tools. One of these tools is a social media scheduler.
Prepping for Virtual Events
We probably don’t need to spend too much time discussing why it’s so important for nonprofits to utilize social media for their marketing efforts. In this unprecedented year of 2020, social media has been one of the main forms of communication that most of us have relied on to deliver messages to our existing donors as well as to grow our donor base. However, we do want to spend time helping you perfect the social media scheduling tool. With the increasing prevalence of virtual events, a social media scheduling tool is bound to help your organization attract more people to your events.
What is a Social Media Scheduler?
Before we dive into how to use this tool, let’s quickly cover exactly what a social media scheduler can accomplish. A social media scheduler is an automation tool that helps you schedule posts across multiple social media accounts ahead of time. The goal of this tool is to help your organization plan, schedule, and analyze all of your social media content from one central place. Best of all, you can post to all of your social media networks if you use social media scheduling software (we will cover those platform options in the next section).
How-to on Social Media Schedulers
Step 1: Choose your social media scheduler software. If you decide not to use a third-party platform, you can pre-schedule your posts through each social media platform. However, many third-party social media scheduling tools are free (or at least fairly inexpensive), and we highly recommend using them. For starters, check out Hootsuite, Sendible, Buffer, and SocialBee. Most of these start you out with a free trial so that you can test them out first to see which interface works best for you. Many of these have free plans for one to three social accounts. If you need more robust features such as additional social media accounts, you will have to upgrade to a paid subscription, however, most free plans are sufficient for most nonprofits.
Step 2: Increase the frequency of your posts.
Building and maintaining an audience on social media is all about engagement. The more often your organization posts, the more likely you will experience some engagement from your audience. With a scheduler, you can set up your posts to go out at any hour of the day that makes sense for your audience. Find out how frequently to post in our blog 6 Critical Questions to Ask yourself When Performing a Social Media Health Check.
Step 3: Map out your schedule for the next three months. You can always map things out further if you want, but three months is a pretty solid chunk of time to get you started. Schedule posts as much as possible during those three months. These can be brief posts that provide your audience with facts, tips, or insights into your industry. It’s also a good idea to post some fun items, whether it be open-ended questions to get some responses, a more casual behind the scenes, or maybe a fun video to get some laughs. Don’t forget, social media is not only about educating your audience about your nonprofit, but your audience will be coming back to your page to also have value-added and to find entertainment.
Step 4: Be sure to include your marketing materials to build up anticipation. Prep your upcoming virtual events by scheduling all of your marketing-related posts ahead of time. In doing so, you will ensure that you don’t slip up or fall behind in your marketing efforts. Post flyers, video messages, and graphics of any kind that your marketing team has prepared in a way that builds up anticipation for your event. Don’t forget to always let your audience know when to expect more information. In other words, get your audience excited!
Step 5: Always be monitoring your schedule.
This isn't a “set it and forget it” kind of tool. Yes, it’s nice to set up your posts to go out ahead of time so that you don’t forget to push them out. However, you should be monitoring and updating your schedule as necessary. If things change (such as a canceled or delayed event), you need to edit your content before it is scheduled to be sent out. It’s never good to promote incorrect or outdated information!
Step 6: Track your performance.
If you go with a third-party app, you will have the capability to track and analyze the performance of your posts. In doing so, you will get a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not. For example, maybe those late-night posts aren’t reaching as many people as your early morning posts. Analyzing your efforts will help you to make adjustments that will improve your marketing plan.
The Benefits of a Social Media Scheduler
There are plenty of benefits that we have mentioned throughout this blog. Not only will setting a social media post schedule free up your time over the coming months, but it will also ensure that your marketing content is delivered in a way that is consistent, creative, and engaging — this is the “big three” that your social media posts should always revolve around! It will of course take some time to set up a schedule to work in this kind of way, but the results will be well worth it.
If you need further assistance with your social media marketing efforts, especially if you have questions regarding best practices for virtual events, please contact us today.