Scheduling Posts? Use Caution, and Reminders.

I usually discourage people from scheduling tweets or Facebook posts so that they are automatically published later on.

My reasons:

  • It can make you look out of touch, insensitive, or worse. (Here’s an example.)
  • If you aren’t paying attention when the post goes live, you aren’t available to reply to comments and questions.
  • It could lead to a “set it and forget it” strategy, which doesn’t make sense for conversational platforms.

TimerThere are potential benefits to scheduling posts though.

The biggest advantage for me is being able to spread posts out, especially posts about interesting articles and resources I’ve found. Otherwise, only a small group of people may notice them because they’re posted in a short period of time when I also happen to be online.

I’ve started experimenting a little bit with scheduled tweets, but I want to try to address the problems I mentioned earlier. When I schedule a post, I also set a reminder to go off on my phone 5 or 10 minutes before it goes live.

This helps in a few ways:

  • If I know something is happening that would make the post inappropriate, I have a few minutes to cancel it.
  • I’m reminded that people might reply or comment, in case I want to jump in and respond.

Right now I’m using Google Calendar for reminders. I asked HootSuite if you can set up this kind of notification there, but you can’t yet. I’ve added a feature request for it though. If you like the idea, feel free to vote for it.

Are scheduled posts a good idea if used wisely, or are we just making excuses for not being more present online? What do you think?

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