Scheduling Social Media Posts with Later
The Problem - Lost Time and Zero Strategy
This year, one of my goals is to regain a lot of lost time spent on social media while growing my online presence. When I refer to lost time, I don’t mean the lost hours of endless scrolling looking at friends posts, what I’m referring to is the tedious task of maintaining a business presence online.
For too long I’ve operated without a plan in place and, like many, posted sporadically and often in-the-moment. Neither of these things was working to grow my following, and neither helped get me more time off my phone.
Working on my phone, for specific tasks, can be such a time saver for me. I think immediately of photography and videos. Editing within my phone has saved countless hours of transferring files etc. But when it comes to putting ideas into words, for me, it can be a bit slow. Copy-pasting different portions of a caption into other platforms was very time consuming but essential to sounding relevant on each.
In-the-moment posting is always stressful unless you have a regular routine it can fit into. My schedule varies wildly from week to week with travel, different activities and projects coming and going and while I keep some routines remembering to post at those “ideal” times was not easy. What made it more difficult is coming up with engaging captions on the spot. Turning your thoughtful, storytelling brain on for 15 min during the middle of a convention to create an Instagram post is not my idea of fun or how a streamlined business should be run.
Another problem I’d encountered with posting without a plan in place was that I had no strategy. Frequently my posts would contain interesting information about what I was working on, but they lacked a call to action or anything that prompted my audience to engage with me.
What Didn’t Work for Me
In an attempt to counter some of these problems I’ve tried various other ways to post automatically or streamline things to different platforms.
I’ve used the auto-post features integrated with Instagram to share to my facebook page. I’ve also integrated IFTTT to automatically do this to a broader range of platforms I still use. These are great if you simply want to share content in an impersonal copy-paste sort of style. But if you’re wanting to grow your audience on that platform, this is not a recommended way to do so.
Setting your own schedule for yourself is also an option if you have a schedule that allows for it. I wanted to added features of an app to help me in many other ways other than just a reminder to post at a specific time.
The solution to a streamlined process
Start with a Backlog Library of Work
For a long time, I’ve maintained a backlog of images that I can use to post whenever I need content. Usually, I’m not posting as a piece is being made because I might be sharing it first with my Patrons or I’ve already got a scheduled post for that day. The distance also helps me to think through my thoughts a little more when it comes to adding a caption to the post.
To take advantage of any kind of scheduled posting, you must first have a library of images to work from, to begin with.
Scheduling with Later
Setting up a free account with Later was easy and seamless. In a matter of minutes, I was able to connect my Instagram account with their platform and was able to post. Everything you need to know about using the app is there on the website. (I also highly recommend checking out their blog. It’s full of amazing information on best practices etc.)
For anyone that isn’t familiar with the app I highly recommend starting here. For me, I have a budget for social media management and purchased a single month subscription to one of their Premium tiers. After using it for a month (and proving to myself that this was a worthy investment) I was won over and subscribed for a year. Usually I’m posting videos to Instagram so the free plan was simply not an option for me.
The benefits I’ve found with using a scheduling platform like Later:
Less time is spent on creating posts for multiple social media platforms.
It is very important to me that I stay engaged with my audience. I can stay completely off my Instagram application and quickly reply to comments through the Later app on my computer. At a glance, I can see which comments have not been replied to etc.
In-depth analytics! I can monitor which posts are doing well, what tags I used that might have helped with that and easily see what things I should repeat in future posts.
I now have a curated to my own audience schedule of when is the best time to post.
Planning a week or more ahead allows me to think through what I want to be doing with my posts for that week.
So much more! If you want to take things even a step further, you can even schedule Instagram stories out through Later.
Later isn’t the only program or app that allows you to post a scheduled post. I know many use Hootsuite or others. Regardless of your platform, the regained freedom found with scheduling is one I highly recommend for anyone that depends on social media to grow their business.
One last thing
Before we go, I do need to address the most asked question I’ve gotten in the past few months since using an integrated app: Are my Instagram posts throttled or hurt by being posted through a third party app?
Nope. I’ve experienced no loss in traction with posts that are shared on my behalf for me through Later. About 50% of my posts are done automatically for me, the other 50% I post on my own after I’m prompted with a notification from Later (just paste the copy into the post that’s ready to go). In fact, in the last 3 months that I’ve been using it, my account has grown from 8k followers on Instagram to 11k. Being able to schedule things out has definitely contributed to that growth.
Now go forth, and enjoy that mental freedom from daily posting!
Naomi VanDoren is an artist who spent much of her life abroad. She grew up in the Spice Islands of Indonesia. A childhood of travel and immersion into a variety of cultures at such a young age left her with the desire to explore the earth and share her experiences through art.
She has a formal education in graphic design and began pursuing illustration on her own after moving to Japan in 2013. Naomi dove deep into painting digitally full time, and her passion for drawing and painting blossomed. In 2015, she experienced painting in watercolor for the first time and found it to be the perfect medium for traveling and she hasn't put it down since.
Currently she is developing projects around her own foxdragon creatures.
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/naomivandoren/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/NaomiVanDoren
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/naomivandoren