We all know that one resource small business owners don’t have enough of is time. And scheduling your posts on social media, freeing you up to do other things, is one way to build more time into your day for other tasks.
There’s only one problem with post scheduling. Maybe it’s just me, but it leads to a whole lot of silly, ridiculous, I-must-fill-this-spot-with-something type posts. They drive me right up the wall.
But again, maybe that’s just me.
What’s For Dinner?
If there’s a more frequently used scheduled post than What’s for dinner, I’m hard pressed to find it. It is the ultimate update of choice when you can’t think of anything else to post. And yes, it does often lead to tons of responses, which is, of course, the reason you post updates in the first place — to increase engagement.
My argument stems from wondering whether someone who tells me they’re serving chicken for dinner has even a shred of interest in any product or service I might be offering. Maybe. Maybe not. I’m just not sure that a string of dinner options under a post has any real value.
Many social media gurus will argue that the whole idea is to stay visible; to remain on people’s radar. And I get that. I really do. I just question whether the visibility is all that valuable.
And don’t even get me started on the idea that we must somehow always have a presence on social media, no matter what. I maintain as I have forever, that man (or woman) was not meant to be tethered to social media.
The very idea that, unlike virtually any other area of our lives, we should somehow be continually present on social media platforms is ludicrous to me. It simply defies logic.
Simply put, it makes me crazy.
But hey, again, maybe that’s just me.
I don’t claim to be the ultimate expert on how often we should be seen on social media or whether too much emphasis is placed on the value of constant visibility. I just have a problem with it from a personal, real-life, perspective.
We aren’t expected to be always visible anywhere else in life. Why must social media be any different?
What I Hate About Scheduling
Let me see if I can clarify, at least from my personal perspective, what bugs me about social media update scheduling.
1. It’s unnatural.
I’ve already discussed the odd feel of scheduled updates. I have a hard time understanding why we must update our social media feeds even when we have absolutely nothing to say. At least not anything we care much about one way or another.
Scheduled posts all too often look forced. You can almost see the person sitting at their computer struggling to come up with something, anything, witty or smart to say. And often the best they can do is something like, What’s for dinner? If that’s not a desperation post, I don’t know what is.
Or how about this one? If you could visit any country in the world, where would it be and why? Is it just me, or does that tacked on and why throw you back into middle school English, struggling through a pop quiz before the bell rings?
And while we’re on the subject, who cares what country you might like to visit? Or why, for that matter?
Yes, it can get people talking. It might help you learn a bit more about your audience. Which is, of course, part of the argument one might make in defense of such a post. But again, I question whether the answers are really of much value unless maybe you run a travel agency.
But I say again, maybe that’s just me. 🙂
2. The posts often lack feeling or emotion.
Okay. I’ll concede that a post update probably, by its very nature, lacks feeling and emotion. It’s one dimensional.
But when you read a spontaneously written post, even if you’re reading it on a computer screen, you feel the emotion behind the post.
You can tell when someone is posting something about which they have a strong feeling, emoticons aside. Even with nary a smiley or frowny face in sight, those words jump off the screen, and you feel them, you hear them in your mind. The emotion that generated that update comes through loud and clear.
I’m sorry, but you can’t get that from a scheduled had-to-get-something-posted update. Too often such posts sound flat. Boring. Uninspired.
A robot could have written the post.
And busy people will usually scroll right past it.
Oh sure, you may get some responses, but again, I question how valuable these answers actually are for your business. Just because someone tells you what they ate for dinner, or what person, living or dead, they’d most like to talk to, doesn’t mean they’ll care a whit about your business.
They might. They might not. But I question how much your scheduled post matters toward that outcome.
3. Scheduling posts is a time suck.
I know. I just said people schedule posts to save time. And that’s true, in the long run, I suppose.
But the time it takes to sit down and schedule posts, even for just one day ahead of time, can be agonizingly slow. Even painful. When you’re not feeling creative, are not inspired by anything, the effort to dig into your mind and come up with clever, thoughtful, engaging posts is significant.
And it can feel like trying to push a rubber ball with a piece of string. All but impossible, not to mention unbearably frustrating.
And again, my problem with always scheduling posts ahead of time is that you often end up with, well, not to put too fine a point on it, stupid posts.
And coming up with those vapid posts takes quite a lot of time; time that might be better spent doing something else.
So What’s The Answer?
So what’s a small business owner to do? You want to engage with your audience via social media. You wish to provide value and remain on their radar.
But is there a better way?
I’ll admit that I may not have the best answer to this question of whether to schedule posts or not. And I’m not saying you should never schedule a post.
I’m merely making the argument that being genuine, as you would be in real life, just seems to be a better approach.
And yes, I do sometimes schedule posts myself. I know, sounds hypocritical, doesn’t it?
But I’m more likely to schedule a post when I have a slew of ideas, but can’t post them all at once. Maybe I’ve read something that’s inspired me to express my own opinions. But if I’ve just posted an update, do I really want to post another one right on top of it?
Probably not. In that case, if I want to spread my updates out a bit, I’ll schedule the post that just popped into my head. It’s spontaneous. It’s filled with emotion. I believe it’s valuable to my audience.
But the post can be scheduled to publish a few hours later, or even the next day, once it’s written.
The post is still from the heart. I wrote it when I was feeling inspired. I just didn’t post it immediately.
This method of scheduling is the one I use most often these days. It just feels more natural. It seems real.
And it keeps me from trying to force my wrung out brain to be clever. Something I can’t make happen on demand.
But again, maybe that’s just me.
What To Do Now
So better minds than mine have advocated scheduling your posts and who am I to buck the system? If doing so has been working for you, then by all means, continue to do it.
But I suggest that maybe you try, just for kicks and fun, seeing what would happen if you posted more spontaneously.
In this day of mobility, where more and more people are using social media via their mobile phones, it’s easy to post a quick update, no matter where you might be, when the mood strikes.
To me, spontaneous posting, when you actually have something to say, just feels more real.
It unchains you from constantly feeling you have to be connected.
Being connected all the time is overrated. I would rather use social media as a human being rather than a robot.
Maybe it’ll be okay if now and then, you’re silent.
Maybe you can skip an update if you just have nothing much to say.
Maybe the world won’t end.
Maybe your business will remain viable.
But again, maybe that’s just me.
Do you agree with me about scheduled social media updates? What has worked best for you? I’m always open to new ideas. Share your thoughts in the comments section below. You may change my mind. You never know. 🙂