Do you still use HootSuite or other third-party applications to manage Facebook? It used to be a strategic and efficient way to go, but if you’re still using these tools to schedule posts— you’ll want to re-evaluate your process.
There are several reasons why scheduling posts in advance using HootSuite is doing a disservice to your social media efforts. 1. First, as third-party management tools became popular, users got better at noticing and distinguishing between posts that were made in Facebook and those that weren’t. People simply weren’t engaging as much with Fan Pages that weren’t naturally taking the time to post in Facebook. 2. Facebook of course understood this, and developed their EdgeRank algorithm to reflect it. Fan Pages with stronger EdgeRanks are more likely to have their posts appear in fans’ News Feeds, and using third-party scheduling tools hurts your EdgeRank. 3. The best reason why you shouldn’t be using HootSuite anymore? You can now schedule posts directly in Facebook!
How to Schedule Posts Directly in Facebook
It’s really pretty simply once you know it’s there (and until a week or 2 ago, it wasn’t!—What took you so long, Facebook?). When making a post, click on the clock on the bottom left of the status update.
You can directly schedule posts in Facebook up to 6 months in the future and in 10 minute time intervals. You can also “schedule” posts in the past. If you choose a past date, it will appear on the appropriate date on your Fan Page’s Timeline.
Note: Before you have the ability to schedule posts, you need to establish when your company was founded. I removed our founded date to show what comes up without one:
So the switch to Timeline had scheduling in mind all along! Another reason to embrace Timeline.
This feature is going to make a huge difference for social media managers. When I stopped using HootSuite, there weren’t any suitable replacements for planning posts when I wanted to (on the weekends, for example), because everything had a negative effect on EdgeRank and showed a third-party app symbol on the post. So every post I made across all of the Fan Pages that I manage, I was making manually.
Making Facebook Posts Manually vs. Automated
When I began making all posts manually, I didn’t want to have to keep tabs on all of the social media calendars I planned each month, so I merged all of the posts as tasks and reminders into my personal calendar. The process is working well and I don’t plan to completely replace it with the automated Facebook scheduling tool, because let’s face it, if you’re not directly in those pages manually making posts, you’re not going to be engaging with fans or seeing other pages’ posts as effectively as you could be.
Automated Facebook posts will, however, be very useful for times when I know I won’t be available to manually make posts, or when I want to have a post ready to go for a time-sensitive reason. The whole purpose of social media is to engage with your fans, share value-added content and create another avenue for a brand touch-point. By completely automating the process, you lose that purpose – but it sure is good to know that Facebook finally has our back when it comes to effectively scheduling posts when we need to!