If you’re the type of blogger who reads websites about blogging, you’ve probably come across the advice to schedule posts. The idea is that you want to keep a fairly steady feed of new stuff showing up on your site, but not dump a lot of new stuff all at once.
WordPress makes this pretty easy. Instead of publishing a post, you can schedule it for the future. Then, when that date and time rolls around the post will show up on your site. It’s even easier if you use a plugin like Editorial Calendar to keep track of your calendar.
This post is actually the fifth that I’ve written this weekend. They’re all scheduled to post out over the next two weeks.
Scheduling Social Media
Something I’ve struggled with was scheduling social media posts to go out when posts are published.
At first I would add a note to my todo list to login to Twitter or Facebook and post links back to my site. Ultimately that just didn’t happen.
Jetpack has a module called Publicize that will automatically post to Twitter and Facebook when WordPress posts go live. But I didn’t really like that either. It didn’t give me enough customization to write out what I wanted to on the social posts. Plus, it didn’t always work. The connection between my site and the social sites would break and the social posts wouldn’t go out.
I signed up for the cheapest paid package on Hootsuite for another project I was working on and added the social accounts for this site to play around.
Originally I just used it to auto schedule links to articles that I come across online. With their Chrome extension it’s pretty easy to share and keep a good feed of new stuff posting.
A few months ago they added a new Composer feature that lets you preview what the post will look like on different social media accounts. Originally I was a little irked that it lacked the ability to auto schedule, which is something that they’re supposed to be adding at some point. But it does allow for manual scheduling, and that’s what I’ve been doing.
This is what it looks like when I scheduled a tweet for this post. Note that it says “Check out this link.” That’s the default when Hootsuite can’t pull the actual page, which it can’t because it’s not published yet. When the post goes live on WordPress and the tweet actually goes out it’ll look like it should.
Then, I just click on the Schedule for Later button, pick a time, and click the Schedule button. I typically shoot for about an hour after the WordPress post publishes.
Here it is
Edit… Now that the published date has come and gone for this post, the tweet is now live. Here’s what it looks like after the post and tweet are published.
Trouble remembering to post links back to your site in Facebook or Twitter? Hootsuite makes it pretty easy.
— CompSci Rocks (@CompSci_Rocks) September 5, 2018
Hootsuite added Pinterest support a couple months ago and I’ve been scheduling there the same way.
I don’t think it’s quite as important to get Pinterest posts scheduled since they tend to bring traffic for longer periods of time. Facebook, and even more so Twitter, tend to bring traffic in right after the post is made and then taper off. Pinterest brings in less traffic immediately, but it keeps steady over more time.
What About Buffer?
I had an account with Buffer for a while. Still have the free account, it just doesn’t get much use. While I liked the interface in Buffer much better, Hootsuite seems to have more features built in.
Been meaning to go back and play around with Buffer though, so maybe I should give it another shot.
Oops, update 2018-09-08
While this appears to have worked perfectly with Twitter, there’s a little snag with Facebook.
When the post embeds into Facebook it’s using the default Open Graph image for my site instead of the image for the post. If I run the page through Facebook’s open graph debugger it picks up the right image. My guess is somewhere between Hootsuite and Facebook the post is going to Facebook early and it’s trying to pull the post before it’s published. Facebook gets the 404 page instead, which has the default image set for open graph. Of course, that’s just a guess. I’m also seeing 404 requests in Google Analytics for the post before it goes live, so it seems like a pretty good guess.