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Planning Ahead While Maintaining Flexibility

Planning Ahead While Maintaining Flexibility

When it comes to scheduling posts for social media, it can be a delicate balance between scrambling at the last second and planning too far ahead.  You want your content to be timely and relevant, but also want to be able to plan your posts in advance. You want to be able to plan and work ahead, but also be ready to change and adapt on a moment’s notice.

These past few months have presented a perfect example of why brands need to stay on their toes and be willing to pivot on a moment’s notice.  Below are a few ways you can work to maintain a balance between planning and flexibility, to still work ahead, but without losing your adaptability. 

Once a post is scheduled, don’t just ignore it 

No matter how far in advance you have posts scheduled, always remember to keep reviewing them. Continuously check upcoming posts, even if you have the whole month scheduled out.   This way, you are able to make small changes and tweaks as needed to keep up with current events.  If an event or situation arises that would make sense for you to mention, you can try adding it organically into a post you have scheduled.  Furthermore, by reviewing your upcoming posts, you can make sure none of the information has become outdated since you scheduled them.

Flag posts that can be replaced

It’s great to have a schedule, but don’t be stuck to it like glue.  As you are creating a schedule or plan, make note of the posts that you would be able and willing to replace if you need to open up a spot for something new.  For instance, if there is a major world event you feel you need to address, or if your brand decides to run a special or promotion at the last minute, you will probably want to post about it on social media.  It will make your life easier to have specific posts flagged ahead of time that can be replaced.

Have a few backup posts prepared

On the flip side of that, you should also have some back-up posts created in case you can no longer run a post as scheduled.  This situation could arise if you run out of a product you were planning to promote, an event got cancelled, or the like.  If you have a few posts prepared that are not as specific, you can quickly replace outdated posts in your schedule as needed.

Plan copy even without photos, and vice versa 

You don’t need to have all the pieces in place to begin working on a piece of content.  If you are waiting on one aspect of a post, that does not mean you cannot work ahead on the other aspects of it.  For example, say you have a photoshoot coming up, and would like to get posts up within days of the shoot.  You can still go ahead and write the verbage for your posts so that they are ready to go as soon as the photos are produced. 

Don’t plan too far out 

If you’re not too swamped with work and find yourself with some extra time on your hands, resist the temptation to plan too far ahead.  This may feel proactive, but in most cases it ends up just being a waste of time.  The truth is, especially this year, we have no idea what the world is going to look like in 2 or 3 months.  You would be better served to spend time perfecting the posts you have planned for the near future, instead of gambling on posts for down the line.  When you try to plan too far in advance, most posts end up needing to be edited or replaced anyways, which just ends up resulting in more work in the long run.   

Create drafts for quick and easy access 

Finally, drafts of posts on your social media pages should be your best friends.  Drafts are a great way to create content and have it ready and waiting for you when the time is right. If you have half of a super clever caption written, save it as a draft.  If you have a new offering coming out soon but are waiting for the exact launch day, save it as a draft.  If you have 2 alternative versions of an upcoming post that you can’t decide between, save it as a draft.  You can make any small changes you need to before scheduling the posts out, so they don’t accidentally get posted with errors or missing information.

Overall, it’s easier to plan ahead and make a few changes as needed, than to wait and scramble at the end.  Work ahead, but be diligent in double-checking your schedule to make sure everything is still relevant, and be willing to adapt as needed.

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