Companies like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Dlvr.It are done letting you schedule a ton of social media posts without paying up. I was scheduling promotional tweets this month when I suddenly got a message saying I’d reach my limit of ten scheduled tweets.
I’d never seen this before. I tended to schedule a daily tweet that promoted at least one book, and I tended to, around the first weekend of each month, schedule tweets for the entire month (roughly thirty). I’d also schedule a few tweets for the week of interesting articles or quotes. I don’t like the idea of someone checking out my Facebook or Twitter accounts to find I haven’t posted anything in months, so scheduling allowed me to look active, even if it didn’t include high levels of engagement. (And don’t get me started on the importance of engagement. That’s for another article.)
Anyway, I discovered that there seems to have been a shift in the FREE plans of social media scheduling companies. And the shift seems to limit you to ten scheduled tweets for free plans. For paid plans, the scheduling capacity is much higher (anywhere from 100 to unlimited, depending on the level of your plan and the company).
So, what’s an author to do if they want to schedule more than ten tweets or Facebook posts, but, based on their current author income, they can’t swing a paid plan? Well, there are a couple of options. Simply use the free plans, but log in to schedule your posts more often. The next simplest option is to go direct. Facebook lets you schedule posts for pages. Simply go to your Facebook page, click on Publishing Tools, and go to Schedule Posts. If you have Twitter, you can use the TweetDeck site to schedule posts. To schedule a post there, click on the feathered quill icon that indicates you want to write a new tweet. Write your tweet, and then, just below the tweet is a box that allows you to schedule it.
Both Twitter and Facebook allow you to connect the accounts, so that when you post one site it will automatically post to the other. You can read about how to link Twitter to Facebook here and vice versa here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any great free ways to schedule Instagram post or Pinterest pins. If these are your go-to sites, it might be wise to focus your free plans at the scheduling services on these two platforms, and simply log in more frequently to take advantage of your ten free posts.
Now, if posting to different sites, or updating more frequently sounds like a lot of extra work, it is. That’s probably why all these sites decided to limit access for their free plans. If you want to the convenience their services offer en masse, they want you to pay for it. I’m sure anyone who can afford to purchase the services will, and those who can’t will slog through social media scheduling directly using the apps themselves.
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While the new rules may make it harder for some, they may have the side impact of improving social media engagement, as it’s not as easy to set it and forget it. An author has to be more involved in their posts if they’re not scheduling deep in advance.