Journalists, are you seriously still not scheduling your social media?

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Due to the nature of my position with SPJ, I tend to be on social media all day and night. Some of this may be due to my overwhelming addiction to Buzzfeed quizzes about which celebrity would play me in a movie, but mainly this is because SPJ’s social media requires a lot of attention.

I am constantly posting SPJ’s own content, SPJ’s Blogs Network posts, other journalism associations’ content, and journalism-related articles. On top of this, I monitor newsfeeds and reply to followers’ questions — and social media only makes up about a fourth of my duties at SPJ.

In order to maintain my sanity, which arguably could already have been lost in my short 20-some years of existence, I have to schedule most of SPJ’s social media posts. Really, all news organizations and associations with active social media accounts should be scheduling their social media posts. It is not really an option anymore.

So when I started at SPJ in May, I inherited the use of Hootsuite as my scheduler. It got the job done, but I found it cumbersome. Now to be fair, it could all be user error, but I needed something that was a little more intuitive. That’s the day I found Postcron.

Since this time, in June I believe it was, SPJ’s social media has mostly been run via Postcron and all of its social media scheduling abilities. I have also been planning on writing some blog posts about social media since this change, and part of it was going to involve scheduling social media with my suggestion of Postcron as my preferred tool. Coincidentally, Postcron approached me last week to write a post about its services, because of SPJ’s constant use of the platform, in exchange for some free months of its more advanced level.

Ethically, we weighed this decision against SPJ’s Code of Ethics, which states to act independently and disclose conflicts when present. We decided to disclose the conflict and write this post for a few different reasons. Namely, we were already using Postcron for some time, and wanted to get the message across about the importance of scheduling social media. Also, Postcron is the scheduling medium we use and it could potentially help members searching for a good scheduler. SPJ regularly shares tips and tools to make a journalist’s life easier. These factors outweighed the ethical concerns we might have had.

Because digital journalism is in major need of some social media organization, here is what Postcron can do for independent journalists, news organizations, associations and anyone in need of a great social media scheduler.

It’s Free!

Postcron has paid versions, but the free version is plenty for anyone who only needs to promote a few social media accounts and schedule up to 10 posts at one time. Also, with the free version, you can store up to seven Facebook, Twitter and Google + accounts for scheduling purposes. If you have more than seven accounts, you should probably reconsider your social media strategy – fewer accounts and more posts.

Google Chrome Widgets

These three words are literally my best friends for any site that has them available, and it just so happens that Postcron is one of them. You can easily download the Postcron widget and be a lazy social media poster, like myself. Once you have your widget, all you have to do is go to the article or web page you want to share and click your Postcron widget. The Postcron box will pop up on the same page you want to promote, and you can set all of your preferences without going back and forth between multiple browser tabs.

Bitly+Postcron= Social Media Love

If you are tweeting, regardless of whether it is with a scheduler or not, please use Bitly or a link shortener at all times — or at least for the really long web links. Postcron just so happens to make this easier for those who are extra lazy social media users (again referencing myself). You can sync your Bitly account to your Postcron account and your link will auto generate into a shortened Bitly link when you go to post on the scheduler. Talk about killing two steps with one click.

Visual Appeal

Just as much as link shorteners are extremely important for Twitter, images are crucial for Facebook. Postcron makes adding images to your posts a breeze. When you click your Postcron widget on an article with photos or logos on the page, images auto populate for posting. If you don’t like any of the images that come up, upload your own or paste an image URL that you do like. It is that simple. So really, you have no excuse for your bland, extra wordy Facebook post that no one has time to read or cares about.

Time zones and Military Time

Though I obviously have much love for Postcron, as exemplified above, there are a few minor details I could definitely do without. It took me forever to figure out how to get the right time zone for my area correct, mainly because of the military time, which is my other non-favorite time about the scheduler. I think I have been very clear how lazy I want to be about social media, so doing a little math to figure out what non-military time something should post is not ideal. But if the time zone/military time issue is the worst complaint I have, I think I can get over it.

I digress…

Moral of the story is, social media scheduling is a must. Newsrooms, journalists and up-and-coming journalists need to swallow that pill and get on board. So whether you use Postcron, Hootsuite or any other scheduler, just find one that best suits you or your company’s needs and makes your social media posting life as easy and painless as it should be.

Taylor Carlier Headshot

Taylor Carlier | Photo credit: Matt Thomas

Taylor Carlier is the communications coordinator at the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a 2014 Purdue University graduate of Mass Communication: Journalism and previously was the special projects editor at The Exponent. She can be reached at tcarlier@spj.org or on Twitter at @Taylorcarlier.

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  • Oh, I’ll start the discussion. While it might be easier and efficient to schedule updates, posts and content for your audiences, it’s not a holy grail. As many organizations have seen when their posts have gone live during disasters – like this tweet from the NRA during the Colorado shooting… https://politicalfails.wordpress.com/category/insensitive-tweets/ and there are dozens of other examples.

    Unfortunately, news organizations (and SPJ) should understand that ‘set it and forget it’ can’t be a strategy. While Hootsuite, Buffer, Bottlenose, Postcron, Tweetdeck and the 17 other apps that help you schedule your updates make it easy to spend time doing your job…your job is also responding to audiences, sharing your content thoughtfully and not automatically, and remaining aware of what you have in the pipeline in case you share some thoughts about tweeting your agenda when bombs are going off or other events are happening.

    http://marketingland.com/epicurious-becomes-latest-brand-to-suffer-social-backlash-from-tragedy-related-tweets-40257

    Another example ^^ of how scheduling tweets can bite you in the butt.

  • I’ll be giving Postcron a try based on your post, so thanks for sharing it. Building on @jeffcutler:disqus’s comment, I’ll say that one of the things that I have appreciated about Hootsuite (even at the free level) is how it allows users to see what’s happening in the channels. Retweeting — the most basic form of Twitter engagement — can’t happen with just a post-to scheduler.

    But let me take a look at Postcron and then decide!

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