How to Create a Perfect Social Media Publishing Schedule

[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog.]

If you’re looking to optimize your Instagram content strategy, look no further than creating an all-encompassing publishing schedule. Here’s the low down on how.

As a social marketer, you have a ton on your plate. There are a million things to prep and plan for as you liaise between the marketing and creative departments to ensure that your most important visual touchpoints are relaying the right on-brand message through a carefully crafted narrative. NBD.

While everyone is out there thinking you have the easy fun job, you’re here struggling trying to make everything look effortless while strategizing and staying on top of a sleepless Internet. Little do they know that every IG post is the result of a thoughtful, intentional brand message.

To manage social media accounts is to be on 24/7/365, making the existence of social media publishing tools vital to survival. When you develop an Instagram content strategy, devising a game plan for your ensuing social posts is de rigueur.

Real talk: keeping a social media posting schedule is about both organization and the ability to stay nimble, while simultaneously executing your visual brand strategy. You’re serving much more than just photos and videos — you’re thinking about the bigger picture and the ongoing brand story you’re telling through those Instagram posts. Social media content is your strategy’s culmination, and those visuals must deliver. No pressure.

Because Instagram automation is not an applicable solution, you’re gonna want to opt for a comprehensive set of social media scheduling tools that will support your social media marketing strategy while also doubling as an Instagram post planner. The Dash Hudson Scheduler is the complete package when it comes to planning your calendar, essentially stopping short of telling you how often to post on Instagram (we have social media best practices for that 🤓).

Planning everything in advance provides social marketers a bird’s eye view of their Insta flow at all times. Nothing plagues the Instagram manager more than the fear of running out of content, or worse, missing National Siblings Day (jk, but not). In keeping with your brand’s marketing initiatives, the social media team would be remiss to not keep a fully stocked, all-encompassing posting calendar, complete with all scenarios of optimization.

Which we’re about to lay out below.

1. Pick a Tool

Before filling that content calendar with all those great branded visuals you’ve been producing, you need to nail some assistance. The tools you’re using can actually determine your end results, so make it count. Without a solid arsenal of them in your kit, your social media life can get very, very difficult.

A scheduling tool that fulfills your business needs is vital, and Dash Hudson’s robust scheduler is a superstar solution for brands. Here’s why:

  • Upload all of your owned media into the scheduler to keep a bank of content to pull from.
  • Source images from around Instagram directly from your DH dashboard (more on that later).
  • Schedule your posts in advance and be notified to publish by push notification once it’s time.
  • Curate your feed by dragging and dropping your posts in the order that works best with your aesthetic and onto your most active timeslots.
  • Preview what your gallery will look like and adjust until you’re satisfied.
  • Include links in each post to turn your Instagram into a traffic or revenue driver (or both).

2. Develop a Posting Strategy

As you know, posting on social media is not just something to do at your whim — strategery here is highly important in all matters of posting frequency, best publishing times, and aesthetic consistency. To that effect, the key to nailing your visual identity is to first devise a content strategy in which to anchor your efforts.

You’re going to want to establish content pillars, each one derivative from your bigger brand narrative. They will serve as the vehicle for your company’s tone of voice and visual point of view.

Decide what holidays and events you want include in your activities — ask yourself which collective conversations you want your brand to be a part of and what makes sense for your business. Weave those into your calendar.

Same goes for your collection drops and influencer activations. Be sure to pencil those in as far in advance as possible to keep your head above water and to know what you’ll be posting to promote your campaigns. Build your calendar around them.

3. Source & Schedule Earned Content

Repurposing high-quality user-generated content is hugely beneficial and adds a ton of media value to your social marketing. The main reason being that it’s a reciprocal act of love that lets your followers know you notice them, further encouraging the creation of more content around your brand, and consequently receiving more organic exposure.

With that said, the Dash Hudson scheduler makes regramming an easy, seamless process by allowing you to input UGC into your social calendar directly from your DH Dashboard. Here’s how:

  • Head to your UGC tab, and click on either Organic Reach or Timeline. The thumbnails that populate the page are in order of highest influence, and therefore likely highest quality.
  • Peruse the posts to see who’s talking about you, leave comments directly from their global pop-ups if you haven’t already, and then click the schedule icon at the bottom to add the media to your unscheduled bank of content or to schedule it directly into the calendar. Easy, peasy, seamless.

Incorporating UGC into your Instagarm content strategy is a super smart way to show your fans some love while also generating more organic exposure for yourself by encouraging others to tag you in hopes a repost.

4. Drive Traffic or Monetization (Or Both!)

Think of a link-in-bio solution to fully optimize your Instagram content. Not only will it help bring your audience more value, but it can also potentially turn your IG account into an additional revenue driver. Redirect your followers with external links to increase web traffic and convert sales by adding URLs to your media before publishing.

You can do this for all your photos and videos before posting them to better capitalize on the first few moments after publishing. Just click into any of your unpublished posts in your scheduler and follow the prompts to add a LikeShop link.

You can also add links to earned posts you’re repurposing in the same step mentioned in point #3. As you’re scheduling the post you want to regram from its gloabl pop-up, just add the type of link — whether it’s to a product page or a content page — to the scheduled post by inputting it into the LikeShop space.

And voilà, you’ll be monetizing in no time! Just remember to add a strong CTA.

5. Polish Your Grid

Our scheduler drag and drop functionality makes curation intuitive. Easily play around with the order of your posts to make sure that your grid flows nicely and echoes your aesthetic. Be mindful of the dates to ensure that your marketing initiatives, special collaborations, and notable events are scheduled on the right days, and get a full preview of your feed’s appearance.

Once you’re happy with how everything looks, drag the thumbnails in order directly onto the calendar. Double optimization whammy: the time slots darkened in blue are your best times to post based on your engagement history. This is an incredibly useful functionality to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your post.

Planning is winning, especially as it relates to what your Instagram profile will look like. Aka your homepage.

6. Predict Your Performance

For anyone with a DH High Growth package and above, the Scheduler is now equipped with Visions’s performance predictor tool. This is a game-changer. It will give every prospective image a real-time performance forecast indicated by a little icon in the top righthand corner of the post’s thumbnail, giving you the ability to ax a visual and replace it with one that is likelier to succeed.

Like I said, a game-changer.

*Bonus 7: Don’t Forget Instagram Stories!

You can also store your pre-produced Instagram Stories in the Dash Hudson Scheduler and add them onto your calendar to receive a posting prompt. Once you go into the DH for Brands app to post, you’ll be asked if your visual is for your feed or your Stories. Tap Stories and proceed as usual.

Planning on steroids? We think so.

Approaching Instagram scheduling from an all-encompassing standpoint is the best way to ensure you tick off all the required boxes, bringing you one step closer to total social domination. In all seriousness, that means reaching all of your goals and then some.

You’re only helping yourself, your team, and your brand by doing the work ahead of time, as a thoughtfully organized schedule makes strategy execution a seamless task. Keeping things tight will help you establish a process and streamline your workflow, enabling you to visualize and focus on the bigger picture.

And you know what they say, go big or go home.

Want to learn more about how Dash Hudson can help you succeed at visual marketing? Hit us up today.

Visual marketing platform built for and used by the world’s most discerning brands and publishers.