Facebook Scheduled Posts: The Good and the Bad

So now Facebook allows Page managers (oh — and Content Creators and Moderators) to schedule posts. Considering it’s 11:40 PM my time as I type this and I know I want to share this post early in the morning, I am freaking psyched about this development.

That said, I have my reservations as well. So here are the four reasons why Facebook Scheduled Posts will make both a positive and negative impact on social media.

The Good

1) Pages no longer punished by EdgeRank for scheduling posts (presumably).
This is an assumption, but I can’t imagine Facebook would punish anyone for scheduling posts on Facebook as they do with third party apps. This used to be a major factor that prevented me from ever using HootSuite or any similar tool to schedule my Facebook posts.

2) Fewer poorly formatted posts, third party icons and updates that get no engagement.
I am hoping this will mean I’ll be seeing far fewer of these horribly formatted posts. You know the ones. Whether they’re scheduled or zipped in via RSS feed, they have no thumbnail, look ridiculous and everyone ignores them. It’s actually a complete waste of time, even if it takes close to no time at all.

By scheduling with Facebook, we’ll no longer have to see these things. As often, at least.

Post to Facebook with Hootsuite
I didn't want to embarrass anyone, so I used Mashable as an example. Of course, they get plenty of engagement, probably don't schedule and have well formatted posts. You get the point, though.

3) Brands able to maximize their reach with the help of Insights and scheduled posts.
One of the first things I did after writing my blog post about Scheduled Posts was dig into Facebook Insights to help determine when I should be posting to be most effective. I already use Insights, but without scheduling I find it very difficult to stick to a particular schedule.

Now that I know I need to post between 7-10 AM and Noon-2 PM MST, I can actually start scheduling my posts accordingly. That’s awesome, I say.

4) International audiences will benefit.
This is a big one. I have somehow built an international audience, and now I can actually target these people at times when I’m in bed. This is not only good for fans of my Page but international users in general. Brands had better see this opportunity and seize it!

The Bad

Whenever a technology comes along that makes life easier, negatives will accompany it. So here we go…

1) Brands will get lazy.
You can bet this is going to happen. It’s already happening. But now there’s even more motivation to just load in a month’s worth of updates and walk away.

It will be obvious which brands are doing this. Please don’t forget your responsibility to manage your Page. Scheduling does not give you license to use Facebook as a PR bazooka. Even when you schedule, you must check back in multiple times throughout the day to respond to conversations your customers are trying to have with you.

2) Updates will become robotic and less reactive.
Maybe I’m getting lazy by not making this part of #1, but I see it as slightly different. One of the great things about social media is that it’s LIVE and NOW. Breaking news, we head to social media. Hopefully brands won’t lean so heavily on scheduling that they’ll cut out what made them interesting in the first place.

Scheduling should not be your entire content posting strategy. It should complement your current efforts and make you more effective. But you should continue to do many of the things you were already doing.

3) We’ll never know the difference between “live” and “scheduled.”
This is the Twitter Syndrome. I’ll get a direct message from someone that seems nice, but it just doesn’t smell right. It lacks specifics and a personal touch, even though it attempts to disguise itself as a sincere message.

I just hope that kind of thing doesn’t start taking over Facebook. Automation is good to a point. Just remember that the more you automate, the more soul seeps out of your public voice.

I have a fear that I am going to be rolling my eyes more regularly at posts that disguise themselves as being live when in reality they were scheduled three weeks ago. Let’s avoid this, please.

4) The increase in overall engagement will force Facebook to reverse the vortex with “new and improved EdgeRankPlus” in order to keep advertising dollars coming in.
I don’t know, I had to balance it out with a fourth “bad” thing. Then again, this could be an actual concern. Facebook is currently benefiting from the inability of brands to reach more than 16% of their fans. So what happens if scheduling posts — hypothetically — doubles engagement? Is Facebook happy about that? Because I guarantee advertising goes down as a result.

I guess we’ll see what happens with this one. Facebook has always done an interesting balancing act when there is misinformation and confusion spreading about EdgeRank. They don’t seem too rushed to silence fears since such things help build the case for advertising. Or that’s how it seems.

What Do You Think?

In the end, I think there is much more good than bad that will come of Facebook Scheduled Posts. For me personally, it’s going to save a lot of headaches. But I certainly expect some to misuse and abuse it.

What benefits do you think are missing from my list? And what are other potential concerns?

  • Tanya

    Great post Jon – and I just discovered your site (I’m from the UK!). I’m sure lots of businesses will see this as a chance to post ahead and get lazy, but the Facebook environment is pretty unforgiving with a lack of regular ‘live’ interaction, so hopefully they will realise that as you say, it has to be a balance of both. Scheduling is good perhaps for rotating older blogposts etc

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Glad you found me, Tanya! I actually have a pretty strong audience in the UK. Happy to have you aboard!

      You are spot on. I think this will be especially helpful for filling in the gaps for people who can’t be on at particular hours. It’s not a replacement. For example, if you currently post during the hours of 10-5, this doesn’t mean you no longer need to be around then. This should be in addition to your live activities.

      And you’re right — I think rotating in older blogposts is a good use of it!

  • Natalie

    Great info Jon…. Like you I am concerned about 1 & 2 of “The Bad”….  Some of this “automated” stuff is killing the “Social” aspect of Social Media… but let’s hope it’s used for good and not for evil..  ;-)

  • http://www.rachaltarquin.4ormat.com/ Rachal Tarquin

    Well said Jon! I like scheduling my updates when I know I want to share content with my networks throughout the day instead of rapid firing it all at once. Unfortunately, I see how this can create laziness. Hopefully, this frees up time for publishing and more time engaged in current conversations.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks so much, Rachal!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Fant92 Alfred van Kuik

    I tried scheduling a post last week, but it didn’t show up at the chosen time. I coulnd’t find a way to look over the scheduled post after scheduling it, which I found quite odd. Maybe I did something wrong…

  • Pingback: The Benefits of Scheduling Facebook Page Posts [Charts] | JonLoomer.com()

  • Pingback: 29 Steps to Running an Effective Facebook Page [Checklist] | JonLoomer.com()

  • http://twitter.com/MikeStraus Mike Straus

    I am confused by your Mashable example – I don’t see anything wrong with this post: it is well formed with thumbnail, title, description, etc. Are you saying there is something wrong with the Hootsuite icon and text “via Hootsuite”? I don’t think there is anything wrong with using a third part tool to post, as long as you make your posts well formed. I have seen a number of bad posts done right within Facebook too.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hey, Mike! See the note I added below the Mashable example, and it may clear things up (I know it’s small font):

      “I didn’t want to embarrass anyone, so I used Mashable as an example. Of course, they get plenty of engagement, probably don’t schedule and have well formatted posts. You get the point, though.”

      So, yeah. It’s not a great example, but I wanted to find something quickly that was mainstream and wouldn’t embarrass anyone. I do think that the Hootsuite icon makes a negative impact, though. But the formatting is otherwise fine.

      The most egregious violations are those horrible RSS feed apps.

      • http://twitter.com/MikeStraus Mike Straus

        Entirely agree about the horrible RSS feeds, but I don’t see a real problem with a Hootsuite (or other 3rd party app) icon. Expecting marketers and brands not to use 3rd party tools doesn’t seem reasonable as Facebook’s UI will likely never be optimized for enterprise use cases.

        What bothers me more then the icon is the fact that they way many of these tools post links, they don’t get the “native” Share function, but instead use there own action link to Share using sharer.php – not as good an experience and does not track Shares in insights.

        Turns out Facebook APIs now offer an alternative way to share links in posts that provide the native Share and drop the 3rd party app icon, but most these tools do not take advantage of it yet.

  • Grace Buckley

    Great article Jon. I have begun setting up FB business pages for Veterinary hospitals in Oz and have been looking to find a way to satisfy time differences across the different states. Was looking at Hootsuite, but may try the Facebook way first and see how we go. Thanks for the guidance!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hi, Grace! I’d always start with Facebook’s scheduling first. I’m not a fan of Hootsuite for this purpose because of that big Hootsuite logo that accompanies your posts. It makes you look like you’re not present. When done through Facebook, no one knows!

  • Pingback: Attribution Removal for 3rd Party Publishing on Facebook Good for All - JonLoomer.com()

  • Pingback: What Facebook Needs: Lists for Pages - JonLoomer.com()

  • Pingback: The Podcast With No Name: Episode #3 - JonLoomer.com()

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.watts.personal Jon Watts

    You forgot to say that scheduled posts don’t get published to Twitter if you have linked accounts. This is a major problem for me, as I am automating all of my FB pages, and nearly all of my twitter content comes from those pages… which means I’m not really saving that much time if I want to re-post on Twitter.

    • Darren

      Try using the free app “Twitter Feed”. It is an RSS aggregator that pulls in Facebook posts from your page. Last time I checked, it was working.

  • Sandra Olivia

    I’m looking to find out a few things about scheduled facebook posts and can’t seem to find answers anywhere: whenever you upload a picture to schedule along with a post, it gets timestamped. suppose I schedule it for 2 hours after I’ve uploaded the image. the post shows up at the scheduled time, however, if you click on the image, the timestamp will show the post was created 2 hours before. I want to know if this affects
    Reach, or if there’s a way to avoid this time stamp other than the obvious “post it live” option. Any and all insight will be appreciated!

  • movie
  • Lisa Ullery

    #4 ended up being true (facebook decreasing organic reach)

  • iiviivix

    I have a feeling a scheduled post doesn’t give a large enough reach as live posts. This is just a rookie observation of mine, can anyone confirm this? =)

  • Nata

    Have you ever felt, that your scheduled posts reach less people?