Wondering how to schedule posts without using a paid third-party tool?
In this article, you'll discover a three-step process to schedule multiple posts to your Facebook page and group using free tools.
Why Bypass Third-Party Apps to Schedule Your Facebook Posts (and Tweets)?
There has been much debate over whether organic reach is better when you schedule Facebook posts within Facebook itself rather than use third-party apps. Mari Smith says it is better.
But to get Facebook's best possible reach, you don't have to spend hours each week scheduling your posts. Instead, you can use a free tool like Google Drive and Facebook Publishing Tools to pre-schedule a month's worth of posts (or tweets) in a short amount of time once a month.
Here are three bloggers who are also regularly having success with this system:
- “I have the document that has all the copy for each social channel and the URL of the post to share. It's sorted by category, and takes me about 2 hours to schedule a month of posts at 6 posts per day.” — Melissa Langford, BlessedSimplicity.com
- “I use Google Drive and Facebook Scheduler to schedule 3 posts per day for the month. Depending on how much I have pre-written and how much I want to change it up this month, I can schedule a month of posts in 90 minutes.” — Holly Truitt, FulltimeHomeschoolMom.com
- “For the monthly upload to Twitter via Hootsuite, it takes me 30-45 minutes to modify the spreadsheets (add/replace posts) and upload the files to the Bulk Composer to pre-schedule 8-10 tweets per day” — Susan Brown, LearningOnlineBlog.com
Here's how to get started bulk-scheduling your Facebook posts with Google Drive and Facebook Publishing Tools.
#1: Create a Spreadsheet for Posts
Whether you're promoting your own blog posts or products, content from others, or affiliate campaigns, creating a master document of your social media posts makes it quick and easy to schedule them. A spreadsheet is a good choice because it's searchable and easier to organize by date or topic column if needed.
To get started, first you need a Google Drive account. After you log in, click the New button on the left and choose Google Sheets from the drop-down menu.
In the new spreadsheet, label the first three columns Date, Post, and Link. In the Date column, add your first date and time. (Alternatively, you can copy this template and paste it into your own spreadsheet to edit.)
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An easy way to autofill the dates in the first column is to hover over the lower-right corner of the first date cell, and when the cursor changes to a cross-hair, drag downward. This action will autopopulate the dates as far down as you'd like.
If you plan to publish more than one post per day, navigate to the cell below the dates you just added. Enter the first date again and add the new time. Then click and drag to autopopulate the rest of the dates/times in the same way as before.
Then you need to put all of the dates and times in order. To do that, click the first cell in the Date column and choose the first option from the Data menu (Sort Sheet by Column A, A–>Z).
The dates/times should now be in order in your spreadsheet.
After you sort the column, you may need to add your column headings again.
#2: Fill in the Spreadsheet With Post and Link Details
Now that you've created your spreadsheet, it's time to add your post text and links.
In the second column, type in the text for each social post. Some people have one (or several) promo comments for each blog post and/or podcast episode. If you create them in batches or as each post is published, it saves time later.
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If your social media strategy includes memes, image posts, shares from other blogs, affiliate promotions, your own product campaigns, or even discussion questions, you can add new tabs to your spreadsheet. To do so, click the + button at the bottom of the page.
Then double-click the tab you added and type in a new name.
#3: Copy, Paste, and Schedule to Your Facebook Page or Group
Now, sit down at your computer with your spreadsheet open in one window and Facebook open in another window, arranging the two windows side by side on your computer screen.
On your Facebook page, click Publishing Tools in the top menu. Then click the Create button on the right to create a new post. The Create New Page Post box then appears.
Now click on your spreadsheet, select the cells with your text and link, and copy them (press Ctrl+C or Command+C).
Then paste the data into your Facebook post (press Ctrl+V or Command+V). Let the link autopopulate, or add an image or video as desired.
Next, click the down arrow by the blue Publish button at the bottom right of the post and select Schedule. Then choose the desired date and time to publish this post and click Schedule.
To schedule posts to a Facebook group, open your group page in a new window and paste the comment and link into a new post. To schedule it, click the clock icon next to the blue Post button.
Then choose your date and time and click Schedule.
It's that easy — and it's free!
Bonus: Use This Process to Bulk-Schedule Tweets
This same system also works well with Twitter if you use Hootsuite to bulk-schedule tweets. You need to have the Hootsuite Professional plan ($19/month based on annual billing). Just remember the character count for tweets and add the appropriate hashtags and handles.
In your Google Drive spreadsheet, open the tab with the posts you want to schedule to Twitter and choose File > Download As > Comma-Separated Values.
Next, open your Hootsuite account and click Publisher in the left-hand menu. Then click Bulk Composer at the bottom left.
In the next window, click Select File to Upload and navigate to the CSV file you downloaded from Google Drive. Then select your social media account (in this case, Twitter) from the drop-down menu. When you're finished, click the Next: Review Messages button.
Now select the text on the left that you'd like to add an image to. Then click the blue Select a File to Upload link on the right. You can also edit the text on this screen.
Once you've uploaded the images for all of the tweets from your computer and reviewed the content, hashtags, and links, click Schedule All and you're done!
Tip: The free tool Display Purposes is great for researching Twitter and Instagram hashtags because it automatically weeds out spammy hashtags. It also gives a relevance and popularity score for the hashtags related to the initial search term.
What do you think? Will you try this time- and money-saving system for pre-scheduling Facebook posts or tweets? Or are you using one already? Please share your thoughts or tips in the comments below.
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