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Scheduled Status Updates on Your Facebook Business Page: Pros and Cons

June 24, 2011

Small business owners everywhere are using Facebook business pages to engage and  inform their customers – and keep their businesses top of mind. Our next several posts are focused on need-to-know tips, tools, and techniques related to making status updates on business Facebook pages.

Used with prior permission of Peg Corwin, Using Facebook for Business Marketing.  She is a SCORE Chicago business mentor.

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Scheduled update for a Facebook business page

Example of scheduled update to ask a question on a Facebook business page

I define a scheduled status update as content posted to the news feed of your page using Facebook page management software. With such software, you, the page administrator, can create individual status updates scheduled for  specific dates, or updates that repeat at specific intervals, for  example weekly.

Of course you can also create such a plan in Word or Excel and then log in on the appropriate day and post the update.  But most page admins that I know use one of the software packages referred to in the link above.

By definition, scheduled content is not impromptu interaction.  Of course, this does not eliminate the need to check the page and interact regularly in an unscheduled fashion with Fans.  You should not put your page on autopilot.

Here are some examples of updates that might be scheduled:

*  Useful links in your niche — “Hot news from Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith on tagging, xxx.com”

*  Social messages — “Happy Valentines Day to our Fans”

 Questions — “Do you automatically import your blog posts to your Facebook business page?  Why or why not?”   See various blog posts on the use of questions in status updates on Facebook business pages for more examples.

*  Fan and vendor appreciation — Thanks to Blueye for the great new website they built for us!

*  Your own links — “Should you automate status updates?  For pros and cons, see my latest blog post, xxxxx.com”

*  Sales messages — 10 percent discount for purchases by Friday, new house just on the market, latest IT job opening.

The Pros of Scheduled Status Updates

Why do page administrators pay $5 or more a month for page management software to schedule status updates?

*  Efficient execution of strategy.  If you have specific Facebook engagement or marketing strategies, you will likely develop and schedule updates systematically using page management software.

 Time management.  You can block out time, create certain updates in advance, and then work on other projects.  Also, with scheduled updates, your page has activity while you are on vacation, in meetings, or at a conference.

*  Facebook Edgerank.  Research shows that updates posted on certain days of the week and at specific times has more visibility, and better interaction, than at other days/times.  Smart page admins are using this data to maximize their results.  More on Edgerank.

 Ability to post a status update to multiple services. With most page management software, you can choose for each update which site or sites you want to post it on:  Twitter, Linkedin and/or your Facebook page.

The Cons of Scheduled Status Updates

I identify four disadvantages of scheduled status updates:

*  Perceived lack of authenticity. Smart Fans can see you are pre-planning and scheduling updates because they can see small third-party logos below the update.

*  Tendency to over-share. When it’s easy to post or send a reoccurring message, it’s tempting to create numerous posts, especially those that promote your own services or products.

*  Tendency not to tailor to the audience. If you have Followers on Twitter who are also Fans of your Facebook page, they may see the message twice.  Furthermore, these groups may want and use content differently.

*  Evidence of lower Edgerank.  See the discussion of consolidation of status updates from page management software in Third Party Software for Facebook Status Updates: Is Convenience worth Lower EdgeRank?

Special Cautions on Reoccurring Updates

Reoccurring update for my Facebook page, Facebook for Business

Reoccurring update for my Facebook page, Facebook for Business

Reoccuring updates require special care.  If you repeat self-centered updates too often, you will loose Fans.  Who wants to stick around for a fire hose of spam?

Tune in for our next post: Peg Corwin’s insights about using third party software to make Facebook page status updates.

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