Taking my social media marketing strategy more seriously has placed me on a path where I’ve been able to increased my business leads, have grown my following by thousands and have been presented with business opportunities like speaking, company sponsorship and media opportunities.

While I’ve been using some tools to help me, a big part of my success has been coming up with a social media marketing schedule that I’ve actually been able to stick with. In the past, I randomly posted things. Fast forward to 2016 and I’m quite strategic about what I’m posting and when and it’s making a difference.

Here are some of the ways for you to create a social media marketing schedule that sticks.

Emulate schedules that work.

I use a scheduling tool called Edgar to help me stick to my social media scheduling tool (more on that in a bit). One of the cool things about Edgar is that they have sample social media schedules from top companies that you can study and decide what will work best for you.

What I did from the point of studying some different options was to try-out and to emulate one of the schedules on my master scheduler in the dashboard. In this case, I simply focused on the opportune times to post things on different social media channels based on my niche. I needed to decide if the timing was right for my company.

You don’t need to use Edgar to see schedules that work, though. Just Google “sample social media schedules” and you’ll get thousands of hits you can look through. Don’t get too concerned if you see some companies post several times a day. The reality is that social media moves so quickly you sometimes need to post more than once a day in order to see any traction.

Use tools to help you automate your schedule.

Why try to manually do social media posts on a schedule when you can just automate it? Truth be told, trying to manually post things is a recipe for neglecting a social media marketing opportunity or schedule precisely because it’s so time-consuming and things come up in life and at the office that you have no control over, and the media schedule is what gets dropped.

Instead, look into investing in social media scheduling tools. There are free ones like Later for Instagram and paid ones like Edgar. You also have a ton of options in between.

I probably prefer Edgar because it was the first one I tried and it happened to work for me. I only had to create a master schedule once and it will continue pulling from my library on a loop. However, if Edgar isn’t in your price range there are several other options. I have some people trying out other options and they seem to be working well, too.

Delegate it to your VA.

Another option for creating a social media marketing schedule that you will absolutely stick to, is to delegate it to your virtual assistant (VA). After all, that’s what your VA is there for.

Figure out the content your community likes.

Another way to create a social media marketing schedule that sticks, is to create a schedule based on what your audience actually wants, and at the time your audience takes the time to look at that content. Your marketing research is going to provide you with the information that tells you when they usually are online looking at your content and what other things your demographic are searching for. This strategy works quite well on Instagram because you can theme your days based on that marketing research.

For example, sometimes I make Mondays “Make Money Your Honey Monday,” where I share a quote from my book. On Thursdays I’ll do a “Throwback Thursday” because that’s already a popular topic on Instagram for that day.

The bottom line is to pay attention to what your audience likes and then create a schedule accordingly. From there you can find and use tools to automate your schedule. When you have done this work — yes, your social media marketing schedule (at last) will stick.

Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She's also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

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