Is your winery using a content calendar and scheduling social media posts in advance?
As a marketing professional for wineries, I’ll be the first to advocate for the benefits of adopting a well thought out, pre-planned social media strategy. (If you haven’t yet read my blog on why you need to start using a content calendar, check it out!)
But what does your winery need to consider before diving head-first into scheduled social media content? Before picking a scheduling tool, or hiring someone like me to manage your social media for you, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of scheduling posts in advance.
What negatives could come of the time you save pre-planning your wine sale or reopening posts for the week?
Well, throughout the last few weeks, digital conversations shifted rapidly from quarantine blues to police brutality and what brands are doing to advocate against it. There can be drawbacks to scheduling posts without reevaluating them on a daily basis in light of current events. I’ve seen a lot of tone-deaf posts published by wineries as protests spread across the U.S. this month, some of which were likely due to forgotten pre-scheduling. So it’s definitely worth considering the cons!
Having managed social media for numerous wineries, both with scheduled posts and spontaneous content, I put together the analysis below on the benefits and drawbacks of scheduling your posts.
Pros of Scheduling Social Media Posts in Advance
Scheduling posts saves you time
The most effective argument in favor of scheduling your social posts is the time it can save you. By writing content ahead of time based on upcoming wine promos and events in a content calendar, and then using a scheduling tool to prepare posts in advance, you can do work in batches, and then avoid worrying about thinking of new posts for later in the week.
Scheduling helps you avoid manually posting at inopportune times
If you’re like me and my wineries, and you use your social media analytics to determine the best times to post on your feeds based on peak engagement from your followers, then you know that sometimes those optimal posting times fall at inopportune moments – like the late evening when you’re typically not online for work, or on weekends.
Scheduling social posts ahead of time allows you to prepare posts to go live at those peak posting times, reaching the maximum amount of your highly engaged followers as you can, without you needing to manually post content at those specific times.
(Interested in learning more about social media based in analytics and results? Read my other recent post on top social media metrics wineries should be tracking)
Pre-planned content makes your marketing more strategic
Put most simply – thinking ahead of time about what your winery should post about on social media based on upcoming sales and business priorities ensures that you’re posting for reasons that drive revenue for the business – not just to post for posting’s sake. Scheduling content ahead of time makes it especially easy to make sure that your posts go up at the right times for your business goals.
Cons of Scheduling Social Media Posts in Advance
You’ll need to constantly evaluate the timeliness of your scheduled posts
In a rapidly changing world, scheduling too far ahead can backfire if circumstances change and your scheduled content becomes no longer relevant, or worse, insensitive or offensive.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of winery posts I saw these last few weeks made me cringe hard. Weekend posts that were likely pre-scheduled touting reopened tasting rooms and discounts on wine appeared ignorant of the conversations about racism happening throughout the country. As they continued without acknowledgement of the crisis at hand, these posts seemed increasingly insensitive.
To be clear – I’m sure not all of these poorly-timed posts were pre-scheduled, but I’m sure some of them were. Either way, it proves the point that all pre-planned content must constantly be evaluated for timeliness and tone.
As protests gained strength in Washington, DC, my marketing director and I were in contact over that weekend about our scheduled virtual wine tasting promotions – should they be published when our community’s attention was rightfully focused elsewhere? We ultimately decided to pause our “normal” posts until we could share our support for the movement as a company and what we’d be doing to become better allies.
My point is that despite the many extremely helpful benefits of scheduling content in advance – this strategy must be coupled with plans to “read the room” and adapt accordingly.
Scheduling posts can lead to “set it and forget it” mentality
With the convenience of social media scheduling tools and all the other work you can focus on when you save time not posting manually to your winery’s feeds every day, many businesses can fall into the bad practice we in marketing call “set it and forget it.”
This refers to when a business automates their social media presence, then forgets to log in and check on how their posts are doing, and how people are responding to them.
This is a huge missed opportunity in the social media field, given that these platforms were designed to be interactive. The brands that perform the best on social media, especially wineries, are those who check their notifications often and respond to their enthusiastic followers. They comment on posts they are tagged in. They express appreciation for the Instagram Stories their loyal customers tag them in. They keep their finger on the pulse of what their community of customers and would-be customers are talking about in the digital sphere.
The Bottom Line
Scheduling social posts can be a crucial practice for many wineries, and I would highly recommend doing it. But I also highly encourage all wineries with a goal of attracting new customers on these platforms to avoid “setting” their posts and “forgetting” to ever do more than that. It’s really clear when a business hasn’t prioritized this kind of digital customer service.
And given that as wineries we are all in the hospitality business, shouldn’t quality customer service in all the spaces in which we interact with our consumers be positive?
Meaghan Webster is an experienced wine and food photographer, social media manager, and designer. She’s worked as a marketing consultant for wineries and restaurants in DC, Virginia, Napa and NY. Learn more about her work at meaghanwebster.com or see her latest work and tips at instagram.com/meaghanwmarketing.