The challenge of scheduling social media posts: Breaking news

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The are many benefits associated with scheduling social media posts. But there are also associated risks with your post being published during breaking news. This article explores the risks of scheduling social media posts, as well as approaches for reducing the likelihood of ill-timed social media posts. 

The possibility of breaking news overlapping with scheduled social media posts

While every day there will be breaking news to some degree, there are times where particular stories have a national impact. Such emergencies or tragedies can impact how your message is perceived – and why you may not ordinarily post certain messages during such times of emergency or tragedy, an inherent danger of scheduling social media posts is that they go out during the breaking news period. 

Reasons why breaking news can be bad for scheduling

Makes your message look insensitive

The first potential problem with scheduled posts in breaking news is that they make your message look insensitive. Trying to promote your product during a breaking national emergency may look like poor timing – potentially indicating that you are not aware (or do not care) about the major issue that is happening. 

Reduces the impact of your message

Beyond coming across as insensitive, a potential consequence of posting your message during a major breaking news story is that it dilutes your message. There are times where the national attention is focused on a particular issue, and are less likely to be paying attention to your message. Others may be less likely to re-share your material, instead of focusing on the breaking news. 

Approaches for minimizing the likelihood of scheduled social media posts overlapping with breaking news

While there are some inherent risks with scheduling social media posts, there are also significant benefits. Scheduling can make it much easier to coordinate campaigns, and for large accounts, it is almost inevitable that some degree of planning will be needed. Some approaches to reducing the likelihood that your scheduled post will be ill-timed with breaking developments include:

Delaying posts when breaking news happens

One of the first clear things to be aware of is to have a plan in place to delay your social media posts should certain national events occur. If you know that you have posts scheduled to go out, and have a plan for how to handle in place, then on seeing breaking news, you are able to react and pause your campaigns. 

Consider avoid scheduling when you are not monitoring the news

Another approach to consider is to only have scheduled posts during times where you are in some ways monitoring the news. If you know that you will be away from your desk for an extended period, you could consider delaying your posts to a time when you are able to react should there be breaking news.