I hate to complain all the time about Facebook functionality. It’s an easy target with a never-ending flow of rants possible. When Facebook announced yesterday that they had added some new functionality for pages, the ability to schedule posts directly to Facebook for pages was both exciting and scary.
It was exciting because this has been a functionality that has been needed for a long time and 3rd-party apps have been built by the bucketful to help accomplish this seemingly easy task.
It was scary because it was Facebook who had developed it and there is always a risk for idiocy whenever they develop any platform changes.
My fears were realized. Scheduling through Facebook’s internal tool is harder more annoying than I could have possibly imagined.
The obvious flaw with it is in the timing feature. You have to spell it out. Pick the day. Pick the month. Pick the hour. Pick the minute. Pick the year. Yes, the year. There’s a reason for this that actually makes sense; Facebook allows you to post in the future and the past, so if you want to post in 2013 or in 2008, you can do that with the tool. It would have been easy, of course, to set it to the current year and have the ability to edit it if you’d like a different year, but instead Facebook wants you to pick the year every time you want to schedule a post.
The second part of the timing that is a little annoying is the way they handle minutes. It has to be on a 10-minute interval. Most allow for any minute. Hootsuite, one of the most popular, allows 5-minute intervals. This should be the bare minimum. As you can see in the way that Hootsuite does their scheduling, it is much more user-friendly. Today’s date is automatically selected, as is the next available time slot; it knows what time it is and lets you schedule ahead very easily.
Hootsuite’s scheduling feature isn’t even the best, but it’s a good minimum in functionality that Facebook should have been able to integrate. They did not.
Finally, be sure that if you’re using the Facebook scheduling feature that you have all of your posts’ ducks in a row before scheduling. If you get everything ready to go, get the time ready to schedule the post, then make a major edit such as adding a link or uploading a picture, the scheduling disappears and you have to start over.
Kudos to Facebook for finally making this important feature available, but let’s hope they improve on it. If this is the final product, it wasn’t worth the wait.