Back from Holiday To Facebook Scheduling Problems

The best part of being my own boss is that I can take my holidays when I want, without having to ask anyone's permission.

The worst, of course, is that the work that needs doing over that period won't be done by anyone else. So I have three options:

  1. Leave it undone
  2. Pay someone else to do it
  3. Schedule it in advance

Having spent a lot of time establishing a consistent and regular routine I couldn't bring myself to adopt option 1, so I used a mixture of 2 and 3. Also a business colleague and I have a mutual self-help arrangement to do some daily task for each other when one of us is on holiday.

So, after all the planning and the extra work of preparing to go away, I finally switched off for a my first EVER two week break. (No-one ever believes me on that, but it's true!)

Back From Holiday – How Did It Go?

sail-away-homeAnd now here I am again – back from a beautiful cruise holiday. Two weeks cruising the Baltic on my favorite P&O ship Arcadia. Pictured here is the scene from our “Sail-away” to return home to Southampton after visiting:

  • Stockholm
  • Helsinki including a delightful visit to Unique Lapland, complete with husky ride
  • St Petersburg (with an overnight stay when we went to see Swan Lake)
  • Warnemunde (in the former East Germany)
  • Copenhagen
  • Skagen (Norway)

The scenery was fantastic. I had no idea Russia had so many beautiful buildings and treasures. The weather was just unbelievable. I took heavy jumpers and cardigans and a raincoat and umbrella – all came back untouched.

dessert-webHere's a picture of just one of the yummy desserts we enjoyed. We weren't FORCED to eat them, of course, but it would have been rude not to!

And finally, there's me – relaxing outside the Vordgaard Castle in Denmark having NOT seen their resident ghost!

It was great to get away from the keyboard – although Matt reckoned I was getting keyboard-withdrawal symptoms because I was sending him more texts than usual!

Relaxation Enforced!

So why the enforced keyboard absence? Well the one draw-back of the otherwise excellent facilities on the Arcadia is that Internet access was about 50p per minute. OUCH. In this day and age? And having tried it on a previous voyage, all I can say is that it was so slow it cost me about ยฃ8 to download a day's worth of spam emails.

warnemunde-2014-08-04It shows how much I must like P&O's Arcadia if I will deprive myself of Internet for a two weeks. My travel companions were pleased I managed to stay away…. I don't THINK they were stalking me to check up!

So how did I manage to tear myself away? Plain and simple – a good spell of preparation beforehand.

  • Blog posts written in advance and scheduled for forward posting (I cheated and used some videos so I had less to write)
  • Broadcasts scheduled for sending to my email lists by my auto-responder
  • Tweets – I use Tweet Old Post (a free WordPress plugin) that tweets old blog posts at pre-defined intervals.

All the above went to plan.

Facebook Post Scheduling

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned posts to my Facebook pages. That was the only part of the plan that fell apart. I've previously tried a couple of approaches to automating these and never really struck the right balance.

The traditional school of thought is that you shouldn't automate Facebook posts, and in an ideal world that's right. However, like most sole-entrepreneurs I live a busy life and occasionally like to take a holiday, so I prefer to have some background posts going out and supplement these with manual posts I share from other people's pages / profiles.

Facebook Scheduling Software

Here are some of the tools I've used in the past. Where prices are quoted, these are correct at the time of writing, and I have selected the most affordable level for a home business.

  • I used the free version of PostPlanner for a while which I liked. However when I ran into problems, quite understandably there was no support. Update June 2015: At the time I wrote this post the paid version of PostPlanner was fairly expensive, but just recently the price changed and it was a no-brainer to switch to the paid version. Check out the details here.
  • I bought a software package that was supposed to schedule to pages but it just clean didn't work (for me – I guess it must have worked for some people!) At the owner's suggestion I upgraded to the higher paid level and still couldn't get it to work so the owner finally lost patience with me – not that he'd ever shown much patience, and I'd waited almost the 7 day guarantee period to get a response to my support email. I note there have been updates since then, and I'm running on a new PC, so I may try and resurrect that one again, having paid for it!
  • My best success was RSS Graffiti. Again, the free version served me well for a time and then “things unraveled”. However, at $5 per page per month for the pro version, this is a front-runner in the candidates for my business.
  • Another candidate I like the look of is Postradamus – and although that's an affiliate link, it's not mine! There are simple ways to monetize your posts (e.g. via Amazon), but at $29 per month I'm not yet sure….
  • Last but not least, I shall be re-evaluating HootSuite – maybe the best known of all the Facebook scheduling tools. I remember when I first looked at HootSuite I thought it was expensive at $14.99 per month – but I've long since given up my “free blogging” aspirations so $14.99 is “looking good”.

Now – over to you!

Do YOU use any automated solution for posting to Facebook pages? Do you use any of the above, or any others?

If so, please tell me what you think to them. I'd love to hear your experiences before I make my final choice.

Please share

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Swapnadip Chakraborty - August 13, 2014

Hi Joy,

I have just gone through your article and I must say that it was a true serendipity for me. How simply you have explained your experience with us. It really touched my heart. As a greenhorn, I frankly speak that I don’t have any idea about advance schedule procedure. Thanks to you for letting us know about it. I am happy that you had a great holiday but when I read your bad experience about Facebook scheduling, I felt sorry for you. I also apologize that I did not able to help you about scheduling problems.

May God Be With You & All the Best Joy for future. I hope that you will get you solution very soon.

Thanks & Regards,

    Joy Healey - August 13, 2014

    Hi Swapnadip,

    My aim really is to warn people just starting out about the problems I’ve overcome. I sometimes think I’ve made every mistake in the book getting to this stage!

    Luckily I also have a team of people with even more experience than I have who I can call upon for advice, and I THINK one of them has come up with the perfect suggestion for me. I’m just doing a little bit more investigating and testing before I write about it, so watch out for my next post!

    Good luck with your blog too, and hope to see you here again soon.

    Kind regards, Joy

Steve Thomas - August 13, 2014

Hi Joy,
Glad to hear you had a great time on your cruise. Sounds like some pretty amazing places to visit. I can only share the St Petersberg one as somewhere that I have been. I couldn’t get over how much of a beautiful place it was and the almost ‘old’ and gothic appearance of the buildings yet very colourful at the same time. I found Riga in Latvia to be the same and Talin in Estonia too.

In terms of suggestion for FB scheduling I have absolutely no experience with that so can’t contribute here other than to say that I’ve read good things about HootSuite but no personal experience to back that up.

Every time I’ve been away anywhere I’ve always had access to the internet or mobile reception at least enough to get online.

    Joy Healey - August 13, 2014

    Hi Steve

    I was completely blown away by St Petersburg and would love to return and spend longer there. Great incentive to “work harder and smarter”! The friends I went with visited Talin a couple of years ago and enjoyed that too.

    On the Facebook Scheduling, I’ve had some input from another community I belong to and it’s looking promising. I have a few more questions to ask and then I’ll get back with my findings. Hope they’ll be helpful.

    Thanks for dropping by, Joy

Edward Thorpe - August 13, 2014

Congratulations on the vacation, sounds fun. Since I’m kinda new to social marketing, I don’t have good insights to automation tools.

Will look into your suggestions, though.

    Joy Healey - August 13, 2014

    Hi Edward

    The holiday was amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Don’t look too hard at those social marketing tools – LOL.

    I’ve had a suggestion from another community I belong to and it’s looking more promising and VERY affordable. I want to do a little more investigation before I post about it.

    Thanks for dropping by. Joy

Angela McCall - August 14, 2014

Hi Joy,

I’m so glad you enjoyed your 2 weeks vacation in Russia!! Wow…that dessert looks so yummy!! I can taste that chocolate with my eyes. That’s so true, when you work for yourself you can go on vacation anytime without asking your boss. The beauty of entrepreneurship.

Btw, I have never heard of these tools before except Hootsuite. And so far, I am still not using the free version of Hootsuite. But I’m a big fan of autoresponder and scheduler. I love the built-in scheduler in WordPress. I can schedule something in there for a month or more. Same thing with Aweber autoresponder. I love this new technology.

Anyway, thanks for sharing us your beautiful vacation. Have a great weekend, dear.


    Joy Healey - August 15, 2014

    Hi Angela

    It really was spectacular, the scenery – not the dessert ๐Ÿ™‚ Although the desserts (and all the food) were amazing. There was a chocoholics buffet, and I daren’t show anyone the photo of our plates on that day. (I’m sure the waiters must laugh at us taking photos of our food – but it wasn’t just me, honestly.

    Anyway, back to business!! Yes I use the auto-responder and WordPress scheduling regularly because I like to post in advance when it’s convenient for me. Facebook is more of a challenge, but I think I’ve found a scheduler I like and will write about it soon.

    Thanks for coming by, and you have a good weekend too.

    Joy xxx

Enstine Muki - August 14, 2014

Wow Joy, you really had fun.
I have not taken any such holiday. I however traveled out of my country last year and one good friend of mine took over my blog for one week.

I really love the arrangement you have with your business colleague. I think we do need such arrangements because we are never going to be there always.

For now, I don’t use any FB automation. I have a free account on PostPlanner but never looked into it more.

Welcome back Joy. Time to start the interaction ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Joy Healey - August 14, 2014

    Hi Enstine,

    It really was a great holiday – a once in a life-time! So it’s tough settling down to work again ๐Ÿ™

    I think I have my answer to the Facebook post scheduling challenge and will post about it as soon as I get myself back into a routine – including my regular interactions!!

    Thanks for stopping by. Joy

      Enstine Muki - August 15, 2014

      Hey Joy,
      I can’t wait to know about your Facebook post scheduling solution. Very interested to know more about it ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Joy Healey - August 15, 2014

        Not meaning to keep you on tenterhooks Enstine – I had intended to blog about it today – but something more important came up to write about ๐Ÿ™‚

        You may like to check it out – in every sense of the word, please? I do hope you don’t mind that I pinched your banner – will remove it if you prefer?

        I hope many of my readers will enjoy your blog (and mine) as a result of this.

        And I WILL come back to that Facebook scheduling problem!

        Have a good weekend, Joy

          Enstine Muki - August 15, 2014

          This is wonderful
          I have seen it at the commentluv spot. Can’t wait to go read this


          Joy Healey - August 15, 2014

          Hope you’ll forgive the “scheduling delay” then. I “re-scheduled” that post!!


Ravi Chahar - August 14, 2014

Hi Joy,

It seems you have visited some amazing places.
I hope you had some memorable moments there..:)

Taking break and go for journey is really good for our mind and health too.

I don’t have any idea about any software for scheduling Facebook.
Thanks for mentioning few.

Have a good week ahead.:)


    Joy Healey - August 14, 2014

    Hi Ravi

    Yes lots of happy memories. With digital photography being so cheap that’s easy to arrange. You’re right, I certainly felt healthier while I was away instead of hunched up over a computer all day!

    I’ve been doing more investigation into the Facebook scheduling tools and just testing out one that I’m really liking a lot. Will write about it soon.

    Enjoy your weekend.


Jan Kearney - August 15, 2014

Two whole weeks with no net? How did you cope Joy?
The holiday looks fabulous – that cake…

Oddly, I find I use less automation now than ever. Buffer is my main tool these days.

IFTTT works well too – so if it sees a blog posted, it will distribute. Although I haven’t used that function for a while.

I do use Tweet Old Post. It has now been upgraded and I haven’t tried the additional options which include Facebook and LinkedIn I think.

    Joy Healey - August 15, 2014

    Hi Jan,

    I was getting “net” withdrawal symptoms by the end of the two weeks. MY son said he could tell I was missing the keyboard as I kept texting him!
    How did I cope? Sadly the clue is in the picture of the cake hehehe

    Thanks for the suggestions about automation, I’ve been trying out Buffer and very pleased so far.

    Tweet Old Post was a favorite of mine and then it clashed with a new plugin I got (we HAVE to join pluginaholics anonymous) so I removed Tweet Old Post, but you know – I think I prefer that to the newer plugin.

    Have a good weekend, Joy

Lizz Riley - August 15, 2014

Great article. I’ve bookmarked it to read again as there are some really great tips. Logging off myself for the holidays, hence the bookmark!!

    Joy Healey - August 15, 2014

    Hi Lizz

    Enjoy your holiday and I hope to see you back on my blog when you return.

    Take care, Joy

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