This topic came up at a training session recently and is something we often talk about at Social Media workshops. Business owners love learning about time saving social media tools but the choice can be overwhelming as there are so many options. So, to help you choose the best social media scheduling tools for your business, I’ve put together this summary of some of the most popular social media scheduling tools and their pro’s and con’s.
The truth is I use all of them (!) because they work differently and because we’re managing multiple client accounts as well as our own marketing so it warrants the cost. If you’re just managing your own accounts though I would start with one. How to choose? Read on…..
Probably the best known of the social media scheduling tools. I’ve used Hootsuite for years and couldn’t have managed without it.
- Hootsuite is easy to set up
- Allows keyword and hashtag tracking for Twitter (Facebook keyword tracking has sadly been removed)
- It’s relatively cheap at $10 per month
- You can include your team or VA in your account so they can post for you
- Posts to all platforms including LinkedIn company pages, and Google+
See the screenshot below for some of the best features of Hootsuite:
The image above shows the Hootsuite scheduling screen.
#1 Post to multiple platforms at once
#2 Use Hootsuite to shrink your url’s (they will appear as “owl.y/xxx”) – the benefit of this are three-fold. One, you get more space (this is especially important for Twitter), two, it looks neater and three, you’ll get analytics on the number of clicks on your link.
#3 Attach images to your posts
#4 Use Hootsuite’s “Autoschedule” option to allow Hootsuite to schedule your post at the best time for your different audiences. In the example above, by using Autoschedule, my LinkedIn posts will appear at a different time to Twitter, Google+
This is a biggie. No automatic recycling of content. Once your posts are posted they’re gone and you have to schedule more. I’ve always used excel to build my content libraries so reposting isn’t a problem but with the new tools this now seems like a big disadvantage.
I absolutely love Buffer and use it all the time for sharing really viral and popular posts.
- It’s easy to set up
- Cheap (free or $10 a month for more than 3 platforms)
- Very quick – just click on the buffer link within Facebook (as in the example above)
- Post to multiple platforms at once
- Scheduling – Buffer posts to the different platforms at the best time for your audience there (so you don’t have to think about it)
- Buffer prompts you when your buffer is empty, so you never run out of good content to share
Here’s how the Buffer dashboard looks:
Cons: Buffer have recently added recycling and to be fair I haven’t tested it out yet. But it’s a drag and drop process for posts that are flagged as “top post”. This seems rather manual to me compared to the alternatives.
This is really one of the best kept social media secrets. In the past I’ve used PostPlanner for finding trending and viral content but recently they’ve revolutionised scheduling by adding a recycling button (probably in response to competitors like “Edgar” – see below).
- Postplanner shows you the most popular and trending posts (mainly memes) on Facebook.
- By sharing these you know you will get good engagement on your Facebook page (the holy grail of social media marketing)
- My favourite tool, by far, is PostPlanner’s new “Recycling” option where you can post evergreen content and it will recycle continuously. A real boon for short life span sites like Twitter.
- Postplanner also allows you to find viral content using keywords, Facebook pages, hashtags or “@” Twitter handles and you can queue up your own posts too, making this the ultimate scheduling tool (in my humble opinion!)
Here’s how the dashboard looks:
- Only posts to Facebook and Twitter
#4 Meet Edgar
From the brilliant Laura Roeder comes Edgar “The Social Media Queue That Fills Itself”!
What I love about Edgar is how you queue up your copy and put it into categories. So you might have “blog posts”, “funnies”, “infographics”, “questions” etc.
Then you choose your platforms and queue up your content according to the categories. So you might want to share your blog posts every Tuesday at 10am, or your “funnies” on a Friday at 4pm. Or let Edgar post them out at the best time for your audience.
- Edgar will automatically recycle your content
- It’s easy to set up
- And easy to add new blog posts or memes to your library
- Analytics show you which posts are most engaging and viral
- It doesn’t post to Google+ or LinkedIn company pages (so we have to use Hootsuite for those)
OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING TOOLS
Now of course, there are many other scheduling tools including more high-end (i.e. expensive) tools like Megaphone, Sprout Social etc. and a huge raft of Twitter scheduling tools, such as ManageFlitter and Commun.it
I’d love to know which Social Media Scheduling Tools you use and what you like/don’t like about them. And perhaps there are some we haven’t tried yet that you’d like to share in the comments below?