Often running a business, whilst being incredibly rewarding, can also be overwhelming and it’s likely that you have important work that needs to be completed on your to do list. This can mean that you may have less time to focus on things like social media than you originally intended, and they stay on your list for longer than you hoped. This is where social media scheduling tools come into play.
Social media scheduling tools have been created to give us the ability to schedule their content in advance, removing that panic feeling when you realise you’ve not posted in a fortnight. One of the questions we get asked most often is which tools we advise people to use to do this. So, in this blog we’re going to take you through these social media scheduling tools and their features, to help you decide which is best for you.
Social media scheduling tools are often websites or apps that sync with the various social media platforms, offering a dashboard for you to prepare, write and schedule content to those platforms. Most of these websites offer different plans that you can pay for monthly or annually which vary in costs. Many of them also offer free trials to new subscribers or free plans which can be helpful when figuring out what best suits your business.
Factors that cause these plans to vary include: how many accounts you can schedule posts for (generally the higher your subscription the more accounts you can manage), some offer a layout of what your profile will look like after you have posted, some offer analysis of your content and insights and more.
It’s one of the biggest debates in social media: should I post natively on the platform or schedule using a third-party app? Will it impact my visibility if I use a scheduling tool? A couple of things to note here:
That being said, we advise all our clients to familiarise themselves with the in-house scheduling tools which Meta provides for Facebook and Instagram: Facebook Creator Studio. You can use this social media tool to schedule content, save draft content ideas and schedule them to be posted when you think that content is ready.
Later’s USP is their focal point on Instagram. Built solely to help Instagram users curate their social content, they have now expanded their offering to be the ‘all-in-one social marketing platform for the top social networks’.
The platform has a wide array of key features:
However, access to these features very much depends on the package you choose to pay for. They have four packages on offer, including a free trial of 14 days: Starter ($15/mo), Growth ($40/mo) and Advanced ($80/mo).
Buffer is trusted by well-established brands: Microsoft, The Seattle Times, Shopify and Trello. In comparison to Later, they do offer help on other platforms rather than simply just focusing on Instagram which will sound more appealing to you if you use a variety of platforms.
They do offer a free trial which is useful if you’re trying to find out what best suits your workstyle. Their free option also allows you to manage up to three channels. Their paid model works on a pay-by-channel structure: $5 a month for each. If you run an agency and manage several accounts, you may get priced out of their model.
Their four key products are:
This isn’t quite as extensive as other tools on offer, but is a great platform for anyone starting their journey in managing content.
Hootsuite is one of the biggest names in the social media game. Their free trial lasts a month, however in comparison to other platforms they are quite expensive. Hootsuite charges $39 a month or $99 for a team plan (3 users in comparison to 1).
Additional features include:
What it seems Hootsuite are trying to do is help you build social media use into your wider business functions. So, if you want things to run as smooth as butter, then maybe this is the tool for you to invest in.
socialsendr is up next!. Their key message is ‘It shouldn’t be so hard to get new customers online. It should be easy to create consistent and engaging content for your community.’ This key message is implemented well as their tools work on any device that supports a browser (phones, tablets, PCs) which could come in use if you were away from your PC and you wanted to work on the go. In comparison to other tools, socialsendr offers integration with less platforms (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn).
A huge perk of this tool is their pre-written and adaptable content. Based on thousands of hashtag days, quotes, world events and more socialsendr provide a bank of ready to go content which you can add into your schedule. They have also recently released an upgraded version of this, where you have an account manager to help add content into your feed while you are busy doing other things.
In comparison to other tools, socialsendr offer plans that can be used by one user, whilst Hootsuite and other tools offer team plans. If you are wanting a team of people to work on your social media scheduling, this may not be as useful for you.
Now, this platform lingers somewhere under the radar for many. With Planable, the first 50 posts you schedule are free – functioning like a free trial. They have three different plans: a free option, then it goes to $33 and then $83. What stood out to me when looking at their key features is that after planning your posts you can view a ‘grid’ layout. This will allow you to visualise what your content will look like on your feed, allowing you to enhance it based on your brand and style guidelines. Their key message is all about saving time. One major benefit of this platform is that it allows you to schedule content to Google Business Profile (Google My Business) – a rarity!
The final option I looked into was ‘Sprout Social’ in terms of pricing: their plans are fairly expensive (In comparison to Planable and Buffer) as their regular plan is $89 which I think is the most expensive option for a regular plan I’ve viewed so far. They allow you to publish, schedule, draft and queue posts and drafts can be quite useful if you’re still working on something and haven’t reached your deadline or if you need to edit something as you’re not sure on it.
On top of this they also offer a Social Content Calendar. Their key message is ‘reimagine the role of social in your business’ this is intriguing potentially more to people who are new to using social media than people who are experienced as it is suggesting that they can imagine social as a more significant part of their business.
Aside from helping you schedule social media content, Sprout Social have an abundance of features with the view to help you get more from your platforms. Their five key product areas are:
Whilst it’s good to schedule content, you should also spend time on the platform engaging (retweets, story reposts, commenting on relevant posts, liking posts) as that’s one of the main ways you can build an authentic community around your brand and maximise your engagement. If you interact with people and other businesses, they’re more likely to interact with you and your business.
Also, if you need support with your marketing or social media management, grab a coffee with Laura!
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