Managing your brand on social media can be time-consuming. Not only do you need to come up with content and strategy ideas regularly, you also need to make sure you’re posting content on your selected platforms and engaging with potential customers. Not being consistent with your social media efforts can have a real impact on your business’s online credibility. This is where a scheduling tool can help save you time so that you have more time to monitor brand mentions and engage with your audiences.
BENEFITS OF USING A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOL
A social media management tool is a one-stop shop to schedule and monitors your brand across various networks. These tools have features that you don’t generally find on the social networks themselves. They allow you to get more detailed information with analytics tools and gain insights into your online community. There are so many social media management tools out there and they are constantly changing what they offer. I’ve boiled down my choice to my own personal top 10, based on my own experience and feedback I’ve received from others who use them. For each, I’ve looked at how easy they are to use and understand, pricing options, supported image formats, calendar options and any drawbacks. In no particular order:
1. BUFFER (BUFFER.COM)
Buffer has been my first scheduling tool to try out and I have used it the longest. It’s a great option for when for starting out on social media.
Very easy to use with an intuitive interface.
Easy drag and drop feature for moving posts around.
It’s very visual and easy to see upcoming posts.
You can set up a posting schedule for your optimum posting times.
They also make it easy for you to share interesting content with a handy browser extension.
Price plans for every budget, including a free version. Basic analytics included in the awesome plan.
Handy repost feature, auto fills @mentions, upload for all image formats.
Works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+
Plus Buffer themselves are lovely and produce great content on social media.
No social media listening option.
Calendar view shows posts too small to see them effectively.
No auto recycle feature for evergreen posts.
2. HOOTSUITE (HOOTSUITE.COM)
Hootsuite provides an all in one social media management, social media listening, analytics reports, ability to run social ads and more.
Manage all your social media accounts, hashtags, monitoring and social listening, all in one place.
Bulk upload posts from a templated spreadsheet.
Auto-posting to Instagram.
Free account available in their price plans.
Works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Google+
Hootsuite offers a great Content Library feature too. Here, you can upload on-brand content like images, logos, and videos for you to share anytime.
The interface is not very intuitive and takes a while to get used to.
Being able to see all your scheduled posts as a list is great but the un-visual nature of it puts me off.
Its better features are not free.
3. TWEETDECK (TWEETDECK.TWITTER.COM)
This is a great tool for managing and posting to Twitter only.
Ability to monitor multiple feeds on the same dashboard: @mentions, hashtags, Twitter lists, tweets, companies you’re following etc.
You can manage multiple Twitter accounts in on place.
Updates in real time.
Can add lists straight to your timeline, rather than go into each one, like you would on the platform.
You can add filters to your lists so that you can focus on only the most relevant information.
Only for Twitter, so you’d still need another tool if you’re managing other platforms.
Can’t edit scheduled tweets.
4. SMARTERQUEUE (SMARTERQUEUE.COM)
This is still a fairly new scheduling tool but has been very popular in the Digital Mums community.
Great for managing multiple clients.
Works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest.
Allows you to set up customised categories of content and colour code for ease of reference.
Set up your posting times and categories posting schedule.
Recycle evergreen content.
Expire posts after they’ve been posted a number of times.
There’s no free version.
Not that great for planning content for Instagram.
5. LATER (LATER.COM)
A visual planner and scheduling system for Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
Can visually plan and schedule images and videos
Offers a desktop version as well as an app to manage your account from. This is useful when you have images saved on your computer.
Offers a media library to store all your assets, which also includes a bulk upload option.
Preview posts with a visual planner guide to see how your grid will look - this was a winner for me!
Can upload both images and videos.
Basic analytics feature.
Work with other team members.
Integrated search and repost feature.
The free version is fairly limited, so would need to get at least the basic version to get the benefits.
No auto-posting to Instagram, yet.
No way of scheduling Instagram stories without seeing them in your preview feed.
6. CONTENTCAL (WWW.CONTENTCAL.IO)
A visual marketing calendar and planning tool for social media and other online marketing materials.
Great visual calendar for overseeing upcoming scheduled content across all channels.
Works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram.
Allows for a content approval system.
Can use post placeholders for draft posts.
Good drag and drag feature to manage your posts.
Connects with bit.ly.
Can create multiple client calendars.
Store images assets into a library for use.
Can’t upload videos.
Content library is difficult to view content visually.
Need to pay to create multiple accounts/calendars.
7. PLANOLY (PLANOLY.COM)
A visual planner for Instagram.
Arrange the look of your feed by dragging and dropping content.
This is a popular tool in the Digital Mums community.
Plan, arrange and draft Instagram stories.
Draft multiple grids before posting.
Discover, repost and curate content.
Create a shoppable feed that mimics your Instagram grid.
Can't upload video or GIFs.
Would need to upgrade to get the most out of the tool.
8. TAILWIND (TAILWINDAPP.COM)
The most popular tool for Pinterest scheduling. Also offers Instagram scheduling and planning.
Bulk upload, drag and drop calendar, hashtag lists and suggestions for hashtags.
Receive in-depth daily reports on your posts to quick-review key metrics like weekly likes, repins, and how your audience has grown over the past seven days.
Scans your accounts to find when your audience is most engaged and creates a custom posting schedule for you.
The best tool for seriously building your Pinterest account.
Tailwind tribes - helps to build your relationships and brand on Pinterest.
Its interface can take a bit of getting used it and understanding it, to get the most out of it.
Its price. It jumps up quite steeply if you want to manage more than one account.
9. SPROUT SOCIAL (SPROUTSOCIAL.COM)
With Sprout Social you can schedule and post messages to multiple social platforms.
The app pulls all messages into a single, streamlined inbox so users can manage multiple profiles at the same time and in an easy-to-read format.
Good all round management for agencies.
Works with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+
Manage your approval process easily.
Manage and store your digital assets.
Visual publishing calendar.
Provides detailed analytical reports.
Lack of Instagram and Pinterest integration.
No free version.
10. SOCIAL BEE (SOCIALBEE.IO)
This is a fairly tool and I have only just signed up to it.
Recycles evergreen posts.
Can create categories for your content.
Works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Google+
Have a 'Grow' feature to help take your Twitter account to the next level.
Build up a bank of content and schedule for weeks in advance.
Integrates with Bit.ly and Pocket.
Expire posts after posted a number of times or a specific date.
Create a posting schedule for each platform.
Use draft posts for content approval.
It’s so new and haven’t used it enough or heard feedback on various features yet
Feeling overwhelmed by all the options? I offer Social Media training and mentoring. Contact me to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org