Choosing the Right Social Media Scheduling Tool
Do you want to make social media really work for your business? Terms like queuing, curating, and aggregating can be confusing. You know you want customers to see you on Twitter or Facebook. What tools and apps do you really need? And how do you maximize your social media presence?
The old way of posting and messaging was to have an employee manage your Facebook account and post messages when he or she had time. Now with Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ and all the associated apps available, you can really make social media work for you and increase your business prospects.
Terms to know
First, let’s define some terms. To help manage your social media you can select
Curation tools: gathering tools, such as Scoop.it and BuzzSumo, find content from across the web, allow you to organize it, then repost it. These tools are great to help you find the type of content you want to add to your messages and posts.
Aggregators: organizing tools, such as Hootsuite and Buffer, monitor your accounts, let you prepare then schedule posts, and measure your social media performance. These are essential to effectively targeting your audience through social media.
The most important type of tool to have is a social media aggregator. Select one that is the right for your size of business and how you want your social media to work for you.
Consider if you want to have customers interact with you, see your product as a great buy, or consider your company as trustworthy. If you have in mind what you want your messages and posts to do, you can create more focused posts.
Most of the tools I reviewed have an analytics feature. An analytical tool tells you when people view your post, how many people view it, and how many people click on your links or go to your website. This can then help you schedule messages and posts at peak times.
Why use scheduling tools?
The main reasons to use scheduling tools are to be able to prepare posts in advance and optimally to have them post at the best times. Any organizing app should allow you to manage several accounts, schedule posts in advance, track messages, and monitor effectiveness. The following is a list of some of the best ones out there:
This very popular scheduler provides a user friendly dashboard to monitor a large number of accounts, an automatic scheduling feature, and analytics to see how many people view your accounts, post a comment, or share your posts. It monitors all the major social media platforms. Hootsuite comes with a free, a pro, and an enterprise level. While Hootsuite is a great gathering tool, it does not offer a very precise scheduling feature.
Buffer lets you set precise times to schedule posts. You prepare a number of posts and the app posts them when you set them to. Buffer connects to all the major social media platforms. You can manage multiple accounts and monitor their effectiveness. This app however does not have a dashboard feature.
Edgar manages Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The nice features of this app are that you can set a precise posting schedule and see the effectiveness of your campaign. Edgar also keeps your posts in a library so that you can repost them again later.
This scheduling tool only has a pay option with three levels to choose from. It manages your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Sprout Social does offer advanced content creation and scheduling options as well as analytics. Another nice feature is the ability to post a consistent message across social media platforms.
Post Planner focuses on Facebook and Twitter but does have a monthly fee. This user-friendly scheduler helps you to create the most effective kinds of posts, allows you to prepare posts in advance and then have them automatically post according to a precise schedule you set yourself.
Specifically designed to manage your Twitter accounts. The advantage of this app over other schedulers tailored for Twitter is it lets you set up alerts to track certain keywords. You can also make large changes to your account such as delete a large number of posts.
How do I pick just one?
Most of these tools offer some form of a free trial or a forever free plan. I’d highly recommend you test out at least two or three to see which works best for you.
Personally, I use Buffer, and love it! It gets the job done, and they’re always adding interesting new features. They’re really good at their core purpose, which is content scheduling.
However, if you’re looking for more of an all-in-one social media management tool that just happens to include scheduling, Buffer won’t satisfy all of the other social media management requirements.
For that, I’d recommend Sprout Social. While it isn’t the cheapest tool, it is a tremendous value for what is included. If you’re working on a team, the team collaboration and reporting features alone are worth the price of the platform. If you want a deeper look at that tool, check out my full review.
But again, don’t take my word for it. All of these tools listed above have merit and are worth your consideration.
Tools are just tools
Do not underestimate the effectiveness of a good social media presence. There are many applications out there to help you to plan and manage a great campaign. But as with any business tool, your tools are only as effectiveness as the team running it. Being savvy and keeping touch with your customer base can really bring energy to your business.
Keep this in mind regardless of the tool you may decide to use. At the end of the day, your unique voice and valuable content is what matters most of all.
Latest posts by Nicholas Scalice (see all)
- How To Use Snapchat For Business and Fun [Infographic] - August 28, 2016
- How Can Your Business Effectively Use Snapchat? - June 26, 2016
- Choosing the Right Social Media Scheduling Tool - February 21, 2016