Social media marketing is no longer optional for businesses. Social has changed the way consumers and businesses communicate and it’s imperative to have a strategy in place when it comes to managing your brand.
Before you can grow your social media presence, you have to get your ducks in a row. There are a few important tools that can help make the process easier and more manageable. Here is a list of three of those tools — plus some additional tips to help you make the most out of them.
What to consider when choosing a social media scheduling tool
When selecting a tool for scheduling social media posts, it is important to consider how many social media platforms you are posting to, and which ones they are. We call this the multi-posting capability of the tool.
Also, consider the cost equation and the additional functionality related to the automation process each tool provides. Some of the advanced tools also provide social listening or social media campaign management capabilities, but they’re not the focus of this article. We’ll concentrate on social media scheduling.
When you schedule social media posts to several different social media platforms, you are multi-posting. Posting to Twitter and Facebook is possible in all the tools we looked at. LinkedIn and Pinterest are also becoming default options.
Where the tools start to differ is on their capability for scheduling posts on Instagram, which poses a particular challenge on personal profiles. And there is real differentiation to be found when posting to YouTube, which is currently exclusive to Hootsuite.
When it comes to publishing on Google My Business, this feature is currently only offered by Sprout Social and SocialPilot, but it should be expected to become generalized for SMB tools shortly.
2. Free plan
When starting with social media scheduling, the free social media scheduling tools provided by Buffer and Hootsuite are precious. So are the inexpensive first-tier plans from MeetEdgar and SocialPilot.
The free plans come with fairly tight restrictions, but both free and inexpensive plans can be very useful in a start-up phase. They help you get a better understanding of your needs before investing larger amounts of money in case your needs go beyond the available features.
3. Workflow and AI
A social media content calendar is probably part of your social media workflow. All the tools we looked at providing a calendar, but some are more advanced than others.
Where some tools will allow you to organize your team around the calendar, others are providing intelligent recommendations about your social media posting schedule. This is the case for MeetEdgar, which suggests the best posting times for your audience as you set up your publication schedule.
Sprout Social is a software company, which comes with excellent solutions for analytics, marketing, and account management. Launched in 2010, Sprout Social has grown to be one of the best brands with the most effective range of social media management tools largely used by businesses and individuals. They’ve nearly 30,000 business customers, including brands like Shopify, Evernote, Casio, etc. Sprout’s automatic scheduling of posts allows you to schedule up to 10 posts per day. Based on your past actions, Sprout Social suggests you some best timings for your posts. The social content calendar option allows you to view, edit, reschedule or delete posts from your social accounts at one point.
- Schedule + Duplicate feature helps you customize posts for each social media platform, without having to copy-paste them repeatedly.
- Optimal Send Times will be assessed by Sprout’s ViralPost, to identify the best time for posting your niche on social platforms.
- An extension for Sprout can be added to your browser, which makes it easy for you to share any link immediately you come across.
Hootsuite serves as a trusted brand for more than 15 million people around the world and 800 Fortune 1000 companies as well. It provides a one-point destination for all your social media management requirements, which helps you create and schedule posts for a future date. You can manage all your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at one stop, by integrating them into Hootsuite. It identifies the time gap between your posts and helps you fill them, thus saving plenty of time.
- Allows to create, plan and schedule posts well in advance to avoid last-minute tensity. Multiple posts can be scheduled at once through their Bulk Composer.
- An option to respond to messages from different platforms in one place. Filters help you to prioritize important messages that require action and discards the rest.
- Analyze your activities on all the platforms in one place to efficiently evaluate your performance.
There are three plans available and an additional fourth one namely, Enterprise Plan which is custom priced. You need to contact Hootsuite for the exact pricing. The other three plans are:
Free Trial – 30 days
Professional – $49/month
Team – $129/month
Business – $599/month
Agora Pulse is a popular social media management tool that allows users to manage, schedule, and respond to posts from different platforms. With a beautiful user interface, it supports the managing of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. There is a built-in calendar, that gives a bird’ eye view of all the posts that had been posted or scheduled for a future date, awaiting approvals, and that has gone live. It educates you with the latest trends and helps you understand your audience.
- Unified Social Inbox brings your followers’ messages from all platforms into one box where you can categorize and label them as per your preference.
- Keeps you informed about the public responses for your brand and that of your competitors.
- Allows you to organize, collaborate and optimize your posts for a better reach of audience.
Agora Pulse offers a free plan with limited features. Their full-fledged features come under three plans, out of which Enterprise Plan is priced based on your requirements. There is a free trial offered for 30 days. You can get a discount of 20% with an annual subscription commitment.
Pro – $99/month
Premium – $199/month
Later is a marketing and social media management platform, that helps businesses to schedule and plan their social media operations. Initially, it was formed to help users with Instagram posts. Later, it expanded its operations to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Later allows you to visualize, plan, analyze and schedule posts. Once done, it can send the post to your mobile phone on the specified date and time, where it can be posted with a click. They express themselves as Instagram-friendly.
- Later makes the scheduling task even simpler while planning for a week. You can just Drag-and-Drop the post at the required time of the day.
- The latest trendy Hashtags can be identified through Hashtags Tools.
- Scheduling can be done for upto 30 days. Later can automatically upload your post once scheduled, without the need for your further involvement.
Here too, there is a free plan with fewer features. A Free Trial of 14 days is available and yearly plans offer you a discount of 17% on the below prices:
Starter – $15/month
Growth – $25/month
Advanced – $40/month
Buffer is a digital marketing company website of which has a collection of powerful management tools for social media. With the tools offered by Buffer, you can customize posts for each of your social media accounts independently. The calendar view summarizes your activities for a glance. Furthermore, you can also analyze the performance with the help of the Analytics feature. Scheduling and publishing in social media are made easy and time-saving through Buffer.
- Buffer assists you with suggestions on how to improve your performance, with few clicks.
- The impressive calendar tool allows you to plan your campaign and posts in advance, thus saving time.
- Labels and Hotkeys prioritize the important comments, making it easy for you to skip the unimportant ones.
There is a Free Plan available, which can only manage up to 3 channels. The Essential Plan of Buffer charges $6/month and offers the addition of unlimited channels. Buffer also allows a free trial of 14 days to its customers.
Planoly stands to be the major planning solution for many brands on social media. They have served more than 8,50,000 people including users from Fortune 500 companies. Planoly is an easy-to-use tool and adding images or videos can be done through simple steps. They offer a wide variety of facilities for social media planning like, Drag and drop for easy scheduling of posts, easily ascertaining the time gap between contents through their grid system, identifying what needs to be improved through Analytics, and so on.
- Sellit allows you to convert your social account into an online store with just a click. You can sell anything to your followers without the need for website.
- StoriesEdit helps you create designer posts for your social account.
- Planoly promotes themselves as an official partner of Instagram and Pinterest.
A free plan with limited features is given. A free trial of 7 days is offered after purchasing one of the three plans. A discount is given for purchases with an annual commitment.
Solo – $9/month
Duo – $19/month
Custom – $29/month
MeetEdgar is another social media management tool, that comes with all the common features as of its competitors like, scheduling tasks, auto-posting, and many others, with you, involved less. Different categories like blog posts, promotions, quotes, etc. can be added and queued to the calendar to be posted on a future date. It has a good interface and commitment less Free trial for 7 days.
- Edgar even does the scheduling on your behalf. It uses the uploaded contents from content library and schedule a post for you.
- If the content time gap increases, it automatically chooses some of your evergreen contents or posts, and re-posts them on your account to maintain consistency.
Free Plan – No cost
Edgar Lite – $19/month
Edgar – $49/month
Sendible is a simplified social media management tool that performs scheduling, posting, and reporting the needs of users. Sendible provides you with a deep segmented analysis of your performance on social platforms. You can capitalize on this opportunity for a huge audience as Sendible takes you through 20 different social platforms.
- There’s an in-built Google Analytics facility that helps you assess the content’s performance and improve it.
- Sendible telecast real-time feedback for your posts.
- They ensure a good contact management with your customers by including their CRM in the app.
Canva is basically a graphic design company, which helps in designing graphics, posters, and other requirements for social media. Canva Content Planner and Scheduler was introduced recently and now, it supports multiple social media platforms. They’ve integrated the ‘Schedule post’ feature with their primary work of graphic designing, which gives a creative output to post on social media.
Since Canva Content Planner is a new arrival, it is getting better day by day and keeps adding new features consistently. With their level of success in the designing market, this new content planner would surely reach the cliff, leaving their competitors behind.
Canva Content Planner comes as an add-on to the Canva Pro plan which is priced at $12.99/month. TRY CANVAS
TweetDeck was originally formed as an independent company but later it was acquired by Twitter. It is an exclusive facility for Twitter and helps you manage multiple Twitter accounts at one spot. Scheduling of Tweets for multiple accounts can be done efficiently using TweetDeck. It is a simple and effective tool and provides its service at absolutely no cost or plans.
- Advanced Search option helps you find your search by using features like Type-ahead, sentiments, column filters, wildcard and more.
- Though it is Twitter excusive, LinkedIn account can be integrated for convenient management.
Social media calendar management tools ensure investing your time on essential needs and enhancing your social page with quality content and a rooted audience. They help in scheduling, organizing, posting, analyzing, optimizing content, and many more. All of the above tools perform these basic functions, while some of them outstand the others through their special features. Depending on the size and need for your social platform, you can choose the right tool, that optimally satisfies all your requirements.