As social media continues to expand with the launch of new platforms and the expansion of existing ones, managing the content you publish can be quite a challenge. However to counteract this problem a number of social media scheduling tools, from Buffer to Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, have been created which enable users to schedule their posts for publication on a specific date and at a pre-determined time. But which scheduling platform, if any, should you opt to throw your lot in with? Envoca takes a look at the current social media scheduling climate and discovers which tool is right for you.
Hootsuite probably has the funkiest name of any social media management site, which immediately gives it a head-start on the competition. It’s also very comprehensive when it comes to offering you a range of visuals with regards to social media activity, from your wallposts on Facebook to mentions on Twitter. These can all be easily managed and sorted into different ‘streams’, which themselves can be rearranged with a simple drag and drop and refreshed with a click of the mouse. Hootsuit caters for 35 different social networks, so you needn’t worry about them not being able to handle your Google+ or Instagram accounts in addition to more ‘mainstream’ sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Hootsuites analytics aren’t bad either – although you’ll need to upgrade to a pro account if you want to utilise this functionality. Hootsuite contains a simple ‘scheduler’ in the free application and on the paid version (approx £8 per month) it has a great calendar style where you can drag and drop your posts to any time you wish.
Monitoring a range of social media accounts and their activity, which can be particularly useful during live events or peak social media hours.
While Hootsuite may offer fantastic social media management functionality, Buffer is the king of scheduling. Once you’ve added all of your social media accounts to the site you can set the days and times you want posts from each platform to go out and, hey presto, you’re ready to schedule. Posts can be scheduled for just one platform or all of them, it doesn’t matter, and if you wan’t to adjust the order in which they’ll appear you can easily drag a post to its new destination. The analytics on Buffer are great, too: you can check out how previous posts performed and the potential reach of each one. Finally, Buffer also offers a great ‘suggestions’ service for potential content, where you can check out a range of material from lifestyle quotes to marketing articles and easily add them to your schedule. The interface is clean and simple, you can review previous posts but you can’t see your incoming feeds with this tool as its primary function is as a scheduler.
Planning your social media output well in advance, with posts easy to maneuver and links automatically shortened. Don’t forget to be careful when planning time sensitive content (such as events, breaking news) over one week into the future, though.
Tweetdeck appears, on the surface, to look much like it’s social media scheduling brother Hootsuite. However while Tweetdeck is a fantastic tool in its own right it lacks the multi-platform functionality of Hootsuite, which as the name suggests makes it a specialist Twitter app. Lists can be organised with ease on Tweetdeck, which makes it ideal for managing the people you follow and filtering out the contacts who you don’t need to see at any particular time. So if you want to find out exactly what your colleagues are up to at any given time but don’t have any interest in your family’s get together you can focus on the former while dismissing the latter (with your family members none the wiser that you’re not interested in what they’re doing)! The scheduler is basic (on a post by post basis) but at least you can define the exact time of each and you can have a ‘stream’ showing your forthcoming posts.
Managing your Twitter account and separating your followers into easy to navigate lists, allowing you to focus on what interests you at any given moment. If you are mainly a Twitter user, this is a clean, simple interface with sensible scheduling facilities.
One of the most important things to remember about social media is that it was designed for social interaction i.e. conversation and responding on a personal basis. So we recommend that at least 30% of your posts should be ‘real-time’ i.e. interacting with others as and when they post something – this is the way to build relationships and show you care. Schedulers are a great way to distribute your content and interesting posts from others, but you must be careful NOT to post identical items across all platforms at the same time (it doesn’t look good). If you look like someone who has no ‘relationships’ on social media, you’ll find no-one interacts with you.
In conclusion, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to social media scheduling tools. Each of the above three suggestions above has its unique selling points and advantages, but ultimately which one you should use depends on what you want to get out of social media. Indeed, if you’re a really avid user of social media you might find a use for all three, and your experience with some sites might be significantly greater if you opt to pay for a ‘pro’ package with added features.
Let us know which other tools you use, what you like and dislike and relative costs / benefits.
© 2013 Envoca