So, you are managing your brand’s or client’s social media. You are manually creating, typing or posting content to four different platforms on top of numerous other responsibilities. And did I mention you are trying to collect insights and data from these platforms to show ROI to your boss to get more funding or support? Is this hitting close to home?
Stop throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that something in this process sticks. Save yourself time and – better yet – energy with a social media scheduling tool! And don’t worry, they have FREE options.
Social media scheduling tools are packed with amazing capabilities. Here are a few essential reasons why they are sure to make your life easier: (Brought to you by Social Media Today and Falcon.IO)
- To keep up with social engagement – Consumers expect brands to be responsive and open to conversation. A social media platform can help your brand be active and efficient in these dialogues.
- To manage multiple social pages and channels – Brands have to be present on multiple channels to target different audiences or the same audiences in different ways. A social media scheduling tool allows you to cut the time it takes to create and post content organically because it can post for you!
- To manage customer relationships – Not only do brands have to be active in social conversations, but they must provide personalized experiences for their consumers, especially with customer service. A scheduling tool can help you create and schedule multiple responses, so you don’t have to rely on “canned” or traditional strategies.
- To streamline team collaboration – A scheduling tool can eliminate stress or communication barriers whether you are getting approval from your leader or approving content from colleagues on your team.
- To perform social/environmental scans – Your brand definitely does not want to be in the news for scandal. Avoid being the next crisis in communications by keeping a social thermometer on the pulse of trends and topics on platforms with a scheduling tool.
- To monitor relevant keywords – These platforms can track keywords that help your brand’s positioning in social media and on the internet. Better positioning = higher awareness = job well done!
- To build a social editorial calendar – Scheduling tools help your brand stay organized and planned out. This saves you so much time and allows your brand to post more consistently.
- To bring social on the go – You are a busy bee, so an editorial calendar and access to multiple channels on one dashboard will come in handy.
- To analyze social performance – You can track some analytics through a few of the social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but it’s more difficult to track anything beyond vanity metrics. These tools yield new insights that can help your brand drive new strategy and connect more with your audience.
- To show reports to stakeholders – It’s all about that ROI! Scheduling tools go above and beyond in communicating social media results. Most tools even offer features that compile the reports automatically. This is great for pitching new ideas or securing new funds for your social media needs!
Are you convinced yet? So, which tool should you use? Well, there are many to choose from, so I would start by looking at a couple and determining your goals for using a tool for your brand. Here is a complete list of 10 top platforms of 2021. (Just a note: These lists are everywhere. Platforms often change rankings depending on who wrote/published the article, but are generally the same in the top 10–15.) To get you started though here are some pros and cons of two platforms frequently used today: Hootsuite and Sprout Social. (Gathered from personal experience at Grapevine, IAG.me and WeRockYourWeb.)
- Free version offered
- Widely used = higher credibility
- Offers certifications, trainings and resources, such as Hootsuite University
- Integrates with multiple social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest)
- Team features
- Supports mobile apps
- Custom analytics
- RSS integration
- Pricey for premium features, such as analytics reporting, team collaboration, URL shorteners
- Dashboard isn’t the most organized
- Can only connect one service to one Hootsuite account at a time
- Must use Hootsuite’s URL shortener
- Easy-to-use interface
- Team collaboration features, including multiple individuals, roles and permission levels
- Supports mobile apps
- Customer Relationship Management system capabilities (CRM)
- More in-depth monitoring and analytics
- Option to export reports to PDF that look beautiful
- No free plan and not on the cheap side
- Limited interactivity with certain platforms like Facebook
- Saving columns or multitasking during social scans is more difficult
As you probably noticed, Sprout Social has more benefits and fewer disadvantages that might apply to your needs, but comes with a higher price-tag. Unfortunately, this is the case with more savvy scheduling tools. Hootsuite is an excellent tool to start with if you don’t have the funds.
I would also recommend Buffer. I haven’t personally used the tool yet, but I definitely want to try it after listening to Buffer’s Science of Social Media podcast. (Pro-tip: Scheduling tool platforms often offer additional resources beyond their platform services. This podcast offers great insights and new trends for social media managers…and they are perfect for the car ride to work! ) There is a social media scheduling tool out there for every social media manager. Start researching and trying out options today to find out how your brand can optimize its strategy and save you some stress along the way!