Read about top tools to schedule social media content.
Busy adding content and not able to take a holiday? Scheduling tools allow you to add social media content, months in advance and take a break!
What is scheduling?
Scheduling a post means instead of it being published right away you can choose a time or a date that it will be published. This means that you can still publish interesting content to your followers, even if you’re not in the office! There are several tools to help you schedule posts and here we cover three of the most popular social media scheduling tools.
Hootsuite, Buffer or Tweetdeck?
Three of the best known social media scheduling services are Hootsuite, Buffer and Tweetdeck. While Tweetdeck focuses purely on Twitter, Hootsuite and Buffer can encompass all your social media accounts including Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn.
When devising your social media strategy, you need to think about what accounts you will be using, how often and for what. If you only run three accounts for your business (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for example) then Hootsuite or Buffer may suit you perfectly.
Hootsuite – the free option
Hootsuite’s non-subscription, free service allows you to operate three social media accounts without paying. Hootsuite offers a variety of features that set it apart from other social automation tools such as;
- The ability to manage accounts on multiple sites from one, easy to use dashboard. Hootsuite supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, WordPress, Myspace and Foursquare.
- Hootsuite enables its users to schedule an unlimited amount of updates on each of these social media platforms with an in-built auto-scheduler that pinpoints the ideal time for a user’s posts.
- A URL shortening feature means that users have all the tools available in one place to easily curate and share content from other websites.
- The inclusion of a ‘Hootlet’ extension on Google Chrome and Firefox makes it simple for users to share content from a variety of sources.
- Hootsuite not only allows users to post and schedule social updates but also respond to posts and receive messages.
- Using its filter streams, Hootsuite members are also able to monitor conversations, trends and topics across all social sites, not just their own profiles and pages.
- Hootsuite’s custom reporting and analytics tools make it ideal for agency users who require software to provide their customers with detailed reports showing the ROI of social activities.
- A mobile app also allows users to access their Hootsuite account away from the main website.
There are also some negative aspects to using Hootsuite and users have found that:
- In order to take full advantage of all the features offered by Hootsuite, time must be invested to learn how to properly use the software.
- Hootsuite is available for free, however this version is limited and there is a significant cost involved for full use of all its features.
- The URL shortening feature only allows owl.ly domains to be used unless users wish to pay extra to use a different domain. This means that it is apparent to other users that the social updates have been automated.
- The Hootsuite mobile app is also disappointing in terms of its social support. Users are not able to access as many networks as they can when using the website and those they can access are controlled independently of the web account. Meaning updates created through the mobile app cannot be seen or edited when logged into the web account.
Buffer – the paid option
Buffer’s ‘Awesome Plan’ allows you to schedule content for up to 10 accounts for just $10 per month.
- Buffer is similar to Hootsuite as it provides a solution to automating social updates for multiple accounts from one central location. Providing a way to simplify sharing, Buffer;
- Allows users to manage multiple social network accounts from its dashboard. These include Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
- Buffer is very simple to use and can be picked up easily.
- The buff.ly URL shortening feature makes it easy to share links to other websites. Also users are not restricted to using the in-built feature and can instead choose to use bit.ly or any other URL shortening application.
- Buffer also has a bookmarklet that allows its users to share content from other websites. The Buffer extension also integrates itself into the social applications, for example, in Twitter a buffer re-tweet button appears next to the normal re-tweet button.
Buffer is also not without its downsides:
- Buffer’s free account is severely limited in terms of how many items a user can queue. The ability to queue an unlimited amount of posts comes at a cost of $10 per month.
- The free version of Buffer also limits the number of social profiles that can be managed from one account. Users are only permitted to manage one profile per social network using the free software.
Tweetdeck – Top for Twitter
If your digital marketing strategy is mainly focused on several Twitter accounts you would be better suited to Tweetdeck. This allows you not only to add as many accounts as you want, but it also has handy functions like the ability to make lists so you can follow specific hashtags or topics. Another useful feature is the ability to see messages and notifications alongside your tweets and news feed.
The downside to Tweetdeck is just that – it is only for Twitter. This is not much use if you have a range of different social media accounts you need to use.
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