Where the time goes in a social media marketer’s day is a mystery to all of us. Tweets are just 140 characters, blog posts need only be shared, and how hard can it be to take a couple of photos for Instagram?
A long time, evidently.
For, despite the relative ease and simplicity of dealing with one, two or even three social media accounts, as soon as you start to start to creep up above this number and begin to attract audiences and engagement from thousands of fans and followers, what was once an enjoyable half-hour daily task quickly becomes a full time job – sometimes for more than one person.
Twitter is one thing. Facebook is another. So too are Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. Then there’s Tumblr., YouTube, Vine, StumbleUpon, Instagram, and all the rest.
In fact, even if you’re just managing the social media for a single business, you might possibly have more than one account with any of these platforms for handling different elements of your customer engagement. Lots of businesses have taken to having a completely separate Twitter and/or Facebook account to deal with customer enquiries, complaints, general marketing and sales. Phew! Just handling these is enough to get most of us breaking out in a sweat over our finger-bashed keyboards.
But when problems occur and unmet needs arise, solutions to such issues inevitably start appearing out of the woodwork in one way, shape or another.
And so it is true for the perils of social media marketing organisation and optimization.
No doubt if you’ve been in this game for a while you will already be using one of the scheduling tools that you can find on the internet. But, if you’re new to this whole malarkey, then you might well have heard of such things, but are as yet unsure of which one to go for in order to improve the efficiency of your working day.
Either way, you will, I have no doubt, be pleased to be reading this post, for below we have put together the pros and cons of the three most popular social media scheduling tools.
The Pros And Cons Of The Most Popular Scheduling Tools
HootSuite is the tool that most social marketers think of first when considering their content management plans. And there’s good reasons for this, which include…
- Saves lots of time – many social media sites can be managed from one place.
- Integration – HootSuite’s dashboard supports integration of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare, Mixi and WordPress.
- Scheduling – HootSuite’s scheduling tool is second to none. So much of a social marketer’s time is taken up with posting, but by using this tool you can prepare your posts months in advance if you wish, and then just forget about posting them. There is also an ‘AutoSchedule’ function, which means that HootSuite can even set the times for you.
- Insights – HootSuite also provides users with sets of data analytics that can be used for optimizing future posts. It can also be combined with Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Google Analytics if needed.
- Basic plan limitations – HootSuite is good, but it will only take you so far before you have to start paying to upgrade. The basic free plan offer up to five social profiles to be added to your HootSuite dashboard, basic analytics report, basic message scheduling, basic integrations and up to two RSS.
- You are forced to use Owly – you may have your favourite URL shortener that you like to use to make sure your links fit into your tweets. But, if you want to use HootSuite, that’s tough luck, as you have to use ow.ly and ht.ly – unless you want to fork out to use a custom URL shortener.
Buffer is a great tool that allows you to queue up all of your posts to go out one after another at set intervals across many of your social network accounts – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
- Simple to use – extremely intuitive, in fact, which is why many prefer it to HootSuite.
- Free support for the following – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+.
- A very nifty browser button is available to make scheduling even easier.
- Mobile app
- Analytics for tweets sent through Buffer include data for potential exposure, clicks and retweets, so you know what tweets did well and could have done better.
- The Buffer team conduct thorough research on all the posts they manage and present their findings regularly, which can be found on their blog (ok, you don’t need to be signed up to Buffer to read their blog, but I think this earns them a tick regardless).
- The free version only allows you to connect one account from each of your different social networks – which may be limiting for some.
- Pinterest integration is not supported in the free version.
- Analytics are only reported for those that you send through Buffer.
- Only 10 tweets at a time can be Buffered with a free account.
Tweetdeck is one of the best, visual real-time organising, engagement and tracking tools – but it’s only for Twitter.
- Visual – your desktop screen is divided into columns so you can see everything that you’re doing in one place.
(Image source: about.twitter.com)
- Provides support for an unlimited amount of Twitter accounts.
- Great options for URL shorteners – not forced to use something you don’t want or like.
- Supports desktop pop-up notifications.
- Tweet scheduling tool is very effective.
- Hashtags, mentions, lists, trending topics, etc. can each have a column.
- It’s completely free!!
- Only supports Twitter – and a little bit of Facebook.
- There is no built-in analytics feature.