Jump Start: Social Media Schedulers
For a free marketing tool, Social Media requires a real investment in time. It's not enough to snap and share photos or links when you think about it. That philosophy means there could be days - or weeks - between posts, and these gaps can result in lower reach and overall engagement for your content.
Unlike the last few Jump Start articles we've shared, this one isn't going to focus on a single tool to help elevate your marketing. We're going to talk about four of them! Two have free options for individual users representing single businesses, and two of them have free trials but are paid services.
We've used each one for various clients, and have had positive experiences with their platforms. As with all tools designed to help you work smarter and not harder, we suggest signing up for the free trials and using each option to find the one that works best for you.
It should be noted that Facebook has an awesome scheduling service built right in to their platform. If you are only planning and scheduling content for your Facebook page, we recommend working right in their native tool. We'll go over the anatomy of a Business Page in a future post, but until then you can click here and scroll down to "Draft, Schedule & Backdate" to learn more about scheduling posts!
Without further ado....
Free Tool #1 - Buffer
Why We Love It:
Buffer was the first scheduling tool we ever used, and we were spoiled to the fact that it lets you schedule and customize a single post for up to three different platforms. The free version of the scheduling tools allows you to sync up three different accounts total, from across four possible platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
In the sample image below, you can see a post drafted first just for LinkedIn. The Instagram and Facebook icons are greyed out, so the post will only go to our LinkedIn account.
In the second image, we've indicated that we want to draft the same content for Instagram and Facebook as well, and now we can change the message, add additional photos, and even customize with hashtags for Instagram. This is awesome, since each social media platform has it's own best practices on hashtag use and Twitter has a maximum number of characters you can share.
Learn more at buffer.com.
Free Tool #2 - Hootsuite
Why We Love It:
Hootsuite allows you to set up a dashboard with different streams so that you can see what's going on with your page or profile. This is awesome for monitoring messages and mentions, so you can engage with your audience.
You can choose to include streams for all of your brand's social accounts on a single dashboard, or you can create individual dashboards that you can move through, like additional tabs in a web browser.
The free version of the scheduling tools allows you to sync up three different accounts total, from across six possible platforms: Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Below is a screen shot of how we had our Facebook page's dashboard set up while we were testing the platform. Each column (Messages, Mentions, My Posts, Scheduled) then shows a feed of the most recent or upcoming activity so you can review and respond as needed.
Learn more at hootsuite.com.
Paid Tool #1 - Iconosquare
Why We Love It:
Iconosquare is a workhorse! This paid resource has a simple yet powerful reporting function for Instagram and Facebook. It allows you to monitor competitor pages or profiles, build a media library for easy repurposing of content, the ability to preview your Instagram profile with scheduled posts, and so much more.
The real value of Iconosquare goes beyond the act of simply scheduling and publishing content. Iconosquare's ability to dive in to your social media data and provide you with recommendations makes it a sort of mentor as you are developing your social media program.
You can enjoy a free 14-day trial if you want to see what the metrics look like, and play with the platform. Just go to pro.iconosquare.com.
Paid Tool #2 - Agoura Pulse
Why We Love It:
Agoura Pulse hit our radar at the beginning of 2019 and we must admit - we're hooked. Agoura Pulse is a big, big tool. It has the awesome multi-platform post drafting capability of Buffer, the dashboard overview of Hootsuite and the power analytics of Iconosquare - with the added bonus of being built with in-box style notifications to easily draw your attention to the areas that have new activity.
Add in a robust listening platform that allows you to capture conversations going on about and around your brand, and you've got a truly versatile tool that let's you engage with the online community with ease.
A high level overview of the platform benefits are below, but if you are just starting out this might be overwhelming. If you only manage one or two pages or profiles, you might find one of the previous tools more approachable to start with. But if you want to dive right in, they've got a number of training resources to help you get going!
You can enjoy a free 14-day trial if you want to see how it all works. Just go to agorapulse.com.
Using a social media scheduler allows you to curate your content in batches. Instead of trying to remember to post every day, you can plan your posts out for the week (or beyond, if you'll be out of the office).
Let's work smarter, not harder!
The Jump Start Series by Solutions On 2nd, LLC features free or low cost ways to elevate your small business marketing programs. Each segment will introduce a new avenue for you to consider as you grow your business. Utilizing these tools and doing further research on their functions is at the reader's discretion. Have questions or want more information on a topic? Let us know in the comments or over on Facebook at @solutionson2nd.