By now, we’ve figured out that social media is an integral part of our marketing strategy, even if we use it for simply sharing content. But with so many platforms, and each platform catering to a different audience, creators need to find a way to systematically push their content out there and maximize their views, or they will lose half their day, if not half their mind, each week they have something new coming out. One of the best ways to keep up with your social media profiles—and by best I mean the most time efficient, organized, consistent, and optimized—is to use a social media scheduler. Now I know, there’s nothing more genuine than posting a status or tweet on the fly or as soon as you hit “publish” on that new blog post. And you can still do that. But doesn’t having your content queued to go out specifically when your followers are on and most likely to see your posts sound like it’ll save you a lot of time, guesswork, and help you reach your marketing goals easier? The best part about it is you can use one app to schedule content for multiple platforms… for weeks in advance.
Anyone who is a content creator is most likely using a scheduling tool to help them manage their time on social media. And if you’re not, well, I assume that’s why you’re reading this post: to figure out how to streamline your posting. Below, I’ve put together a comparison of 3½ social media scheduler tools to help you figure this out. I’ve personally tried each one of these and still switch among them depending on what I want to do and to check out any new additional features that might have come out.
I’m starting with Tailwind because it’s only for Pinterest. And now Instagram, but let’s be honest—we all use it for Pinterest. The idea behind Tailwind and Pinterest, in general, is that you’re not supposed to only pin your own stuff. You’ll want to pin other people’s stuff as well to bring exposure to your account. What is the ratio now, 70/30? 70 being other people’s content and 30 being your own? In any case, Tailwind is a mass pin scheduler for Pinterest. When you connect your Pinterest account, the first thing Tailwind does for you is pull up the times when your followers are most active. These time slots will serve as your queue for scheduled pins which you will find on the right-hand side of your dashboard. You can always add/edit the times to your preference.
The other feature that makes Tailwind great is the suggestions they give you for what to pin based on previous pins, right in the app so you don’t have to go into Pinterest and look for content. You choose which board you want to save the pin to when it goes out. A browser extension is available which allows you to schedule anything you find on the web through Tailwind.
Another time-saving feature is the board lists. You can easily create a board list which groups multiple related boards onto one list. You can then schedule the same pin to go out to those multiple boards with one click.
Tailwind has a free trial which lets you schedule up to 100 pins before having to switch to the plus plan. The plus plan for $15/month allows you to schedule up to 400 pins a month. You do get a bit more of a discount (4 months free to be exact) if you choose annual billing.
HootSuite Social Media Scheduler
I have a love-hate relationship with Hootsuite. I love how feature rich it is and how you can see what’s going on across different platforms at the same time. I hate how clunky it feels, with too many bells and whistles that you may or may not need when all you really feel like doing is scheduling your posts to go out in an organized fashion.
As mentioned, HootSuite allows you to manage multiple accounts in the same place—Twitter, Facebook (pages, profiles, AND groups), Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, and YouTube. (No Pinterest) The dashboard lets you add any combination of streams tailored to the type of content you want to see. For example, you can have one stream that has your facebook page timeline, right next to it, your scheduled tweets, next to that, a stream of the retweets you got on Twitter, and so forth.
There are multiple scheduling options including
- writing a post and sharing it on the spot
- scheduling it for the future
- an auto scheduler where you preset dates and times to queue up multiple posts
You have a whole section for campaigns which allows you to create, track, and manage sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests. You can create Twitter lists, curate content based on keywords and phrases, reply to your followers, view details about the Twitter profiles you follow and that are following you. I am out of breath… And they have a pretty neat analytics feature that gives you detailed reports about
- Twitter engagement
- Facebook insights
- Google analytics
- Click statistics
- And plenty more
With all it can do, the con is that the dashboard looks bloated, with too many things going on for someone who just wants to schedule out posts. It’s like, do I need to have all these options in my face when I’m just using this one feature? Hootsuite is free for 3 profiles, basic analytics, and scheduling. Pro Plans start at $9.99/month with higher plans for teams and enterprise. That brings us to our next social media scheduler which some could say is the exact opposite of Hootsuite…
Buffer is what I switch back to when Hootsuite gets overwhelming. The easy to use interface is what makes it so attractive. Simply schedule your posts and see them lined up underneath each other (or in a calendar view) along with any images and/or links. You can manage multiple accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest, which will be listed on the left panel.
Scheduling is super easy. First, you choose the days and times you want to post. After you set the schedule, you just write out your post and it will fall into that time slot. You’ll be able to see stats for engagement on each post and use the “rebuffer” button on the side to reuse well-performing posts.
A detailed analytics feature is only available on The Awesome Plan but gives you some useful information about your top performing posts and optimal posting times for each platform based on when your followers are most active. Also on The Awesome Plan, you’re able to curate content similar to Tailwind which saves a lot of time when you’re wondering what to post. Just add your favorite blogs or websites into your content inbox and it will automatically populate their feed.
Buffer is free for up to 3 profiles and 10 posts in your queue. Need more than that, then you’ll have to switch to The Awesome Plan for $9.99/month but is totally worth it if you’re looking for an efficient and easy to use social media scheduler with some cool features.
3 1/2. Facebook Scheduler
This is the half and it’s half because it’s not a standalone app. It’s the feature built directly into Facebook when you go to make a post. You access it by clicking the little drop-down arrow next to publish. You’ll have three options: Schedule, backdate, and save draft. Choosing the schedule option will open up a window for you to select the date and time you want your post to go out. You can always go back in and edit the post. Currently it’s only available for pages. This is useful if you need help posting more consistently on Facebook without having to always be on facebook.
Simple and maybe a bit boring compared to the others but should not be ignored since it is said that Facebook hates when we use third-party scheduling tools and is known to show posts that are scheduled with them to less people in the news feed.
Are you using one of these schedulers to streamline your social media? There are so many different ones out there that I wasn’t able to cover (CoSchedule is actually pretty awesome) but these are currently my top 3½. Keep a look out for another post covering other social media scheduler in the near future.