Guest post via the remarkable Lilach Bullock.
With so many different social media marketing tools to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right solution; one that helps you save time and helps you improve your results.
If you’re on the lookout for a social media marketing tool, or feeling displeased with your current one, read on for an in-depth look at some of the top social media tools on the market.
Why social media scheduling is necessary – and what to look for:
The most obvious reason why you need scheduling is that it saves you quite a bit of time – but also the fact that you can’t always be online, posting updates around the clock.
And you also need to be active; not only are you keeping people interested, but it also helps you drive results: you reach more people, get more clicks, more traffic, and so on.
But, not just any social media scheduling tool will do.
There are a few features that you should look for when choosing a tool:
- Ease of use and supported networks
- Evergreen content queue
- Content categories, which are a life-saver for those who, like me, tweet a lot on a daily basis. Basically, they allow you to automate your updates for months, even years if that’s what you want, so that they get republished consistently without you having to do anything else
- Social media calendar
- Social media analytics
Agorapulse is an all-one social media management tool that’s recently introduced some new and improved scheduling features; one of them is the introduction of content categories to the queue and the other, bulk uploading for scheduling updates or adding them to a queue.
It works with most major social networks, namely: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube; in terms of scheduling, thought, with all but YouTube.
In terms of its features, it has what you’d expect from an all-in-one social media management tool:
- Publishing and scheduling
- Social inbox for monitoring your mentions and engaging
- Monitoring/social media listening
- Social media analytics and reporting
- Collaboration tools for teams
- Social CRM tool
And as I mentioned before, there are some very useful scheduling features.
You can use Agorapulse to plan and draft your entire social media calendar:
When you open the update composer, you’ll notice there are a few different options:
One of the features I like about this one is that you can quickly schedule an update to go out on all of your different accounts. Plus, you can preview the update on each social network so you can make sure that your post looks OK (for example, images could be too wide/small).
Next, you can schedule it, or publish it now.
To schedule a post just the once, you can select the date and time.
However, if you want your update to go out multiple times, you can add it to your queue;
You can schedule it to go out automatically anywhere from 2 to 50 times, or you could even let it keep republishing unlimited times (or set a specific date to stop the update from being publishing any longer).
When it comes to Instagram, since you can’t actually schedule any posts, you can instead prepare your content in advance via desktop or smartphone, and then get a reminder when it’s time to publish.
Content categories and Publishing queues
Each content category you create can hold as many updates as you want. These updates will then go out on a loop, so that they’re different every time, but you only have to schedule them once.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a very useful feature, especially if you post a lot as you can create a constant stream of content that is published multiple times, automatically.
You also decide the frequency and times you want these updates to be published; for each category, add time slots manually:
If you want to add multiple items to your queue, or schedule them for specific times, you can upload a .csv file with all the updates, saving you quite a lot of time.
If you upload in bulk, you actually have 2 options that can save you even more time:
- You can set the times and dates you want each update to be published on
- Or you can add your content to a queue, directly in the category you want
If you work on your social media marketing with a team, collaboration tools can come in very handy. It means you can track who does what, make sure content gets approved by the right people before being published, and so on.
Agorapulse lets you add multiple people to your team and you can assign content to them. Users can also create drafts to be approved by editors, helping to simplify the whole process.
Conclusion: I like Agorapulse as it allows you to handle everything that is social media marketing, from responding to mentions to scheduling updates and to analytics. Plus, it has content categories for setting and forgetting, a social media calendar, and it’s very intuitive and easy to use.
MeetEdgar is a very powerful social media scheduling tool; however, it does lack quite a few features that some might feel are a must-have.
First of all, it only works with 3 social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And secondly, it only really does one thing and that is to help you automate as much of your social media as possible.
The big draw of using MeetEdgar is that it’s great at setting up large content queues. Like with Agorapulse earlier, it allows you to create categories of all of your social media content, which you can then add to your social media schedule:
Once you’ve set a time and date for that category, the tool will automatically publish and republish the updates in that category, on a loop, until you stop them or remove them from your schedule.
You also have the option of scheduling a post for a specific date and time and when it comes to your queue, you can set expiration dates for specific updates, so that they stop going out without you having to intervene again.
Another way of using MeetEdgar is to automatically share new content from top blogs and publications.
You simply enter the URL of the publication you want, and select where to add those updates:
You can select multiple social media accounts if you want and choose to either import any new items directly to your library, or to the pending content queue.
It’s basically a very quick and carefree way of curating content on social media.
Conclusion: MeetEdgar is a great option for scheduling and queuing large numbers of updates; however, it misses a lot of other features, such as collaboration tools and analytics and it only work with a few social networks. .
Buffer is well-known in the social media marketing world as an easy-to-use social media scheduling tool.
It has a clean, easy to use interface, and basically provides 2 main features: publishing and scheduling and content analytics.
It works with all the big networks, namely, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.
To get you started, add the times you want your updates to be published on each of your social accounts:
This can be quite helpful if you know how many updates you want to post in a day, and have an idea of the times when your audience is most active.
Once you’ve selected all of your time slots, you can use those times to schedule the actual updates:
You can add images and videos, text, and change the date and time.
Like the other tools, Buffer also offers collaboration features for teams.
Team members can submit drafts for approval and editors/managers can edit and approve them to be published or scheduled.
Social media is not just about sharing your own content, but also others’ – as long as it’s high quality and relevant to your audience.
Buffer allows you to keep track of all the new content from blogs and other websites you follow; just grab their link and add it to your Content Inbox, and Buffer will automatically pull up their RSS feed:
If you like any piece of content or think your audience would be interested in it, you can add it to your queue with one click.
Conclusion: Buffer is another great option; it has a very clean and easy to use interface, and plus I love the content curation aspect; that said, it does miss a very important feature: queue categories. And as I mentioned before, this, to me, is one of the must-have features for a scheduling tool. You also can’t upload in bulk directly with Buffer – but you can use a 3rd party app to get things done.
Conclusion: the verdict
So, after all this, which one is the best?
It’s difficult to name an absolute best; all of the tools in this list are some of the best on market. That’s why I do believe it’s more about what you’re looking for in a social media marketing/scheduling tool.
Personally, I like to be able to use just one tool to manage all of my social media marketing, so there’s no constant back and forth between tools. But even more importantly, I need my content categories to set up queues – I tweet a lot, so this is a life-saver feature.
What tools do you use – and which do you prefer?
[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”About Lilach”]
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle.
She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.
Contact info: lilachbullock.com