Social media plays an important role in most companies’ marketing strategy and if you know a little bit about it, you will know that the frequency and timing of posts is important. However, getting posts out at the right time (or even at all) can be tricky when managing a business and often social media take the backseat. This is where scheduling tools come in.
For us as an agency, a scheduling tool is essential but using one often means yet another expense to add to the list, so you want to make sure that you’re using a tool suitable for your needs and most importantly, that you get bang for your bucks.
Back in 2018, we did a roundup of the best resources for scheduling content but 2 years in the tech world is the equivalent to 20 years in the real world so here we go again.
Facebook Creator Studio
Last year Facebook launched their own version of a more comprehensive scheduling tool, Creator Studio, allowing you to schedule posts for both Facebook and Instagram.
Wonderful we thought, perhaps we don’t have to pay for a third-party scheduling tool anymore?
Well, let me tell you this, it isn’t without reason that other tools are able to charge what they do.
Creator Studio has had quite a few issues and we weren’t overly impressed when it was rolled out, but it has since been developed. It is free to use, it’s easy to boost posts, community management is available for both Facebook and Instagram and it offers good analytics. On the downside? It’s limited to just Facebook and Instagram (surprise surprise…) You can’t share Instagram stories, save hashtags to easily use for next time, there is no calendar view and when you edit a scheduled post it will automatically convert to the current day and time.
It’s pretty decent to schedule and manage Facebook posts but isn’t quite there for Instagram scheduling, especially not if you manage multiple accounts.
Buffer has been around for a few years and is probably one of the cheaper options on the market.
Their cheapest plan, PRO, only includes the very basic features though and you can’t save hashtags, add a location or schedule stories. The premium plan includes a hashtag manager and the ability to schedule stories and for $65 per month you can add 2 users and 8 social accounts.
If you’re only just starting out with social media scheduling, Buffer is a decent tool but unless you opt for the premium plan, you may as well use Facebook Creator Studio. It’s worth mentioning that neither of the ‘publish plans’ include analytics and is something you’ll have to pay extra for (sneaky!).
The Hall of Fame
Hootsuite launched in 2008 and was one of the first social media management platforms on the market. Hootsuite can be connected to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest and includes most of the desirable features. In addition, you can link your ad accounts, connect Facebook groups and assign tasks to users within your company. It is without doubt a great tool, as the 10 million users can testify for, but it’s one of the most expensive ones and in all honesty, I struggle to see the value in the extra dollars you’ll need to spend.
AgoraPulse has been around since 2011 and whilst it’s not as widely used as platforms like Hootesuite and Later, it’s certainly a tool to consider, especially if you manage a large amount of social profiles. The main benefit of AgoraPulse is that scheduling and community management is available for both Facebook and Instagram. In addition, it offers social listening, comprehensive analytics that allows you to easily identify your top fans and followers and you can save hashtag groups. It is slightly more expensive than some other tools (but a lot cheaper than other) and doesn’t offer scheduling of Instagram stories or an online library so at the end of the day, it will come down to what you value the most. It’s hard to find a tool that has it all!
Later really exploded in the last few years with over 2 million users worldwide and it’s not hard to understand why. Later allows you to schedule content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it is relatively cheap (especially if you don’t require a lot of profiles) and includes all of the main features required for scheduling. The tool has a calendar view and drag-and-drop feature, its own version of Linktree (Linkin.bio), an online media library, saved captions, suggested hashtags and can schedule multi-photos posts (something a few platforms have struggled with) and Instagram stories. The downside? Later doesn’t have community management available for Facebook and can as such not offer a one-stop-shop.
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