Tried and tested social media scheduling tools & their features

March 4, 2020

You need a social media scheduling tool. With a social media scheduling tool, you can manage your social media accounts efficiently. Social media scheduling tools are more than just convenience. With the right tools, you can improve your overall social media and community management process. There are thousands of social media tools and it can be overwhelming deciding which one(s) to invest in. What is a priority for you? Are you interested more in the analytics feature of the tool? the ability to share with members of your team or clients? the community management features? 

In this post, Liz talks about all the social media scheduling tools that she’s tried and tested over the last six years. You can also listen to the audio version here

Agorapulse:

So the first one I’ve been using for the last six months is Agorapulse. I’ve personally really, really enjoyed using this scheduling tool. I’ve found the dashboard very, very easy to use. I started with a trial – Agorapulse offers you 14 days free and when it was up, they were kind enough to offer another 14 days free. 

Agorapulse markets itself as an all-in-one social media management tool that allows users to schedule content, get reports and engage followers with one simple tool.

Key features:

  • Agorapulse combines all your platforms inboxes in one place so you can reply, review, assign, or label them directly through the platform.
  • Agorapulse serves you all your comments, in chronological order, including Instagram and Facebook ad comments.
  • Users can share their evergreen content multiple times with the queue function.
  • For businesses and agencies, Agorapulse offers a team workflow. The “assign” feature allows a content creator to pass a post to management or client for approval.
  •  Schedule and queue content on your Android or iOS device.
  • Again for agencies, if you want to collaborate on social content with people not on your Agorapulse plan, they have recently launched ‘shared calendars’. With this clients can easily review, accept, reject, and give feedback on content through one easy link. 
  • Bitly integration and built-in UTM code generator.
  • Brand and keyword listening feature.
  • Publishing insights and reports. 
  • Hashtag reports.
  • Community management and response time reports.
  • Facebook ROI reports.
  • Useful features to help identify and categorise your most passionate fans and followers

Agorapulse will set you back between 79 euros and 390 euros a month (depending on your plan). I highly recommend everyone to give the two-week trial a chance, I think it is worth the investment. 

Hootsuite: 

I’m sure that everyone and their dog has heard of HootSuite. I personally don’t like Hootsuite mainly because of its dashboard. I find it very messy and can be overwhelming for the average joe. However, I cannot fault that it gives you everything you need. One thing that I do actually love about HootSuite is its education division of the business. They offer a few courses and webinars as well as countless blogs. 

Key features:

  • Automatically schedule posts.
  • Set up unlimited social streams
  • Upload and schedule hundreds of messages at once using the CSV format.
  • Use the Hootsuite mobile app to edit, approve, and manage scheduled messages on the go.
  • See your Facebook and Twitter messages and LinkedIn comments in one place.
  • Schedule content you discover on the internet with Hootlet, their Chrome extension.
  • Create search streams by hashtag, location, or keyword to find content.
  • Designate team leaders to approve outgoing content.
  • Build custom reports.
  • Export reports in Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and CSV formats.
  • You can a shared view of your team’s scheduled content and collaborate on drafts in real-time.
  • If there’s ever any suspicious activity on your account, you’ll be notified from Hootsuite’s instant security alerts.

Hootsuite offers a free membership that includes three profiles and 30 scheduled messages under one user. However, you can upgrade to a professional account, which is £25 a month, or a team subscription which is £99 per month, or full-on business, which is £520.

Sprout Social:

One of my first paid tool investments. I love Sprout Social. This scheduling tool is an all-rounder perfect for small businesses to bigger agencies. It allows you to schedule, post across multiple networks, collaborate, listen, report, and so much more. However, all at a hefty price. 

Key features:

  • Monitor and respond to messages across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all in one place.
  • Perform real-time brand monitoring with keyword, hashtag and location searches across Twitter.
  • Monitor and engage with comments directly through the dashboard.
  • Monitor and manage your business reviews across Facebook, Google My Business and TripAdvisor in one stream.
  • Track activity and comments on your paid posts for Facebook and Instagram.
  • Mobile inbox push notifications.
  • Integrate your Zendesk or UserVoice account to create, track and manage support issues.
  • Create and export reports for each platform or cross channel.
  • Suggest Replies, powered by a machine-learning algorithm, recommends answers to commonly asked questions.
  • Set up chatbots for conversational experiences in Twitter DMs and Facebook Messenger.
  • Sprout’s mobile app is available on iOS and Android.
  • Get alerted when message volume is higher
  • Edit images using the built-in editor powered Adobe Creative SDK.
  • Deliver content at optimal times with ViralPost®—Sprout’s patented send time optimization technology.

I did actually migrate away from it is because it is pretty pricey. Plans start from $99 a month for the standard, $149 for the professional, and $249 for the advance. Though the features are appealing, this is what I’d recommend for a mid-level agency and up. For an individual, it is a huge commitment financially.

Buffer:

Just like HootSuite, everyone knows of Buffer. I think it’s a pretty standard, no fluff scheduling tool. One thing that does stand out for me for customer service/community management which I like is that you can see when someone’s typing. This avoids two people going into the same message at the same time.

Key features:

  • Plan and publish content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, all from one dashboard.
  • Users can create a preset publishing schedule for each social account.
  • Collaborate on content with your team.
  • Include the first comment when you schedule Instagram posts.
  • Track performance and create reports for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in one dashboard. 
  • Reply to all your social conversations and support requests across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in one team inbox.

Buffer is big on team collaboration. Pricing starts from free and then its $15pm for pro, $65pm for premium, and $99pm for business. Definitely worth using as a beginner or someone who schedules a few posts a week. 

Iconsquare:

I’ve used this for a while now and I think it’s really really amazing for analytics. However, you can also schedule and monitor comments through there. Iconsquare is super simple to use and packed with heaps of data. This is really for the data-driven marketers and those who want to know more. 

Key features:

  • Advanced analytics.
  • Instagram Stories analytics.
  • In-depth engagement insights.
  • Tags and mentions analytics.
  • Schedule single image and video posts, Facebook statuses and Instagram Carousels and Stories.
  • View what your Instagram feed will look like before you post your content using the Feed Preview. 
  • Save time and write captions in advance using ‘saved captions’.
  • Hashtag suggestions
  • You can respond to, moderate and export what’s being said on your posts.
  • Monitor multiple competitor profiles.

Iconsquare starts from 29€ a month and new users can get a 14-day free trial with no credit card needed.

Planoly:

If you can find someone who loves Planoly more than me, I will be shocked. I recommended all my clients and to be honest, anyone who so much as breathes next to me. For those who don’t know, Planoly is primarily an Instagram scheduling tool but also posts to Facebook and Pinterest. The dashboard is pink, pretty, and beyond easy to use. Note: you cannot auto-post an Instagram story or a carousel. Also, you need to have a business Facebook page. 

Key features:

  • Arrange the look of your Instagram feed with the drag and drop feature. 
  • Discover, curate, & repost user-generated content.
  • Schedule content & draft captions to post directly to Instagram or Facebook.
  • Track analytics up to a year using their custom analyze dashboard.
  • Manage & reply to your comments in one place.
  • Plan, arrange and schedule your Instagram stories.
  • Plan and post pins to Pinterest.

They also have a content creation division for Instagram stories filled with lots of beautiful story templates that you can use within the plan. I absolutely love Planoly wholeheartedly. If you can only sign up for one thing after reading this, make sure it’s them. Plans start from $7 a month. There is a free version and you receive 30 free photos uploaded a month, however, it is very, very limited.

TweetDeck:

Both free and super, super, super easy to use. Once you log into Twitter, you’re automatically signed up and logged in. It doesn’t require a login or a password.

Key features:

  • You can add people to your team.
  • You can schedule tweets.
  • Link multiple accounts to TweetDeck.
  • Create and edit Twitter lists within TweetDeck.

So that’s it! A few scheduling tools I’ve used. Have you used any of the above? Are you going to now subscribe to any? Let me know over on the Puds&Co. Twitter!

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