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Choosing a social media scheduler

Posting to social media to drive our creative businesses is no longer just an afterthought. Without an effective process for posting to social media in a way that is both meaningful and engaging can become a challenge when we’re posting on a daily basis.

In a noisy online world, there’s one way to keep your social sanity when it comes to the task of crafting your social media posts– batching and scheduling them in advance.

How do you create a sustainable system takes the chore out of social media management? By putting a plan in place to draft and schedule your posts ahead of time via a social media scheduler, also called a “marketing cloud.” This is the golden ticket to implementing a strategy behind your social media efforts.

Depending on your goals there are many choices. Maybe you want to schedule your posts surrounding a blog post to drill down and get granular on the data surrounding them. Or perhaps you simply want a system to easily create a week’s worth of posts so you can spend more time interacting with your audience.

Set It and Forget It – The Power of Evergreen

The feature that makes schedulers the most appealing is the ability to create a post, then place it back in your queue to post again and again. Meet Edgar and Smarterqueue, allow you to add posts to particular categories and a schedule that you set up in advance based on your preferences.

One caveat: when things get so automatic, you run the risk of forgetting to do regular check-ins with your audience. Those touchpoints with your peeps are crucial so you can engage and make that important connection– which is what social media is really all about!

Choosing the Right Platform

Let’s take a look at some of the top social media schedulers, based on those that are the most practical choice if your goal is to test the waters. Or, if you’re ready to dive into a paid plan, the options below offer flexibility without breaking the bank.

The following platforms are those that I’ve used myself, so I stand behind my recommendations. I feel that these offer the best value for the price. Some are pricier than others but are well worth it if you would like more management tools, you work with a team, or need more robust features.

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Hootsuite This is a great “starter scheduler,” and the one I used for years. It offers an impressive amount of features if you’re looking for a free option to test-drive social scheduling for the first time. The free plan allows 3 social profiles and up to 30 scheduled messages per month and integration with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. For the basic paid plan, bump it up to 10 social profiles starting at $29 per month.

Pros:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Bulk scheduling
  • Unlimited RSS integrations
  • Unlimited social media profiles with the basic paid plan
  • 150+ free and paid app integrations

Cons:

  • No recycle post option for free or paid plans.

 

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Buffer Similar to Hootsuite, and another good option for getting a feel for the marketing cloud landscape, Buffer has been around since the early days of social media. With the free plan, you get: 3 social accounts and integration with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, with 10 scheduled posts per account. With the first paid tier, for $15 bucks you get 8 social accounts, and 100 scheduled posts per account, along with the same basic features offered in the free plan.

Pros:

  • Video and GIF uploader
  • Link shortening and tracking
  • Browser extension

Cons:

  • No RSS integration with free or Pro Plan
  • No recycle post option for free or paid plans
  • No social media calendar unless you select Small Business Plan ($99) and higher
  • Analytics available only for the Small Business Plan ($99) and higher

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Meet Edgar The first on the scene to introduce a revolutionary way to manage social media on one platform with category-based scheduling and re-queueing of evergreen content. Meet Edgar boasts that once you fill your queue, you’ll never have to worry again. Set it. Forget it. Edgar also allows for adding content from RSS feeds, which a huge time-saver when you’re not sure what to post because you’re able to post content from other sources.

Meet Edgar integrates with multiple accounts: Twitter, Facebook Pages, Profiles and Groups, LinkedIn and Instagram as well as category-based scheduling.

Pros:

  • Re-queue of evergreen content
  • Stats and analytics
  • RSS feed integration
  • Pause queue feature
  • Unlimited posts
  • Post to multiple platforms
  • Browser extension – while you’re out surfing the web, easily add content to your queue.
  • Short links
  • Set posts to expire by a certain date to keep things fresh!

Cons:

  • No free plan
  • High price for the features (plans begin at $49)

SmarterQueue_Logo_600x140

Smarterqueue Smarterqueue mirrors the features of Meet Edgar but for half the price, plus more sweet features. The platform integrates with multiple accounts: Twitter, Facebook Pages, Profiles and Groups, LinkedIn and Instagram as well as category-based scheduling.

Pros:

  • Re-queue of evergreen content
  • Half the price of Meet Edgar for the same functionality
  • Stats and analytics
  • RSS feed integration
  • Re-queue of evergreen content
  • Pause queue feature
  • Unlimited posts
  • Post to multiple platforms
  • Short links
  • Saved social searches
  • Smartphone app

Cons:

  • No drop and drag feature to easily change a scheduled post date
  • Editing previously-published posts can be clunky
  • Phone app limited to Instagram posts only

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CoSchedule CoSchedule is the leader in social media management and project management platform all in one place. This powerful scheduler helps you to plan, organize and monitor your social media right inside your WordPress dashboard with a master calendar.

CoSchedule is great for teams because you can create tasks, assign them to others and comment on projects. There is no free plan, but you can sign up for a free trial for a limited time. The entry-level plan: Essential + Requeue, provides 8 social profiles for one user, drag and drop marketing calendar for blog posts inside of WordPress and social media scheduler.

Pros:

  • Project management tools
  • Master calendar
  • Drag and drop interface
  • Re-queue of evergreen content
  • Blog post social media tracking
  • To do lists
  • Content curation tools
  • Collaborative project planning

Cons:

  • No free version
  • Cost of the platform
  • No RSS integration
  • No saved social searches

Before committing to any platform, take it for a test drive to find the right fit. With the many choices available today, you can create a sustainable system to help you focus more on engaging with your audience, instead of running on the endless hamster wheel of daily posting. Social media schedulers help you to uplevel your business and carve out more whitespace, while you plot your quest to find more social media sanity.

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