How to choose the right social media scheduling platform
There are several social media scheduling platforms on the market, so, how do you choose the right one?
Here are seven things you should consider when choosing a social media scheduling and planning tool.
The first thing to consider when looking for a social media scheduling platform is how much you can afford to pay. The monthly cost of social media scheduling tools varies from about $10 to $150 for a basic plan. The price difference from a basic to a premium/pro plan is mainly driven by the additional features available. While some are just nice-to-have features, others will save you time when planning and scheduling your posts, and therefore it may be worth paying a little “bit “extra.
Lastly, most platforms offer a discount of up to 20% when you subscribe to a yearly plan, so paying upfront for the whole year could save you some money.
2. APPROVED MARKETING PARTNERS
Approved Marketing Partners are approved platforms and services that have been vetted by the social media networks for legitimacy and usefulness, and are proven to be safe to use. When selecting a social media scheduling tool, you need to ensure it’s approved by the social media network you intend to use.
Each social media network has its own Approved Marketing Partners. Below you can find the links to the Approved Marketing Partner lists for the leading social media networks.
3. USER ACCOUNTS
If you are planning to hire a virtual assistant or a social media agency, you should consider getting a plan that offers multiple user access. By having more than one user account, you don’t have to share your account details, and you can control what information they view. Later, Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout, give you access to only one user account when you sign up to the basic plan. Tailwind,on the other end, let you add up to three people. And, while on most platforms you can upgrade your subscription and get additional user accounts for a few extra dollars, Sprout requires you to sign up to a supplemental plan for each user you want to add.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Before you start looking for the right social media planner for your business, you need to determine who you are targeting and which social media networks they are most active on.
If you need some help defining your ideal customer avatar, download my free Ideal Customer Avatar Workbook and get clear on who your target audience is and how to reach them online. Once you have established which social media platform your target audience prefers, you can determine which social media planning tool works better for your business. For example, if you intend to schedule posts on LinkedIn, your choice may be limited as currently only a few planning tools support this LinkedIn. Moreover, some social media scheduling tools give you access to a limited number of social media networks when you are on a basic plan.
Being consistent on social media is vital to attract and nurture quality followers. The best way to stay consistent is to establish how much time you can dedicate to generating social media content, so you have a steady flow of posts to your social media channels. And, while some social media planners allow scheduling unlimited posts, others, such as Later, have a set monthly allowance. Therefore, knowing how often you will post will help you define the best scheduling tool for your business.
As with the social media networks, the type of content you post will depend on your target audience. When you have determined the kind of content you will be creating; you will be in a position to select the social media scheduling platform that best fit your business’ requirements. All planning tools offer a free plan; however, in many cases, it’s not possible to post videos and Instagram Stories with the free version.
Data is critical to building an effective social media marketing strategy. In fact, a great social media marketing strategy is never set in stone, and it’s continuously changing. To make the best of your social media activities, you need to be able to access posts and profile data so you can optimize your social media activities based on what drives the best business results.
While all planning tools will enable you to track and measure your profiles’ weekly and monthly growth and posts engagement, some platforms like Planoly, will give you limited data access when on a basic plan – which is also one of the cheapest on the market. To view detailed metrics, you will need to upgrade your plan. In most cases, more advanced reporting features such as hashtag analytics, report customization and export capabilities are only available on the more expensive plans.
Finally, remember that most social media networks offer a native scheduling tool. Although native scheduling tools are free, there are pros-and-cons in using them. The main one being that they don’t integrate, so the data remains under the control of each platform, making scheduling and reporting inefficient.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
Join our newsletter to receive marketing news and hacks, special promotions and events updates