If you want to reach your customers on social media, then you need to post new content consistently. Social channels are getting increasingly busy, making it more and more difficult to get customers’ attention; what this means is, you need to post quality content consistently if you want them to see your updates – and act. Here is an in-depth look at some of the best social media scheduling tools for helping you reach your customers at the right time.
Why schedule your social media updates?
Ever since the first social media scheduling tools popped into the market, there have been countless discussions or debates over their use. Now, though, they’ve pretty much become the norm – there’s too much content to publish on a daily basis.
Here’s why you should schedule your social media updates:
- To save time – and plus, you can use all that extra time to actually engage with your audience or to create more quality content to share with them
- To send the right content, at the right time: you can’t always be online and you can’t always have access to a desktop where you can properly plan and edit your social media updates. Not to mention, by scheduling your updates, you can make sure that you send your updates at the exact right time for maximum impact: when your customers are most active.
- You’ll be more consistent: consistency is very important when it comes to posting content, including on social media. With a clear social media calendar and scheduled updates, you can make sure that you’re always posting something on your accounts.
There are several different types of updates that you can schedule and queue up to be re-shared to drive maximum results; for example:
- Your blog posts: if you have a blog, promote your blog posts regularly to get as many results as possible. However, make sure than any time-sensitive posts aren’t published past their ‘expiration date’
- Social media campaigns: if you have a planned social media campaign, use a scheduling tool to make sure you’re sending all the content at the right time
- Curated content
- Promotional updates
Here are some of the best tools for scheduling your social media updates:
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Social media management tools
If you’d rather handle all of your social media marketing with one tool, here are some of the best social media dashboards with scheduling features:
There are 3 main ways that you can use Hootsuite to schedule your updates:
- Schedule them for specific dates and times (you can also use the Hootsuite Chrome extension to schedule any posts or media you like while browsing the web)
- Queue up several posts throughout the day
- Set up RSS feeds of your preferred online publications to publish curated content
Hootsuite is a really good option for managing your social media presence and scheduling your updates; however, if you post a lot of content or want to queue up more posts to be re-shared automatically, the auto-schedule feature is not that powerful, especially because you don’t have as much control over what gets posted when.
You can set up the auto-schedule feature from your settings; you can publish up to 10 posts a day, and you can select between which hours you want them to go out, as well as which days of the week.
Then, simply upload your updates (you can also upload them in bulk with a .csv file) and make sure to select the auto-schedule box.
This is a great way to quickly and efficiently schedule multiple updates throughout the day; but, as I mentioned before, it doesn’t allow you to control when your updates go out.
It’s also worth noting that if you have an Instagram business account, you can now also publish and schedule your Instagram photos directly, using the dashboard.
Agorapulse do things a bit differently – but, there are also a few similarities. In terms of scheduling, you can:
- Schedule updates to be published at a certain time/date (you can also see a preview for each social channel you want to publish on and can edit each post to make sure it’s optimised for each social network)
- Set up unlimited queues of content that get re-shared automatically
The queue feature is different – and in a very good way. Not only can you queue up unlimited updates and re-share them completely automatically if you want, but you also have complete control over your queue:
As you can see in the screenshot above, you can create different queues and categorize them based on your updates, such as blog post links, promotional updates, quotes, and so on.
Then, you can create time slots for each category, so that you have complete control over the updates that go out, even if they’re published automatically. Another difference is that your updates will be re-shared multiple times once all the updates in your queue are published.
What’s more, you also have settings for individual updates in your queue, so that you don’t have to go in and check your queue; time-sensitive updates can be stopped automatically after they were published a certain number of times, or before an expiry date.
Other scheduling features include bulk uploading both for direct scheduling and for queue categories, and more recently, they’ve also introduced Instagram direct publishing for business accounts, so you can actually prep and schedule (or queue up) your Instagram photos.
Social media scheduling-only tools
If you’re not interested in a full-suite social media management tool and would rather use a scheduling-only tool, take a look at the following options:
Buffer is designed to help you schedule your posts in a quick and efficient manner in order to get the best possible results:
- Schedule updates for specific times
- Create time slots and queue up your content
To get started, you first need to set your time slots; you also have access to content analytics to help you figure out the best times to post:
Setting your schedule is super quick, as you can add the same posting times for multiple days.
Next, all you have to do is add your updates; either add posts manually for each time slot you’ve set, or queue them up to be shared automatically (you’ll need to use another tool to upload your updates in bulk, however).
Another cool thing that you can do is add RSS feeds of your favourite online publications and blogs; then, simply browse through the list of newly published content regularly to add any good posts to your queue.
MeetEdgar takes things a step further; this tool is all about setting and forgetting; in fact, you can pretty much create a busy social media schedule once and forget about it for months, or even years. It’s not the best strategy when you want to be more hands-on, but it can come in quite handy when you have a lot of evergreen content that you want republished regularly and unlimited times.
Like with previous tools, you also have the option to schedule for specific times; but, that’s definitely not the appeal with MeetEdgar, which is all about the queue.
It works exactly like Agorapulse, in the sense that you create categories for all of your content, upload your content (you can also upload them in bulk) to each category, set time slots for each category, and you’re good to go. Or rather, to stand back and watch them get published.
Another thing that you can do with MeetEdgar is curate content. You can add RSS feeds and the tool will automatically pull up any new content from these publications and add them to your queue – it’s designed to do it all with as little involvement from you as possible, which is a good thing as you get to save more time, but also a bad thing as you can’t really personalize your updates.
A bigger downside however, is that it only works with 3 social networks – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – and that it has few other features.
Social media scheduling shouldn’t be just about saving time, but also about getting better results for your business. Scheduling can help you get more traffic from social media, more eyeballs on your content, and more engagement from your customers and other followers. What social media scheduling tools are you using?