Yes, it’s the good news we know you’ve all been waiting for!
The next instalment in our mini blog post series about making your social media work more efficiently – so that you can put less time in and get more out!
After all, we all know social media can seriously eat into our day and who doesn’t want to get better results across these platforms for less time?
Honestly, we can’t imagine anything that would make our lives easier!
Which is why us pufflings are always on the hunt for key working methods and cost-effective tools that allow us to do just that and, the great news is, that we’re dedicated to sharing them with you too!
And today is no exception, as we share with you all the key information you need to know about using scheduling software to streamline your social media work.
We’re going to cover what these tools are, how to use them, why you should use them and, perhaps, most importantly, our top recommended schedulers, so you can quickly discover and start using them for yourself.
Ok, time to dive in…
- Batching Tasks: How to Create Social Media More Efficiently
- Get Organised: How to Script, Save & Store Your Social Media Content
- Step by Step Guide to Setting Up & Using Later
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What are Social Media Schedulers?
Social media schedulers are essentially digital softwares that allow you to schedule out your social media content, so that it is published at a future date and time of your choosing.
That’s right, schedulers send the posts out for you, meaning you don’t have to be on your phone (or even anywhere near it) in order to look like you’re active across a range of platforms.
We know, it’s magic!
There’s tons of different social media schedulers, which all have slightly different features and all work in slightly different ways, although there are many similarities between them.
We’re going to go into our recommend schedulers in this post, as well as some general principles about how they work, but in essence these tools are efficiency gold!
With a range of paid and free packages, the prices of them also vary, but rest assured we’re going to discuss this all in detail later on too.
Right now, all you need to know are that social media schedulers are software tools you can use to automate the publishing of a huge range of content, across different social media platforms, with a few clicks.
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How Do Social Media Schedulers Work?
So as we’ve outlined above, there are some common similarities and themes when it comes to social media schedulers, no matter which one you use.
The first step is to choose the scheduler software you’d like to use and then to create an account with that service.
This is usually free and can be done in just a few minutes by entering your email address and a password.
As always, remember to jot these details down or save them to your password manager.
After creating an account, the next step is to connect your social media platforms to the social media scheduler.
Depending on the scheduler you have opted to use, as well as whether you are using a paid or free version, both the types and number of social platforms you can connect here will vary.
The most common options schedulers allow for are Facebook and Twitter, but there are many available that also include Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Usually connecting your social media platforms to the scheduler software is easy – you simply follow the steps you are provided with, enter your social platform username and password, and the rest is done automatically.
With your social media scheduler now largely set up, it’s time to talk about plugging in your content.
This is the method whereby you enter all the information for the content you want to publish at a later date – this is likely to include the visual asset (i.e. the image or graphic you want to post), as well as any text or copy (i.e. your caption) and possibly some hashtags too, depending on the platform.
In essence, this creates a draft version of your content post within the scheduler.
Now you know why our last 2 posts have been all about batching your social media tasks i.e. creating a whole week or month’s worth of content at once, as well as collating this all together in a well-organised script and filing system.
If you don’t know what we are talking about, then hop back to our last 2 posts to learn about these tricks but, presuming you’ve been following this mini-series about how to work more efficiently when it comes to social, you’ll have these 2 foundational elements set up.
The reasons for having these building blocks in place now becomes even more clear, as you’ll discover they essentially allow you to upload and schedule a whole month’s or week’s worth of content with just a few clicks.
With all the content you have prepared now uploaded to the scheduler service, you simply choose the date and time you want each piece of content to be published in the future, as well as on which social media platform, and there you have it – a huge chunk of social media content ready to go out without you lifting another finger!
Why Use a Social Media Scheduler?
So, as we’re sure you’ve realised now, scheduler software can dramatically cut the amount of time you have to spend on social media.
By batching tasks, not only when it comes to creating and collating your content, but also in terms of uploading the content to be fired out at a later time, you’re shaving a huge amount of time off your need to constantly think about what to post and to be online to do that.
When it comes to scheduler services, you simply set and forget.
Ok, well you still need to engage on social media (learn what this means, as well as the importance of it in this post), but in essence, you’ve just cleared a lot of the hard creative and logistical work off your plate in one fell swoop!
This gives you more time and focus to concentrate on other things, leaving your social media content to publish all by itself – now what could be better than that?!
Basic vs Pro Plans
As we’ve mentioned, there are lots of different social media schedulers on the market and certainly too many to list here, but we’ve decided to go into a few of our favourites below, as well as their pros and cons to help you get your research off to an easy and flying start.
But first, one crucial piece of info to know, is that each of these scheduler services has both basic and pro versions.
Basic versions are usually free, but have a limited range of features as a result.
Pro versions tend to be paid, but offer a much greater vairety of features.
Normally each scheduler has several different plans, so you can choose the one that fits you and your business best.
Features tend to scale the more expensive the package, and include things such as the number of social media platforms you can connect, the number of content pieces you can schedule, the range of analytical data you can extract and the number of users you can have connected to a single account.
Recommended Social Media Schedulers
So now it’s time to hook into our list of favourites…
#1 Facebook Business Suite
If you’re not using this platform already for your Facebook and Instagram management, you should be!
You’ve been able to schedule posts out on Facebook using this software for a while now, but with the latest upgrade, Facebook Business Suite now allows to you schedule content to Instagram as well.
Please note, this is only for Instagram Feed Posts however – not Stories, Reels or IGTV etc.
You can schedule content to both these platforms at the same time, in one easy step, using Facebook Business Suite, but if you want the content to go out at separate times on each platform, then you’ll need to create 2 separate scheduled posts here.
There is some data to suggest that content scheduled through Facebook Business Suite performs better on these platforms, but it’s worth noting you can’t then cross-pollinate these content pieces easily to other networks such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
There is only a free version and lots of analytical data available through Facebook Business Suite, which is definitely a plus however.
Later offers both basic and pro versions, but one of the great things about this scheduler service is that it’s free version is really good – allowing you to connect 3 social media platforms and schedule 20 pieces of content on each.
Built originally for Instagram, we find this platform easy and simple to use and love the visual feel of it – which makes scheduling content really straightforward.
It’s easy to translate posts between different platforms too (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest) and paid versions include the ability to conduct hashtag research, collect analytical data and even schedule Stories.
With an easy layout, intuitive-approach, a user-friendly interface as well as a brilliant auto-publish feature, we think this is a top scheduler software option for small businesses.
Learn more here.
An easy-to-use tool, built for small businesses, Buffer is a great scheduler if you are looking for a straightforward option.
Its free plan is unfortunately rather too basic in our eyes, but the ability to schedule content to LinkedIn Pages, as well as Profiles, through Buffer is a welcome feature with its paid options.
The ability to also schedule content to Facebook Groups is another top USP here.
Buffer strips back a lot of the clutter, so can be good for beginners and provides a sound level of analytical information about posts if you pay for a pro version.
However, its interface can be a bit clunky and not as intuitive as other schedulers out there.
Hootsuite is great for teams that want a little more from their scheduler service, in particular dashboards that allow you to manage several accounts from one platform.
Analytics are top-notch here and the ability to schedule content to a wide variety of platforms (Facebook Pages, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube) make Hootsuite a favourite for small-to-medium businesses that really want to accelerate their social media marketing.
Features between free and pro versions vary quite significantly, but for many organisations just starting out in the world of social, even basic packages on Hootsuite offer a confusing array of services they simply don’t need.
Hootsuite is great for strong social media development and growth, but might not be the best starting point for beginners.
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So there you have it folks, our guide to why you should be using social media schedulers, including what they are, how they work and our top recommendations for services you can start using today!
So, what are you waiting for, time to hop in and start saving your valuable time!
Still got questions?
Either leave them in the comments box below, or send us an email ([email protected]) and we’ll get back to you asap!