Hey there! Last week we shared with you our thoughts about the importance of scheduling Social Media contents. Today we want to go deeper, focussing on the tools you can use to get the most out of your social media, in the least amount of time. We’ll be comparing three of the most common social media scheduling tools: Buffer, Hootsuite and Creator Studio.
Creator Studio is the official tool of Facebook Business Manager. It that gives you the ability to manage your all your Facebook pages, as well as Instagram accounts. So whilst it’s limited to those two social networks, it is however totally free of charge for business accounts.
Hootsuite and Buffer, on the other hand, give you the possibility to choose between different solutions. Both allow you to manage up to three social media accounts and schedule a limited number of posts (10 for Buffer, 30 for Hootsuite) in their free plans.
If you need more, each offers you paid subscription plans: Hootsuite Professional starts from £25 per month, allowing you to manage 10 Social Profiles and schedule unlimited posts. If you need to have more users or social profiles to manage, you could need to upgrade to the Team plan for £99 per month. And if this doesn’t fit the bill, there are also even more plans, but they are mostly for marketing and social media agencies.
The same goes for Buffer: Pro version (15$/mo) lets you manage up to 8 Social Accounts and Schedule 100 posts per Social Account. If you need to add more users or scheduled posts, you can to upgrade to Premium (65$/mo) or Business (99$/mo).
In general, we always suggest you to start with free accounts (which should be enough for many local businesses) and if you really feel the need to upgrade, try the 30 days trials they offer.
One of the greatest pros of Hootsuite is that it lets you manage almost all social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest accounts without the need to install any apps. But if your needs go beyond this, you can always install apps and manage the following social networks: WordPress, FourSquare, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Viadeo, Reddit and many more.
Anyway, don’t be afraid: for a basic use of social media scheduling you won’t need all these accounts, just use this information to make an informed decision.
The dashboard on each tool is the place where you create and schedule your posts.
Buffer and Creator Studio’s dashboard’s are very clean and user friendly, easy to manage but are generally limited, as they are built solely to schedule posts. Hootsuite’s Dashboard, on the other hand, is flexible and more modular: if you want you can manage replies, follow accounts and hashtags and so on. But this at the price of a more complex window – therefore less user-friendly!
Scheduling, in general, follows the same basic pattern in all three: enter the text with links, hashtags, emoji and upload your image. But there are a few differences in the way you schedule. Buffer is based on the Buffer Queue, a custom schedule that orders when posts should go up between 4 preset hours. However, you can also manually schedule posts and even customise the daily posting schedule, so you could have more posts in some days or hours and less in others.
On the other hand, Creator Studio and Hootsuite are quite similar, as you just have to choose if publish now or schedule your post for a later date.
Analytics are a fundamental part of social media scheduling. Finding the right moment to post will allow your content to get more likes, your account to get more followers and in general your business will have more brand visibility online.
Hootsuite’s free plan offers you basic reports that show the number of posts you have already published, tracks your followers and gives you an overview on engagement rates. Pro and Enterprise plans give you more info about age groups and demographics for targeting ads and whatnot.
Creator Studio gives you all the data from Facebook and Instagram insights in one place, including age groups, demographics, actions taken on the account, impressions and daily and hour metrics.
Finally, Buffer only offers analytics on the Pro and Business Plans.
So, which is the best social media scheduling tool? Obviously the answer is… it totally depends. All three are powerful tools with pros and cons, but the main factor is your needs.
Creator Studio is a good solution if you just need to use Facebook and Instagram, but if you need to manage more social networks you would need to look into Buffer and Hootsuite. Buffer could be your choice if you prefer a clean and simple window and Hootsuite if you need analytics and a modular Dashboard to suit your needs.
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Rapid Agency – Digital Marketing in Belfast