Whether you have social media accounts for one brand or many, the process of posting regularly can quickly get overwhelming. This isn’t surprising, since most social media managers must also create the content and oversee the strategy. If your brand has a profile on many social media sites, then this problem develops even faster.
Luckily, you don’t have to manage social media profiles alone. There are many social media scheduling tools that can help you take much of the repetitive work out of social media management. In addition, many of them help with content curation and evergreen content management. Let’s look at what these tools do, and then review several of the best.
Briefly, social media scheduling tools are automated applications that let you plan and execute future social media posts. While each tool is different, most have you upload the entire post to their web app, where they store it until the scheduled posting time. Then, they post each piece of content under the designated profile or username. In addition, some scheduling tools help you curate content or manage evergreen posts.
Why social media scheduling tools are important
Social media scheduling tools are important for most social media managers or small businesses. In particular, they help you be more efficient by batch processing. By definition, social scheduling tools are set and forget, unless you need to intervene at the last minute or your plans otherwise change.
Because of the automated nature of these tools, they help you be more effective by publishing social media posts regardless of if you are busy or not. Most people that use social media marketing tools will have a designated time each week (or whatever their scheduling interval is) where they’ll sit down and set all of the posts for that period.
How far in advance should you schedule social media posts?
No matter how large your business is, you always want to keep a “queue” of content scheduled – for some it is. one week, for others one month, for others even longer. This interval can be determined based on several factors, such as how far out you plan social media campaigns, staff schedules, or other company needs.
With that said, there is a danger by pre-planning things out too far in advance if circumstances change (like COVID, terrorist events, etc.). That’s because if something unexpected happens, you’d have to un-schedule or rearrange posts in the tool, which reduces your batch efficiency. In addition, you’ll want to find a social media scheduling tool that includes a “pause” button in case you have to intervene. Otherwise, you risk sending outposts that prove to be irrelevant or worse, offensive, because “times have changed.”
What should you look for in social media scheduling tools?
With that said, social media scheduling tools have a wide variety of features and functions. In addition, some schedulers do things differently from others. Here’s a list of “must-haves” in scheduling tools:
- Scheduling features: It almost goes without saying, but this kind of tool needs great scheduling features that are easy to use.
- Platforms supported: You need to ensure that your social media scheduling tool can handle the platforms that you want to use. While support for some platforms is harder to find, ideally, you’ll be able to do all of your profiles from one or two tools. Otherwise you’ll lose a lot of efficiency.
- Ease of use in terms of setting up scheduling times and adding posts: Do you really want to “fight” with your scheduling tool? Hardly anyone does, and that’s the way it should be. Choose a tool that you can easily master, and that lets you quickly make changes when needed.
- The “pause” button: Things happen that we don’t expect, whether it’s major world events, a local tragedy, or even changes in key corporate personnel. Your social media scheduler needs to offer a “pause” button that lets you pivot when time is of the essence.
- Pricing: Finally, make sure that the price is right. As you’ll see below, many social media scheduling tools are part of a larger software package, and therefore included in the price. However, for standalone tools you’ll want to ensure that you get the best value for money.
The 15 Best Social Media Scheduling Tools
As with so many things in our industry, there’s a lot of competition among social media scheduling tools. Many of these tools are included in larger applications, such as social media dashboards. Other schedulers, however, are either standalone or have only a few other features. I’ll tell you which ones are which, and for dashboards, I’ll only talk about features, platforms supported, and pricing.
Buffer is a pared-down social media dashboard with significant scheduling features. You can easily plan and post social media content through a unified “calendar.” This lets you visualize the schedule as they are placed on the schedule. And, if there’s a change of plans you can “pause” posting through the settings page. Compatible with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Pricing: up to three accounts with basic scheduling is free. $5/mo per account for deluxe features or more accounts.
Hootsuite is also a general-purpose social media dashboard. With Hootsuite, you can compose and schedule your posts inside the app, and you can see the schedule with a calendar. They also have included collaboration and post-approval functions that help manage team activity, and an “off” button to use when needed. Works with all the major networks and some less popular ones, for a total of over 20 platforms.
Pricing: Free version lets you support 2 accounts. Paid plans from $49/mo
My personal favorite, Agorapulse is a comprehensive dashboard. Compose and schedule your posts on a calendar, while you benefit from the in-app send time optimization (or go manual). Reschedule evergreen content to save time, collaborate with others, and require approval before posting as appropriate. Agorapulse has a mobile app that lets you publish from anywhere, and features a pause button for emergencies. You can even save drafts if you aren’t ready to publish something. It publishes on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Pricing: From $79/mo
Once again, Sendible is an all-purpose dashboard. But it works differently from some others, in that it’s geared towards small businesses and agencies. The calendar feature works across client accounts, so you can see the big picture. It also features an automatic tailoring feature that lets you specify which hashtags or other post feature you use on which social platforms. Queues, RSS feeds, and content suggestions help with both content curation and evergreen content management. Easily reschedule posts as necessary. Compatible with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Pricing: From $29/mo
Another popular dashboard, SproutSocial has robust scheduling features. It helps you plan and execute your strategy with a visual calendar, compose posts, including visuals, in-app, and choose the perfect time using real-time analytics for optimal engagement. Content suggestions and approval workflows help ensure your curation and approval process work smoothly. A pause button lets you respond to emergencies. Compatible with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Pricing: From $89/mo
MeetEdgar is one of the social media scheduling tools that doesn’t do much else. It’s best known for content curation and queuing that’s automated. Add your own content and schedule it to publish later, and indicate which posts are evergreen so the app will repost it. In addition, the app creates variations for your content automatically, which helps with some network content restrictions. Finally, pause the posting when necessary. Works with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Pricing: From $19/mo
SocialBee is another tool that mostly does the scheduling. It has a longer list of features than we can list here, but it has all the basics. In addition, there’s a Canva integration, advanced content importation functions, and RSS features. SocialBee works with the usual networks, plus TikTok and Google My Business.
Pricing: From $19/mo
Another dashboard, Promo Republic is geared towards the franchise and local independent businesses. It leverages AI to find the best time to post, so you only need to add your desired content. Plus, you can set posts for multiple accounts simultaneously, making the job go faster. It is unclear if there’s a stop posting function. Works with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google My Business.
Pricing: From $9/mo
eClincher is another dashboard that has social media scheduling tools. In particular, you can schedule posts using the visual calendar, and post other content with smart queues. Plus, they have tools that let you design the posts in-app. You can even use an RSS feed with Instagram to keep your feed full. Compatible with the major social networks, Google My Business, and TikTok.
Pricing: from $59/mo
Among social media scheduling tools, this is less known. ContentCal uses automated scheduling for maximum efficiency and robust collaboration/approval features. You can also post the same content on all appropriate social networks, further streamlining the process. In addition, you can set the posting of content on other channels like websites, and even email. Overall, a nice tool to streamline operations. Works with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and GMB.
Pricing: From $30/mo
SocialPilot is another platform, but it’s less comprehensive overall than some of the others. From a scheduling standpoint, they have the usual calendar-based scheduling to deliver content when it has the best chance of engagement. In addition, SocialPilot has great content curation functions, and an option to post curated content right when you see it, with a couple of clicks. Drafts and repeating post functions round out the scheduling aspect of SocialPilot. Compatible with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, GMB, and TikTok.
Pricing: From $42.50/mo
Once again, SmarterQueue is a comprehensive platform. Besides the standard scheduling functions, SmarterQueue is set up for in-app composition. They also have the ability to customize posts for maximum results from the same content across social platforms, post recycling, and content curation. Unique to SmarterQueue is the ability to quickly tag other accounts for better engagement. Works with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Pricing: From $16.99/mo
Tailwind is unique among social media scheduling tools in that it only works with visual social networks, specifically Pinterest and Instagram. It also has a built-in social aspect, called Communities, for Pinterest. On both networks, you get scheduling tools. Pinterest users get composition tools. For Instagram, there’s a hashtag research tool a visual planner. Finally, there’s a mobile app for android or iOs, and browser extensions.
Pricing: Freemium, paid from $9.99/mo
Missinglettr is unique in that it features drip campaigns for social media. In addition, you get to see your social media content strategy and schedule all the posts quickly. Turn on content curation, then collaborate with your team like a pro. There’s even an automatic repost function and a stock photo library. Compatible with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and GMB.
Pricing: Freemium, paid from $19.99/mo
RecurPost is primarily a social media scheduler, and it specializes in evergreen content. You can schedule across platforms at the same time, and create content with Canva and multimedia in-app. Over time, you build a content library, and RecurPost schedules these items automatically. When you run out of content, the app starts all over again. Supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and GMB.
Pricing: from $12.50/mo
As you can see, the days of having to schedule massive amounts of posts every day and in real-time are long over. In addition, curating content and recycling evergreen posts has never been easier. With today’s social media scheduling tools, most social media managers can set and forget, freeing up their time for other tasks. Try one out today.
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Hero photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash