Social media is, without a doubt, one of the most important components to a well-oiled blog and business. But creating social media promotions on the spot each day can be tiresome, time consuming, and sometimes, impossible. That’s why today we’re exploring five excellent programs to help you schedule your social media marketing in advance. These programs are great for all of your favorites, like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, as well as others, such as LinkedIn or Google+. Ready to stop spending hours a day on social media? I’ve got you covered.
Buffer + Hootsuite
Buffer and Hootsuite are excellent programs for scheduling Facebook and Twitter promotions, though they also offer scheduling to Google+ and LinkedIn. I grouped them here together because they offer very similar services, and you likely would only need to use one or the other. The biggest difference I’ve found is that Buffer now has the option to schedule pins to Pinterest, too. I currently use Hootsuite to schedule my social media and it makes the process very easy.
Here’s how it works: In each program, you first add the social networks that you want to post to. Then, you create your posts in the program or by using a browser extension. You can either select a specific date and time for the post to publish, or you can “autopublish” it. I use the autopublish feature exclusively, because it speeds up the process even more. Autopublish* means that you’ve pre-selected a date and time range that you’d like posts to be published (for example, Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm). Then, you select how many posts you’d like to publish each day (for example, 5 per day). When you click the “autopublish” button, it automatically adds your posts into a queue, based on the schedule you selected. It.is.awesome. Here’s an example of Hootsuite’s autoscheduling system:
If you set it to post 5 times per day, then you could write out 35 tweets and have an entire week’s worth of social media promotions done in one day.
Pricing: You can use both of these programs for free, but for more freedom, they offer paid plans as well, starting at about $10.
*Note, the “autopublish” verbiage is exclusive to Hootsuite, but Buffer has an almost identical process.
CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that acts as both an editorial calendar and a social media scheduling tool. I’ve written about CoSchedule before, because it does offer some great features in one piece of software. Not only can you create a drag-and-drop editorial calendar in order to plan your posts in advance, but you can also pre-schedule your social media promotions for each of those blog posts. CoSchedule supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Tumblr. It also offers some neat analytics to see how many times your posts have been shared.
Here’s an example of what it looks like to schedule social media promotions for a post in CoSchedule (note: this is a post that has already been published, so you can see the social sharing analytics, too).
One thing that eventually led me away from CoSchedule is that it’s a great tool for scheduling promotions for a particular blog post, but it’s not really great for scheduling promotions of other people’s work. For example, I like to share interesting posts from other blogs and websites, but CoSchedule doesn’t make it as easy as Hootsuite or Buffer to simply add social media content from other websites to an “autoschedule.” It IS a nice tool for working with teams and planning a digital editorial calendar, but wasn’t my favorite for scheduling my social media promotions, though many people love it.
Pricing: Currently, their least expensive plan is $10/month, but they offer a free 14-day trial.
Related: 8 WordPress Plugins I Can’t Live Without
Ahalogy is exclusively for scheduling Pinterest posts, and while I haven’t explored it as much as I’d like to, I’ve heard great things about it from other bloggers. In order to join, you’ll have to request an invite. Once approved, you’ll be joined into their network of pinners, and will have the option both to schedule your own pins and to pin content from their “network of high-end content creators.”
Ahalogy allows you to either autoschedule your posts or manually select a time and date for them to be published. It also has some other neat tools, like “suggested words” you should use in your pin’s description and PicMonkey built right into the site so that you can edit your Pinterest images.
Here’s an example of what it looks like (using the Ahalogy browser extension) to pin something form a website. You can edit the description, select a board, and put it into your schedule.
Lastly, Latergramme enables you to schedule your Instagram posts. Unlike the other social networks mentioned in this post, Instagram doesn’t actually allow you to post automatically. As a way to bypass that rule, Latergramme invited a new system, where you can schedule all of your posts ahead of time and receive a push notification when your Instagram image is ready to be published. All you have to do is swipe to open it and then publish your pre-made Instagram photo onto your account. I haven’t used Latergramme yet, but it looks very enticing and useful. I’ll definitely have to take it for a spin.
Overall, scheduling social media promotions is extremely valuable, both because it allows you to finish a week’s worth (or more!) of social media marketing in just a couple hours and because it enables you to create more stream-lined and intentional social media feeds. Social media is an incredible way to grow your blog traffic and sales, so being intentional and consistent are surefire ways to breed success for your blog or business.