This is the second post in the series “What the FAQ is Social Media?!” – a back-to-basics blog which answers all of your Social Media questions. The first blog post looked at which networks you, as a business, should be part of check it out here.
If you have any specific questions that you would like me to answer as part of the series, then please leave a comment.
- 2Week #2
“I post a little bit here and there, but just don’t have the time to post regularly.”
Stop making excuses! With a little bit of research you can find loads of tools that can help you post good content regularly and with little to no cost! Here are just a few of them, reviewed by yours truly for your use:
Main Benefit: Browser extension
Buffer is an excellent tool for first timers, I currently have the ‘Awesome Plan’, costing me $10 a month (so that’s roughly £6) which is pretty…awesome! I originally had the free ‘Individual’ plan but this only allows you to schedule 10 posts for each profile at any time. This meant that the free plan wasn’t great for me as I wanted to post 5 times a day on Twitter. If I kept with that plan I would have only been able to schedule two days in advance, whilst on the ‘Awesome Plan’ I’m able to have 100 posts scheduled.
Scheduling a post to any network is made very easy with their extension that adds a helpful little button under each tweet.
Simply click on the Buffer icon and it takes you to a new tab and allows you to pick which network you would like to post to and gives you the option to edit your post. You then click ‘Add to Queue’ or add to your ‘Power Scheduler’ and voila your tweet is scheduled!
The reports from Buffer are clean and easy to read but very basic on the free and ‘Individual’ plans, just take a look at the screenshot below. It’s more of a ‘does what it says on the tin’ rather than being in-depth and insightful…
However, this may do just the job you want – it shows your most popular tweets so you can make sure you know what works best for you; for example it could be a certain topic, hashtag or a particular type of image.
If you want to push the boat out and pay for the business plan for $50 a month, you can access the ‘Insights’ and ‘Analysis’ tabs, which are much more extensive. The helpful graphs allow you to easily spot trends and compare the amount of posts to new followers, reach, favourites, mentions and clicks.
Main Benefit: Recycle content
We’re new to Edgar, having only joined it last month but so far they have offered a brilliant service, taking the time to respond to our suggestions and helping me out when I struggled with the bulk upload function. Here’s a quick summary:
We currently have the $49 ‘Starter Plan’ working out at around £31 a month, which is great considering the time it saves us! This price plan does limit us to managing just 10 Social Media accounts and only allows storage for 1000 posts, for now this is fine for us as we’re just testing it to see if it will be good for us to use for our clients.
The scheduling function is simple – just click on the time slot you would like to post and then select the exact time on the pop-up that appears, followed by the category of that post and which account to post to.
I’ve organised my Twitter schedule to mainly post once an hour between 9am and 5pm, I’ll refine this schedule once I get some reports on which days and time slots perform best.
The categories you can customise, we currently have ten categories of which I usually schedule the categories: ‘Our Blog Posts’, ‘Our Guest Posts’ and ‘Our Guides’ because I don’t really want to post other people’s content repeatedly. I know ‘sharing is caring’ and all that, but it would just mean I would have to continuously monitor and update the ‘Other People’s Content’ category to ensure it isn’t out of date and content doesn’t get over posted which defeats the point of using a tool like Edgar. Saying that, there is a handy extension you can install so that when you’re on a helpful webpage that you might want to post about you can click on the cute little Edgar octopus at the top of your browser and a pop-up appears that allows you to save your post to a category.
Edgar’s reports are minimal to say the least, simply listing your content where you can then filter by account and sort by ‘Category’, ‘Likes’, ‘Comments’ and ‘Shares’. You can counter this by connecting a Bitly account to Edgar, so you can then track the performance using Bitly which is much more comprehensive.
Main Benefit: Monitor multiple streams in one place
Hootsuite may not have the prettiest UI but it is the most functional – housing all of your Social Media streams. This is particularly helpful to me as I am able to monitor all of our client’s Social Media feeds in one place and it allows you to engage with people on your feeds, so you can reply, retweet and favourite any engagements you have, rather than having to log into each account individually. This makes Hootsuite a huge time saver.
We currently use the Pro version of Hootsuite so we can monitor all of our Social Media accounts as well as our clients’. Costing just £6.99 a month, this is pretty reasonable. However, their reports and optional extras come at a big cost compared to some of the other tools out there which include these functions.
I don’t really use Hootsuite for scheduling posts, but it is an option and is pretty simple to do:
You can add ‘Scheduled’ posts as a stream to your on your UI so you can easily view the posts you have waiting to be published.
Much like Buffer and Edgar you can install an extension to enable you to post the webpage you’re visiting straight to one of your Social Media accounts or schedule it in for a later time:
The report function on Hootsuite I honestly find unhelpful and confusing – despite paying for a ‘Pro’ account, the reporting is very limited, especially if you don’t use their own ‘Ow.ly’ link shortener. For any helpful reporting you have to purchase credits which are very expensive at $399 (around £258.98) for 1 report!
Main Benefit: Reports!
Sprout Social is almost there as a complete answer to our Social Media pains – if only it had the ability to recycle content like Edgar does!
The ‘Premium’ plan comes in at $99 a month for one user and allows you to manage up to 20 profiles. So compared to some of the other tools it’s not amazing value for money, I also find it slightly annoying that we can only have one user – this means the whole team use sprout as the same person making it difficult to see who has done what.
Scheduling is easy with Sprout – very similar to other platforms, you choose the account you want to post to, add your image and you then have the option to send straight away, schedule for a specific date, queue the post into an auto-scheduler or save the post as a draft.
Like the other tools, you can install an extension to post the webpage you’re visiting to one of your Social Media accounts.
This is where Sprout Social really stands out from the growing crowd of automation tools, their reporting is clean and comprehensive. It is predominately why we use them, the tool give easy-on-the-eye stats:
You can customise your reports easily and make comparisons across accounts to see what works and what doesn’t. All of the reports are downloadable too, so it’s great for sending across to clients or management to show them the (fantastic) results you’ve been getting from Social Media.
As you can see, we haven’t (yet) found a tool that is all-singing and all-dancing, so if you know of any, tweet me! But for now, I would suggest finding a couple of tools that work for your purposes and watch this space until we find one that does it all!
*If you’re worried about cost, just remember the return on investment (when done right) Social Media can promise you. If you’re unsure about how to measure the success of your Social Media here’s a ‘How To’.