• Melanie

Platforms for Scheduling Social Media

If you're an independent contractor or small business owner, it can be daunting to manage your marketing. Social media is a wonderful way to build your brand and customer base, but it can also be a huge time suck to maintain on a daily basis. Add to that the ever-changing algorithms that keep your posts from reaching your audience, and it's a recipe for frustration which often leads to an inconsistent online presence.


Before I get too far, I'll preface with saying that I focus primarily on three social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These are the three that I use, research, and maintain regularly.


I also want to come clean with my thoughts on Facebook: old Zuckerberg has made it very difficult for small businesses and freelancers to reach their audiences via their business pages without shelling out big bucks to advertise. Because of this, I tend to use my Facebook page like the yellow pages. I do post regularly, but I don't worry too much about engagement; I focus on my reviews. Facebook has become a go-to for people to research companies. Encourage your customers to share a review on your Facebook business page. It will help legitimize your business in the eyes of anyone researching your business on Facebook.


Additionally, since Facebook has an integrated scheduling feature, I don't use outside scheduling programs, I schedule and post directly through Facebook. It ensures that the full 5-7% of your audience that Facebook allows to see your posts do, instead of the 2-3% that will see it if it comes through an outside scheduling platform.


Now, on with the program! There are multiple scheduling platforms you can choose from, and the three I'm going to focus on are Later, Hootsuite, and Buffer.


Later


This is the scheduling program I recommend the most to my clients. It's owned by Facebook, which means your posts won't get flagged when your scheduled posts go through.

What does it mean for a post to get flagged? Facebook has set up Instagram's algorithm to suppress your posts from your audience when they're scheduled via an outside source. This isn't the case when you schedule your posts via Later.

You can schedule up to thirty posts to Instagram per month with the free version, or you can upgrade for unlimited scheduling.

Twitter seems to be the least effected by scheduling programs, and it can be a lifesaver for this social media platform. The average life of a Twitter post is about twelve minutes, so posting multiple times a day is essential for keeping your Twitter audience engaged. You can schedule up to fifty posts per month with the free version, or, again, you can upgrade to a paid version for more posts.


Want to know more? Head to Later.com now.

Later is an easy drag and drop program, and you can schedule to multiple platforms at once.

Hootsuite


Hootsuite is one of the first scheduling programs I used. I know several people who don't like the layout, but I think their analytics are excellent. The layout is easy to read and navigate, and you can get some really detailed reports on audience engagement and demographics.

Like Later, you can post to multiple platforms at once via Hootsuite, but, unfortunately, your Instagram and Facebook posts will get flagged, drastcially dropping how many of your audience members see your posts.


Give this platform a try at Hootsuite.com.

A small sample of the analytics provided by Hootsuite.

Buffer


Buffer is my least favorite of the three platforms, but it was perfect for me to cut my teeth on social media scheduling. The layout is really simple, the analytics are nowhere near as robust as Later's and Hootsuite's, but an advantage Buffer has over the other platforms is Buffer allows you to tag your location. This increases your visibility across social media platforms, especially Instagram. Like Hootsuite and Later, you can upgrade your account for better analytics and other features.


Try Buffer for free at Buffer.com now.

I left Buffer when Later came out, but the layout is really simple to use.

I hope this information helps you choose the scheduling platform that's right for you. Rather than spending time every day posting, you can spend a couple of hours per week planning and scheduling your social media posts. Using analytics to choose the best times and experimenting from there, you can engage and grow your audience with little expense and average effort.


Do you need some help choosing your scheduling platform? Still not sure what to post? Contact me here for a social media consultation.