As a small business owner who works with other small business owners I know one of the most important commodities we have is time. Time is precious and it’s something that we can ill afford to waste.
Therefore, when it comes to social media posting and engaging with our audiences, it’s best to schedule it and not just post all willy nilly throughout the day hoping to connect, which can be like spitting into the wind.
Save Time and Schedule Your Posts with Hootsuite or Buffer
There are several tools that help with social media scheduling, and I have used several, including Hootsuite and Buffer. Personally I prefer Buffer, however, I wanted to include both so that you can make a choice as to which work best for you.
HootSuite is a social media management tool that allows users to schedule and post updates to any page or profile for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, WordPress, and other platforms from one place—the HootSuite dashboard. When you sign up you are given a dashboard with tabs to organize all your the social media profiles that you’ve connected to HootSuite.
Users can upload and analyze marketing campaigns across all social profiles without needing to sign in to each social network individually. For premium accounts, users get advanced features that provide statistics and analytics, audience engagement, team collaboration, and security.
Although HootSuite is mainly considered a business tool, a lot of individuals use it for personal purposes too. If you spend a lot of time on social media and have a lot of profiles to take care of, streamlining all of those profiles into one simple system can help you save a lot of time.
For example, if you’re posting the same thing across five profiles, you can post it once through HootSuite and select the profiles where you want it published, and it will publish it on all five profiles at once. The scheduling feature is great because it allows you to spread your posts throughout the day or week so you can set it and forget it!
With a free account, you can manage up to three social profiles with HootSuite but if you upgrade, you can manage many more. Hootsuite allows you to send private messages out to targeted audience groups on selected social profiles straight through the HootSuite dashboard.
If you work with a team, you can create an “organization” to improve communication and collaboration across everyone’s HootSuite account. HootSuite has a dedicated section for creating analytical reports and click summaries. It works with both Google Analytics as well as Facebook Insights.
Buffer is also a simple web application that allows you to schedule social media posts across a variety of popular social networks. I find it less confusing and more user friendly to schedule posts across several platforms.
Buffer is super easy to use, which is one of the reasons why it’s so popular. When you connect a social network to Buffer, you can start composing new posts to add to your post queue. The post queue is where all your scheduled posts sit as they wait to be posted. Posting times are set up by default in your settings tab, which for some strange reason for me is always Santiago, so make sure to put in your closest city.
Every time you add a new post to your queue it will be scheduled to automatically post to your account but you have the option to share the post now or to set it to a specific scheduled date and time for each new post that you compose.
The post composer is media friendly so you can add url links, photos, GIFs and videos to your posts through Buffer. You can customize your schedule so that queued posts are published any day and any time you want from now to far into the future.
Once a post has been published through Buffer, you can switch over to the Posts tab to see engagement stats such as clicks, likes, replies, comments, shares and more which is another great feature to keep you from spitting into the wind.
Instead of selecting and setting a specific time for a post to go out every single time you want to schedule one, you can just write a new post, add it to your queue and forget it! You also have total control over your scheduled times so your queued posts always post whenever you want them to post.
Buffer can be used with Facebook (profiles, pages and groups), Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles and pages), Google+ (profiles and pages) and Instagram. Pinterest is a sixth social network you can use with Buffer only if you decide to upgrade.
A free plan lets you connect up to three social network accounts and gives you unlimited scheduling with up to 10 posts per account stored in your queue at a time.
You’ll also get access to post analytics so that you can see how many clicks and other interactions you got on your posts. This will help you determine which posts perform well and which times of the day have the highest engagement rates.
Tips for Building Your Buffer Post Schedule
If you’re going to use Buffer, it’s important to have a good idea about when your fans and followers are the most active and the most likely to see your posts. Then you can build your schedule around those peak times of the day or week to maximize your social presence.
With all the changes to the algorithms and privacy settings, it’s best to use your Insights on Facebook or your Google Analytics to help you schedule the best times to post when your audience is most active.
Buffer has a mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices so you can easily add content from a mobile web browser or app to your Buffer queue. Just toggle the tab in your mobile browser or app that lets you access other sharing apps you have installed. The Buffer app should appear next to your other popular sharing apps.
Buffer has been integrated with several popular apps and services so that you can add posts to your queue directly from those apps and services. From IFTTT and WordPress, to Pocket and Instapaper, you might be able to take advantage of Buffer integration with at least one tool that you already use!
Upgrade Options for Both
For businesses, brands and individuals who need to schedule more than the basic plans upgrade options are available on both.
Let’s Chat > Do you schedule your posts or just spit into the wind hoping for the best.