What social media scheduling tool works best?
I get asked all the time what systems I recommend for scheduling content on social media, and today I am going to share the systems I use (which are free) and why I use them rather than a paid system.
If you are a marketing specialist, like me, or a dietitian, business coach, life coach… all businesses are looking for ways to save time and money – always.
When I teach my 7 step content marketing system, a lot of the focus is on how to do your online marketing in a way that saves you time. And all that saved time leads to saved money. Or more money really, when you have more time back in your business. The idea is to be spending it on revenue-generating activities… making money!
One of the best ways I teach my students and clients to save time with marketing is to plan and schedule some of your marketing content.
Newsletters, Blogs, Podcasts, and then the social media content to market it all.
MOST of this can be preplanned and scheduled online, and that is the #1 factor to saving time and being consistent with your marketing, which is critical to success. Random marketing does not help your business ever!
Consistent marketing content is one of the 3 elements that help you attract more clients. (If you want to understand more about why this is the case, read this free guide I have, the Content Marketing Foundations Guide.)
What I recommend to use these days for scheduling social media content is a combination of Facebook’s Creator Studio for Facebook Pages and Instagram, and Buffer for LinkedIn and Twitter.
Here are the features I look for when choosing a system for my social media scheduling:
- Scheduled Content Limits. How much content can be posted and scheduled at any one time?
- Account Fees. When looking at a paid service, what does the fee add on to your account features?
- Publish automatically. Ability to post on Instagram without requiring a “notification” to your phone for you to manually post the content.
- Analytics and Insights. Having insights or other reporting features can help you improve your results by optimizing based on the insights available.
- Social Media Monitoring abilities. Sometimes being able to use the management tool to monitor mentions, DMs, comments etc can help save time by keeping you in one place to engage.
So, why am I using the 2 systems I do over all the others out there?
Simple. For me, it is about ease of use, lower fees, and their features that meet my needs!
There are several systems out there, and I have tried and tested many – Planoly, Plann, Later, Meet Edgar, SmarterQueue and the list goes on… It really comes down to what system is easy for you to use and what features you are looking for, as well as your budget.
Here is how I use my social media management and scheduling systems:
Facebook’s Creator Studio
Facebook’s Creator Studio (FBCS) is found inside your business page area under publishing tools, and it is free to use.
FBCS allows you to schedule your Facebook Business page posts and Instagram Feed or IGTV posts directly for publishing, without any content limits, and their system is free.
I have always used Facebook’s scheduling apps for my Business page. They have changed their tune the past few years about “penalizing” third-party apps for content reach, but I have found by reviewing my content and clients’ content, that you do get better reach using their system versus others.
I used to use Planoly for Instagram when I cared more about planning the grid of images. These days, that is not as important, and so I moved to Facebook’s Creator Studio (FBCS). I do like the easy way of adding emojis and hashtags in FBCS. It also saves us time by logging in to one system to schedule it all.
As I mentioned before, I used to use Hootsuite for LinkedIn and Twitter but have recently changed to Buffer, using their free plan. I do not schedule near as much these days on Twitter and LinkedIn so the 10 at a time scheduled posts limit works for me. This would work out to 2 posts per day for a week at a time if I was using both systems. I do not schedule near as much on Twitter these days, so this limit is just fine for me.
For most businesses, you can use the Free level for the Buffer account unless you have a higher level of content being posted online. Their paid account at the Pro level is $15 a month or $144 a year.
PRO-TIP: If I felt I needed to uplevel my content marketing, then the pro Buffer plan at $144 a year would be worth it too. I always determine these as opportunity costs.
Let’s say my hourly net revenue rate is $100. Meaning… what do I earn (net) from my business from revenue less expenses and the hours I put in working on the business.
Using the paid Buffer account could save my VA an hour of time each month which = 12 hours a year. The fee of $144 a year is much less than what I pay my VA for 12 hours of work. So paying it saves me money and gives me time back if we need it.
The Opportunity Cost of this fee will mean my VA can spend 12 hours on other work, helping me get more done. Ideally, I end up with more sales/revenue from that added time.
SIDE NOTE: For years, I used Hootsuite as I have had a Pro account since back in early 2010. But in April of 2021, they have removed all grandfathered accounts, reduced what they offer on a free plan (you can have 2 social accounts but only 5 scheduled messages at a time), and now as far as I am concerned, their free plan is useless.
What to use to schedule content for Facebook Groups?
Just use your Facebook Group to do this. There is a scheduling option built-in there. Create your content, click the calendar icon on the bottom right and up pops the date and time boxes to schedule the content.
Using a social media scheduling tool is a given these days; at least it is if you want to better use your marketing time and be more efficient with your marketing. Use the tools that best fit your needs and budget, and then create that schedule and block time to create and schedule the content.
And never forget to get online too! You can plan and schedule all the content you want, but unless you get live and online talking to people, engaging with them, networking, and commenting… well, frankly, you will come across as a robot.
This will not work, at least not for the types of business I work with; Dietitians, Private Practice owners and Coaches… people are buying you and your expertise. Not robots.
Getting online and engaging with people will make you REAL to others and help them get to know, like, and trust you. That preplanned and scheduled content can help you engage, but only if you are creating it and using it! Be sure to consider what scheduling system will work for you and get started with your content marketing plans.
Want to get a head start on your content marketing planning and scheduling? My Content Marketing Planner will get you started, and it comes with a bonus lesson on using this planner for all of your online marketing.
If you need more help developing and learning long-term marketing strategies that include how to schedule ALL your marketing content in less than 30 minutes every week; be sure to get your name on the waitlist for the next cohort of the Content Marketing Masters Academy.
Stop Struggling and Start Thriving! My passion is helping to guide people just like you, dietitians, and private practice owners, who are often frustrated with all their wasted time spent on marketing that gets you nowhere. You can learn strategies to attract a steady flow of clients and build a thriving and profitable practice. Get started with some of the free resources on my Pepper It Marketing website, especially this Marketing Guide for Dietitians. I also offer several self-study training programs to help you attract more clients so you can have the Freedom and Security you want with your business!