Scheduling your social media posts in advance can have fantastic benefits for your business; it saves you time, helps you to be more consistent and enables you to zoom out and take a bird’s eye view of your content strategy (as opposed to simply moving from one post to the next).
There are many, many different tools out there which will allow you to schedule your posts. They vary widely in terms of the features offered, which platforms they work with, their usability and, of course, the cost.
It is so important that you find a tool (or tools) that suits you and your business, otherwise, the very thing that’s meant to be saving you time can become a time drain itself and you may find yourself paying for something that is actually making your social media marketing harder.
Write a Wish List
There are so many scheduling tools to choose from, just deciding on which to try can easily eat up your time!
You can narrow down your search before you begin by making a list of must-haves and would like to have. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Which platforms do I need to schedule posts too?
- Do I need to be able to schedule on the go i.e. from a phone or tablet, as well as on the desktop?
- What is my budget?
- Are there any specific features on my wishlist? For example, you may want your posts to be collected into a content library that you can refer back to, or you may want some posts to be automatically re-used.
Make The Most of Free Trials
There are a number of scheduling tools which offer free plans, particularly if you’re only using them to post to less than a handful of accounts. Free is always welcome (if it does the job, of course) but it also means that you can try a new tool before investing any further. The good news is that many paid tools also offer a free trial period.
Do make sure that you have the time available to really make the most of your trial period before you sign up. You will need to get familiar with using the tool and then have the chance to use it in practice for a while before you know enough to make an informed decision about whether it’s right for you or not. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a free trial and realizing you’ve barely looked at it!
Stick To Your Budget
Knowing your budget before you begin your research will allow you to filter your search and avoid you committing to something that you either can’t afford or isn’t going to return enough value for the expense to be justified. Don’t be disheartened if your budget is small or even non-existent! There are some fantastic tools out there that include free and/or budget plans.
What Do You NEED From Your Social Media Scheduling Tool?
You will, almost certainly, come across some scheduling tools that are all singing, all dancing and promise to be the end to all your social media woes. They often have the price tag to match!
It’s natural to be bowled over by their promises and the fear of missing out can creep in… if you don’t invest in this incredible tool are you ever going to be able to succeed on social media?
When you’re presented with an array of impressive features, go through them with an objective eye. Do you actually need those features and will you make use of them? If you’re not sure, this is where a trial comes in.
So often I speak to entrepreneurs who are paying through the nose for an all-singing, all dancing scheduling tool and they’re hardly using any of its features. In some cases, the complexity of the tool is actually over-complicating their social media process and costing them time rather than saving it.
Not only is there no point in paying for features that you’re not going to use, over the years I’ve found that, in the majority of cases, but the key is also to keep it simple. I’ve trialled many different tools over the years and I’ve found that simplicity is the feature I value the most! I am scheduling hundreds of social media posts every week so I need tools that make my work efficient and effective.
After a long and frustrating search for a new scheduling tool at the beginning of 2017, I eventually discovered ContentCal. It has been a total game-changer for me. You can read more about why I switched from Hootsuite to ContentCal over in this blog post.
Of course, different styles, layouts and features suit different people but the important point is to keep your wishlist in mind and don’t buy into tools that you, realistically, don’t need or won’t use.
And sometimes, you don’t need anything to do the job!
One of the questions I am most asked is – what tool do you use to schedule Facebook posts?
The answer… Facebook!
There is a FANTASTIC feature called Publishing Tools built into Facebook Pages! You can schedule right there on your Facebook Page, you can review scheduled posts, you can save drafts to return to later, you can search through all of your old Facebook posts, and you can even see the results of each post right there in Publishing Tools.
Why add an extra step into your process, especially when it may cost you money when there’s a powerful FREE tool right there on your Facebook Page?
Reviewing Your Social Media Scheduling Tools
If you’re already using a scheduling tool or tools then take some time now to review how they’re working for you.
- Is it saving you time or is it creating more work for you?
- Are you getting value for money?
- Are you using all of the features included in your plan?
- Is there something you wish it did (or didn’t do?) – in which case it might be worth looking at alternatives that tick all of your boxes.
Be sure to check back in with this regularly to make sure that you’re still using the best tools for the job.
If you’re not sure where to start your search or you’re struggling to find a scheduling tool that meets your needs then feel free to drop me a message.