Social Media Scheduling Platform Analysis

 

There is no proven way to gain traction by posting on social media. Your best bet is to post at the right frequency by creating a schedule and sticking to it. Keep to your schedule so you can get yourself into a routine, and you’ll publish your posts at exactly the right time as if it were second nature.

 


Things get even easier when you consider using social media scheduling platforms to help you abide by the schedule you laid out. Between Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout, CoSchedule, and all of the other platforms out there, you’re bound to find an option that meets your needs while fitting into your budget. Below you’ll find a chart that looks at some of the basics of the aforementioned social media scheduling platforms.

 


Platform

Cost Per Month*

Number of Users

Number of Platforms

Social Media Support**

Hootsuite

$599

10

35

FB, IG, TW, PI, LI

Buffer

$399

25

150

FB, IG, TW, PI, LI

Sprout

$249

11

20

FB, IG, TW, PI, LI

CoSchedule

$1,200

10

25

FB, IG, TW, PI, LI


 

*Cost reflects highest paid option

 


**FB = Facebook, IG = Instagram, TW = Twitter, PI = Pinterest, LI = LinkedIn


 

Man in front of a monitor

 

Sticking to Your Schedule Makes a World of Difference

There are technically no rules to social media scheduling, so you have to react to your user interaction on the go. There are guidelines to follow so you can make the most of your campaign and avoid wasting money on a lost cause.

 


Posting too frequently will flood your feed and devalue your content and brand voice. Your followers may miss out on important information if they are buried under previous posts.

 


When you don’t post enough, you create a scenario in which your target demographic loses focus of you in the shuffle of their own social media feeds. You also pass up opportunities to engage your fans and create a buzz surrounding your brand. If you wait too long in between posts, visitors might even wonder if you’re still active.

 


The social media scheduling platforms outlined in the chart above are some of the most popular choices for the industry’s biggest brands. They each offer several different package options so you can find something within your price range, and they typically offer free versions or limited free trials to get you started. All of them also support the five big social media applications: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 


Are you new to the concept of scheduling your social media posts with the help of a professional platform? Read below to learn about the elements you should look at, and find out which of these platforms will help take your business to the next level.

 

"There are technically no rules to social media scheduling, so you have to  react to your user interaction on the go."  -Click to Tweet-


 

Platform Factors to Focus On:

As is the case with any business decision, it pays to take a step back and think about what you’re looking for. A good social media scheduling platform is easy to understand, supports the social media applications you use regularly, and is generally reliable. Here are the factors to focus on, under a microscope.


  • Paid Versus Unpaid — There’s only so much you can do when your budget is next to nothing, but “only so much” is still more than nothing. Most social media scheduling platforms offer free trials so you can get the hang of the system and see if you’re comfortable with it. Others let you sign up for a free version of the platform that has limited capabilities. This is a no-risk all reward situation, so you have nothing to lose by trying out different systems.


 

If you already have a handle on what you’re doing and you’d rather skip right to the big leagues, be prepared to pay for high-quality services. Of the four platforms and their highest tiers we’re discussing in this article, Sprout’s comes in the lowest at $249 per month. It’s no coincidence that this also includes the least amount of platforms and the second to least amount of users.

 


The list of the most expensive platforms tops out at $1,200 per month, which is what it costs to use the Enterprise package from CoSchedule. This system actually only grants you 10 users and 25 social media profiles, but you can add more users for an extra fee. You’ll also benefit from an excellent support team and customizable options.


  • Amount of Users — The bigger your company is, the more users you’re going to want to be able to utilize your social media scheduling platform. General managers and your social media team members will need to access the platform in order to maintain the schedule and adjust as necessary. You’d think that having more users costs more money across the board, but that’s not exactly how the relationship turns out.


 

Hootsuite and CoSchedule’s top of the line packages offer the fewest amount of users out of the four, but they’re also the most expensive. Sprout can handle just one more (11) than the others (10), but Buffer goes all the way up to 25.

 

People using smartphone

 


Small companies won’t have the need for as many users as larger corporations and enterprises, and fortunately for them, they’ll probably end up getting them as a bonus. Think about the size of your company and the size of your social media team when you choose your plan.


  • Number of Platforms — Many social media scheduling services will do more than organize your publishing calendar. Some will also help you with management in other areas, in which case it’s nice to have room for extra social media accounts. Buffer’s “Large” plan lets you have a whopping 150 social media accounts, whereas you only get 20 with Sprout. This lets you set up an account with every social media app around, and it’s particularly helpful if you have sister companies or subsidiaries. If you have a lot of users, you should look for a platform with a lot of accounts.


  • Search Functionality — Hootsuite streams are a great example of how the search feature should work in your social media scheduling platform. You won’t know how well your platform is performing unless you take a look at the insights. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of data to look through, so it can take a while to find what you need.


 

In Hootsuite, all you have to do is click the magnifying glass icon next to the stream you want to investigate and then put in your search terms. Note that the results are based on the previous week.


  • Social Media Support — It’s crucial that the platform you use to schedule your social media posts actually supports the social media websites and applications you’re active on. One thing that all four of these scheduling platforms have in common is that they support five of the biggest social media apps that people use today.


 

Conclusion

It’s best to use a system that supports as many social media outlets as possible. If you choose a platform that misses a couple of your key accounts, you’ll have to schedule your posts for those mediums manually. Since you’re already using a platform to schedule the rest of your posts, this can quickly get confusing. Pick the option that covers all of your bases.

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