When you see that there are so many social media management tools, decision fatigue kicks in because you don’t know which one suits you. In this article, we are going to help you to break it down so that you can discover the best scheduling tool that sparks joy in your business. (Marie Kondo style!)
Step 1: Know Yourself
There are a couple of questions to help us identify what our needs are before we decide which scheduling tool we should invest in. Get a pen and a piece of paper, and write down your answers to the following questions:
- What are the social media platforms I will use to post content?
e.g. Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? LinkedIn? Pinterest? Tumblr? WordPress?
- What are some other must-have features?
e.g. Publishing and scheduling feature? Social engagement feature? Analytics and reporting feature? Social listening feature?
Step 2: Know Your
Once you’ve written it down, everything becomes more apparent because you know what you really want. We have gathered some information on five scheduling tools, including Facebook Creator Studio, Buffer, Content Studio, Hootsuite and Sprout Social to review the features they offer and to help you visualise which one suits your needs.
We will look at three key features that each tool offers: publishing and scheduling, analytics and reports and social engagement. But first, let us give you an overview of the five tools we are about to probe into:
Facebook Creator Studio
We understand that some small businesses are struggling in a time like this. If you only need to manage Facebook and Instagram, Facebook Creator Studio is an ideal platform for you. You can use it to post content on your Facebook page and Instagram posts.
The functions of Facebook and Instagram are slightly different. For Facebook, you can use it to create posts, Facebook Story and Live and for Instagram, you can create a post to publish on the Instagram Feed and IGTV.
This table below shows you what different Page roles can do in Creator Studio
You can also check insights on Instagram and Facebook, but the information you can view varies. For Instagram, you can view two types of information: Audience, which shows demographic information (i.e. Gender, age range, location) and Activities, to see what actions users take to interact/engage with you.
You can monitor the overall performance of the videos and stories published on your Facebook page. You will also be able to understand how loyal your viewers are to your videos and your Facebook page, how much time they spend on watching the videos, how much money your videos are generating, and the background information of your audience. This information can be valuable to monitor and optimise your Facebook content.
It has an all-in-one social media inbox, which allows us to monitor all incoming messages from different social media and engage with followers in one single inbox.
Buffer’s Pro Plan costs US$15 per month, and it allows you to manage up to 8 social accounts. It is by far the most affordable paid social media scheduling tool among the above plans. However, it also has its limitations. Let’s see what features Pro Plan offers! (Ps. Buffer also offers a free plan)
They offer integrations that are more suitable for entrepreneurs, start-ups & small business owners as it supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. One thing to pay attention to is that you can schedule 100 posts per social account while other scheduling tools usually have unlimited scheduled posts. 100 posts per account per month is typically more than enough though. You can also tailor posts for each social media and schedule when to publish the first comment so that you can separate the hashtags from the post captions. No fuss, no muss!
The Pro Plan we mentioned above refers to Buffer Publish, which allows us to only publish and schedule content on social media and check basic analytics. If you want to view full reports, you need to pay an extra US$35 – $50 per month (depending on your needs) to unlock Buffer Analyse and get in-depth reports.
Unfortunately, Buffer Publish is only for publishing and scheduling, so it doesn’t have a social media inbox. You will have to invest in Buffer Reply to engage with followers.
Content Studio integrates with a wide range of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google My Business, WordPress, Medium and Tumblr. The Pro plan allows you to manage up to 10 social accounts, and one blog per platform. The primary tools, like drafting, publishing, scheduling content, work well. They also include a “needs approval” button when you try to create a new post, however, this plan is for a solo marketer, which means you can’t request another person to approve the content.
This plan allows you to view analytics and get a summary of the cross-network performance. You also need to pay for a separate product to unlock the social media analytics tool to view how each social media is performing. They also provide a social inbox which you manage all direct messages and comments in one place.
Hootsuite Professional Plan costs US$29 per month (~ HK$227). I personally think it’s a good deal as it allows you to manage up to 10 social accounts at the same time. This plan is suitable for entrepreneurs and small business owners. There’s a free 30-day trial for you to try the professional plan. They also offer a free plan for individuals to manage up to 3 social profiles and can schedule up to 30 posts.
They offer the best all-in-one social media management tool as they connect with more than 20 social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, WordPress, and more. You can use the drag-and-drop calendar for scheduling and content planning which is pretty easy to use. You can also view and reply to all private and public messages in one social media inbox.
This plan includes detailed analytics across your social networks. If you are currently using This free plan and want to monitor the performance of your content, you can upgrade to the professional plan to unlock this feature.
If you are currently using a professional plan, but looking for something advanced, like customisable reports to share with your team and report to clients, you may need to upgrade to Team Plan.
Sprout Social’s standard plan covers a wide range of features, including publishing and scheduling, social listening, monitoring analytics, reporting, and social engagement. That explains why it is rather expensive, compared to the other tools as mentioned above. They are for medium to large businesses to manage their social media platforms. If you are interested in trying it out, there’s a 30-day free trial.
They integrate with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google My Business and Trip Advisor. With a standard plan, you can manage up to 5 social media accounts. They have a straightforward social media calendar that is easy to view. You can also publish, schedule, draft, and queue posts to multiple social networks at the same time.
Their reporting feature provides both profile performance and post performance so that you can understand how your overall social media strategies perform. Apart from viewing the profile performance, you can also see the return of each post, such as clicks, impressions, reach, engagements, and engagement rate. Social media inbox is also included for you to check comments and messages, and interact with your followers.
Plann is a social media scheduling tool that will assist you in preparing your content in advance and posting it in the appropriate locations. You’ll be able to concentrate on other elements of your company or life, safe in the knowledge that your social media will be handled by someone else.
Plann is a terrific method to gain insights into your audience and understand what’s working well for you, in addition to being a useful scheduling tool. Additionally, it offers a modern and intuitive user interface, which makes submitting content a breeze.
Step 3: Try Them Out
Here is an overview of the features we mentioned above. All of the social media management tools offer free trials. Go give them a try and once you know which tool is the best one for you, you can upgrade as necessary.
It is not easy to manage different social media accounts at the same time. The scheduling tools are very handy to gather all channels in one place. These five scheduling tools are very easy to use, in terms of publishing and scheduling content. But the social media platforms that each of them covers vary, you need to understand which social channels you want the tool to cover, and what other features you need. The right scheduling tools can save you some time, so you can focus on creating more engaging content. However, don’t forget to create good social media strategies for your content.
If your business needs professional help with social media marketing, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help businesses grow online. 😊