What are Social Media Management Tools?
Let’s start with social media management. It is simply managing your social media account, namely content creation, publishing, and analysis, with the primary aim of engaging and interacting with other users.
Social media management tools therefore enable you to manage your online presence on social media platforms. Examples of popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
There are many facets of social media management, but this article focuses solely on scheduling. Social media scheduling, as the name suggests, is simply making arrangements for your posts to be shared at a particular time or date on specific platforms.
Why Do You Need Social Media Scheduling Tools?
It is safe to say the world has gone digital. Over 3.8 billion people use social media today. 3.8 billion! You think that is crazy, wait till you hear that 11 people use social media for the first time every second.
Your social media presence is as important as any other part of your business. There’s no point in having thousands of followers if you have minimal interaction and engagement, as these are the metrics that really matter. You not only need to know what to post, but also when to post it, and this is what social media scheduling tools are for.
Budget restriction is the reason many people are discouraged from using these tools, which is why we have compiled a list of six of the best free social media tools for you to use in scheduling your posts.
HootSuite is one of the oldest social media tools. This platform gives you the ability to schedule up to thirty posts across three social profiles, which can be posted singly or in bulk. You also benefit from comprehensive reports, the capacity to work with other members of your team due to its in-team work features, and the ability to create contests on social media to further boost interactions.
However, it does not come with the ability to find influencers, or the auto-post feature that deals with content recycling. You can use HootSuite on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and WordPress. Hootsuite is perfect for small business owners looking for an in-depth social media tool with flexible services.
Planoly, formerly known as Planogr.am, is specifically for Instagram, although there is the option to connect other platforms such as Twitter. With Planoly, you can add a graphic to the grid to be shared to your Instagram page, and use the option to automatically share to your Facebook page as well. The auto-post to Facebook feature is not available with the free plan though.
It has a drag-and-drop feature, which makes it very easy to use. Planoly not only helps in creating Instagram content, but it also assists in the marketing of that content. This tool has a decent analytics system that helps to monitor the performance of your posts. You can also sort hashtags, and preview your feed.
There aren’t many cons on Planoly, but one major one is its analytics system. It is not by any means bad, but users are clamoring for a stronger one to help understand and monitor how their posts are performing to a higher level.
Buffer, like HootSuite, has been around for a while. When it comes to ease of use, no free social media tool beats Buffer. You can manage multiple social profiles seamlessly. Buffer gives you the ability to schedule up to ten posts. They also have browser extensions and mobile applications available on both iOS and Android devices, which makes it possible to add links and images to your schedule easily. Their Chrome browsing extension makes it particularly easy to schedule posts while surfing the web.
Buffer also has a pretty efficient analytics system. It analyzes your follower activity and suggests the best time to post. One major con with Buffer, though, is that you cannot use it for evergreen posts, implying that you cannot upload several posts and then recycle for later usage.
Buffer supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. It is suitable for businesses that want an easy-to-use and free social media scheduler.
Followerwonk has some features that are as unconventional as its name. And this is not a bad thing. While many other social media tools in this list excel in social media scheduling, Followerwonk’s strongest area is its analytics system. As far as analytics tools go, there’s minimal chance of finding a better one than Followerwonk.
It is specifically for Twitter. With Followerwonk, you can know the time your followers are most active, their location, bio, and other accounts they follow. Knowledge of all these will help in targeting your posts to times where they will generate the most interactions.
You can also compare the information with your competitors and other accounts similar to yours. There is a feature that allows you to search for relevant influencers. Because it isn’t really scheduling-based, you can integrate it with other social media scheduling posts, like Buffer, for best results.
Later has a highly visual focus and even though it allows you to post to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, its main emphasis is on Instagram. Later does offer a free plan, with one social account per platform, one user, 30 Instagram posts, 50 Twitter posts, 30 Facebook posts, and 30 Pinterest posts per month. If you’re an up and coming business owner, chances are you won’t need more than this.
You can schedule photos and upload unlimited images to their Media Library, gain access to basic Instagram analytics, as well as locate and repost user-generated content. The four paid plans (starting at a reasonable $9 per month) add to these capabilities.
Unlike the other social media management tools that start with a social message and then allow you to add an image, Later requires you to start a post by uploading a picture. You then have the opportunity to include any suitable text to the image.
There’s a nice ring to the name SocialOomph, don’t you think? The free plan is only for social media management on Twitter, allowing you to manage up to five accounts. You can use this convenient social media management tool to schedule your tweets, track keywords, save and reuse drafts, and shorten URLs.
SocialOomph also has an admirable analytics system and a variety of other features on other social media platforms, like Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, with the paid plan This is obviously a major bummer, given that this article is concerned with free social media tools. Still, if your main focus is Twitter, then this tool might be right up your alley.
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