Which social media scheduler for a DIY'er?

Which social media scheduling tool for a DIYer?

Many of us are DIY’ers when it comes to our business online. We don’t have the budget to hire a social media team so we need to make things as easy as possible. 

A social media scheduling tool can be super helpful in getting things organised and being more efficient, but we aren’t all ready to commit the budget. 

Most of these tools are designed for large teams of people in agencies. So I’ve reviewed the most common social media tools out there with a view to assessing which ones best suit us DIY’ers. 

My comparisons and assessments were based on the following criteria: 

  • Cost – free and a low entry level budget. 
  • Ability to save you time.

It must allow you to:

  1. Make it easy to schedule ahead any posts, and comment and share into groups or tag people. 
  2. Allow me to control when I post – as well as providing a queue for a pre-determined schedule eg. Just publish on Tuesdays and Thursdays at x time. 

The contenders

Hootsuite

  • Free - browser extension
  • Free for 1 user account, three social profiles and up to 30 posts scheduled in advance. The entry level plan is US$25 pm for unlimited scheduling and 10 social profiles. 

Hootsuite is very popular and reputable. It has an all in one dashboard so you’re not switching between platforms. 

You can also see other pages (eg. From Facebook and Twitter) as part of your dashboard, which I find very handy for watching competitors or news on my topic so I can either comment or like, or share into my own feed. This means I can batch up a heap of posts at once. 

What I like: 
•    dashboard display so you can see everything in one place
•    it’s got lots of plugins (at a price but good for growth ideas in the future)
•    it’s got a suggested content section but the suggestions were not good.

What I don’t like: 
•    the setup/user interface is a little complex
•    it’s expensive for teams ($129 pm for 3 users)
•    no reporting on the free plan at all. 

Buffer

  • Free - browser extension
  • Free for 1 user account, three social profiles and up to 10 posts scheduled in advance. The entry level plan is US$15 pm for 100 scheduled posts and 8 social profiles. 

Buffer is super easy to use and have a really nifty service, where they send you curated links and quotes via email once your buffer of posts is empty. On more than one occasion I’ve found really interesting articles in these suggestions. 

What I liked: 

  • Easy reporting on a channel basis to allow rebuffering for those posts that worked well. 
  • Creating a feed of blogs that I can easily review and add to my schedule (not dissimilar to Hootsuite) but at a profile level. 
  • You can have individual posting schedules for the different platforms rather than just one schedule for your entire account
  • You can set up posting schedules and then just add to the queue and Buffer will publish the next scheduled based on the schedule. This is super terrific but they take it one step further with their optimal timing schedule which will tell you the best times to schedule and then with a click of the button it ‘makes it so’ and replaces your current schedule with the optimal version. 

What I don’t like

 •   The broader analysis report are only available for the more expensive plan. 
•    There’s no commenting functionality.

Socialpilot 

  • Free - browser extension
  • Free for 1 user account, three social profiles, 10 posts per day up to 30 posts at a time. The entry level plan is US$10 pm for 1000 scheduled posts and 10 social profiles.

This tool is all about value. It’s a basic scheduling tool, with the ability to have a tailored publishing scheduled on a platform basis. It’s really designed for agencies, with basic reporting, but you need to be signed up for one of their more expensive plans. 

What I liked: 

  • Super easy to connect up your social accounts
  • You can create groups within your profiles, let’s say your contributing to lots of different Facebook groups but with different topics, you could group them around these topics or however you like. 

Post planner

  • $3 per month for 3 social profiles and 300  planned posts
  • It only posts to Twitter or Facebook. 

This is a slightly different social media management platform as it is focused on helping you serve up the best performing content. So if Facebook or Twitter is your sweet spot, then this is definitely worth checking out. If you want other platforms like Instagram or Linkedin, this is not for you. 

This tool actively seeks and provides you with high performing content (eg. Viral photos, status ideas etc). So very different from the other platforms that are dependent on your bringing all the content to the table. 

SUMMARY

The two that stood out in the market for small business were Hootsuite and Buffer. Hootsuite has the added bonus of being able to view streams of your content and respond from within the dashboard. This I saw as saving time because I didn't need to move from platform to platform to do this. Buffer on the other hand had a few features that I valued highly, which was post performance and multi-times publishing scheduling tool. 

Just about all of the platforms have a free trial period making it easy for you to work out whether the functionality will suit you. 

In the meantime, my best advice on the matter of selecting a platform is that there are so many other there, with variations on features and pricing that you need to assess each one in the light of your own individual needs. Make a list, don’t follow the crowd, follow your own unique set of needs.