The pursuit to be present on all social media platforms can be overwhelming for most business owners. Content generation for each online channel alone can already take a lot of time and effort, and learning how to schedule these posts can be equally daunting.
But with so many channels out there, how do you make sure your message effectively reaches your target market? And how do you ensure it reaches them at the right time?
Keep in mind that an average user has more than , so in order for your brand to have a consistent presence in the minds of your consumers, you have to be where your market is. To do so, some companies opt to hire an agency that offers to capitalize on their experience in this field.
How to Schedule Your Social Media Posts
Nowadays, there are many social media scheduling apps that allow businesses and their marketing agencies to schedule and plan their social media posts in advance. These tools can simplify your life and even give helpful insights about the content you are about to post.
To help you determine what is the best social media scheduling app for your business, we’ve rounded up 4 of the most popular ones to help you decide.
Created by Ryan Holmes in 2008, is a social media management platform that allows users to schedule posts to more than 20 social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. With more than 18 million customers, Hootsuite is one of the most trusted apps in social media management.
defines itself as a Brand Success Platform, empowering businesses to grow their brand online through collaboration, publishing, and analytics features. Marketing teams from L’Oreal Paris, LVMH, Porsche, BBDO, Havas, Henkel, and BMW are just some of the users of this popular social media scheduling app.
With more than 20,000 brands around the world using , it’s definitely worth your while to look at how this app can be an indispensable tool for social media marketing. Their platform allows for social media publishing, analytics, and engagement across all of your social profiles.
Similar to the 3 other social media scheduling apps above, allows you to visually plan, schedule, and analyze posts for your business’ social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Its strength, however, lies in its strong emphasis on Instagram, which should be a major factor if your brand relies on this social media platform the most.
There are still several other apps that could be good contenders for their usefulness in social media management, but for now, let’s focus on these four. Let’s and take a look at each one based on the following factors before you decide on what is the best social media scheduling app for you:
Price plans may be a determining factor when you decide what is the best social media scheduling app for you, but these vary depending on the features included on each plan.
Both Hootsuite and Later offer a free plan, while the other two provide a free trial for a limited time (15 days for Loomly and 30 days for Sprout Social).
Paid plans start at $19/month for Hootsuite which already covers the essentials for up to 10 social media profiles and unlimited scheduling for one user. Their Business Plan goes as high as $599/month, which is suitable for larger social media marketing teams because it can handle up to 35 social profiles.
Hootsuite Price Plans
Loomly, on the other hand, offers their Base Plan at $25/month for 10 social media accounts and 2 users. Their Premium Plan is valued at $249/month for up to 26 users of 50 social media channels. Their plans also determine your ad budget caps, which is set at $500 for the most basic paid plan and $10,000 for the customizable Enterprise Plan.
Loomly Price Plans
Meanwhile, the Standard Plan for Sprout Social is priced at $99/month per user. With 5 social profiles and an all-in-one social inbox, it’s one of the pricier options in the market. Along with this plan, they include profiles, keywords, and locations monitoring, as well as tasking and social CRM tools. The Advanced Plan costs as high as $249/month per user which includes10 social profiles and access to their digital asset and content library.
Sprout Social Price Plans
On the other end of the pricing spectrum, Later is one of the less expensive options for a social media scheduling account. Their paid plan called Starter is valued at $12.50/month (billed yearly) allows for one profile per social platform (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) and up to 100 posts per social platform. For agencies that offer digital marketing services and for larger teams, they offer their Advanced plan which is available for $33.33/month, which is also billed for a whole year. This plan covers unlimited posts per social platform and 6 users.
Later Price Plans
Considering only the lowest-paid monthly subscription among these social media scheduling apps Later is a steal at $12.50.
2. Users and Collaboration
While the number of users is dependent on the price plan, the apps vary on how they allow for collaboration to happen inside their platform. Note that if you will be working with a team on your social media accounts, Message Approval Workflows is essential in tracking for accountability of your posts.
For Hootsuite, admins in their Business and Enterprise plan can set up tailored content approval workflows for each social network. Approval rules are then applied to all posts sent or scheduled by team members who have limited social network permissions.
Loomly also offers a collaborative review and approval workflow, with end-to-end post and ad history. Posts can be tagged as Draft, Pending Approval, Requires Edits, Approved, Scheduled, and Published.
Sprout Social also allows you to assign team members who have specific publishing abilities to specific profiles, as well as those with the ability to approve messages for publication. You can set permissions such as No Access, Read Only, Needs Approval, Can Reply, and Full Publishing.
Later Access Groups
For Later, Access Groups allow account owners to manage access to photos, videos, and Instagram accounts. Initially, your default Access Group is accessible to all users. To restrict access to your sensitive or confidential media, it’s best to remove users from the Social Sets & Access Groups page.
These social media scheduling apps’ approval processes are very similar, nonetheless, we liked Hootsuite the most, with its custom approval rules and time-stamped approval history.
3. Social Media Posting Features
Hootsuite offers many hacks to make your . Among these is being able to see what people are posting on Instagram from inside your business. By setting up location search streams, you can review what’s being posted within a specified place, and that could be your store or even your physical event.
Building a post in Loomly takes 5 steps, and if you’re fresh out of ideas, they’ve got you covered from Step 1. They provide post ideas based on relevant events and hashtags that might be helpful for your business. They also provide advice on how to fine-tune your message for each channel (tone, time, and date suggestions) to have a better reach for your audience.
Loomly Post Ideas
With Sprout Social’s price tag, you can’t help but expect more from this social media scheduler app. Their strength lies in their belief that there should be meaningful relationships between people and the communities. They provide one of the and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools in the market.
Through these tools, conversation histories and contact details are kept on record to allow you and your team to craft better responses.
Given that Later is more focused on Instagram publishing, they offer a tool called Visual Planner, which allows you to easily see what your images look like when they combine together on your feed – whether that’s side by side, on top of or below one another, or even diagonally across.
Loomly’s Post Ideas takes the stress out of looking for content for your social media marketing posts. They’re relevant, simple, and readily available.
4. Social Media Marketing Analytics
Hootsuite Analytics offers insights on performance data from every social network which is presented in easy-to-understand reports. The app tracks metrics such as Clicks, Comments, Reach, Shares, Video views, and Video reach. These reports which can also be used to check on your social media growth can be exported to Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, or CSV.
Meanwhile, Loomly’s Advanced Analytics provides data such as click counts, sources, and locations. It gives you account-level statistics, such as your total number of Page Likes on Facebook and the number of your followers on Instagram. It also measures your Reach, Impressions, and Engagement Rate, and the data can be filtered by date and period so you can make a comparison.
Sprout social media analytics makes sure that you gain an advantage by showing your competitor’s historical data to enable you to benchmark your results. Furthermore, they provide specialized analytics per network. For Facebook, for example, analytics include Facebook Page impressions, Fan growth, and paid and organic content performance. For Instagram, on the other hand, you can track Instagram Story’s impact and guide content based on sent message results.
Sprout Social Media Analytics
Later’s Instagram Analytics, on the other hand, calculates your engagement rate and shows your best performing posts at a glance. Its Best Time to Post feature presents your top 7 posting times that get the most engagement, so you’ll know when your audience is most active on Instagram. Like the other social media scheduling apps, they measure Impressions, Reach, Completion rate, and Reply count. On top of this, Later provides Instagram Hashtag Analytics to help you discover which hashtags perform well for your business.
Winner: Sprout Social
With its extensive Social Media Analytics and Reporting Tools, you’ll be able to extract actionable insights, not just from the tools but also from the comprehensive training and education materials that this social media scheduling app provides.
5. Conversion Tracking
In measuring the success of your social media marketing campaign, you’d want to look at your conversions. These conversions come in the form of website visits, sign-ups, downloads, or purchases. Knowing what percentage of these conversions came from your social media posts will provide you an understanding of how effective your campaign is.
To be able to obtain this data, most social media schedulers suggest using Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. You can integrate these tools with Hootsuite’s Impact. If you’re only using Google Analytics, you also have the option to connect it to Sprout Social.
Being able to integrate both Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics to this social media scheduling app makes it a winner.
Video tutorials are part of the training for these apps, and all 4 of them have these on their websites. Hootsuite, Loomly, and Sprout Social also conduct webinars for their users.
In addition, Hootsuite Academy offers free and paid courses to advance your social media skills and career. Sprout Social Learning Portal, on the other hand, features both short and series courses that are geared towards various learning paths, including product education, and social strategy.
Winner: Sprout Social
With its wide array of resources that cater to all levels of social media marketing professionals, customer care teams and agencies, we gladly recommend Sprout Social.
7. Customer Support
Aside from their Help Center, these 4 social media scheduling apps offer email support for their users. Loomly also offers chat support while Hootsuite offers help 24/7 through their social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter). Sprout Social provides phone support apart from their email and web form contacts.
Winner: Sprout Social
Because of its multiple contact channels, we’re giving the point to this social media scheduling app .
Clearly, social media marketing isn’t just about learning how to schedule social media posts. Like any marketing campaign, you will need a strategy and it’s best to conduct a first before proceeding with your designs.
To be able to launch a successful digital marketing campaign, you would then need the tools to help you not only in publishing but also in planning and evaluation.Therefore, it’s essential to know what is the best social media scheduling app for your business. Choosing the best tool will allow you to plan, execute, monitor, and analyze your social media performance over the course of your campaign.
What is the best social media scheduling app?
If your business primarily relies on your Instagram presence and is not heavy on other social media, Later is already a good steal at $12.50/month. Should you be needing a lot more in-depth analytics and CRM tools, then Sprout Social could turn out to be a profitable investment despite its higher pricing than the other social media scheduling apps.
But if it’s value for money you’re looking for, then both Hootsuite and Loomly are good choices for your social media marketing campaigns. Spending a few more dollars for Loomly would give you post ideas and optimization tips aside from one more user than Hootsuite’s lowest-priced plan.
With an understanding of these social media scheduling apps, it’s time to make your choice and create a winning digital marketing strategy for your business.
If you would like more assistance with your social media marketing campaign, don’t hesitate to with us today. We’d be glad to help!