I refer to scheduling as my social media secret weapon. It’s one of my favorite tools (along with content calendars) for keeping myself organized, planning ahead, and posting on schedule. In this post, I’m going to give you a run-down of my favorite scheduling tools for pre-planning your social media.
These are all-in-one social media tools that let you schedule posts for multiple networks (and manage your feeds) from a single dashboard.
Hootsuite is my absolute favorite scheduling tool. You can manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram all in one place. You can schedule posts in advance and have them post automatically, and they also have an AutoSchedule feature that lets you set how many times you want to post per day and automatically spaces them out (I love that feature for scheduling Twitter). It is pretty expensive, but its free plan allows up to 3 accounts and 30 scheduled messages at one time.
Buffer is similar to Hootsuite in that it’s an all-in-one scheduling tool. I haven’t personally used it, but I’ve heard good reviews from others who have. Their free plan lets you manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram, but it only lets you have 10 posts per network per month. Their paid plans allow unlimited posts and also let you schedule Pinterest posts.
If you don’t need or want an all-in-one scheduling tool, most networks have some variety of tool that lets you schedule posts for just that network. Here are some of them.
Facebook pages have their own native scheduling option. Write your post, then click the arrow next to the “Publish” button. You’ll get a menu that has a schedule option on it so you can set a date and time in the future for the post to publish.
Twitter does not have a scheduling feature that you can get to from twitter.com, but they did buy TweetDeck, a free scheduling tool similar to Hootsuite that lets you track hashtags, manage your feed, and like and retweet directly from your TweetDeck dashboard – and, of course, it also lets you schedule tweets.
Unfortunately, there are no free options for Pinterest scheduling. However, ViralWoot has excellent Pinterest scheduling features that I have personally used and appreciated. I’ve also heard good things about TailWind, another paid program that will let you schedule Pinterest posts.
I’ve always scheduled Instagram through HootSuite, but I have heard good things about Later, which will let you schedule only Instagram posts.
Are you ready?
If you’re not already scheduling your posts, it’s time to start! There’s no reason not to. It virtually eliminates the chances of you forgetting to post (because your posts will post automatically) so you’ll post more consistently, it will take you less time to post (because you’ll only have to log into one place and schedule a bunch of things at once), and it just generally makes your life easier. If you have any sort of social-media related goal for this year, experiment with a scheduling tool!