We’re going to delve into a list of the some of the best social media automation tools and give an analysis of what tools will best fit your business. But it’s usually a good idea to start with the basics, so first of all we’ll ask the simplest question…
What are social media automation tools?
They are tools that take repetitive tasks related to social media posting and semi-automate them. That sounded very formal.
Simply put, instead of posting at 10:00, 15:00 and 18:25 – or whatever your optimal time is, you can use a social media automation tool to schedule your content. Or instead of manually searching for relevant content to share you can set up an alert for relevant keywords. There are loads of different ways to automate your social media management. In this article, we’ll talk in-depth about five different ways you could use this process to save time.
Social media automation best practices
Social Media is all about connecting with your audience. In order to do that, you have to be engaged, alert and human. It’s important to have real conversations while listening to what your users and potential users have to say. Answer their questions and be aware of trends. Social media automation is absolutely not about bulking up content, automating questions and then not looking at your social media platforms for the rest of the year. When introducing automation tools you have to be savvy. It has to be blended with real human interaction for your followers to understand they are being talked to – not at.
If you use social media for marketing, promotions or blogging, choosing the right tools for you is vital so you can focus on bigger priorities.
An introduction to social media scheduling tools
Social media scheduling tools give you the opportunity to create a consistent flow of content on your social channels. They also allow you optimize your reach by posting at the perfect times. So you’re not just limited to posting in your free time, instead, you can schedule up to date content to go out when your followers are online.
The scheduling tool you use should depend on the social media platforms you’re using most. Not all tools offer you the ability to post on all platforms. In contrast, some platforms offer a wide amount of services you might never need. For example, there are many scheduling tools that let you post on Facebook and Twitter, but significantly less allowing you to also post on Instagram and YouTube. But if you are a small business only posting on Twitter, you don’t need a platform with nine support networks, a built-in CRM and delegation service.
It’s all about picking the right service for you, your budget and your needs So without further ado, here is a selection of social media scheduling tools and a brief explanation of what they can do:
Best for: Social Media Scheduling with CRM
AgoraPulse is a premium tool that combines social media scheduling with analytics, reporting, automated moderation and a number of other advanced features. They pride themselves on their user-friendly dashboard, by putting comments in chronological order, inserting icons to give you information on the source of comments, messages etc. The inclusion of CRM capabilities makes AgoraPulse a great competitor to Hootsuite. However, although they offer a free trial, they do not offer a free version of their site. But they do provide some other handy social media-related tools for free.
Best for: Small to Medium size business focusing on key social media platforms
Buffer allows you to schedule your content for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn. However, it does not allow you to schedule content for YouTube and WordPress. It is an excellent user-friendly platform. It is unlikely that you will need everything Hootsuite has to offer. Most companies pick hero platforms to focus their attention on. If you want to schedule content to be published, Buffer has everything you need. They also offer some helpful integrations such as IFTTT and Zapier.
Best for: A large Marketing Team
Jollor is a powerful social media scheduling tool that includes community features to interact with followers. It is a great platform for large teams as it allows you to add unlimited team members, includes an approval process and can assign tasks to people. As well as creating content and sharing it online, Jollor has a content discovery capability, repurposing content tool and it lets you bulk upload content, making Jollor another great alternative to HootSuite for large teams.
Best for: A medium to large business with a significant marketing output.
If you create and share a large amount of content, the high number of social media networks supported by Hootsuite is a huge benefit. Hootsuite wins on supported networks and integrations. When you are scheduling your content, there will be an option to add targeting too. This is helpful when you want to reach a particular demographic. If you want to add a link to your messages there is an integrated URL shortener. Unfortunately, there is no option for a branded domain.
Hootsuite can cater for a large amount of content, letting you bulk upload up to 350 pieces of content at a time. An added bonus to Hootsuite is the ability to delegate tasks, making it a great choice for larger teams.
Best for: Medium to Large Businesses
Sendible is an impressive competitor to the bigger players in the social media scheduling game. This platform allows users to schedule content, engage with their audience, manage your team, measure ROI, and collaborate with others to create content. It also gives you in-depth analytics on each platform. However, Sendible is pricier than other platforms and has no free options.
They have three packages, Lite, Advanced and Pro. Lite allows for one user, Advanced allows for four and Pro allows for ten. Although there is a huge power behind Sendible, larger teams would have to use the Pro option.
Best for: Social media agencies or large social media teams
Planable is a collaboration platform designed specifically for social media teams. The two big benefits of this tool are its ability to let you visualize your social media posts and work efficiently with clients or as part of a large team.
Planable allows you to preview content before publishing it so you’ll know exactly how it will look. It also enables teams to collaborate, communicate and exchange feedback easily. You can get approval from clients with a single click. It’s a great platform for social media managers who need to interact with clients. It can also be used to enforce consistency across a large team or numerous channels. It’s user-friendly calendar view is also a big plus.
Best for: Larger businesses
In terms of supported networks, Sprinklr is a great alternative to Hootsuite. Sprinklr focuses on planning more than other tools. When you sign up to Sprinklr, you’re given a starter pack with recommendations based on your goals and an audit of your platforms. As well as having virtual training online, you can also speak with a success manager that will help guide you on optimizing your social media automation. This is a terrific platform that guarantees impressive tools and analytics. But I believe, because of the support and learning offered, Sprinklr is a great choice to guide those less experienced into social media marketing.
Best For: An affordable choice for all business sizes
SocialPilot is a social media and marketing platform. The intuitive dashboard will allow you to manage three of your social media pages for free. Their pro account caters for an unlimited number of pages connected. They offer more than just scheduling by supporting client and team management, scheduling in bulk and content suggestions. If you take the wide variety of features and supported networks, SocialPilot is an impressive contender.
Best for: A growing team
Sproutsocial is a growing platform that offers you all the most popular networks to focus on. The interface is straight-forward and intuitive, making it very easy to schedule, post and analyze all on one platform. It also makes it easier to interact with followers, as opposed to just sharing stuff with them by letting you check all mentions and comments etc. You can flag them as done, or to come back to them with their smart inbox. Similarly to Hootsuite, Sproutsocial have a team feature where you can delegate tasks. You can see who is online when delegating and run reports on completion time. This feature makes Sproutsocial a great alternative for larger teams using their five supported social media networks.
Best for: Twitter enthusiasts
TweetDeck once supported a number of social media platforms, however, since being acquired by Twitter, the only supported platform is Twitter. Who would have guessed? Though it only supports one platform, it still makes out list of the best social media automation tools, because it is quite handy if you want to focus in on your Twitter following.
There is no limit to the number of Twitter pages you can connect to this free platform. In contrast, Hootsuite only allows for three accounts to be added to their free service. TweetDeck is a limited service, but is great for any organization who wants to focus entirely on their Twitter pages. If you also want to market on other social media platforms, it is more time savvy to use a more well-rounded platform for everything.
Best For: Marketing agencies
With PromoRepublic’s scheduling tool you can managing your posting schedules on up to five social networks in a content calendar with custom time slots. Beyond scheduling, the platform has a content library filled with articles, images, and 6,000+ editable visual templates, as well as a built-in graphics editor that offers 200+ fonts, shapes, and banners.
Recycling evergreen content
Social media automation tools are perfect for your evergreen content. By sharing articles that your followers enjoyed more than once, you can save much needed time to create and share new high-quality content. Due to algorithms, new followers and people’s busy lives, just because you shared content doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has seen it before.
This means that as long as the content that you create is of a high quality, there is benefit to be gained by sharing it again. Using social media automation tools for your sharing will save you time, while simultaneously allowing you to share the same content on other sites to gain more traction.
Remember not to overdo it though. Flooding people’s newsfeed with content will not gain you fans.
SocialBee allows you to manually add content in categories, similar to Meet Edgar. This social media automation tool lets you share your content once or, if it’s evergreen content, you can choose to add it to a list to reshare. SocialBee has also connected with Rebrandly so you can add your Branded Links to your evergreen content.
RecurPost lets you schedule social media posts, create a content library and track and tweak your posting for your evergreen content. Similarly to SocialBee and Meet Edgar, RecurPost will allow you to create a calendar of content you want to share. However, RecurPost will also let you track performance and run A/B testing.
Curated Content can easily be added to your social media automation plan and is a good way to add even more benefit to your social media sharing.
In comparison to advertising, social media is not meant to be used for the sole purpose of getting your own message out there. You want to offer your followers valuable information or entertainment, while also getting your message out there. This does not always need to be achieved through content you and your team have created. You can save time by sharing valuable content created by others. This will also help you build connections with people in your area. You can also make use of Rebrandly’s link retargeting feature to target ads at people who have clicked on a piece of curated content that is relevant to your business.
There are many sites that have created great platforms to make your search for curated content easier:
BuzzSumo is a research and monitoring tool that not only allows you to discover interesting content, but also lets you set up alerts for keywords, brands, authors and will let allow you to track what your competitors are doing. In addition to this, BuzzSumo also has interesting features around influencers. You can reach out to relevant influencers in your field for quotes and collaborations. You can also analyze the kind of content your key influencers are sharing online. If you are regularly sharing on social ,edia and want to remain engaged with your users, then BuzzSumo really can’t be beaten.
EpicBeat is another content discovery service that offers insights and the ability to find influencers. Once again, you search by keyword and gain data on shares in relation to articles displayed. EpicBeat data can be broken down, which is helpful. By adding a likes section to this, you can choose content with fewer shares but has received a good reaction.
SocialAnimal is a content discovery service that offers insights and the ability to find influencers. Similarly to BuzzSumo, you can search by keyword and find the relevant articles that have been shared the most amount of times. It will also break these shares into different social media platforms, so you will understand what content works best in relation to each network. Their idea generator won’t come up with a title for you, but will help reveal interesting keywords that are associated with your area.
Promoting your content
Promoting your content is just as important as uncovering and creating valuable content for your followers. This can also be automated.
Dlvr.it is a content sharing site. It does not try and venture into other avenues and instead stays loyal to its core by simply allowing you to tie your Blog RSS feed into your social media platforms for an easy sharing process.
Viral Content Buzz is a social media marketing portal that allows you to leverage a crowd-sourcing tactic to gain a ‘buzz’ online. It does this by giving you the opportunity to team up with other businesses and influencers to co-market or promote content. By doing this you can automate an interested audience to grow your network.
Automation tools to help all marketers
The platforms below aren’t just social media automation tools. They can help all marketers. Whether you’re doing digital marketing, content marketing or social media marketing, there are automation tools to help everyone. Automating repetitive tasks saves you much needed time to focus on the work that requires human attention.
IFTTT (if this then that) live by their slogan ‘put the internet to work for you’ by automating actions from your favorite apps. You can set up ‘recipes’ in order for an action on one page, to then cause an action on another. So if one thing happens, then you state the next thing you would like to happen – i.e if this then that. An example of a recipe could be automatically emailing someone when they comment on your blog post. The comment would, therefore, trigger the action to email the commenter. There are thousands of recipes you can use to save time and get on top of repetitive tasks.
Zapier is an online automation tool that uses the same process as IFTTT, but by setting up what they call Zaps. You can set an action on one site that will then trigger an action on another site. An example of a Zap would be sending your team a Slack notification every time you create a new branded link with Rebrandly. Zapier also has thousands of Zaps you can create to make your day easier. they also have the added benefit of being integrated with Rebrandly.
Social media automation tools are a great asset to marketers, once they are used correctly. As well as giving you much needed extra time, you will be more consistent with your posting. You will get more control of where and when you share content and you are less likely to make mistakes, because you are not under pressure to get something out. Think of it like you’re an airplane, even though there is an autopilot there, you can get from A to B with a human doing the important bits. Now that we’ve established the importance let’s watch your social media take off! (Dad joke, I’m sorry)
This post was originally published on Rebrandly.