Social media marketing is largely an all-or-nothing endeavor. To make it work for your business, you have to post frequently and use various platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ all present opportunities.
Of course, posting regularly can eat up your valuable time. But it doesn’t have to. If social media is integral to your strategy, consider using a scheduling app, such as the three described below. These apps allow you to prepare a day’s — or week’s — worth of posts all at once, using a single dashboard.
HootSuite — If you want to use the same software as Lamborghini, McDonald’s, Sony Music, and Virgin Media, sign up for HootSuite. This app allows you to schedule posts on all of the major social media sites, along with Foursquare and WordPress. The free version allows you to manage up to five social media accounts, view basic analytics data, and include two RSS feeds. The Pro plan, which costs $9.99 per month, offers more advanced analytics tools and scheduling options for an unlimited number of social media accounts. It also permits one additional user.
SocialOomph — This platform’s free option lets you schedule tweets, track keywords, reuse text from old tweets, and perform numerous other Twitter account-maintenance tasks. The professional plan, which costs $35.94 per month, allows you to post on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as less popular sites. Among SocialOomph’s long list of additional features, it can automatically generate social media posts from blog entries and provides a spam filter for Twitter direct messages. (In lieu of the Pro plan, you can enable only the advanced Twitter options for $25.94 per month.)
LaterBro — If you’re looking for the simplest scheduler for Twitter and Facebook at a reasonable price (free), check out LaterBro. Apps don’t get much simpler than this. Log in with your Twitter or Facebook account, create your posts, set their dates and times, and you’re done. You can add additional accounts in the Settings tab and make posts reoccur. But that’s all you get. This platform is ideal for people who aren’t poring over analytics data and who don’t need more advanced options.
One Potential Drawback
Using schedulers to manage social media activity saves time, but some data point to lower engagement rates. A 2011 study found that engagement rates could drop as much as 70 percent when using third-party apps like these. More recent data found that after Facebook fixed what was later called a software bug, engagement rates rose, but some people still report diminished results.
As a result, every social media marketing strategy should include A/B testing. Compare the engagement rates of posts added manually vs. those added through a scheduling app. If the app lowers engagement, make changes to your posts and use manual posting alongside scheduling apps (or abandon them altogether).
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