So where do you start with scheduling? There are a number of scheduling tools available – with more options popping up every day it seems – with a range of features and prices. Here are a few different tools in the current world of scheduling. (Note: I am not affiliated with any of these platforms, these are just some that are on my radar or that I have been playing with/investigating or using recently.)
Meta Business Suite aka Creator Studio:
If you use Facebook and Instagram you can now link and schedule these at the same time through Meta’s new business suite. If you have a remote team, and your social media is focused around Meta’s platforms, it’s an easy win. The Planner tool is pretty good (as good as Sprout Social, a paid option below), where you can schedule stories, get top-level analytics, including around your paid and organic media, and how they work together, plus set goals around reach and engagement (bringing in more gamification I notice!). Also, it’s free. Being owned by Meta means you will not suffer any third-party disconnections, although it can be a bit glitchy, much like Meta itself. Unfortunately (and what has got in the way for campaigns that I’ve been working on) you can’t schedule videos longer than 1 minute to insta, or add stickers and interactive features to Stories or schedule Reels. So this one still has a way to go to be really really good, but as a free tool it is still pretty helpful and I’ve used it with the Glasto The Common Team as a central hub for us to be able to see what’s going on and going out and collaborate with the team more easily.
I’ve been using Sprout Social for a whole decade now, it’s easy to use, has great analytics and consumer listening tools and it is easy to schedule across multiple platforms at the same time. It is often used by bigger organisations and teams due to the cost and functionalities available. However as with many scheduling tools right now there are limitations to scheduling new mediums, such as Reels. It has just released scheduling for TikTok, which is great for users of that platform. And Sprout are always developing and adding to their offering, which is often limited by the social media platforms’ API themselves. It allows scheduling to YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter and can be used by teams, with different permissions for different team members. However there is no free plan and it can be pretty expensive: $89-$249 per month, with a cost per user as well. It was a forerunner in the market but cheaper ones are catching up, so be interesting to see how they stay ahead and stay worth the cost.
I’ve just found this one – it’s a scheduling tool designed for collaboration and the approval processes for teams that need that layer, who think visually and don’t want to be working from spreadsheets. It’s nice to navigate, is used by Social Chain Steven Bartlett’s agency, and has grid, timeline and diary views of what is scheduled. This can be great for visual thinkers and feelers – who want to see what is scheduled rather than just know what is scheduled. It’s not too expensive either, there is a free layer and it costs around the $25 mark per month plus additional costs per team member, which is pretty reasonable in the space. You can also schedule Reels here, although at the moment you can’t do automatic posting, only push. However, I have heard on the grapevine this week that third-party Reels scheduling API is on the way very soon. This one doesn’t come with any analytics though.
Canva or Adobe Creative Suite Express:
A new trend has emerged where digital content creator tools now have the ability to schedule content too. If you use Canva or Adobe Creative Express (formerly Spark) for creating graphics, you can now schedule them directly after you create them. Nifty and useful if also paying for a scheduler as well as a graphics creator – which usually cost around £10/$15 per month, however it doesn’t come with analytics.
All of these tools have different pluses and minuses and there are many, many other options available – too many to list here – so it’s a matter of finding which one works best for you, your budget, your business and your way of working solo or as part of a team.
What I observe and notice about scheduling is that it is a very personal process, from the scheduling tools people like to use and how it works for them. Last week when I was running socials at Glastonbury Festival, I had pre-planned and pre-scheduled a range of posts, from daily stage lineups to uplifting affirmations and information, that totally saved the day – as the internet was rubbish! And especially once the festival-goers arrived, I couldn’t even use 4G on my phone easily. If I hadn’t prepared and prescheduled content, my job would have been a lot more stressful! Plus the scheduled stuff did its thing, and allowed me to have a lie-in! We were able to have content going out before we got up, which was good, especially as our stages didn’t close until sunrise. This can also be useful if working across multiple timezones for your audiences. However, once we were there and living it, some of the scheduled posts no longer felt right where they were placed in the flow of what was going on, and so every day I was moving some things around so that the flow felt good and aligned to that moment. This is something that I see with clients too – it is a natural part of the scheduling process.
You can prepare, plan and then still want to edit, tweak and move things around so that they feel right in that moment, on that day, in that way. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with prepping and planning, or with what you have prepped and planned. In fact, it gives you the framework and the container for you to go another layer deeper into the authenticity of the content and the feel into the flow of communication that you want to send out into cyberspace, without having to do it all in the moment.
As ever there is much to discover and dance with here, do let me know if you use any scheduling tools and what you think and how you feel about scheduling your social media content?
Many of the people I coach are quite avoidant, resistant or struggle with scheduling, so I’d love to get into this more with you.
Get in touch by reply or say hi through my website or on the socials.
I’d love to hear how it makes you feel.
Read the rest at https://socialmediaforanewage.substack.com/p/to-schedule-or-not-to-schedule