Managing a single social media profile is easy. Post an update when you post new content on your blog. Keep up with comments for an hour or two, give it a rest, check back later. Add in a second social media profile and it becomes more complicated. How do you customize your posts for each site? Do you show preference on one or the other for comments and replies? Still, it’s manageable.
Throw together Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest and you have a recipe for disaster. Just creating posts for each of them adds an hour to your day, never mind keeping up with the comments on popular profiles. It can very easily become a full time job on its own. How can you streamline the process?
A social media manager will run your social profiles for you. When you post new content, they’ll share it throughout each of your profiles, keep up with comments and generally do everything you need them to do. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best option. Chances are what you’re looking for is a bit of automation, not a new employee or contractor. Moving on.
SocialFlow is a powerful content distribution application that allows you to create messages targeted to specific audiences, countries and topics. More importantly, it allows you to schedule those posts to be released at the most opportune time.
Don’t know what the most opportune time is? SocialFlow calculates that for you. The application monitors your users and their interests and activity. Using its proprietary algorithm, it determines the best time to post the content you create, for maximum visibility and engagement.
SocialFlow is a paid service with very little pricing information on their site. You’ll need to contact them directly or request a demo online to find out more.
Everypost isn’t a traditional desktop or cloud application. Instead, it’s a simple and easy to use mobile app. It’s available in both the iTunes and Android stores and it’s completely free.
Everypost is ideal for sharing the same status update across multiple platforms, including the giants of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. It doesn’t offer a lot of variable customization – though it comes with a text shortener to help fit updates in a tweet – but it specializes in multimedia. If you have a use for the ability to snap a picture and share it instantly on every social profile you use, this tool is ideal for you.
4. Sprout Social
Sprout Social combines a suite of publishing and scheduling tools with a robust selection of analytics across all of the larger social media profiles, all in one dashboard. If you find yourself juggling a series of analytics suites for each dashboard, you’ll benefit from the consolidation offered by Sprout.
Sprout’s benefit for scheduled posting comes from its ability to interact with messages without going through the social interface of the site itself. Read and respond to comments and messages all from one dashboard. Schedule your posts and drop them at the best time you can calculate with their analytics.
The suite is not inexpensive, though it has some low cost plan options. The ability to consolidate everything in one dashboard, however, is fairly valuable.
Buffer is another popular mobile app for post scheduling. It offers an inexpensive individual version and three tiers of business-class tools, which scale up the number of linked accounts, profiles, feeds and team members allowed to access the app. If you work with a team member and manage only a small handful of profiles, the individual version may be perfectly satisfactory.
Buffer is not a robust and varied tool. It’s there to allow you to schedule posts for future distribution, and that’s what it does. It does include some analytics, but you’ll find better insights from dedicated analytics suites. Thankfully, unless, you’re operating hundreds of social profiles, the cost to use Buffer is minimal.
HootSuite is the name you’ve been waiting to see on this list, and it’s here for a reason. It is, hands down, the most robust and effective social media management tool available. You can use it to manage any number of profiles across virtually every known social media site. You can schedule posts across all platforms or just a select handful. You can customize the text of each posting. Comments and messages are compiled in one locations and are easy to respond to as you go.
Moreover, HootSuite offers a range of analytics options and other useful applications to broaden the scope of the suite. The basic free level allows you to manage five accounts, but the upgrade to pro instantly gives you ten times that many links.
HootSuite manages all sorts of other aspects of your social presence as well. Everything from customizing your URLs on the fly to using added security and archiving messages is all available with the pro version and higher. It’s also surprisingly cheap for what it offers; the Pro version of HootSuite starts at a mere $9 per month.
Special Mention: Tweepi
Tweepi is not an application dedicated to posting your content on multiple profiles at once. As such, it may seem a questionable inclusion on this list. It’s still highly valuable, however, simply because it makes many of the manual tasks on Twitter much easier to handle. The menial tasks of removing inactive accounts, pruning your followers and follow the users who follow you can all be done quickly and automatically with this application. It’s also incredibly cheap.
A Word of Caution
Posting to all of your profiles at once is an attractive proposition, but you need to avoid posting duplicate content across every platform. Remember that some platforms benefit from a different treatment. Twitter prefers hashtags, which can be used on Facebook but may not be as effective. Instagram really requires a solid image to anchor a post, which you may not have with basic Facebook and Google+ posts. And, of course, users who follow you on multiple profiles will see the same message multiple times and may grow tired of the lack of personal attention.
Many of the tools above allow you to customize the content of a post for the site its targeting, and you should make use of those abilities when you schedule posts. Your benefit may not come from time saved, but you’ll be able to work when you need to and schedule posts for when they work best.