Save your social media team time and simplify their workflow with these three social media scheduling tools
Publishers practically invented content management systems, but one area we find publishers lacking in, is their social media management.
When we’re all sitting around at the lunch tables at our quarterly Intensive, we talk about our 12x12x12 social media strategy that’s both effective for social engagement and search optimization—but the act of organizing it can lead to bewilderment.
As a quick tutorial, we generally recommend writing 12 unique Tweets for every article you pubish. Schedule them once a day for 12 days, and then once a month for 12 months. Using different formulas will help gain traffic from social and won’t fatigue your readers, while scheduling for 12 months will keep your content freshly promoted, extending its life in search engines.
Based on our conversations with the publishers we know and love, there are three leading social media scheduling tools publishers are using today. We’ve also included tools for management of social accounts and social analytics.
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Social Media Scheduling Tool #1, Haven Nexus CXMS
As part of Mequoda’s development services we offer the Haven Nexus CXMS. The software is broken down into 19 modules including Haven Social, our social media management system. We think it’s the best social media management system out there, because it allows editors to schedule and track social media on the same page as they publish their posts. This way links never break, and analytics are tracked on a post-by-post basis. There’s no need to scour your scheduled social media posts to find one, they’re scheduled right on the same page as your article. So yay, Mequoda’s 12x12x12 social media scheduling strategy can be done in one place.
Not a Mequoda client? Well that stinks for you, but if you’re a publisher on WordPress you can use it too. The WordPress plugin we use is CoSchedule, and it starts as low as $15/month, but I’d opt for the $30/month plan for the added benefits of Google Analytics integration. If you want to have several players on your social media team, those plans start at $30/month.
Another feature I love about CoSchedule is the ability to drag and drop posts onto the days and times you want them published. Rescheduling is a breeze. Teams can work together on the content calendar, while also customizing their social media workflows to suit their needs. Analytics reporting is available, and when content is worth recycling for increased traffic, it’s as easy as one click. Basically, I love CoSchedule, and I love that we’ve integrated it into Haven Nexus so our clients get to use it.
Social Media Scheduling Tool #2, Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a tried and true social media maagement system you’ve no doubt heard of. It has advanced post scheduling capabilities, even in its basic premium form of Hootsuite Pro. Up to 350 social media posts are able to be scheduled in advance on the editorial calendar. This makes it easy for your team to execute multiple social media campaigns at once.
The collaboration on this plan allows the management of up to 100 social networks and a maximum of 9 team members.
There are several other benefits of this social media scheduling tool. One is that you are able to monitor keywords of your choice for brand mentions. Data like this can streamline your customer service efforts.
Another is that Hootsuite offers vanity URLs (for an added fee). These are company-specific link shorteners, like goo.gl for Google. On that note, if you want to use images in your Tweets that show up as images and not as links, adjust your settings so that they upload to Twitter, not to your custom vanity URL.
Hootsuite Pro (1-500 employees) is $10/month. Hootsuite Enterprise (500+) is $1499/month. I don’t know anyone who spends $1499 on social media software, but if I was I’d spend it on it’s more pricy brethren, Sprout Social, coming up next.
Social Media Scheduling Tool #3, Sprout Social
Sprout Social has grown fast and for good reason. While Hootsuite is a prosumer product, Sprout Social is a professional product that’s not only useful but also lovely and easy to use. Like the other tools, Sprout lets you publish to several networks at once, and gives you social editorial calendar. Where Sprout really shines is in the team department, and if you are a large publication with a very active social media following that’s hard to keep up with, and a social media team that tackles it all together, I highly recommend them.
Social media teams can configure how they want things done and customize Sprout, organizing internal teams and social profile arrangements around their organization’s unique structure.
Sprout offers users a Smart Inbox, so that you can see all your engagement in one place. It’s much less scary than looking at your feed on Twitter.com, and still significantly less scary than Hootsuite (which isn’t all that scary). The inbox is a very organized way for a team to see who’s mentioning you and otherwise engaging with you, but also shows if someone on your team has responded, so you don’t reply twice.
We also like the analytics package that comes with Sprout, called ViralPost, which can be used for reporting on content performance and follower engagement to determine times of highest publication visibility. Analytics reports can be compiled into CSV and PDF files and shared company-wide.
An added benefit, on top of social media sharing and reporting, is Sprout’s unique customer relationship software. Customer records and contact information can be shared, and complete social network interactions, including on Twitter, can be viewed in one place.
They also have integrated systems called Zendesk, Uservoice, and Salesforce, which enable social teams to collaborate with other organizational branches to deliver the highest quality customer experience.
With all those team-focused features, Sprout Social is the most expensive. Packages are as follows: deluxe ($59/per user per month), premium ($99/ per user per month), and team ($500), for three users.
Want some options for advanced reporting?
The social media scheduling tools discussed above have built-in analytics, but for advanced reporting, especially when trying to determine what’s working best, and where you can improve, there are specialized options out there.
From one convenient dashboard you can view the performance and economic value and ROI of your social networks, so you can gauge what is and isn’t working. You can contrast this data with industry standards. Advanced content analysis includes insight trackings on the behavior of engaged users and influencers to promote brand advocacy. Competition analysis also allows you to to view competitors’ stats, engagement, best posts, and post density effectiveness data. TSM can be integrated with in-house analytics such as Hootsuite. Custom data reports can be generated and shared with a collaborative team.
TSM’s Medium plan is $100/month. The Agency plan is $350/month.
Intuitive audience analysis and customer relationship insight data including emails, credit history, and purchase patterns, help you pinpoint the focus of your social media scheduling tools and campaigns. The Twitter Audience Manager can be used for focused, Twitter Ad-formatted campaigns, requiring only an input of the data of your choice: someone else’s followers, lists, active participants. Automated customer response software is built-in, so you can send rules-based automated responses for any number of actions, saving you time.
Social Bro offers Professional ($39/month), Business ($149), and Enterprise (custom-tailored for needs) plans.
These social media scheduling tools and advanced reporting software options should help your magazine maximize its social media activity ROI and engagement statistics.
Which social media scheduling tools do you use? Let’s turn this post into a resource — what would you add?