In my last blog post we discussed how to create a robust content calendar that will fuel your social media efforts for the next few months. But then we reached an impasse. Now that we have all of these great content ideas, what do we do next?
Sure, you can simply save everything you just wrote and set up iPhone notifications to remind you to post everything, but wouldn’t it be great if you could just schedule everything right then and there so it can go live at the time you originally planned?
Even better … wouldn’t it be great if your platforms can do some of the social sharing for you, automatically? Well, that’s where these amazing, free scheduling and multitasking tools come into play.
These five tools allow you to better control your workflow and manage your social media accounts on your own terms. Some of these tools even multitask, working overtime for you so you don’t have to!
Tools that schedule all of your content in one sitting
You’re a busy, multitasking ninja. You may not have time every day to post on your social media channels; you may only have an hour or two a week. With these tools, you can use that free hour to your advantage and schedule all of your posts in one sitting.
Scheduling from within the app/platform
Some options include:
- Facebook Pages
What these features do: Allow you to schedule content to post at a later date of your choosing.
For those of you just getting introduced to the world of social media management, you may not know that most of your profiles allow you to schedule posts in advance, for free. Facebook, YouTube, all email marketing software, and most blogging/website platforms have built-in scheduling functions that allow you to work in advance.
However, there are some notable exceptions. Twitter and Instagram currently do not have in-app scheduling features, but, thankfully, there are third-party platforms that can help. Keep reading!
(By the way: If you’re on Pinterest, I have yet to find a free service that lets you schedule pins. If you’ve found one, let me know! I do have a handy Pinterest tool at the bottom of this post, however, that’s worth checking out.)
What it does: Their free plan allows users to schedule up to 30 Instagram posts a month.
Use it when: You have a lot of photos you want to post on Instagram throughout the month.
Despite the fact that it’s still a tiny bit clunky to use, I absolutely love this service. Not only is it a time saver by letting me schedule photos in advance, I can also post the photos I have on my computer with greater ease (because Instagram doesn’t let you post from their desktop site).
Multitasking tools that do some of the heavy-lifting
These next three apps are real heavy-hitters. Not only do most of them allow you to schedule content in advance, but many of them also have other added features that streamline and speed up your social efforts.
What it does: Their free plan allows users to manage up to three social networks, schedule content, and engage with their audience — all in one place. (Their paid plans allow you to sync with more social networks, as well as offer a ton more options, like analytics tracking.)
Use it when: You want to schedule your tweets in advance.
Hootsuite is the go-to platform for scheduling tweets. If you have one of those super-productive days I mentioned earlier, Hootsuite allows you to schedule this content as far in advance as you’d like! And Hootsuite’s “Autoschedule” feature even determines the optimal times to post so your content gets more views. (This is a really helpful feature that saves you a lot of time and brainpower.)
Speaking from experience, you can schedule an entire week’s worth of tweets on Monday and can rest easy knowing there will be fresh content on your feed all week.
Added Bonus: Hootsuite is also great for those who simply don’t want to log onto multiple websites every day just to check notifications. Their dashboard model allows you to check in on up to three of your synced social media platforms where you can see and even respond to the comments left by your audience across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (just to give an example).
What it does: First and foremost, Klout gives users a snapshot on how influential their social media presence is. However, it’s the “Explore”/Schedule feature that really helps save time.
Use it when: You want to schedule posts in advance but you need a little inspiration to fill out your posting schedule.
Klout determines which fields/topics you’re considered an influencer (for most of us, this will include topics like “pets,” “animals,” “[insert your community name],” etc.). This can be very enlightening, and may help shape your future social media efforts.
However, Klout goes a step further and suggests articles that discuss your influential topics, allowing you to schedule/post them on your connected platforms. So, if you want to schedule your social content in advance, but you need inspiration, Klout is the platform to use!
What it does: It takes multitasking and cross-posting to a whole new level!
Use it when: You want to share the content you posted across multiple platforms, automatically.
While the concept is brilliant, I find it hard to explain. You can check out IFTTT’s “About” page to get some clarity around their tools, terms and naming conventions.
The possibilities with this site are endless, but to help demonstrate what IFTTT can do, here are three of the ways I like to use it (all pre-made applets readily available for use):
- If I post something onto Instagram, it will automatically repost onto Pinterest in my “Instagram Posts” board.
- If I post a status update on Facebook, a tweet will automatically go out announcing the post.
- If I post something onto my company’s blog, the featured image from that blog post will automatically repost onto Pinterest in our “Blog Posts” board.
Who knew that posting adorable cat photos online could be such work? I hope these tools and tips save you some time and alleviate some of the stress that comes with social media management.