When it comes to boosting your brand’s online reach, social media is critical. It’s one of the most direct ways to engage with potential customers. Appearing in your followers’ news feeds (and the news feeds of their friends) on a consistent basis is very important in building brand awareness. 95% of adults aged 18-34 are likely to follow brands on social media—that’s a statistic you can’t ignore.
The importance of social media marketing continues to grow, even within B2B industries. Social media is now a legitimate source for potential customers to find information about your business. In fact, 55% of B2B marketers claim to search for a product or vendor on social media before making a purchasing decision.
A mere presence on social media isn’t enough—you need to be utilizing it regularly.
But setting a chunk of time aside each day to post to social media can be a challenge, especially when the best time to publish varies between platforms. While weekends may be great for Facebook, Tweets thrive during the middle of the weekday. Figuring out what content to post is enough of a challenge without worrying about when to post it.
Luckily, there are plenty of free social media tools to help content marketing managers simplify their social media strategies. The right tool can help you plan posts ahead of time, so you never have to worry about missing prime publishing hours.
Given below are four social media tools that content managers must take advantage of.
Buffer is one of the simplest social media management tools out there. It lets you set your publishing schedule across each of your channels, and it will post only according to the schedule you’ve established. Just select the days and times you want to publish to each of your accounts, and you’ll be set. And if you’re not sure when to publish—don’t worry. Buffer has an optimal timing tool that shows you when your audience is most likely to view your posts.
Buffer lets you build up a queue of posts to share as scheduled. It even comes with an optional browser extension, so that you can add content to your list as you come across it while browsing the web. The free version of Buffer works with one account per platform, and it lets you store up to 10 scheduled posts at a time. If you’re managing multiple accounts for your business, or want to schedule more posts at a time, you’ll want to upgrade to a premium version.
HootSuite is a must for marketing managers, thanks to its simple platform that allows publishing across all social media platforms. HootSuite lets you set specific parameters around your posting schedule (such as three per day between 12 and 5 PM on Wednesdays) and will auto-schedule the posts you’ve saved in your queue.
Whereas Buffer limits the number of scheduled posts you can queue up even in its paid versions (though those limits are pretty high), all paid versions of HootSuite come with unlimited scheduling. The free version limits you to three linked social accounts and 30 scheduled posts at a time—which is probably plenty of bandwidth for smaller businesses or those new to social media scheduling. If you’re looking for one platform to simplify your multi-platform social media strategy in one place, definitely check this social media tool out.
The best thing about Tweetdeck is that it is entirely free and is automatically set up for all Twitter users. To access Tweetdeck, simply make sure you’re logged into Twitter and then go to tweetdeck.twitter.com. You’ll be able to schedule as many tweets as you want on the user-friendly platform. You can even edit scheduled tweets before they are posted. Also, Tweetdeck provides in-depth analytics of your tweets and Twitter audience.
You can also link up more than one Twitter account at a time. If you’re managing multiple Twitter profiles, Tweetdeck is a simple way to keep them all in one place. The only downside of Tweetdeck is that it only works with Twitter—but since that’s what it was made for, who could blame it? If your brand is extensively active on Twitter, it’s well worth your time to utilize Tweetdeck, and perhaps use one of the other scheduling tools for your other platforms.
MavSocial is an excellent social media tool for brands that are more image-focused (which should be many of them—for example, Facebook posts get 2.3X more engagement when they include images). Not only does it allow you to schedule posts across multiple platforms, but it also allows you to store pictures and other assets directly on the platform for you to re-use in the future. MavSocial also features a stock photo library of over 129 million high-res images, many of which are free. Thanks to this feature, it is very easy to make your content visually without having to leave your scheduling application.
The free version of MavSocial lets you link up a Facebook and Twitter profile with a limit of 10 scheduled posts per network per day—you have to upgrade if you want more than that. MavSocial may not be as widely known a name as Buffer or HootSuite, but it’s certainly well worth checking out.
Of course, the paid versions of each of these social media tools (minus Tweetdeck) will offer more in-depth analytics and greater scheduling capabilities, but start off with a free version. You’ll quickly be able to tell whether a premium version is worth the investment. Regardless, you’re sure to find that scheduling social media posts ahead of time can give you peace of mind that you’ll never miss an optimal posting time.
And, once you’ve started incorporating social media into your overall marketing strategy, you’ll quickly see how valuable it is—and that there’s so much more to utilize.
Be sure to check out this Advanced Social Media Certification Training to learn tips and tricks for the most popular social media tools on the web.
This article was written by one of our guest writers. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not be indicative of the views of Market Motive.
About the Author:
Ryan Gould is the VP of strategy and marketing for Elevation Marketing. His articles are featured on websites like CrazyEgg, KunoCreative and Mailigen.