In 2020, marketers understand just how important social media is to their growth strategy.
Social media is a powerful marketing medium that supports almost every marketing objective, from brand awareness to lead generation. Ensuring your social strategy is on point isn’t so easy, however.
47% of marketers admit that developing their social strategy is their biggest challenge, according to a recent Sprout Social study.
One of the biggest challenges is trying to manage social media all by yourself. However, this isn't sustainable, especially considering all the other tasks you have to do every day. That’s where automation tools like scheduling software come into play.
A useful social media scheduler can be the difference maker to ensure you’re pumping out content consistently to streamline your workflows. In this article, we’ll analyze the three best social scheduling platforms: Sprout Social, Buffer, and Later, to determine exactly which one’s right for you.
If businesses had to make all of their posts in real-time, it would make them burn out in no time. Not only would it be a highly inefficient use of time, but it would completely consume a social media manager’s entire life.
Since the arrival of social media schedulers, marketers and business owners have been able to get the most out of their social media marketing efforts.
Scheduling software lets you create and schedule multiple posts at the same time through bulk creation. This feature enables you to batch your efforts, so you’re able to consistently produce without having to face several interruptions throughout the day.
Most marketing managers know how annoying it can be jumping back and forth between social networks to publish content. Sprout Social helps ease the pain by letting you publish your latest Pinterest Pin, Instagram photo, or Facebook post simultaneously.
Another cool feature Sprout offers is its patented "ViralPost" technology. This feature helps you understand the most optimal posting times specific to your audience, which takes out a ton of guesswork and increased engagement.
Something unique Buffer offers to marketing teams is their handy web extension. Using Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, marketers can easily use Buffer's tools while on any compatible platform.
For example, once you have Buffer installed, and you’ve written a new blog post, you can schedule it through your blog’s social buttons by clicking Buffer’s green button, “Add to Buffer,” to schedule posts.
Plus, Buffer will automatically shorten any links (through bit.ly), saving you even more time.
While most social media management tools usually work with every platform, Later comes specifically optimized for Instagram (although you can still connect other platforms).
Later’s main feature is the visual content calendar that lets you easily drag-and-drop images for scheduling.
With Later, instead of starting a post with text, you start it with an image. Simply upload the image to Later and create the accompanying caption.
If you choose Later’s business plan, you’ll also have access to their “Conversations” feature which lets you manage your Instagram comments directly in the Later platform.
Sprout Social has the best integration capabilities of the three social media schedulers with five different platforms. With Sprout, you have access to:
Buffer integrates with four platforms, but unfortunately doesn’t include Instagram:
Later, like Buffer, integrates with four different platforms. However, its main focus is on Instagram:
Sprout Social offers three different plans, each of which provides a 30-day free trial:
For additional profiles (in increments of five) it’s an additional $25 per month.
To recap, that's three different plans for potential users, and each plan includes a 30-day free trial
Buffer offers five different plans, and each paid version offers a 14-day free trial:
Later offers five different plans, starting with a free version:
Sprout Social offers the most inclusive training and support of the three platforms:
Buffer offers average support and training:
Later also offers average support and training:
Sprout Social, Buffer, and Later are some of the top social media schedulers available. However, you’ll want to choose the one that works best for your business.
Sprout Social is the best overall social scheduling option for small to medium businesses. Their engagement, publishing, and analytics tools are all-inclusive for startups, growth businesses, and large enterprises.
While Buffer can be used for solopreneurs and mid-stage startups, they offer the best accommodation for large enterprises, especially since their “Large Business Plan” which allows for 26 team members and up to 150 social profiles.
Even though Later can schedule posts on a few platforms, it’s best suited for small businesses and solopreneurs who are visually-centered and focused on Instagram.
If you’re a marketing manager just getting started in the social media game and need some help building your strategy, reach out to Rizen today!
Our marketing experts' team will provide you with answers to your social media marketing questions to help you develop social strategies that grow your business. Partner with us today!