Take out the drudgery of influencing
A successful web presence requires proper social media management, and that means keeping your followers apprised of updates. The modern world is fast-paced. If you don’t get your news out during peak hours, you’ll lose thousands of views–and that’s why automated social media posting is so necessary.
Thankfully, there are a host of tools available to help streamline your social media posting. These tools respond to things like blog posts and other inputs so that you don’t have to manually create posts, as well as providing you with the ability to schedule multiple posts ahead of time.
Buffer is one of the most popular and commonly used apps to automate social media posting. It works with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, but many of its features are aimed at Instagram.
Although there is a 14-day free trial, Buffer is a paid service. Pricing plans are $15, $65, and $99 per month for the Pro, Premium, and Business plans respectively. The difference in plans is the number of users per plan, the number of scheduled posts per account, and the number of social media accounts it can manage.
Buffer allows you to directly schedule posts, create a posting schedule, and tailor posts for each network. It also includes features like creating the first comment on Instagram for less-important tags, providing a hashtag manager, and showing analytics based on how well your posts performed.
IFTTT, or If This, Then That, is the ultimate platform for tying together disparate services. It works for more than social media. IFTTT can be used to automatically save email attachments to a specific Dropbox folder, link different smart home devices together, and most importantly, automate your social media.
IFTTT works through a series of “if this happens, do X” commands. First you choose the trigger–the “if” part of the equation–and then you select what you want to happen. For example, you can set the trigger to be any new WordPress post on your site with a specific tag. The resulting action can be a Tweet.
In order for any of these commands to work, you must link your IFTTT account to your social media accounts. You’ll be prompted to do this when you first create a trigger or command. Best of all, IFTTT is free for basic use, although IFTTT Pro provides more flexible applets.
Like its name implies, Hootsuite was designed with Twitter in mind–but it works with Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest as well. It is a powerful platform, but its free plan has severely limited features compared to any of the premium options.
On Hootsuite’s free plan, you have access for one user and three social channels, and you can schedule up to 30 posts. Paid plans start at $29 per month. The Professional Plan gives access to up to 10 social profiles, unlimited post scheduling, but is still restricted to a single user.
Hootsuite can auto schedule posts, perform bulk scheduling, and even monitor your social inbox, but only on the first tier of the premium plan. Even then, many features are limited unless you upgrade to the much more expensive Business plan.
Like many of the services listed here, Sprout Social is a paid service to automate social media posting. But you can try it risk-free for 30 days to get a feel for it. Its most basic level costs $99 per user per month and includes access to 5 social media profiles and an all-in-one social inbox; in other words, you can view all activity across all accounts in one place.
Sprout Social makes it easy to publish and schedule posts, as well as keep posts centered around a theme thanks to the content calendar. In addition, while not strictly related to social media, Sprout Social also provides a review management system to measure your reputation on Google Reviews, Yelp, and more.
Best of all, Sprout Social has apps for iOS and Android so you can manage your social media on the go. When you’re busy and can’t reach your computer, you can still keep your followers up to date.
Much like IFTTT, Zapier is an automation tool that works off a series of triggers. Automated tasks are called Zaps and can be used for nearly anything. With access to over 250 services, Zapier has a wide range of functionality that makes it one of the most popular choices for social media automation.
Zapier has a free tier that can perform up to 100 tasks per month, but limits you to only 5 different Zaps, as well as single-step Zaps. The first paid tier is $19.99 per month and offers up to 750 tasks per month, with a limit of 20 Zaps, multi-tier instructions, and 3 premium apps.
For low-level automation, the free tier is a great choice. On the other hand, if you’re managing a company with multiple social media outlets and you need to automate a large amount of work, you’ll want to look into one of the higher tiers that provide far more features like filters, formatting, multiple users, and much more.
SocialPilot is a premium tool that provides many of the same features as higher-priced options, but at a budget. The main selling point of the service is that it’s more affordable than competitors like Hootsuite and Sprout Social. The first tier is $30 per month (or $25 if you go with the annual billing option.)
SocialPilot allows users to manage 25 social media accounts, gives analytics and traffic reports, and allows for bulk scheduling of posts. You can also have up to three team members on the lowest tier and two Facebook Ad accounts. For a small business just starting out with automating social media postings, Social Pilot gives the data needed without breaking the bank.
Higher tiers provide even more features like a social inbox, client management, and white label PDF reports. If you want to give SocialPilot a try, there is a 14-day free trial you can check out.