“A man is nothing without his tools.”
Your social media profiles may have great potential, but if you don’t use social media tools to your full advantage, you could easily slip off the grid among your competitors. A lot of people don’t even realize how many useful (and free!) social media tools are out there.
We’ve already been through the trial and error period, so we’ll cut to the chase here. Some social media tools stand out among the rest. When you’re trying to test out a social media tool, it should help you, not hurt you. It shouldn’t take more time to learn, and it shouldn’t turn into a meta-process. Although there are tons of great tools out there, some of them just aren’t necessary. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of tools that really do make your posting and scheduling life simpler.
Social Media Scheduling Tools
This is the hands-free scheduling tool that is often used for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Buffer is a great fit for marketing agencies or big companies with lots of content to be pushed out. It allows you to plan out your social calendar months in advance.
Who should use Buffer?People who benefit most from Buffer are those who have multiple accounts or a lot of content to be shared. Buffer is also best for people who like to schedule things out on their own. You’re able to set times easily and add all your posts in the queue, so if you’re hoping to do this manually, Buffer is a great option.
When should it be used?Buffer is a year-round social scheduling tool. It works best when used regularly because over time, you’ll establish a routine of scheduling posts. Pick one day out of the week to schedule out all of your posts, and then sit back and relax while Buffer handles the nitty-gritty.
Hootsuite and Buffer are fairly similar, so it’s really a personal preference. Hootsuite allows you to manage more platforms, as it also allows you to manage WordPress blogs and channels on YouTube.
Who should use Hootsuite?Digital marketers with a keen interest in learning the ins and outs of the industry will benefit from Hootsuite because of its courses and certification program.
When should it be used?Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts in advance, but the platform does a lot of the scheduling work for you. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference!
Clean and simple, Sprout Social is an easy way for you to lay everything out and get a birds-eye view of your social calendar. Sprout is a results-driven platform that helps you get real value out of your social profiles.
Who should use Sprout? Sprout Social is best for people who really know what they’re doing. It’s helpful for marketing professionals and agencies that are serious about tracking their numbers and optimizing their profiles.
When should it be used?When you’re looking to optimize post times, gather insights, and visualize your social profiles on a calendar layout, Sprout is your best bet.
Later is another scheduling tool that has recently entered the running. It’s a really intuitive platform that doesn’t come with all the fancy bells and whistles that Hootsuite and Buffer have. On Later, you’re able to manage your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts.
Who should use Later?Later is typically a preferred platform for personal accounts because its capabilities aren’t as extensive as those of Hootsuite and Buffer.
When should it be used?When you’re focused on the visual component of your social media profiles (especially Instagram), Later is a good option for you. It’s optimal for Instagram use because of its highly visual scheduling calendar and dashboard.
Social Media Design Tools
Customizable, user-friendly, and bearing the drag-and-drop interface we all know and love, Canva is a go-to tool for social media managers. You don’t have to be a design stud to create beautiful designs on Canva -- and that’s why so many people love it!
Who should use Canva?Someone who is well-suited for Canva is a beginner or intermediate designer or a social media manager that doesn’t work directly with a design team. It’s best for people who aren’t formally trained in graphic design but still want to create captivating, appealing images for social media.
When should it be used?Canva has templates and sizes ready for you to use. If you want to make a Twitter banner or an Instagram post or a Facebook announcement, the dimensions are already there for you.
Some people love Adobe; others fear it. Adobe Spark is definitely a more expert version of Canva, so it can help you make amazing designs, but it requires some time to learn it. Within Adobe Spark are three different design apps: Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video.
Who should use Adobe Spark?A good candidate for Adobe Spark is someone who knows design well. This is the type of app for a graphic designer or creative director at a marketing or advertising agency. If you’re up to the challenge, go for it! Just keep in mind that it does take more time to really nail down the software.
When should it be used?The best time to use Adobe Spark is when you have a gameplan for your site and/or social media profiles. It’s not something you want to use to quickly whip out a design but rather a strategic design plan for your social profiles.
Social Media Analytics Tools
Making a second appearance, Sprout Social is a powerful tool for data analytics on social media platforms. The reports are easy to read and understand, so you’re not just tracking numbers -- you’re really understanding how your social profiles are making an impact.
Who should use Sprout Social?Again, the typical Sprout user is someone who is versed in marketing and advertising and is using their social profiles to generate a lot of content.
When should it be used?Analytics can be tracked every week -- and it’s really helpful to keep up with them on a weekly basis. You can generate reports from templates or you can customize them.
TweetDeck is the divine data king for Twitter. It has a visual dashboard that allows you to manage multiple Twitter profiles at the same time.
Who should use TweetDeck?You don’t have to be a data nerd or a social media guru to use TweetDeck. It’s well-integrated with the Twitter platform, so it’s fairly straightforward for any user that wants more insights on their Twitter performance.
When should it be used?TweetDeck is only for, well… tweets! So it’s not a useful tool for someone who wants insights on a slew of different social platforms. It can be used daily or weekly to gain insights on various Twitter profiles.
There’s a whole world of social media tools waiting to be used. Some are for beginners and some are for experts, but there’s something out there for everyone. The next time you’re scrolling on one of your profiles, you might consider looking into one of these tools to make the job easier and more fun. Good luck and happy posting!