Social media can not only elevate a brand, it can help companies increase leads and ultimately sales. Companies want to take advantage of this, but many do not see a clear path toward using social media for these goals. Social media management can suck up resources as company employees monitor and bolster the brand on various social media platforms. So the question arises, is there a way to automate social media? The real answer is both yes and no. No matter how many tools are developed, it is still necessary to interact with followers via live and individualized responses. That is the reason they are called social networks. Companies should be social on social media. Yes, there are programs out there that will help you schedule at the optimal time, create an entire queue of posts, post across social networks, make if/then logic actions, and create generic auto responses. At Boomtown, we are constantly testing these new social media automation tools out to see if they really economize the time required on social networks. Below are our top choices that may help streamline a company’s efforts on social media.
Most Used Automation Tool: Hootsuite
Biggest pro: Access to many social networks. The primary advantage to using Hootsuite is that it connects to more social networks than any other such tool with which I am familiar. Hootsuite connects with prominent networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as Instagram, Foursquare, WordPress.com, and lesser known sites, such as Mixi.
Biggest Cons: Interface can be confusing and a long learning curve. Advantages for some Hootsuite users can become drawbacks for others. For instance, having so many social networks and profiles appearing in the interface, especially at the Pro level, can get confusing given the fact there is so much activity taking place within any one tab. This makes the dashboard a bit overwhelming and not really intuitive. Another con, is that the cost of membership quickly escalates, as more users are added.
Best for Posting to Employee Profiles: Buffer
Biggest Pros: Easy to use and set up multiple queues with tagged links for tracking. Why is it so easy? There is a buffer extension for Chrome allowing you to share links, pictures and videos from wherever you are on the web. The extension also allows you to choose the single composer option or power scheduler where you can post the same thing multiple times over a specific period of time. The analytics showing best performing posts makes reposting popular posts convenient. The other cool part about Buffer, it that it is free for life to all users connecting three profiles.
Biggest Con: Instagram. Unfortunately, with Buffer it is necessary to install an app on your phone to post Instagram photos. This is a bit cumbersome and it requires that the Instagram owner provide access to individuals, not just teams.
Best for Integrating WordPress Blogs: Co-Schedule
Biggest Pros: The ability to write the blog from Co-Schedule and the ability to use re-queuing. This tool has a great interface for individual users and teams to build out posting schedules and campaigns focused around blog articles. Another great feature is you can analyze the blog headlines for their viral quality. Pretty neat. Not many tools out there aside from Hubspot will do the same. And possibly the coolest part of this tool: the re-queuing. The program will automatically repost the best performing posts at optimal times for you! This gives you the ability to get all the life out of a post that you can get, automatically.
Biggest Cons: It’s a bit expensive for smaller businesses. What we found was the biggest drawback is the price. The base price is $79/month, which is arguably worth it because of the blog integration and re-queuing.
Best for Instagram: OnlyPult
Biggest Pros: This tool allows you to post from your desktop. Instagram wants to ensure that it remains a social network built around a user’s photos taken from their phones. As a result, Instagram puts restrictions on posting from the desktop. This is the very reason many social media tools do not offer this feature. And those that do offer “Instagram posting” require that you download a phone app that syncs with the desktop app to post the images. Another neat feature, is the ability to schedule the first comment. Giving you the ability to keep the Instagram Post’s caption hashtag free. Yippee!
Biggest Con: Only for Instagram. Yes, this is a pretty sweet tool for Instagram, but it ends there. I recently spoke with their tech team, and they told me they plan on adding the other social network platforms within the year.
Yes, we know that we left out a lot of different apps that people use. There are tons. But these are the top choices that the team at Boomtown trusts, and would recommend to most small to midsize companies. If you have any questions about using social media automation tools such as Tead Edgar, IFTTT, Social Sprout, Tweetdeck, Crowdbooster and Hubspot, contact us. We are happy to tell you the real pros and cons that their websites typically leave out.