Feeling ready to get ahead on your social media by scheduling some of it out? Awesome, good on you! Or maybe you’re falling out of love with your current social media scheduler tool or process?
Either way, you’re probably now feeling overwhelmed by all the options of social media schedulers.
That’s understandable. There are MANY options to choose from – where to even start?
We’ve got you covered in this quick breakdown of how to pick the best social media scheduler tool for your needs:
Step 1: Are you ready to find your favorite social media scheduler?
Before jumping into researching the different tools out there and going after the next shiny object, you want to be sure you actually need a (new) social media scheduler.
Are you batching content or planning on it? Posts accidentally missing because of human error? Are you trying to post more frequently?
These would be reasons to get a social scheduler.
Some problems that CAN’T be solved with a social media scheduler? For example, things like forgetting (or avoiding) to create content to schedule, having trouble finding your voice in your messaging, wanting someone else to write your captions. In other words, if these are where you are getting hung up, a scheduler may not be your fix, we suggest diving into those sticky points first before finding a (new) scheduling tool.
For instance, we knew it was time for a new one in our business when the current one we were using wasn’t able to keep up with our needs. Above all, social media platforms change often (which means our needs change often!) and schedulers need to adapt to that, or we have to move on.
So our ‘push point” was that our scheduler no longer posted to the places we needed (like Instagram Stories).
What’s your “push point”?
Step 2. What are “make or break” items for your social media scheduler?
Everyone’s needs for a social media scheduler are different, so take a few to jot down what comes to mind for your needs. This will be your evaluation criteria for which schedulers you even try. Your “make or break” list if you will.
Some things you might consider are:
- Which platforms will you need to post to?
- How many accounts do you have on each platform?
- How many posts will you need per month?
- What types of posts do you need to post (videos, carousels, stories)?
- How many users will need access?
- Will you need a review and approval process built in?
- Do you want to see a content calendar, layout, or have ideas suggested to you?
By thinking through what you hope the scheduler can do (or noting what’s not working about your current one that you hope the new one can) you’ll be able to narrow down your search much quicker based on your criteria (and trust us, that’s going to be important because there are A LOT of options).
Step 3: Make Your Must Have and Deal Breaker List
In every needs list there will be “must-haves” and “want-to-haves.” It’s handy to get clear on what is an absolute deal-breaker and what is a bonus on your list before you start looking.
Step 4: Make a List of the Best Social Scheduler Options
A scour of the internet will show you plenty of options for your new social scheduler. We recommend starting a bit smaller by asking around – do you know anyone who uses one they love? You’ll be less overwhelmed if you start with referrals.
If that’s not panning out, then try setting a timer and start narrowing your options (without a timer you’re much more likely to fall down a rabbit hole). There are tons of articles sharing lists of scheduling tools and their pros and cons – pick one, get a document ready to take notes and start looking at the schedulers’ “Features” pages.
The Features area is where you can quickly start to learn if the scheduler includes what you need (aka if it meets your evaluation criteria). The easiest way to track this is a document or spreadsheet. Put your evaluation criteria in rows and your potential options as columns.
If an option doesn’t have one of your must-have evaluation criteria, make a quick note of that in your document (trust us, you won’t remember why you said “no” to one later), and move on to the next.
Just a note here about finding the info you need to decide if you will do a trial run of a scheduler or not: sometimes you need to look a bit deeper in the help articles to see if a feature you need is available. A very common instance of this is that a scheduler says they post to Instagram, but in fact they only send you a push notification for you to post (as opposed to auto-posting). Often this detail is left out on the feature page and you can find the answer by reading the Support/Help articles or asking the chat. Be sure to look for wording that matches your evaluation criteria, dig deeper if you can’t find it, or if all else fails and you are interested in the scheduler you are looking at, see if there is a free trial to get your answer.
Step 5: Find your favorite social media schedulers and give them a try!
Don’t get carried away here, it can be easy to sign up for free trials, but hopefully you did your work in Step 1 of listing out your evaluation criteria, which made it easy for you to do Step 2 and narrow down your list to try!
We recommend you start with your top 2 options. After that, sign up for a trial and practice posting one of every type of post you will want to use it for (grid, stories, video, carousel, etc.).
Look back at your evaluation criteria list and check each item as you do the trial – is each a feature of this scheduler?
And take note of what works well for you, what’s annoying, how intuitive you find the platform, etc – your user experience is important too!
If after the trial of 1-2 options, you still aren’t satisfied, try another 1-2 until you find the fit!
Step 6: Trial and error is your best friend!
All schedulers take a little time to get used to, but hopefully by getting clear on what you need, narrowing down your options, and trialing a few, you were able to find one that feels right for you.
So which one felt right for us?
In the end of doing this process for ourselves, we found that Postoplan had the majority of the features we were looking for compared to others, was very easy to understand and use, and had a great, quick support team.
Feel free to give it a try if that sounds good to you too.
*Please note that is is an affiliate link, we receive a little something if you choose to try Postoplan through us, but the cost remains the same to you!
What didn’t quite make the cut?
In case you are curious about the other options we tried, that just weren’t a fit for us, here are some details on other common options that we researched or tried and why they weren’t the right choice for us in the end:
|Scheduler||Missing Feature for Us at FieryFX*|
|Agora Pulse||No direct Story or Carousel posting|
|Buffer||No direct Story posting|
|HelloWoofy||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Hey Orca||No video, Stories, or Carousel posting to Instagram|
|HopperHQ||No scheduling of Instagram Stories|
|Iconosquare||No LinkedIn or Twitter auto posting|
|LatelySocial||Can’t schedule multiple Stories to Instagram at a time|
|Later||No direct Carousel posting|
|Loomly||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Meet Edgar||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Oneup Social||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Planoly||No LinkedIn auto posting|
|PostCron||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Promo Republic||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|SEM Rush||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Sendible||No direct Story or Carousel posting|
|Smarter Queue||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Social Bee||No direct posting to Instagram (used push notification)|
|Social Oomph||No Instagram posting|
|Social Pilot||Publishes to Instagram through Zapier|
|Sprout Social||No direct Story posting|
|Zoho Social||No scheduling of Instagram Stories|
*Please note that these features were not available at the time of publishing, but providers are always updating their functionality, so things may have changed!