What are the best social media scheduling tools?

16 May 23

Are you looking for a social media scheduling tool but have no idea where to start? Do you feel there’re just too many out there and you’re unsure of which is the best?

Finding the right tool can be difficult, even overwhelming. To help with this we’ve collated an honest review, looking at 4 popular scheduling tools, so you can decide which tool is best for you and your company.

In this article, we’ll look at the factors that matter including each platforms capabilities and pricing. The platforms reviewed include:

What is a social media scheduling tool?

Social media scheduling tools are used by marketers to organise, schedule, and maintain their social media platforms.

Gone are the days of manually posting everything. Now, you can schedule all your posts to go out ahead of time, removing the worry of missing a post’s intended release time.

So, what tools are out there and which one(s) could meet all your scheduling needs? Below, we’ve created a brief comparison of each to help you decide.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite allows you to publish, track and monitor all your social media channels in one place. It’s a popular tool with over 19,369 companies using it to manage their social media channels.

  • Features

    On Hootsuite, all your social media channels are put into one large, organised calendar. It has a range of useful features such as a customisable dashboard for managing your social feeds and an analytics tool to monitor engagement.

    Hootsuite collects data such as the best time to publish posts so you can improve your posts’ engagement. It also collates all your mentions and messages into one data stream.

    Users also get access to a media library that can be integrated with Canva to streamline the overall process of creating and posting, so this could be a handy option for Canva users.

  • Reporting

    Hootsuite has a built-in analytics reporting system to monitor your posts and understand what is working for you and what isn’t. The system is straightforward, providing data on metrics like impressions, likes and engagement.

    However, exporting data is limited as you can only export the information as a PDF, meaning you can’t feed it into visualisation platforms like Looker Studio.

    Hootsuite’s reporting is also price based, meaning the level of detail you can add to your report is dependent on what type of payment plan you’re on. So, users who go for a cheaper package may find that they’re highly limited.

  • Pricing

    Hootsuite doesn’t have a free version, although it does offer a 30-day free trial and a range of price options. The pro plan is £89/month and allow users to manage up to 10 different social media accounts.

    At every payment level, you’re offered an unlimited amount of scheduling, so you don’t need to worry about how much you’re posting.

    If you’re interested in finding out more about Hootsuite’s payment plans check it out here.

  • Usability

    Hootsuite is super easy to use, especially for those with little experience in content management systems. It’s an intuitive design, but there are also helpful guides on using the platform.

    The customisable dashboard makes it easy to stream all your different channels’ information into one place, including your posts, messages and mentions.

    One of Hootsuite’s main strengths is that you can post to a huge range of channels. It can connect to:

    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • TikTok
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
    • YouTube

    However, Hootsuite can’t post stories or other temporary posts and doesn’t have the capability to tag personal accounts in posts – meaning posts may need to be edited once they’re live.

Want help looking for the perfect scheduling tool for you?

Sprout Social?

With over 30,000 brands using Sprout Social, it’s one of the most popular social media scheduling tools.

It does all the things most scheduling tools do, but it offers users a little bit more.

  • Features

    Sprout Social has features such as social listening and a customisable reporting system that can support your social media needs. Like Hootsuite, it provides recommendations for posting times, hashtags and tracks engagement on your posts.

    It also has unique features such as a smart inbox and message tagging, where you can quickly respond to the direct messages on all your accounts in one place. You can also group and categorise messages to match your team’s workflow.

    Message scheduling is also a key feature of Sprout Social, which is where you can schedule direct messages to selected accounts to make sure that your followers are updated with the latest information.

    Discovery is one of the more coveted features of Sprout Social as it presents a list of your followers, people who your account has interacted with and accounts who have tagged you in posts. This list helps you monitor your audience and people who engage with your brand.

    Sprout Social also has the option to create chatbots that can automatically respond to incoming messages.

  • Reporting

    Sprout Social has a strong reporting system that pulls in all the data you need to help your social media accounts grow. They have no hidden fees, so you can have access to the full reporting system and start posting based on informed data.

  • Pricing

    Sprout Social doesn’t have a free option, but it does offer a free 30-day trial option. After that, you must choose from a variety of paid options, ranging from $249- $499/month.

    With the most expensive package, you have access to Sprout Socials’ social listening features, premium analytics, and employee advocacy solutions to amplify your brand’s organic reach.

    It’s easily one of the most expensive tools out there so it does beg the question if it’s really worth the cost. Honestly, it depends on your company and what you want to use it for.

    While it does provide a great service, it might not be suited for a small company or new marketers who are just learning about their audience. This tool is better suited to bigger companies and more experienced marketers.

    If you want to learn more about Sprout Social’s pricing click here.

  • Usability

    Generally, the tool’s interface is very user-friendly with a simple and intuitive design. The platform has a huge range of accessibility to different channels, even having the capability to schedule Instagram stories and other temporary posts.

    It can connect to a large range of platforms including:

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Reddit
    • YouTube
    • Tumblr

    For their full list check it out here:

    A popular feature of the tool is the smart inbox which pulls all the social media account inboxes into one place so you can talk to all your followers with ease. This inbox has a filter and tagging option, allowing you to sort through relevant messages quickly.

    One of the main usability downsides is that while the interface is easy to use, it’s not easy to customise. So, if you’re looking for a tool that you can organise exactly how you want it, Sprout Social probably isn’t the one for you.

Iconosquare

This tool is used by over 20,000 marketers globally, making it one of the more popular scheduling tools.

It takes things one step further than regular scheduling tools by attempting to integrate the whole social media post creation process into one platform.

  • Features

    Iconosquare allows you, your colleagues or clients to approve, reject and leave feedback on posts before they go live. This is quite a unique feature that the other tools don’t offer.

    This tool also allows you to keep an eye on your competitors, who you can identify through Iconosquare and then monitor through the hashtags they use and posts they interact with.

    Like the other tools, Iconosquare also focuses on managing your social conversations, but it also offers translation software so you’re able to translate comments in other languages all on your desktop.

  • Reporting

    Iconosqaure’s main strength is in the reporting, it’s primarily an analytical tool that tracks a whole range of social media engagement.

    Iconosquare tracks:

    Community analytics: The different types of demographics interacting with your social media posts. Factors such as age, gender, language, and location are all considered when building audience segments.
    Content distribution: How the content is spread across platforms and how much of it’s seen by your audience.
    Engagement: Post engagement is tracked and measured by the number of likes, reactions, comments and shares an individual post gets.
    Impressions: The number of users who have seen the post.
    Profile activity: The number of users who visit the profile page and how they got there.
    If you want to find out more about Iconosquares tracking check out their website here.

  • Pricing

    Iconosquare doesn’t have a free option, but it does have a 14-day free trial and subscriptions ranging from €49 – €139, with the options to pay monthly or annually.

    There are few differences across the packages, but the most expensive option offers customisable dashboards, advanced analytics and reporting, post approvals, and the option to promote individual posts.

    Unfortunately, most experienced users have found that this platform is a slightly too expensive for the kind of features the platform offers.

  • Usability

    Interestingly, Iconosquare is one of the few services that posts on TikTok, despite it sky rocketing in popularity. If TikTok is part of your marketing strategy, then maybe Iconosquare is the right tool for you.

    In total, Iconosquare can connect with the following platforms:

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • TikTok

    Are you looking for the right social media platform to market to your audience but aren’t sure which one is best for you? Our article on the best social media platforms might help.

Co-Schedule

Co-Schedule is made up of four main areas; the Marketing Calendar, Marketing Suite, Headline Studio, and the Actionable Marketing Institute.

This article will be focusing mainly on its scheduling tool, the Marketing Calendar.

  • Features

    Co-Schedule helps you visualize your content and plan ahead, as well as analytics tools to help you track engagement and make data-driven decisions.

    Plus, Co-Schedule integrates with other popular marketing tools like Google Analytics and WordPress, making it a versatile and powerful tool for any marketer or social media manager.

  • Reporting

    Co-Schedule has a simple reporting system to monitor the usual social media metrics. It allows you to compare different channels to each other and see which one is working best for you.

    The reports are easy to use and read, and you can create customised reports to present to your team’s.

  • Pricing

    In contrast to the other platforms in this article, Co-Schedule only has two price options. The first one is free, and the second is $29/month. This means that Co-Schedule is considerably cheaper than the other tools in this article.

    The free plan includes basic features such as the ability to schedule posts, a social media calendar, and basic analytics.

    The paid plan offers features such as bulk social media scheduling, social media automation, campaign templates and much more. To see the full list of features, head to the Co-Scheduling pricing page here.

  • Usability

    The great thing about Co-Schedule is the platform’s drag-and-drop functionality which allows you to easily schedule posts and plan your social media calendar, while its analytics tools help you to track engagement and get the most out of your efforts.

    The main downfall with Co-Schedule is that it only connects to a few social media channels;

    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • Instagram
    • Pinterest

    While this is very limiting, it’s arguably good value for money. It means that this scheduling tool is great for new marketers and small businesses as it provides all your basic scheduling needs, potentially for free.

What would you recommend?

  • Hootsuite

    If you’re new to social media, then Hootsuite might be the right tool for you. With its user-friendly platform and intuitive design, it’s one of the better tools for a new marketer trying to get to grips with social media and scheduling.

  • Sprout Social

    Sprout Social seems to have it all. Not only is it a strong scheduling tool, but it also offers excellent social listening features. However, it’s the most expensive tool on this list, which could be an issue for many companies.

    It’s not well suited for smaller companies or start-ups who are just starting out on social media, so it’s a better choice for more experienced marketers.

  • Iconosquare

    Iconosqaure as a tool is best suited towards social media reporting and analytics. While its works well as a standard scheduling system, that is not its main strength. If you’re looking for a tool that is well-informed and can give you a good understanding of your audience, then this might be the right tool for you.

  • Co-Schedule

    For those new to post-scheduling or social media marketing, Co-Schedule is a great first platform to try out to help you figure out what you need from a social media scheduling tool.

    With its free option and access to the core four (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest) this tool could be ideal for smaller companies and new marketers who are just starting out.

The next steps

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the top social media scheduling tools, and you are armed with the information to make the right decision for your company, but if you’re still on the fence, why not try them out?

All these tools offer a free trial period so why not give them a go? It’s important that you find the tool that is most suited to your needs.

If you’re a Medical Device marketer and you still have questions about social media, why not have a look at our articles on:

4 tips for Medical Device social media success

10 Medical Device marketing mistakes on social media

Social media with Podymos

Do you want to communicate more effectively with HCPs and patients? Do you want to be able to deliver high-quality social media campaigns as part of your larger multichannel marketing strategy? You’ve come to the right place.

Podymos is a healthcare marketing agency, specialising in downstream Medical Device marketing.

We’re more expensive than non-specialised agencies and freelance teams because we only work in the Medical Device space so we have specialist knowledge and experience that other agencies may not be able to offer you.

If you want high-quality, compliant campaigns that help achieve your business goals, we’d love to hear from you. Simply leave us your contact details below and we’ll get back to you very soon for a no obligation chat.

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