How to Automate Your Social Media

Automating the delivery of your social media saves a great deal of time and allows you to focus on the important parts of social media like interacting with others and responding to potential clients. It keeps your brand consistently available for your audiences even on the days that you are too busy to find and post content.

I usually use the weekends to find and schedule content for my social media channels. There are a couple of programs that I enjoy (or have used in the past) that I recommend to my clients.

1. Meet Edgar:

This app allows you to create a library of "evergreen" content that can be easily shared through facebook, linkedin and twitter. The best part about it is that you don’t have to manually refill this tool with posts. Meet Edgar does that for you by pulling from a library of preselected content and then applying that to the schedule you’ve created.

Pro's:

  • Meet Edgar is easy to use and allows you to import content through RSS feeds which simplifies your search for worthy content to share. The tool also makes it easy to reuse content.
  • One of their biggest selling points is that they don’t require you to manually select and schedule each new post, the tool does it for you. This can be a huge time saver!

Con's:

  • Unfortunately, Meet Edgar does not post to Instagram. One would assume that with Instagram playing such a huge role in social media marketing, every tool would be formatted to publish content there, but sadly that is not the case for this app.
  • Another con is that when you allow the app to autonomously post content, as opposed to manually scheduling the content yourself, the post shows up as "posted by Meet Edgar" on Facebook. This kind of puts a dimmer on that huge time saving selling point for people who don’t want their audience to know that they are using an automated tool to post their content.
  • The final con with this tool is the pricing. Starting at $49 per month, Meet Edgar is on the more expensive side of the spectrum when it comes to content scheduling tools. For many entrepreneurs every penny counts and the high monthly fee, combined with the fact that this tool doesn’t post to one of the most crucial social media sites for marketing, could be a huge deciding factor.

2. Hootsuite:

Hootsuite is one of the more widely known automated social media content tools. It’s been around for quite some time and many people appreciate the wide range of social media apps that the tool works with as well as the ability to interact with your audience by responding, retweeting, favoriting and liking comments.

Pro's

  • It's cheap. Hootsuite comes in on the lower end of the spectrum price wise with plans for single users that start at $20 and a $99 team plan  for up to 3 users.
  • You can add Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter (and 30 others). You can add up to ten account profiles with a single user plan which allows you to stay connected to everything.
  • The tool provides real-time analytics which allows you to see what content is working and what’s not. This is really valuable because it gives you automatic, consistent insight into what content is bringing you the most traffic which can really help you grow your audience.
  • It's a Canadian company! Definite a major pro ;)

Con's:

  • Unlike Meet Edgar, this tool requires you to manually schedule your posts. While it gives you control over when your audience experiences specific content, it can be pretty time consuming to have to do this every few days.
  • It takes some time to learn how to navigate the interface. Hootsuite is not as user friendly as some other automation tools. The company has a training platform that teaches how to use the interface and also how to think about social media marketing as a whole, but for someone who is looking for a more intuitive tool that they can just jump right into, this may not be the right fit.

3. Buffer:

Pro's:

  • The interface is clean and intuitive meaning you can sign up and jump right into using it in just a few minutes.
  • Buffer comes in at the lowest end of the spectrum when it comes to pricing. Like Hootsuite, they offer a free plan which gives access to the basic features of the tool and is great if you just want to try it out. Their plans start at $15 for a single user and their smallest team/business option starts at $99 just like Hootsuite but actually offers access to 25 social media accounts.
  • They’ve recently updated their analytics tool to include week to week performance comparisons. The tool provides charts that illustrate daily and weekly impressions which is extremely helpful when tweaking your posting schedule to optimize your reach.
  • Buffer allows other automation tools to connect to it. Depending on which tools you use, you can find ways to link the platform to your Instagram, Reddit, YouTube and so much more.

Con's:

  • Like Hootsuite, Buffer allows you to post from RSS feeds but is another tool that requires you to manually select scheduled posts. Once again, this can be time consuming.
  • Unlike Hootsuite, Buffer only supports 5 networks: Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.
  • You can’t interact with followers through this tool. Unlike Hootsuite, you can’t respond to comments, repost, or favorite/like through Buffer. The one exception is that you can schedule retweets but you have to do so through their browser or app plug-ins.

One thing is certain, automation tools can be a lifesaver when you’re juggling multiple accounts and choosing the right automation tool really just depends on what you’re specific needs are when it comes to social media management. Take some time to research and try out different platforms to see what works best for your brand.