Guide to PRPublic Relations

How Do You Pick the Best Social Scheduling Platform?

By July 12, 2016 July 16th, 2018 3 Comments

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.

I was recently given the task of choosing the best social publishing platform for our agency. I did my research, I was thorough, and I ultimately discovered each option has its own pros and cons. The best thing for me to do was choose which one I believed would fit our agency the best and give their free trial a go (all of the platforms mentioned here have free trials available).

Here is what I discovered about a few of the top options:

Hootsuite

Hootsuite seems to be one of the most popular platforms, which as a new user I found surprising because the setup is the most complex of the products I tried. The excessive columns and small side tabs can be confusing and have the potential to take more time to grasp. It connects to more social networks, but if you don’t need more than Twitter and Facebook, this may not be beneficial to you. Hootsuite allows for a large range of social accounts at a low price, which makes it a great choice for many agencies or large companies. In order to have access to the analytics though, you have to pay an additional fee per each report that equals out to your monthly fee for Sprout Social, if not more.

  • Pricing: Pro Plan ($10/month billed annually with up to 50 social accounts), Business Plan (must request more information), Enterprise Plan (must request more information)
  • Social Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, WordPress, & more
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Trial: Free 30 day trial, credit card required

Sprout Social

Sprout Social instantly felt more comfortable and easy to utilize. Instead of the overwhelming columns that Hootsuite has, Sprout Social is organized by tabs (messages, tasks, feeds, published, discovery, and reports). The homepage is loaded with analytics of each of your posts that are included in every plan offered. While the cost is definitely higher than others, you get a well-organized dashboard, a discovery feature for tracking follower interactions, analytics for all your posts, and more. Sprout Social recently partnered with Meltwater, so if you prefer keeping your platforms similar, this may be a good fit for you. 

  • Pricing: Deluxe Plan ($59/month with up to 5 social accounts), Premium Plan ($99/month with up to 10 social accounts), Team Plan ($500/month with up to 30 social accounts)
  • Social Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Trial: Free 30 day trial, no credit card required

Buffer

Similar to Sprout Social, Buffer is instantly easy to use. Buffer has a few interesting options that the other platforms do not. The first is Pablo, which allows you to search for stock photos provided by Unsplash and edit them for your posts. The second is Respond, which allows you to track and quickly respond to Twitter notifications. Although both of these features are nice to have, they may not be necessary for your agency or company. Buffer is run from a fully distributed team, meaning there is always someone around the world able to assist you if need be. They also have an amazing blog I highly recommend checking out.

  • Pricing: Awesome Plan ($10/month with up to 10 social accounts), Business Plan ($99-$399/month with 11-150 social accounts), Enterprise Plan ($899/month with 200+ social accounts)
  • Social Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Trial: Free 14 day trial, no credit card required

Social Draft

Social Draft allows you to view all scheduled posts on a calendar, which I think is the best setup for viewing your day by day posts. They have analytic reports of Facebook and Twitter that you can export to PDFs for download. One of Social Draft’s useful features for agencies is the Post Approval, where no posts go live until the account owner has approved of it, perfect for an agency’s review and approval process. Social Draft’s pricing seems problematic. There are two options, paying monthly or paying one annual fee. The annual fee saves you 50 percent, but what happens if you use it for a few months and decide you don’t like it? You’re stuck.

  • Pricing*: Solo Genius Plan ($15/month billed annually or $19/month billed monthly with up to 5 social accounts), Solo Super Genius Plan ($30/month billed annually or $39/month billed monthly with up to 10 social accounts), Solo Business Plan ($60/month billed annually or $79/month billed monthly with up to 25 social profiles), Team Genius Plan ($60/month billed annually or $79/month billed monthly with up to 10 social accounts), Team Super Genius Plan ($120/month billed annually or $149/month billed monthly with up to 25 social accounts), Team Business Plan ($300/month billed annually or $359/month billed monthly with up to 100 social profiles)
  • Social Sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Mobile App: No
  • Trial: Free 14 day trial, credit card required

HubSpot

If your agency and clients both use HubSpot, the HubSpot social publishing tool would be my first choice. It posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. HubSpot Publishing is similar to Social Draft in that you can view all of your scheduled posts in a calendar format, yet also similar to Sprout Social where you can view all of your scheduled posts in order of when they are scheduled. You can follow up with your scheduling on the HubSpot app and view analytic reports on all of the posts you have published. HubSpot gives you the best pieces of all other options combined into one platform, so if you have the access to use it, I recommend doing so. 

Ultimately, each platform is going to give you something a little different. Some are more expensive, some have more social networking sites available, some have an app, and some seem to lack bits and pieces of all of that. Our agency is currently working with HubSpot and Sprout Social and so far, Sprout Social seems to be well worth the money. I can schedule posts out as far as I want into the future, and follow up with them on the iOS app. Take time to think through your marketing goals and tactics to need to perform to reach them before you do your own research, and you will be more likely to find the platform that will work best for your social publishing needs.

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.

3 Comments

Leave a Reply