by Amanda Bradley
We all know that social media is one of the most effective ways to reach our students. However, in order to have a successful social media strategy, you need to be posting frequently and consistently. According to compiled data from 14 studies run by CoSchedule, organizations should be posting once per day to Facebook and LinkedIn, one to two times a day to Instagram, and a whopping 15 times a day to Twitter. Even staffs that have a dedicated marketing person needs to be scheduling posts to social media in advance in order to meet these recommendations and keep audiences engaged, while also coordinating with other marketing efforts and juggling multiple campaigns at once.
Luckily, there are plenty of social media management systems out there to choose from. Our office has been a long-time user of Hootsuite. However, Hootsuite has recently made changes to their free version, limiting the number of posts that can be scheduled at one time to 30. If we are following the recommended posting frequency listed above, that means we can only be scheduling about two days out. Although our office isn’t posting quite that much, we do usually have more than 30 posts schedule at a time.
This has led us to explore other options that are available. Below is a breakdown of the pros and cons of our top choices:
This platform can connect to over 35 popular social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
The pros: Hootsuite does offer a free version for those departments on a tight budget. Hootsuite has a customizable dashboard where you can add in your own streams like mentions, likes, or follow specific hashtags. Hootsuite allows you to select the date and time of your post, or use the autoscheduler to let Hootsuite pick the most optimal time for you. Hootsuite also supports the greatest number of social media platforms, so if your campus uses very niche social media, this might be the management system for you.
The cons: As mentioned earlier, the free version of this account is limited to only 30 scheduled posts at a time. You also can only schedule for three social profiles at a time on the free version. While you can save posts as draft, you cannot post the same content more than once without copying and pasting over and over.
The price: Going beyond the limited free version, Hootsuite starts at $19/month.
This platform works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn.
The pros: Agorapulse provides notifications in one inbox telling you of any interactions with each account. The dashboard for this platform is very organized and user friendly. This makes it easy to stay on top of conversations with your followers and quickly respond to any mentions. Agorapulse can also create an unlimited number of reports that can be easily exported for sharing. This platform also provides a queue function where you can share the same post multiple times without copying and pasting.
The cons: Agorapulse does not offer newsfeeds where you can repost/retweet content from within the dashboard.
The price: Agorapulse starts at $49/month or $468/year.
This platform works with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram
The pros: Like Agorapulse, Sprout Social allows you to sort through all comments, notifications, replies, etc. from all platforms in one inbox. This single stream inbox is helpful for those that are managing multiple accounts that can be hard to keep track of. Sprout Social also allows you to find posts and repost within the dashboard, saving tons of time. It also allows you to schedule posts manually or use the Viral Post tool to allow Sprout Social to post your content at the best time for you.
The cons: Unfortunately, Sprout Social does not offer more than a free trial. It is also the most expensive option listed here. Users have also reported that it is hard to connect to Instagram.
The price: Sprout Social is the most expensive option starting at $59/month.
This platform supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and Tumblr.
The pros: Similar to Sprout Social and Agorapulse, MavSocial allows you to review all of your social networks in one inbox. You also have the ability to reply, like, or retweet directly from the inbox. In my opinion, the biggest selling feature for MavSocial is the Digital Library that is available. Here is where you can upload and manage your own photos or videos as well as purchase photos from their stock image store. You can also edit photos and add filters or text in the built-in editing tool.
The cons: MavSocial can be a bit tricky when you are first getting started. The company does not currently offer tutorials, but does have a customer service team on call.
The price: Looking beyond the very limited free version, MavSocial starts at $19/month.
Do you have a platform that has been successful for you that is not listed above? Share it in the comments!