I've used Hootsuite for more years than I can remember... so probably since 2014 (if it existed in 2014?). Recently, the free plan went from 1 user with 3 social profiles and 30 scheduled posts to 1 user with 2 social profiles and 5 scheduled posts. The paid plans start at $49/month. There's no way I can shell out $49/month for social media scheduling... Yet it takes a lot of my time. Time I could spend writing. That's the thing about being a writer these days. Especially Indie, digital only. Your target market is on social media so you need to be there too.
Social Media platforms with regular postings: Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; Pinterest; Blogger.
Social Media platforms used rarely or as read-only: YouTube; Snapchat; Goodreads; BookBub.
I need to be present on Social Media, but I also need time to write so it's a real conundrum in time management. With the changes to Hootsuite, I needed a new (or supplemental) Social Media Management Tool. I started doing some research... After a ton of research, I found three management tools with a free option that supported all the platforms I use.
Here are the contenders:
I schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest so all three tools meet my platform requirements.
After I set-up my accounts (only Agorapulse required email confirmation), I tried some posting. None of these choices have a Dashboard (overview look) like Hootsuite. Agorapulse and Planoly have a calendar you can view by channel while Buffer shows a daily agenda look (viewed by channel). You can also view Agorapulse's calendar by week.
I set-up Twitter and my two Facebook pages on Agorapulse. It was straightforward to set-up a post, and I could post to all three social profiles at once. Posts could be scheduled or posted immediately. Its interface was the most similar to Hootsuite.
On Buffer, I set-up Instagram and my two Facebook pages. Publishing was called "sharing" and you could select a pre-determined time slot, choose your own time, or share now. You could also customize the post per profile in the same place which was a convenient trick.
Planoly's interface is the most aesthetically pleasing of the contenders. I set-up Instagram and Pinterest. I was a little confused on how to draft a post, but then I realized I had to upload media first (add to grid for IG and add to library for Pinterest). Posts have to be composed separately for each profile, but that makes sense as Pinterest asks for different information for its pins. You also have the option to upload media into your library (and save for later) to plan your future pins (remember this counts in your upload limit). It shows both posted and scheduled posts for IG, including the number of hearts and comments. You can select custom or quick schedule.
This is my very, very initial assessment of these tools and, by no means, a comprehensive evaluation. I'll try them out for the rest of the month (at least), and let you know if I pick one to use exclusively or if I use them all. You have to be creative when you are a struggling writer (aka writer in the red). In the meantime, I'll keep writing and hoping to make enough of a profit someday so I can afford to pay for Social Media management.