Social media scheduling tools allow users to create social media posts that will appear at a later date. We researched more than 20 scheduling tools in terms of cost, features, ease of use, and compatibility with the biggest social media platforms in order to determine the top six scheduling tools and the best tool overall.
Top 6 Social Media Scheduling Tools
|Social Report||(Best Overall) Small businesses looking for affordability, ease of use and extensive reporting|
|Buffer||Small teams that want to track the popularity of specific posts.|
|Sprout Social||Companies focused on robust social media performance reporting|
|Hootsuite||Businesses that need an overview of multiple social media accounts at one time|
|Agorapulse||Teams collaborating on content and planning of social media posts|
|MavSocial||Brands that use mainly image-centered social media posts|
How We Evaluated Social Media Scheduling Tools
Social media scheduling tools allow businesses to schedule posts to various social media platforms for later publication, which alleviates the stress of rushing to get posts out. To assist in finding the best social media scheduling tool, we analyzed several options based on cost, reporting functionality, content types supported, and ease of use.
Here are our primary evaluation criteria:
- Cost: Social media scheduling tools should be available at a price that is affordable for small- to medium-sized budgets
- Analytics and reporting: The tools we reviewed should offer creative, relevant post data that helps improve overall social media marketing performance
- Content types: We looked at what types of content these tools allow users to schedule, including multiple images at once, videos, and animated GIFs
- Social media platforms: We wanted to find tools that allowed users to schedule on all the major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- Ease of use: Social media scheduling tools should be easy to use, ensuring that you save time
Based on the criteria listed above, our pick for the top social media scheduling tool is Social Report. Social Report is best for small businesses looking for affordability, ease of use, and extensive performance reporting. It boasts a remarkably intuitive interface perfect for small businesses interested in launching a social media marketing program without the steep learning curve.
Best Overall Social Media Scheduling Tool for Small Business: Social Report
Social Report is a turnkey social media scheduling tool best for small businesses looking for affordability, ease of use and extensive performance reporting. We chose Social Report as our best overall option because it offers scheduling services for all major social media networks, along with comprehensive reporting and additional features like marketing automation starting at an affordable price of $49 per month. Choose Social Report if you are wanting a complete, all-in-one social media marketing platform.
Social Report Pricing
Social Report ranges in price from $49 to $199 per month. It is $49 per month for five brands, five users and 25 social media profiles. It is $99 per month for 10 brands, 10 users and 50 social media profiles. The largest plan is $199 per month for 20 brands, 200 users and unlimited social media profiles. All the plans include a 30-day free trial, so you can use the platform and cancel the service if you decide it doesn’t fit your needs.
Social Report Features
Social Report offers a comprehensive dashboard that allows you to see all the social media platforms you are managing and how many posts are scheduled. On Social Report, you can also create detailed reporting on how your social media marketing is performing, including comparing your growth on one social media platform to another. Social Report also includes keyword searches and some marketing automation.
Social Report allows you to post multiple images and links to videos but not upload your own videos as a scheduled post. It also allows you to schedule content up to 120 days in the future.
Social Media Platforms
Social Report works with all the major platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. It stated that it is looking to add other platforms like Snapchat in the future.
Analytics and Reporting
Social Report offers in-depth analytics that allow you to track the by-post engagement of your Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, along with your business reviews and website and blog visits. You can take the important metrics and information from your reporting dashboard on Social Report and export it so that you can share it with your team members. You can export to an .xls (Excel) file and .pdf as standard options.
Social Report’s Ease of Use
Social Report offers one of the best user experiences of all of the tools we reviewed. Once you sign up for an account, you will be guided by pop-ups on how to connect your social media accounts and where to click to schedule a new post or create a report.
What Social Report Is Missing
Social Report doesn’t offer any content ideas on its platform, so all the content you will create and schedule on its platform must come from you or your team. Social Report doesn’t deliver any reports automatically, so you will need to run reports whenever you need them. It also doesn’t have the most robust mobile app for its platform.
What Users Think About Social Report
Most users who have left reviews for Social Report on G2 Crowd seems to enjoy using it in their business. One user said that she has was able to use the tool right away and saw a drop in the amount of time it took her to schedule her social media posts. Another said that he appreciates that Social Report has combined both social media scheduling with good reporting in one platform.
The only negatives that were mentioned were that the mobile app is not as easy to use as using Social Report online and that the cover page for reports was hard to set up with a customer’s branding.
Where to Find Social Report
You can get started using Social Report by going to its pricing page, picking the plan that suits your needs and signing up. Once you sign up and enter your billing information, an automated “tour guide” will show you how to set up your dashboard and get started using Social Report for your social media scheduling and reporting.
Best for Tracking Specific Post Popularity: Buffer
Buffer is a social media management tool that is best for small teams that like to track the popularity of posts so that they can either reuse that content or post similar types of content. Buffer makes it easy to schedule posts on the major social media channels, track performance and manage all your accounts in one place. This tool is best for businesses that have social campaigns in place and want to adjust those campaigns for optimum performance.
Buffer offers a completely free plan that includes three social accounts. Buffer’s Pro plans start at $15 per month for eight social media accounts, $99 per month for 25 social media accounts, $199 per month for 50 social media accounts and $399 per month for 150 social media accounts. For most businesses that are only managing their own social media, the Pro Plan at $15 per month should be a good fit.
Buffer offers social media post scheduling on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Buffer also has a drag-and-drop list that allows you to move content easily from one spot in your calendar to another. It also has a report that shows the most popular and unpopular posts on each platform, with an option to “re-buffer,” or reuse, popular posts.
Buffer allows you to post multiple images on Instagram and Facebook and to share links. However, Buffer does not allow you to upload your own videos as a scheduled post. It also allows you to schedule content up to 90 days in the future — a bit less than Social Report.
Social Media Platforms
Buffer works with all the popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. It is one of the oldest social media scheduling tools and, because of that, are often the first to add new platforms.
Analytics and Reporting
Buffer offers basic reporting that will allow you to track your social media growth (measured by followers) and post engagement. You can view these statistics by social media platform or as an overall report to show your growth. You can also export these reports to (.xls) Excel and .pdf as standard options.
Buffer’s Ease of Use
Once you sign up for an account and have attached the social media profiles that you want to schedule posts for, you can follow along with a pop-up that will guide you to how to use Buffer properly.
To schedule a post on Buffer, all you have to do is choose the platform, click “Create post,” and then choose one of two buttons — “Schedule” or “Post now.”
What Buffer Is Missing
Buffer only offers basic post and engagement reporting for your social media marketing. It doesn’t offer cross-platform comparisons or monitoring to see if your company is mentioned on social media. It also seems to get off the calendar sometimes and not post at the exact time you scheduled. Also, Buffer doesn’t allow you to post videos from its dashboard.
What Users Think About Buffer
Most users seem to enjoy the simplicity of Buffer and only complain that Buffer doesn’t offer more robust reporting. Most seem very happy with the tool, especially for the low cost.
The only negative reviews want Buffer to be slightly more comprehensive in its reporting and complain that Buffer sometimes loses connections to social accounts, which means scheduled posts don’t post to the social media profiles.
Where to Find Buffer
You can find Buffer by going to Buffer’s homepage. Once you are there, sign up for an account by either entering your email address or creating an account by connecting your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
“Buffer is my favorite social media scheduling tool, and I’ve been using their services for more than seven years. I love the simplicity of the interface and the ease with which you can post, schedule and analyze the content on all your social media accounts. It’s the ideal social media scheduler for solopreneurs, bloggers and small business owners.”
— Monu Rohila, Director, Hoho Media and infotainment Agency
Best for Robust Reporting: Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a social media management and scheduling tool best for companies that need robust and in-depth social media performance reporting, including follower counts, likes, messages, business mentions and demographic information. Sprout Social will track your company’s performance on all the major social media channels, and let you know if someone is talking about your business.
Sprout Social Pricing
Sprout Social’s pricing starts at $99 per user, per month for the Premium plan, which includes five social media profiles. The Corporate plan is $149 per user, per month, and it includes 10 social media profiles. The Enterprise plan is $249 per user, per month and includes 10 social media profiles, plus an advanced social listening suite that will allow you to monitor what is being said about your brand, company or industry on social media. All Sprout Social’s plans include a 30-day free trial.
Sprout Social Features
Sprout Social offers several unique features, such as a place to plan out your social media content according to brand initiatives and see an overall view of your publishing plans. Sprout Social also offers comprehensive reporting that includes rich social data, trend analysis and customized reporting tools. Additionally, Sprout Social creates contact records and notes for every person who interacts with a business’s profile through messages.
Sprout Social allows you to post multiple images on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Sprout Social will also allow you to upload your own videos as a scheduled post. You can schedule content up to six months in the future.
Social Media Platforms
Sprout Social works with all the popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. It also offers custom integration if you have another platform that you would like to schedule content on.
Analytics and Reporting
Sprout Social offers in-depth reporting that will allow you to track any mentions of your brand, company name or your industry on social media. You can also track social media growth and engagement, along with website visits. There are nine standard reports in the Premium plan and 22 in the Enterprise plan.
Sprout Social’s reports are effective because it provides an overview of your different profiles combined into one graph or shown separately. Its reports also break down the data by social media pages so you can see things such as total fans and followers, messages sent and link clicks for each profile. You can export these reports to an .xls (Excel) file and .pdf.
Sprout Social’s Ease of Use
Sprout Social has started to streamline its navigation to make the interface more intuitive for users. The bar at the top of the dashboard shows tabs for social media messages, platforms feeds, posts waiting to be published and reports.
It has some videos to make the learning process simple, but be sure to set aside some time to learn how the platform works before you want to start using it. Sprout Social does have a great customer service team to answer any questions if you get stuck.
What Sprout Social Is Missing
Sprout Social does require that each team member be added to his or her own account; you can’t share a login or add multiple people on one account. Sprout Social does not have a feature that allows for bulk uploading of posts or any type of bulk scheduling. Each post must be created one at a time.
What Users Think of Sprout Social
Most of the user reviews at G2 Crowd seem to be positive. Some of the negative reviews touch on how complicated it was to navigate, but that has since been streamlined on the dashboard. Some felt that the tools that Sprout Social offers might be made for bigger companies that want reports on every element of what is happening with their marketing, not for smaller businesses. The biggest complaint, however, is the cost, which is higher than many other social media scheduling tools.
Where to Find Sprout Social
You can find Sprout Social by going to its social media services page, scrolling to the bottom and clicking on “Request a demo” or “Start my free trial.” Either way, you will then need to choose the plan that suits your needs best and finish filling out the sign-up form. From there, you will be taken to the “Getting started” section of the dashboard where you can watch videos to learn more about the best ways to use Sprout Social.
Best for Viewing All Social Media Accounts in One Place: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a popular social media scheduling platform and a social media management too. it ibest for those who need an overview of multiple social media accounts at one time. Unlike most other platforms, Hootsuite allows you to see all your social media accounts — including scheduled posts and engagement — on one dashboard. Hootsuite also assists with monitoring when your brand is mentioned on any social media platform. Businesses with a strategic, multiplatform approach to social media marketing will want to use Hootsuite
Hootsuite offers a free plan for those who want to use it to schedule social media posts on fewer than three social profiles. After that, pricing starts at $29 per month for one user and up to 10 social media profiles and goes up to $599 a month for up to five users and 35 social media accounts. Hootsuite also offers custom enterprise pricing. If none of its plans fit your needs, you can talk to the company to create a plan just for you.
Hootsuite has several useful features other than social media scheduling. One of the most unique features is the ability to manage several accounts at the time on the Hootsuite dashboard. Other features include bulk scheduling, which allows you to upload several posts at a time via a spreadsheet and creating a contest or sweepstakes from the dashboard. It also allows the user to “boost” a post on Facebook right from the Hootsuite dashboard.
Hootsuite allows you to post images, but only one at a time. Hootsuite will convert images to a link that will post to social media platforms. It does not allow you to post video, except as an external link. However, it does allow for scheduling videos that will upload to your YouTube Channel.
Social Media Platforms
Hootsuite works with all the popular social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.
Analytics and Reporting
Hootsuite offers basic reporting that will allow you to track your social media growth and engagement. It will also allow you to choose specific keywords you would like to “listen” for on social media so that you can monitor what is being said about a topic or your company. You can view these statistics by social media platform or as an overall report to show your growth. You can export these reports to .xls (Excel) and .pdf files as standard options.
Hootsuite’s Ease of Use
Hootsuite is a relatively simple platform without extensive features, which makes it simple to use and easy to navigate. If you are unsure about how to use a specific feature, it offers an extensive FAQs section that can usually help solve any issues.
What Hootsuite Is Missing
Unlike other social media scheduling tools, Hootsuite cannot track and repost popular posts. Hootsuite also does not have a social media inbox to be able to respond to or track messages from the social media platforms, which means you need to log in to each platform manually to respond to messages. It also doesn’t allow you to schedule posts with more than one image in it at one time.
What Users Think of Hootsuite
Most users leave moderate reviews about Hootsuite on G2 Crowd. Users want a platform that keeps up with the changes in social media and looks more modern than Hootsuite’s dashboard. Some users also had a hard time getting their scheduled posts to post on Facebook as there have been ongoing problems with the integration of the Hootsuite and Facebook.
Where to Find Hootsuite
You can find Hootsuite’s free plan by going to its free plan page. If you want to sign up for one of the paid accounts, you can go to its plans page and choosing the plan you want, and then follow the prompts until you are signed up.
Best for Team Content Collaboration: Agorapulse
Agorapulse is a social media management tool that offers post scheduling across all the major social media networks, performance tracking and most notably, team collaboration. Agorapulse has a more extensive feature list than competitors like Buffer and Hootsuite, for a slight increase in price. Try Agorapulse if you want a comprehensive social media management tool, plus the option to create engaging contests and quizzes at an affordable price.
Agorapulse has three pricing plans. The Small plan is $49 per month for one user and three social media profiles. The Medium plan is $99 per month with 10 social media profiles and 10 users. It also has an Enterprise plan that goes up to $299 per month for 12 users and 40 social media profiles. All of Agorapulse’s plans include a 14-day free trial offer that can be canceled at any time.
Agorapulse has some unique features, which include the ability to collaborate with your team members on ideas for content and possible posts for the future and offer your comments or suggestions on a calendar made specifically for collaboration. It also has a social inbox, so that you can respond to messages or mentions on Facebook and Twitter from the dashboard of Agorapulse.
Agorapulse allows you to post multiple images on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If you want to schedule videos, you will need to do so as a link as Agorapulse does not upload videos from its scheduling dashboard.
Social Media Platforms
Agorapulse works with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Agorapulse can also help you manage these platforms by allowing you to tag, assign, approve and flag posts before they are published.
Analytics and Reporting
Agorapulse offers in-depth reporting on how you are performing on social media. The reports can give you data on the influencers that follow you, the best posting times, your most popular posts and your audience demographics, along with growth and engagement. Reports can be exported to PowerPoint slides as well as .pdf and .xls (Excel) formats.
Agorapulse’s Ease of Use
Agorapulse is a robust social media management platform but is laid out smartly, making it easy to choose the action you are looking to take. Some users seem to have problems setting up Agorapulse, even if they have used similar platforms before.
What Agorapulse Is Missing
Agorapulse doesn’t have the option to do any type of bulk uploading of content. It also doesn’t allow you to schedule posts with more than one image in it at one time. While it does offer a social inbox to monitor messages and mentions on Facebook and Twitter, it doesn’t offer this for Instagram.
What Users Think of Agorapulse
Most users leave rave reviews about Agorapulse on G2 Crowd. Since it is a robust platform that is updated frequently and the ease of use is excellent, most people enjoy using it. There are, however, a few users that complained about customer service not being helpful or not responding in a timely manner.
Where to Find Agorapulse
You can start using Agorapulse by going to its social media marketing page, choosing the plan that meets your requirements, and then follow the prompts to get started. If you have any questions, Agorapulse also offers free demo calls, so you can see what it can do before committing to a specific plan.
Best for Businesses That Use Visual Social Media Marketing: MavSocial
MavSocial is a visual-centric scheduling tool best for companies that focus on sharing beautiful images and graphics on social media platforms, such as companies that sell products. The platform will allow you to search for trending topics and keywords as well as see what is most popular right now on social media.
MavSocial pricing starts at $19 per month for one user and up to 10 social media profiles. It also offers a Pro Plan that is $78 per month for three users and up to 30 social media profiles. All of MavSocial’s plans include a 14-day free trial.
MavSocial offers some features that most other social media management tools don’t have. One of these is a library of precreated content that you can search through, customize and share. It also allows you to assign a specific team member to answer incoming messages from a particular platform. MavSocial can run robust analytics reports on engagement.
As MavSocial is focused on images; it allows you to use templates and pre-curated content to design your posts. It boasts millions of images in its stock image library and allows you to import your own images for customization. MavSocial also works with infographics, GIFs and videos.
Social Media Platforms
MavSocial works with up to six social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Tumblr. A social inbox allows you to manage messages from users and followers easily.
Analytics and Reporting
MavSocial can create reports based on time, campaign, network or individual post so that you know what’s working. Track engagement history, messages, and comments from a single dashboard. You can create .xls (Excel) or .pdf versions of these reports or email the reports directly.
MavSocial’s Ease of Use
MavSocial is a social media management platform that offers many features, but it is laid out in a user-friendly way that makes navigating it simple and easy. The only feature that is less easy to use is the “Approval” feature. This is a setting that allows a manager to require posts to get approval before being ready to go live. It sometimes doesn’t work as intended with posts going live before approval or not triggering a message that posts are ready to be approved. According to MavSocial, it is currently working on refining this process.
What MavSocial Is Missing
MavSocial does not offer a bulk scheduling option for posts but says that it is in the works and will include visual-only sites like Instagram. Even though MavSocial says that it works with visual marketing, it doesn’t work with Pinterest yet, though this feature is supposed to be added in the near future.
What Users Think of MavSocial
Many users think that MavSocial is the best platform for the price that is offered on the market. The only recurring complaint was regarding the reporting not being up-to-date. However, users have stated that customer service is extremely helpful in solving any problems or answering questions.
Where to Find MavSocial
You can find MavSocial by going to its services page and choosing the plan that meets your needs, and then you can just follow the prompts to get started. If you have any questions, MavSocial also offers free demo calls, so you can see what it can do before committing to a specific plan.
The Bottom Line
Social media scheduling tools allow businesses to plan for future posts, collaborate with their teams, and run reports, all of which save time and increase social media marketing performance and success.
After careful evaluation, Social Report was determined to be the social media scheduling option for most businesses. It offers social media scheduling, detailed reporting and marketing automations at a price suitable for any small business budget.