Choosing the right social media post scheduling software is a crucial decision to ensure social media marketing success. Failing to properly investigate your options could mean you are locked into a potentially pricey software subscription with a product that doesn’t meet your needs. With global companies using everything from Instagram to Twitter and YouTube to using Facebook for marketing based on their varying social media demographics, the ability to efficiently schedule and manage social media posts is essential. However, social media marketing as a team requires more than this simple functionality.
Any business engaging in social media marketing knows that a robust social media dashboard is critical for your efficiency and ROI when engaging in social media. I have gone through several dashboards as I have been doing social media marketing for more than a decade now, and if you have been following my always updated recommended list of social media tools, you’ll know that I currently use AgoraPulse for my social media post scheduling software.
If you are planning to use a social media post scheduling interface to accelerate growth for your business this year, following are the top 20 features you should look for when choosing the right software provider for your company. Note that there probably isn’t one solution that can do all of these things, but these are some features you should keep in mind when doing a social media tools audit, something I honestly recommend you do on a quarterly basis due to the continued innovation in the space.
Social Media Post Scheduling Software: Basic Social Network Management and Content Functionality
Multiple Social Network Management
This should be a know-brainer, but considering the plethora of social networks that exist, multi-channel management is a critical component to look for when choosing social media post scheduling software. To increase your social media marketing ROI, an automation tool should allow you to monitor and post content to multiple social media networks. At a bare minimum, the scheduling software you are investigating should work with major social networking platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Business Pages). Some tools will go beyond that to include Pinterest and even Google My Business. Be aware of all the social platforms your business is currently using to interact with customers and then consider whether the scheduling software you are investigating will integrate into your existing social media marketing strategy.
The Unified Inbox
The other core feature that your social media dashboard must have is the Unified Inbox approach to managing mentions and messages your team receives in social media. Most social media post scheduling software also include components of a general social media dashboard, so being able to see all of your incoming messages in one place – and being able to easily toggle from one social network / account to another – as social media users engage with your content is critical.
Once you have the platforms down, the next thing you want to look at is the content tagging aspect. Whether it’s the option of scheduling social media posts using categories or tags of content, you will want to efficiently manage your “Content Buckets” to ensure that your scheduled posting is aligned with your content marketing calendar. Reports that offer insight into which content tags and categories outperform others is another possibility should your platform offer this functionality.
Toggling Between Scheduling One-Time and Evergreen Content Posts
Since you are scheduling posts in advance, the next question is: Is your content considered a one-time post or more of an evergreen tweet where you don’t mind scheduling it to post multiple times depending on the social network with an optional expiration date should the content be not-so-evergreen. Social media post scheduling software functionality varies greatly vis a vis this capability, so make sure you do your homework to find the right tool that meets your needs.
Various Social Media Post Scheduling Methods
The core of your dashboard will be the scheduling of posts, so make sure that the social media dashboard you choose allows you to schedule posts using a variety of methods such as direct input, CSV upload, RSS import, or even the potential to access a list of curated content prepared for you or schedule content from your own Pocket account.
Social Media Post Scheduling Calendar Management
Social media calendar management is essential for effective audience engagement. Make sure the scheduling software you are reviewing allows you to schedule several weeks in advance. The ability to view multiple calendars by content type or tag and add new entries from both your mobile and laptop device is critical for increase social media marketing ROI. This is one feature in which social media post scheduling software tools will differ in their approach, so make sure you test this feature thoroughly and are comfortable with the social media tool you plan to invest in.
Content Library Tracking
When you are choosing social networking scheduling software for your company, make sure the interface you are investigating offers content library tracking. Your social media marketing team needs to be able to access elements from your library immediately and be able to instantly see which brand assets are at their disposal. There is no need to create new brand assets from scratch when you already have similar company assets in your social media content library. This is especially true for your visual content marketing.
Social Media Post Scheduling Software: Analysis & Reporting Functionality
Performance reporting is absolutely essential when choosing social media post scheduling software for your company. Efficient social media marketing software doesn’t just let you schedule posts, but also helps you understand which engagement and content on which platforms are working and which marketing initiatives need tweaking. Social media reporting tools are critical for creating detailed reports for your marketing team and for proving return-on-investment to the rest of your business growth team. Note that each social network offers rich analytics inside their platforms for you to view, so look for value-add that the tool is providing.
Real-Time Data Analysis
If you are going to invest in social media post scheduling tools for your company, make sure the software you are considering offers real-time data analysis. You want to be able to track campaigns in real time and monitor the engagement rate of your posts as soon as your posts are live. Real-time data analysis can help you spot social media marketing trends before your competitors and can help you discover marketing opportunities others miss.
Keyword and hashtag analytics are another essential feature you should look for when choosing social media post scheduling software. Not only do you want to be able to monitor Twitter trending hashtags, you want to be able to track keywords specific to your industry and target audience. Look for detailed analytics reporting capabilities to make the most of your business’ social networking strategy.
Brand Mention Analytics
Brand mention analytics should also be available via the social media post scheduling software you choose. Brand mention analytics help you discover engagement opportunities in real time and avoid social media mistakes that can be detrimental to your brand. Anything from a typing error on a Facebook social media post to inadvertently using the wrong user-name handle on Twitter can cause your brand to be mentioned in a negative manner. With real-time brand mention analytics at your disposal, you can correct your faux pas in record time.
Engagement analytics are a critical component of effective social media marketing. Before signing up for a social media SaaS solution (software as a service), make sure the interface you are considering offers extensive engagement analytics. Not only do you want to be able to monitor engagement rates with your content, you want to be able to create custom reports for your team based on specific data requirements.
An absolutely crucial component to look for when choosing the best social media post scheduling software for your business is the ability to track multiple social media campaigns. Make sure the business scheduling software you are considering lets you track campaign interactions and generate reports. The more extensive your campaign tracking capabilities are, the likelier it is your business will find social media marketing to be a profitable venture.
Social Media Post Scheduling Software: Collaboration Functionality
Task management tools are vital when choosing the right social media post scheduling interface for your business. Task management tools should include everything from social media post scheduling to re-posting content and adding visual marketing images to your posts. The more diverse your task management tools, the more you are likely to get out of the social media post scheduling software you choose.
The social media post scheduling interface you choose should offer workflow management tools to your team. Features like post scheduling, post approval, calendar viewing, and engagement reporting should all be available to your team for maximum efficiency. The more efficient your workflow management tools, the likelier it is you will find that social media post scheduling helps increase your engagement rate online. While this is related to Task Management, Workflow Management should give you a 360 degree view as to the current status of your tasks and general workflow to make sure there are no blockages in your system.
Assuming that your social media team is larger than just you, be sure the software you are considering offers a detailed permission management interface. While you might want your social media intern to be able to post basic content to your social media feeds, you may not want them replying to customers or changing passwords on your account. Before signing up for a social media post scheduling software subscription, make sure there are extensive permission management tools at your disposal.
Managing permissions is only one part of the picture when teams are working on social media for your company. If you want social media marketing to work for your brand, look for a scheduling tool that offers a collaboration interface. You want everyone from your sales manager to your marketing department to be able to collaborate in real time via your social media post scheduling software interface. Collaboration among multiple departments can have a huge impact on the success rate of your social networking campaigns. Shouldn’t the software you use make that collaboration easier?
Social Media Post Scheduling Software: Mobile Integration Functionality
When choosing scheduling software for your social media marketing efforts, make sure the software you are considering offers mobile alerts. You want to be notified immediately should your business encounter a social media mishap or become the victim of social media outrage online. Make sure multiple members of your management team can receive immediate social media alerts on their mobile devices.
Dedicated Mobile App
While this is not a must-have, since we discussed mobile alerts, having a dedicated mobile app means that you can monitor mentions and hashtags when you are outside your office, for instance on the road or at an event. I don’t expect social media dashboard apps to outperform those of their website, but it is a nice complementary feature to have.
Social Media Post Scheduling Software: Customer Support
Customer Support Escalation Tools
This isn’t a feature of the social media dashboard per se but it IS a feature of the company developing the dashboard. Customer support escalation tools are a core component of an effective social media post scheduling interface. You want to be able to instantly connect with customer support at your software provider’s office and have your concerns be dealt with in an expedient manner. Before starting a social media post scheduling software subscription, ask the tool provider whether they offer account escalation tools and whether there is an extra charge for access to those services.
These are the top 20 features you should look for when choosing the best social media post scheduling software for your business. Choose those features that you feel are critical for your company and then compare software providers against this extensive list to see how their services rate against competitors. The more effort you put into choosing the right social media post scheduling software, the likelier it is you will be happy with your final decision.
Did I miss any features that you would recommend for those looking for a dashboard? Please chime in!