I am what I would call a social media purist. When it comes to posting on social media, I always prefer to do it natively, meaning within each separate social media that I‚Äôm posting on. This preference is a mixture of the way I was ‚Äúraised‚Äù as a social media marketer (because old habits die hard) but also because I like visiting each of my channels that I manage every day. If I have to visit each of my channels every day to schedule out content, I‚Äôm more likely to catch mistakes that might need to be edited in past posts or on the page itself, but more importantly I am seeing notifications of people‚Äôs interaction with my social channel and have the opportunity to respond as quickly as possible.
I‚Äôve been skeptical of Hootsuite, one of the most popular social media schedulers, since an image error in their system that was occurring a few years ago (because old impressions die hard), and that skepticism leaked over to other schedulers, including another popular one my team at Kinetix uses called Buffer.
These were all reasons that I laid out for my boss when he asked me earlier this year why I wasn‚Äôt using Buffer to do my scheduling. Unlike the rest of my team, I was still using Facebook to schedule Facebook posts; Twitter to schedule tweets; phone reminders to tell myself each day it was time to post on LinkedIn and Instagram. Albeit perhaps an archaic way of doing things, there was nothing inherently wrong in scheduling posts this way, but my boss was asking for a much more important reason‚Äîa reason that I had willfully turned a blind eye towards.
See, when you schedule a post through Facebook and Twitter, or post it directly on LinkedIn, the only analytics you can rely on are those that each social channel provides you with. And you have to collect each set of data from each of the social channels‚Äô analytics platform.
To put it into real world context, here‚Äôs where the struggle comes in:
Say you want to collect data for the past year on engagement for your social media posts. You have to visit each social channel and rely on whatever form they present their data in. Twitter and LinkedIn are kind and aggregate data for you; Facebook makes it seemingly intentionally difficult, because if you want individual ‚Äòlikes‚Äô counts for your posts, you have to go through each post and count them up, post by post.
When my boss came to me and asked me to do exactly this task, my blinders were lifted. Scheduling posts natively was not working, because the analytics through social channels are not always the most powerful.
You know who does have powerful analytics and data aggregators? Social schedulers.
This was a pro that I had failed to see in my insistence to keep my social media posts as ‚Äúpure‚Äù as possible. For example, Buffer features an analytics tab where you can set any date range and it exports all the data for each post into one Excel sheet, making it a simple matter of clicking a few buttons and voila‚Äîyou‚Äôve got a year‚Äôs worth of analytics.
To put it in perspective, between having to visit each channel, collecting all the different pieces of data from the different analytics pages and then aggregating what you‚Äôd need to, doing it the old fashioned way can take upwards of hours.
In addition to making analytics easier, social schedulers have other time saving benefits. They allow for easier collaboration‚Äîrather than taking the time to get everyone added as an admin to all the various social accounts, as long as they have access to the one Buffer/Hootsuite/whatever other scheduler account, they can access the same data and permissions as anyone else on the team; they also allow for you to be able to just go down the line of social accounts and schedule things out, rather than taking the time to visit each social channel which wastes marginal time that eventually adds up.
The only thing to watch out for, is making sure you are still checking in on your pages and accounts daily, making sure any messages/comments/posts are being responded to in a timely fashion. No matter how automated you get, you can‚Äôt take the ‚Äúsocial‚Äù part out of social media.
But whether it‚Äôs increasing your efficiency, collaboration or, most importantly, your analytics, social schedulers have great benefits beyond just allowing you to schedule content out‚Äîand that‚Äôs coming from a true blue social media purist.