8 Top Social Media Scheduling Tools for 2018 & Beyond

Marketers need all the shortcuts they can get.

And that’s exactly why social media scheduling tools are so valuable.

When coming up with your social media strategy for 2018, consider what you can do to be more efficient. Having the right scheduling tools on deck can help you save time and push out more content to your audience.

Maybe you’ve slept on social scheduling in the past. Perhaps you aren’t sure whether you’re squeezing the most out of your current content strategy. Either way, consider the biggest benefits of social scheduling including:

  • Optimizing your posts for engagement. The ability to schedule content in advance means perfectly timing your posts for maximum likes, comments and shares.
  • Saved time, less stress. Putting pieces of your social strategy on autopilot affords you more time to connect with your followers in real-time.
  • Publishing more content on a consistent basis. Social scheduling ultimately helps you reach your content quota without scrambling for new posts day after day.

The good news? Getting started with social scheduling is a cinch.

Picking the Right Social Media Scheduling Tools for Your Business

Of course, not all social media scheduling tools are created equal.

No two business’ needs are the same. Meanwhile, marketers are hungry for the tools that make their lives easier while keeping them from juggling between a million different software solutions.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Looking toward 2018 and beyond, we’ve broken down the features and benefits of the top social scheduling tools available today.

Hey, you can’t blame us for taking the top spot on our list, can you?

Seriously, though. Sprout Social represents a solution that meets the needs of small businesses and massive brands alike.

An all-in-one platform that keeps marketers from juggling between software, Sprout’s easy-to-use interface and powerful features set it apart from the pack when it comes to social media scheduling tools.

For example, the bulk of brands out there are publishing content to multiple social platforms. Jumping back and forth between the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn is nothing short of exhausting, right?

Sprout offers social scheduling across multiple social networks.

The ability to both schedule and post across multiple networks keeps your social strategy from becoming a massive time-sink. After all, it’s 2018: embracing the growing trend of social media automation is becoming an expectation for today’s brands rather than an exception to the rule.

Beyond scheduling, Sprout is an awesome tool for collaboration among marketing teams. User-level permissions provide specific access to marketing managers, writers and everyone in between to contribute to your social media calendar.

And speaking of calendars, Sprout’s calendar feature provides your team a bird’s eye view of what’s being published and promoted on any given day. This ensures that each and every piece of content you craft gets the attention it deserves.

Example of a content calendar from Sprout.

Social media scheduling isn’t just about publishing content, either. Consider how features such as Sprout’s social media analytics and trend reports clue you in on how you can grow your following as well.

Sprout social analytics report example

From analyzing hashtags to your top-performing posts, Sprout represents the ultimate optimization tool for brands looking to fine-tune their social presence in addition to scheduling content.

Instagram is a strange beast when it comes to social media scheduling tools.

That is, third-party solutions which publish directly to Instagram automatically are prohibited by the platform. Although Instagram automation is possible via Sprout among other social media scheduling tools, brands can’t approach Instagram like they would Facebook or Twitter.

Tools such as Later effectively allow brands to schedule Instagram content through a clever workaround. Users essentially “plan” their posts in advance of publishing and are sent real-time text notifications to send those posts live. Since Instagram only allows for publishing via mobile, this technique stays within the platform’s best practices.

Later is one of the few social media scheduling tools for Instagram

Later is an ideal option for brands specifically working with visual content and focusing heavily on growing their Instagram presence. Additional features such as real-time post previews, hashtag curation and basic analytics help brands save time publishing to Instagram while also uncovering opportunities to optimize their posts.

Want to keep all of your scheduling in a single platform? Check out Sprout’s Instagram scheduling solutions as well!

Brands heavily invested in Pinterest shouldn’t be strangers to social media scheduling.

Much like Instagram, Pinterest represents a social network that thrives off of visual content. Although not as “popular” on paper as Facebook or Instagram, Pinterest is a potential goldmine for both B2B and B2C marketers alike.

Apps like Tailwind offer Pinterest scheduling as part of their platform. The tool’s drag and drop functionality make it easy for marketers to upload, tag and publish their Pinterest posts en masse. Tailwind also allows users to shuffle their post queue, a smart move for brands looking to avoid parroting the same content.

An example of Tailwind's content calendar for Pinterest

The solution also answers the question of when to post by automatically recommending times to pin content. These times are determined by learning when your audience on Pinterest is most active, priming posts for higher engagement.

Tailwind offers optimized timing for social posts

The common thread between pretty much any social scheduling tool is the same.

Saving time.

Similarly, CoSchedule emphasizes efficiency for marketing teams and individuals alike. Integrating with company blogs via WordPress, the platform allows brands to publish and push content to social media simultaneously.

CoSchedule allows content creators to promote their work via social media

Additionally, CoSchedule provides a comprehensive “Top Content Report” which documents social shares and engagement. This is a fantastic feature for content creators looking to figure out which pieces are resonating most with readers.

CoSchedule aggregates your top-performing content on social media

Unlike other social media scheduling tools, CoSchedule primarily focuses on content versus solely social performance.

There’s no denying that one of the biggest challenges of social media scheduling is content curation.

Digging for fresh pieces of content can be both time-consuming and tiring. Meanwhile, you don’t want to solely post your own stuff over and over, right?

That’s where Feedly comes in.

Feedly’s platform automatically curates content to fill up your social media calendar. Instead of scrambling for news or relevant pieces to publish to your audience in-between your own posts, Feedly does the legwork for you.

Feedly helps find relevant content to fill your social feed

Again, managing your social feeds shouldn’t eat up all of your free time. Tools like Feedly take the pressure off of marketers to constantly save and bookmark content for future sharing.

Oh, and Feedly integrates instantly with Sprout Social. Nice, right?

If you can’t tell by now, social media scheduling and content creation go hand and hand.

Every time you sit down to knock out a blog post, you probably already have your audience in the back of your mind.

You want to craft pieces that have potential to get shared around like crazy. You want to get as much mileage as you can via social sharing so that piece of content is seen by as many people as possible.

That means planning out your content, plain and simple.

Airtable brings the processes of content planning and social media scheduling together. The platform can be used among teams or individuals to not only plan out future pieces of content, but how those posts will be promoted across various social sites.

Airtable's content templates are perfect for remote teams

In short, Airtable allows you stay one step ahead by assessing what your social media posts will look like before your content even goes live. Never hurts to be prepared, does it?

Looking for a seriously simple scheduling solution that’s only focused on Twitter? You can check out Tweetdeck.

Integrating with Twitter in an instant, Tweetdeck represents a straightforward scheduling tool that allows you to queue tweets across multiple accounts.

Tweetdeck is a simple social scheduling option for individuals.

Set up your Tweet, watch it go live accordingly. Nothing fancy, but effective nonetheless.

Despite its simplicity, Tweetdeck also boasts a comprehensive Twitter dashboard for users. You can see your live feed in addition to notifications, mentions and other activity all in one place.

Tweetdeck's dashboards helps you see all of your Twitter activity in one place

In short, Tweetdeck represents a totally free upgrade to your Twitter account. Even if you use another social scheduling tool, you might consider toying around with the platform just for fun.

If you’re a solo entrepreneur or blogger looking to get your feet wet with social media scheduling, Buffer isn’t a bad place to start.

The platform’s free option is a solid introduction to social media tools in general. Allowing users ten scheduled posts across multiple social accounts, budding brands can better understand what automation looks like in action.

Buffer allows to individuals to post across multiple accounts

Buffer’s ability to identify your highest-performing posts is a nice touch for those looking to figure out how to improve their social content in the future.

As such, Buffer’s integrated “Pablo” platform allows users to quickly create visuals for their social content. Given that tweets that include images receive 150% more retweets than those without them, accompanying imagery with your content should be a no-brainer in 2018.

Buffer's Pablo generates images for social media posts

And that wraps up our list!

How Are You Taking Advantage of Social Media Scheduling Tools?

Brands of all shapes and sizes are using social media scheduling tools to grow their followings, save time and push out more content.

And given the fast-paced nature of the web at large, having such tools on deck is crucial for keeping your business’ content from getting lost in the shuffle.

What features do you find to be most important for a social media scheduling tool? If you haven’t gotten started with social scheduling, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments below!

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