The Top 15 Social Media Management Tools
By Ruxandra MindrutaAug 21
Published September 14th 2023
Scheduling social media posts saves time and resources while growing a brand’s reputation and customer base.
Once upon a time, handling social media was considered a side project to give to the office intern. Now, 77% of businesses rely on social media networks to reach their customers. Using a single social media management platform gives you the flexibility to post across multiple platforms, monitor trends, listen to your audience, and nail those all-important KPIs.
Whether you’re running a start-up business or working as part of a large team, social media scheduling is pivotal for scaling up your marketing output and getting your brand name out there. Getting on top of your social media can help transform a brand’s reputation and, crucially, give you a greater understanding of where your business sits in its industry.
Of course, being able to schedule social media posts is just part of a wider marketing strategy. Using products within Brandwatch’s Social Media Management suite grants users insight into millions of conversations and data points, so you can research what will make your posts successful, understand what works and what doesn’t, and strategize your social media schedule.
This article will take you through the process of making a social media post schedule. The steps we introduce are here to guide you in researching for your schedule, creating content, and then monitoring what you publish. We’ll highlight both the importance of creating a schedule and the basics to get you up and running.
It doesn’t matter if you’re tasked with creating a social media schedule from scratch or plan to pivot away from previous projects and relaunch a brand. The basic steps to scheduling social media are the same.
Let’s begin, then, with the benefits of being able to schedule posts on social media:
Time is the main efficiency gained from a social media posting schedule. Scheduling allows you to focus harder on everything from content and caption creation, through to calendar management and post analysis rather than worrying about when the post goes out. Setting out a schedule, like Brandwatch client Cubaka did, also means you can focus on other aspects of your business or marketing project and dedicate more resources to producing high-quality content.
Using a social media scheduler like Publish allows you total control of your output. You can plan campaigns in advance using Benchmark and Audience, make adjustments as you need, use Listen to react to unexpected events, and make alterations if your marketing strategy changes. Use the tools that support a social media scheduler to control your brand’s narrative.
Creating consistent output across multiple social media platforms isn’t always easy. Style, formatting, and messaging all play a part here, and a social media scheduling tool can help keep all your posts on point. Plotting the regularity of posts is also beneficial for reaching target audiences at the right time.
Being able to schedule social media posts means you can focus more on planning what the posts actually say, and really be able to hone your content creation craft. Using your business goals and KPIs as a guide, you can craft a social media strategy and create content that you know will work. Create cohesive campaigns, tie posts to relevant events or holidays, and maintain a well-rounded content mix.
Having a bank of scheduled posts means you can focus more on analysis and make adjustments as you go. Use a platform like Publish to identify trends, measure the success of specific campaigns, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your social media strategy.
The beauty of a scheduler is you can dip into future posts and make tweaks as your campaign unfolds. For example, you might have a campaign that focuses on the build-up to Pride Week, but see from the analysis halfway through that you’re missing some key trends. You can then jump into scheduled posts and update them. You’ll also get the analytics back immediately if your social media scheduling tool is connected to a social listening tool, so you can keep improving.
Scheduling is incredibly important for global businesses that sell their products in multiple markets or have outposts all over the world. There's no reason for a marketer in the US to stay up until 3 am to post an Instagram Reel for an audience in Australia when the scheduler can do it for you. Different audiences react differently to the same campaigns. Use Measure to first identify which territories are responding better to your posts and which aren’t, and make changes to your schedule. By geo-categorizing your audience, you can also make meaningful localized improvements to your strategy.
So that’s everything you’ll gain from using a social media scheduling tool. But once you’ve bitten the bullet, how will you get set up?
A social media posting schedule can be as simple or complex as you like. It all depends on what content you want to share. A construction company using sustainable materials, such as Kind Construction, might simply need to share images of their latest projects regularly on Facebook to give customers examples of what they do. An activist group like Amnesty International, however, may need to share more in-depth content, be more reactive by following the news cycle, and plan in extra content to do with new trends while replying to comments and questions from followers. Amnesty reinvigorated its social media activity by improving its schedule planning and implementation.
Whether it’s a simple schedule or one that is multi-layered with comments and reactions, they all depend on good content.
Images, videos, captions, hashtags, and mentions all take time to produce and, most importantly, get right. There’s no hiding on social media, and mistakes can harm a brand’s reputation – you don’t want to work on a big campaign only to @-mention the wrong John Lewis when you’re talking about Christmas commercials, as this famous annual mix-up shows.
Below are eight steps to planning and creating a social media schedule that works, no matter your industry.
Step 1 is primarily for those tasked with creating a social media schedule either midway through a strategy, or need to launch a new strategy to pivot away from an old one. In this instance, you’ll need to look back at what your brand has already put out into the world and make some decisions about how to move forward.
**If you’re starting from scratch with no previous social media activity posted, then do some research into what people currently think of your brand by using these social listening techniques. Then move on to Step 2.**
For those tasked with brand repositioning or coming into a company with a pre-existing social media presence, the first thing to do before setting out a social media posting schedule is to understand what’s already out there, both on any of your own channels, and what others are saying.
Use a tool like Brandwatch to assess your existing social channels, look back at historic campaigns and posts, or do some social listening to see what people have posted about your brand. Dive into post engagement analytics, see what resonates with your audience, understand any shortfalls to previous strategies, and calculate the workload required to launch new campaigns. Then, create an audit report to share with colleagues. If you have no existing presence, research what your competitors do.
By looking into the successes and pitfalls of previous social strategies, you can better understand what you need to do with your future content, and plan out your schedule accordingly.
It’s important to work out what you want to achieve through social media. Are you looking to boost direct sales, expand your brand awareness, or perhaps use social media to engage with customers? Do you plan to use social listening to understand your audience more, or even monitor rivals?
Setting clear goals will help you craft your social media output and your work calendar. Get SMART and create your social framework before you begin. Perhaps more importantly, make sure the rest of your team, and your seniors are on the same page about socials. You might be focused on crafting killer content for engagement, but if all your bosses want to hear about is how many followers you have, make sure they know why you have the priorities you’ve set.
For more advice and to gain insights into content creation, read our Social Media Strategy guide.
Knowing your target audience means you can align it with your social media goals. Understanding the demographic of your existing audience, their preferences, interests, and reasons for following you shapes what you do next. If your current audience is different from the one you want to target, you need to plan to either pivot away from what you’re currently posting, or expand your content to attract a wider audience.
If you have no audience yet – perhaps because you’re working at a start-up – then use a tool like Brandwatch Benchmark to analyze what your direct competitors are doing. Use their audience insights as a template for creating your own strategy.
EXAMPLE: Flying Tiger is a successful offline business but struggled to understand exactly how people used its products. The brand didn’t have a connection between its customers in shops and what people were saying online. Working with Brandwatch, Flying Tiger was able to better understand its audience and craft more personalized communication campaigns.
Be mindful of which social media channels you choose to market on. You might find Facebook easy to use but is that where your target audience hangs out? TikTok might be the perfect platform for your brand, even if you don’t have any experience posting videos.
Use data driven by Benchmark to understand what social media channels your competitors are using, and how they are driving success. Consider how you would use those platforms to reach your KPIs, and whether you need to shift resources from platforms that aren’t relevant to those goals.
Once you’ve set out your goals and understood who you want to reach and on what platforms, it’s time to create your content calendar template. Using your social media content planner, integrate all your social channels, and assign roles to team members. Launch any new channels and integrate them too, so that everything is ready to go on one calendar.
Remember, though, that at this stage, you only need to create the calendar. Content creation comes later.
EXAMPLE: If you have an app that has various updates and launches planned throughout the year, you need to connect the dots and create your calendar so your audience isn’t left in the dark, like Monzo did.
Making sure the calendar is ready before you begin creating and publishing content enables users to get a holistic overview of multiple channels, quickly spot mistakes, make amendments, and plan months ahead of time. This is ideal whether you’re working on your social media strategy alone, or are part of a wider team.
Once you have your template calendar ready, it’s time to fill it with post ideas. Use data collected from your earlier research to come up with content ideas and propose times to publish. Other tools within the Brandwatch social media management suite can help here.
For example, some audiences engage with posts more regularly on certain days and times of the week, and you might be missing a trick here if you’re posting at the wrong moment. Use Benchmark to research how and when rivals schedule their posts and determine the optimal moments for you.
Crunching the numbers gives you insight into where and when to post. You might realize you need to publish a TikTok video on a weekday morning, while the same video on Instagram will perform better on a Saturday night.
Liaise with stakeholders, including clients, if you’re running a social media schedule on someone else’s behalf, and discuss your proposed schedule. It might be that you only need to publish one thing on a couple of platforms each week. Or, you may need a detailed hour-by-hour schedule that requires approval first.
Creativity remains the focal part of any social strategy, regardless of how well you can automate publishing via a social media planning calendar. It’s important to plan and create a variety of content formats, and use feedback data from historic posts (if you have them) to guide that content.
Images, videos, infographics, polls, influencer endorsements, even live broadcasts. Try planning in various content types and see what works. Use the ideas you calendarized and discussed in Step 6 to help shape your content, and then schedule and publish your posts. Once you begin generating more data about successful and unsuccessful posts, you can reshape your future content accordingly.
EXAMPLE: Digital marketing agency That Hashtag Girl used Publish to create content in a flash, share previews with clients, and map out social media posting schedules so they had more time to work across 15 different clients.
Just as important as creating content is knowing how effective it is. Use Measure analytics to create a feedback loop for analysis and reporting. Think back to your original social media goals. Are you hitting your KPIs, or are there blockers that are preventing you from delivering a successful campaign?
Look at reach, impressions, profile visits, and conversions to identify what's working and make data-driven adjustments to your strategy, both in what you say and when you say it. Then, it’s time to go again and repeat the process, perfecting both your content and your scheduling each time.
EXAMPLE: Australian franchise Zambrero used Brandwatch to centralize data from their 200 local Facebook pages, a National Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook account to better understand their social ecosystem. Using a centralized system, Zambrero began planning and scheduling content and then monitored that success to loop back into future projects.
Scheduling a killer social campaign isn’t easy but thankfully, there are scores of social media scheduling tools out there that aim to take the weight off your shoulders.
By considering what you need and identifying your KPIs, you can start crafting a schedule that works for you and your audience. Be smart and use the AI tools available to you, dig deep into your competitors’ data, and monitor each post all from one place.Interested in learning more about Brandwatch?
We offer personalized demos so you can see the platform live and ask questions specific to your business.