Planning social media content across multiple platforms can be complicated. Social media schedules typically include multiple events and wider marketing initiatives; a seemingly simple social media plan can quickly turn complex.
In this post, I’ll describe five tools to organize your social media content and create an easy-to-follow posting schedule.
In my experience, free tools can be just as valuable as paid versions. Free tools are the starting point for most social media schedules. They offer basic features and are less likely to roll both planning and scheduling into one.
- Excel and Google Docs. Most web marketers are familiar with Excel and Google Docs. The challenging part of using them for social media planning is setting up a usable template. Thankfully Hootsuite and CoSchedule, among others, provide some handy choices.
The biggest drawback of using Excel is that it’s not conducive to a team, as different versions of a calendar can easily get confused as changes fly back and forth. Google Docs solves this drawback, but users must be online to use it.
Bob Angus, a Practical Ecommerce contributor, offers a free Excel editorial calendar download on his blog. Another helpful template is The Marketing Game Changer Kit, by Web.Search.Social, a marketing firm.
There are some helpful printable templates — for pen and paper — such as this PDF from Colourvale, a resource for photographers.
- Trello. Trello is the most helpful to me in my day-to-day social media work. It’s a free tool with many features. I use it for my own to-do lists (using columns to indicate progress and cards for individual pieces of work), as a wider team workflow tracker, and to store social media content. Trello can also be customized to create a content library and keep track of images you’ve posted or want to use later.
It is easy to tag content to make it searchable and the column system means you can divide into different areas of interest or types of content. I use a new card for each piece of content, which I then share for feedback with our team.
Switch Trello into a calendar mode to plan content on a daily basis. But you can visually lose track if more than two posts are planned for any one day.
Trello doesn’t link to your social profiles, to publish. So, as with Excel and Google Docs, with Trello you would need a separate scheduling tool, such as Hootsuite or Buffer.
There are many paid planning tools. They all promise to streamline the planning process and integrate social media posting and, often, blog scheduling.
- Divvy. Divvy focuses on streamlining the workflow for teams that manage content and social media marketing. Divvy may be unnecessary for smaller businesses. Pricing: 14 day free trial; $25 per month minimum afterwards.
- CoSchedule. CoSchedule includes social media scheduling and WordPress integration. Optional advanced analytics tracking will increase your monthly fee. But CoSchedule is still one of the most cost effective options, and the most interesting option for small businesses looking to streamline their social media planning and scheduling. Pricing: 14 day free trial and then from $9 per month for individual blogger accounts.
- GatherContent. GatherContent was developed for marketing agencies, those with high-volume needs. Thus the monthly fees are higher than other tools. GatherContent was designed to help plan website content. But it can be just as useful for social media posts. Pricing: 30-day free trial and then from $79 per month.
Which tools do you use to plan your social media content?