The social media experts at Get Ahead have spent a lot of time discussing how much social media scheduling tools cost, and whether they’re worth paying for. Some cost more than others, but this usually reflects how well they perform and their different capabilities. If we sign up to the cheapest platform but it doesn’t do as much as we need it to, we have thrown our money away. But if we signed up to a more expensive one and see a positive difference, we’ve made a worthwhile investment which is good value for money.

What is a social media scheduling tool?

When we talk about scheduling tools, we mean platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, Agora and others. Social media managers can load upcoming posts into these platforms, schedule them to be published on specific dates and then let them roll out.

They’re a great solution because it means that you can share social media posts consistently. You can post every day, even if you’re in a meeting, dealing with a crisis or relaxing on holiday. You can also get in the social media zone and do a month’s worth of posts all at once, instead of having to think of something new every day.

But some of these scheduling platforms are more expensive than others, and it’s not always easy to see whether you’re getting value for money.

What do you need your social media scheduler to do?

It’s important to start with your priorities. If you have a retail business, for example, and the main way you attract new customers is through Instagram posts, a high-performing scheduling platform might well be a sound investment for your business. Some scheduling platforms, e.g. Agora, can identify search terms that others in your industry are using, helping you to create posts that use the right language, and connecting you with others who are already posting about that subject. It might not be the cheapest option available, but it’s good value if it meets your needs.

On the other hand, your social media might be more about keeping in touch with existing customers. A platform that can notify you when there is an interaction is useful, but you might well want to post spontaneously to be more authentic with your online community. If that’s you, you might choose a more basic tool – why pay for what you don’t need?

How do I know if a social media tool will offer value for money?

Your social media scheduling tool needs to bring you a return on your investment. The profit you make from converting customers via paid scheduling needs to be higher than the profit you would make if you didn’t use paid scheduling.  The amount your business makes when it uses a scheduling tool should be more than the cost of the scheduling tool.

Your social media analytics will show you whether interactions increase as a result of your using a paid-for scheduling tool. Many scheduling platforms offer free or discounted trials – use yours to see if there’s an improvement in your figures. Over time, these interactions should align with sales, showing you that your strategy is having the right results. This can be difficult to measure, because not everyone who interacts online buys online, but don’t worry – one of our social media experts can help you analyse your figures.

If you’re using all of the platform’s functionality, but you’re still not seeing the results you hoped for, you are not getting value for money. Whether it’s costing you a lot or a little, it’s time to find another platform.

Outsource your social media

Of course, another reason you might not be seeing a good return on your social media platform investment is that you just need a bit more support. If that’s the case, let one of our social media experts lend a hand – give us a call on 01483 332 220 to get started.

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