In 2011, there were 150 marketing technologies to choose from. In 2016, thanks to an explosion in social media technologies, that number has swelled to over 3500.
From listening tools to customer service solutions, community management, publishing, scheduling and analytics – whatever you’re after, there’s a tool for it. Some marketing software can major in one area while others attempt to offer all-in-one solutions. This has made comparing social media tools rather challenging.
There’s a wealth of excellent analysis out there on the pros and cons of various apps. Whilst this resource is invaluable in many ways, the staggering volume of information at our disposal can make it difficult to know where to start. I feel it’s time to simplify the evaluation process with a side by side comparison of four key scheduling & publishing tools: Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social and ContentCal.
Why would I use a Social Media Scheduling Calendar?
We all love a bit of data right? Let’s start with some facts.
- Social media users have risen by 176 million in the last year
- People now spend more time on social media than watching TV
- This makes social media quite a big deal for advertisers
The challenge comes when you consider the average person has 5.54 social media accounts and 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media networks. This results in a long, tedious process of logging in and out of different platforms to get a message out to an audience.
Social Media Management tools allow individuals and businesses to save a huge amount of time scheduling and publishing posts across multiple social media networks from a single dashboard.
OK, so I’ll just pick the most popular tool then?
Whoa! Easy cowboy. Whilst all of the main tools work with the key social networks, the way consumers are engaging and interacting on these networks means the quality of your content is more critical than it’s ever been.
Unfortunately, technology is only as good as the operator. Whilst these social media posting tools have made it simple to distribute many posts, the explosion of brands venturing into the world of social media marketing has created a consumer ‘snow-blindness’ to generic marketing content.
How do I make the right choice?
Companies need to approach social media as if it were the gateway for potential customers to meet them for the first time. Which means the product you use to publish content needs to support your approach.
When comparing social media management tools, it’s easy to get stuck in the weeds with feature by feature comparisons. Here at ContentCal we like to keep things simple.
We’ve created a side-by-side comparison of four key scheduling & publishing tools – Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social and ContentCal – scoring against the high-level functionality that’s critical for creating and publishing compelling content.
So, what does it all mean?
We started life as a social media agency, so we’ve seen a few things in our time – and there’s more to publishing tools than just scheduling posts. In our humble opinion, the best content is created through planning, preparation and participation from a team.
Similarly to Buffer, HootSuite and Sprout Social, ContentCal offers publishing and scheduling to all core social channels. Where ContentCal really comes to the fore is in team collaboration, with smart features that stimulate great ideas and make it easier to create together. In short, ContentCal is a great Hootsuite alternative.
Collaborating via a live updating calendar keeps the whole team up to speed with an at-a-glance overview of the latest edits and revisions, whilst Comments and Notifications ensure you never miss a beat. Our Campaign Manager tool allows teams to store assets and campaign briefs in shared folders, which can be easily accessed and downloaded when ready to use, and Approval Flows help minimise risk by ensuring only approved content is published to your channels.
And it doesn’t hurt that our Team plan is available at up to 85% less in a like-for-like price comparison against Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social 😉