This week in my online platforms class, we were asked to discuss what curation and scheduling tools are available and which are the more preferred. I will be discussing Hootsuite, Buffer and Bit.ly.

What is Buffer?

Buffer was created in 2010 for the purposes of aiding social media users with the tasks of delivering relevant content on multiple social media platforms at one time. The ultimate aim for all that content is to drive traffic and increase fan engagement while reducing the amount to time it takes to manage multiple accounts.

In that way, Buffer is not that much different from other services, like Hootsuite for example, however, we prefer the user interface at Buffer because of its lack of unnecessarily complex features.

Pros

  • Buffer analytics is useful, showing your best and worst performing posts based on engagement (which you can filter by engagement type, i.e. Retweets, favourites, replies, likes, comments, clicks), reach, and post type (image posts, link posts, text posts and your Retweets).
  • It’ll help you find the best times to post and automatically time your posts to get maximum engagement.
  • Clean and simple layout.
  • You can integrate blog feeds to give you sources of content to post out.

Cons

  • No Instagram integration into the platform
  • No monitoring tools for mentions, searches and hashtags, so you’ll have to monitor these from another tool or through the networks themselves.

The photo above shows the clean and simple layout of Buffer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAGJM620PIA

The video above is a clear guide on how to use Buffer.

What is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that covers almost every aspect of a social media manager’s role. With just one platform users are able to do the simple stuff like curate cool content and schedule posts all the way up to managing team members and measuring ROI.

There are several different plans to choose from, from a single user plan up to a customized enterprise account that’s suitable for much larger organizations.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the timing of social posts is important. If you’re tweeting when your audience is offline, the chances of them seeing your post is pretty low. Meanwhile, if you tweet ten things at once you’re probably going to clog peoples’ news feeds and you’ll promptly lose followers.

The best way to go about timing your posts appropriately is to use a solution that helps find the best times for you.

With Hootsuite, it’s a simple process. You simply click ‘New post’, select which accounts you’d like to post from, add the text and any appropriate media, then hit “Schedule for later.”

The post will then be added to your stream of scheduled posts, which you can view alongside other ‘streams’ of things, like your owned tweets, @mentions, and new followers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LEtIQFv1bE

The video above is a clear guide on how to use Hootsuite.

What is bit.ly?

According to Wikipedia, Bitly is a URL shortening service and a link management platform. The company Bitly, Inc. was established in 2008. It is privately held and based in New York City. Bitly shortens 600 million links per month, for use in social networking, SMS, and email. Bitly makes money by charging for access to aggregate data created as a result of many people using the shortened URLs.

Main features of Bitly are:

  • Shorten and brand the links you share
  • Gather audience intelligence
  • Track individual link analytics
  • Collect insights on your performance
  • Measure campaign performance in one location
  • Give context to the click
  • Optimize your marketing efforts

The main benefits of Bitly are its great value for money, ease of use and customizations. Here are the details:

Free Service

Among the most remarkable benefits offered by Bitly is that it is free for all. You only need to sign up to get the service. You can then copy and paste long URLs and get the short version of it to share with anyone.

Customize Your URL

Users can customize their URLs by using Bit.ly service. This URL shortening solution lets you customize those numbers and letters to give your URL a more personalized appeal. This solution can become valuable for your business branding and marketing.

Statistical Data at Your Disposal

Each link created by Bitly comes with an analytics page where accessing metrics is made possible. The data includes numbers of clicks logged by your link, the total clicks for all Bitly links that direct to similar content or data, and the percentage of every click that come from your own Bitly link.

Track Your Link’s Performance

With this solution, users can track their link’s performance over the course of use. You can monitor the amount of the incoming traffic going through your link on a given day with the Bitly bar graph view.

Valuable Analytics Tool

Bitly offers its users the information regarding up-to-date stories and trends that might be appealing to readers. With this unique feature, the software also acts as a valuable analytics tool, which helps users filter stories by language, topic, area, and social platform.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DCgs41XDnw&feature=emb_logo

The video above is a clear guide on how to use Bit.ly.

Which curation and scheduling tools do you prefer?

Although all of these tools are beneficial in certain ways, I would most definitely argue that Buffer is the most effective. Not only does it provide useful analytics, but it is also the easiest to use, due to it’s clean and visible layout. I had no bother with setting up my account, unlike with Hootsuite where it took me a while to get everything set up. I would not hesitate to use Buffer again and would highly recommend it to all.