Social media is a pain in the butt to manage. I actually think I hate it. Sometimes it feels like you’re getting in over your head, trying to collect images to repost, captions to write, links to share. It can get to be tedious as hell.
If you’re looking for an easy way to manage your social media, there are a couple of options available – free, cheap AND paid.
Being the spendthrift I am, I do have a little experience in a couple of different programs you might wanna try out when you’re first getting started.
I think most people have experience with a little somethin called Hootsuite. It’s probably the most well known social media manager right now.
3 social profiles
30 scheduled messages
This plan is essentially perfect for anyone starting off. You get to dip your toes in scheduling posts on multiple social media accounts without spending any money.
10 social profiles
20 social profiles
35 social profiles
The business account is obviously if you’re going the agency route and need to be able to manage social media accounts for other clients.
After that, there’s an enterprise option, but if you’ve gotten this far, you probably don’t need to be here – I can’t teach you anything.
For the most part, the free edition should suffice for most users. The only thing that enticed me to try a trial was because I thought I needed to manage more than 3 profiles, but it hardly seemed worth the $30 a month. Sorry, hootsuite. I told you I’m cheap.
This is when Later caught my eye. It was a complete accident, actually. I’d seen its name come up in conversations online as alternatives to Hootsuite, but it wasn’t until I saw its linkin.bio feature that I was like “oh, this is a game changer.” So i signed up for the free version of Later.
Later also has a free version. Sadly, you can only manage 1 account at a time, which is booboo. You still get the 30 scheduled posts, however.
But the biggest feature that made me a paid user of later was its ability to schedule stories and posts with multiple images.
So there’s a limitation within Instagram’s business account API that doesn’t allow you to post a multi-photo post, nor can you schedule a story. So hootsuite just doesn’t allow it.
However, later has figured out a way to implement scheduling multi-photo posts by allowing you to schedule them, and then having you manually push the post to your instagram.
Wait, what the heck does that mean?
This means you can use later to schedule these posts, and with the mobile app, you will get a push notification that lets you know it’s time to make your post. The media for those posts will automatically save to your camera roll and the text you specified will automatically be copied so you can paste it into a caption.
Okay, it’s an extra step, but otherwise, you will have to schedule your stories manually anyway, so why not have it already handed to you in a nice, easy to manage gift basket?
In my opinion, Later turned out to be a far superior tool when it came both to managing your social media and collecting useful analytics. Plus, it has an incredible price compared to some of these other social media planners (I say that as I get an “unsuccessful payment” email from them).
Digging Into Later’s Analytics
I have the plus monthly plan so I believe there are advanced analytics compared to the free version. When you click the Analytics tab, you are greeted with the following headlines:
- post performance
- story performance
- hashtag analytics
On this tab, you get a bird’s eye view of a handful of stats.
You can see your follower growth, your reach, your number of impressions – over a range from 7 days to 3 months.
You can also see how people interacted with your profile, whether or not they clicked your website link.
Here’s where you can see what day and what time of day your followers are online over the course of the last week. My graph currently shows the busiest days are Monday through Wednesday, between 1-2pm.
This kind of information is important for you to know if you’re trying to schedule Instagram Live or get as much interaction on your profile as you can while the traffic is there.
Your busiest time will likely get you the most traction, so yeah, this is good stuff.
You can also see your audience by demographics – so this includes gender, age, country, city, language.
Most of my followers on this account are men, ages 25-34 from my hometown.
If this were a dating profile, I’d be poppin right now.
Post performance is going to show you the kind of engagement each of your posts had.
Per each post, you can see the number of likes, comments, impressions, each, saves, and bio clicks.
Story performance is similar to post performance. You get your impressions, your reach, your reply count.
Here, you can see your average likes, comments, impressions and reach per hashtag. This will help you narrow down which hashtags generate the most response.
The analytics for Later are pretty intense, especially compared to Hootsuite and considering its price tag. It’s worth a trial version at the very least, and if you utilize it, you can slowly scale to more profiles at a more modest pricetag compared to Hootsuite’s.