Social media scheduling tools are some of the most useful items in a social media manager’s toolbox, whether you work at a small startup or a multinational enterprise. They’re also an incredible resource for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and anyone else managing social media while running a small business.
That’s because these tools can save you time, streamline your work, and help you grow your social media presence.
We’re partial to Hootsuite, of course. But in this post, we’ll share a complete list of the best social media scheduling tools we think can help businesses with varying needs.
A social media scheduling tool is a software solution that allows social marketers to create content in advance and schedule it for automatic publication at a specified time.
Most social media platforms have some basic native scheduling and publishing options. But third-party tools provide greater flexibility, functionality, and the ability to schedule content for multiple social media channels from one dashboard.
And by creating extra time in the content creation workflow, social media tools actually help with a lot more than scheduling.
Bonus: Download our free, customizable social media calendar template to easily plan and schedule all your content in advance.
The benefits of using social media scheduling tools
The best scheduling tools make social media marketers’ work lives easier in multiple ways. They:
Free up time by allowing you to create and schedule content in designated blocks of time rather than as disruptive one-offs throughout the day
Reduce the risk of mistakes by setting up approval workflows and allowing time for reviewing content before it goes live
Help you save even more time by allowing you to customize and adapt posts for multiple social media accounts, all on one screen
Ensure you post at the best time to engage your audience
Help you collaborate effectively with team members and other stakeholders
Allow you to easily plan, review, and edit an integrated schedule of social content across platforms and social media campaigns
We’re not too shy to say we think Hootsuite is the best social media management tool and social media scheduling tool around. It’s suitable for teams of all sizes, with options ranging from affordable basic social media marketing tools all the way up to enterprise-level solutions for complex organizations and very large teams.
Hootsuite supports all the scheduling functions you could need, from straightforward auto-posting, through bulk scheduling to custom recommendations on the best time to post based on your own social media analytics and results.
You can also customize and schedule one post for various social platforms, all from one screen. This approach is much more effective than simply cross-posting the same content across multiple accounts.
Hootsuite supports scheduling to the following social networks. (Click on each link for more specific details on how to schedule content for each platform.)
Hootsuite has the added bonus of offering detailed analytics that help inform your social media scheduling, as well as powerful content creation tools (including an AI post writer) and a simple calendar view that allows you to see and edit all your social content across accounts on one screen.
Later is a social media management platform similar to Hootsuite (you can compare Later and Hootsuite here). It comes with a variety of features, from analytics to scheduling tools, but it really shines through as a platform for smaller brands and creators who like to visualize and preview social media content before they post.
If you want to give your Instagram feed a little razzle-dazzle, Later has some neat extras. They offer an Instagram feed planner that lets you visualize exactly how your Instagram grid will look after you post. It’s a nice way to give your grid a quick rebrand and make it stand out.
Sprout Social is another top contender in the battle of social media management tools, and it may be worth your consideration. Offering scheduling and analytics for all the major social media platforms, Sprout can help you plan and execute your social strategy.
Like Hootsuite, Sprout offers a unified social media inbox that allows you to respond to messages across social media channels in one place. Easily prioritize messages, save time with auto-responders, and tag your messages to keep things tidy.
You’ll also appreciate Sprout’s full-featured analytics dashboard, which provides details on both your paid and organic posts and helps you decide when to publish content for the best results. You can also easily white-label and download reports from the Sprout dashboard.
Sprout is quite a bit more expensive than Hootsuite, but Hootsuite offers more features and integrations. Compare Hootsuite and Sprout to see which one works best for you.
You already know Canva is the design-savvy social media manager’s best friend. The easy-to-use graphic design tool has revolutionized the way we create content, which is why we permanently added Canva to the Hootsuite dashboard. (No joke, there are Canva templates built right into Hootsuite Composer).
But did you know that Canva Pro also includes a social media scheduler and planner? It currently comes with posting capabilities for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. Within the Canva Pro dashboard, you can also track engagement, likes, clicks, impressions, and more to see how you’re performing.
Although it’s perhaps best known as a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, HubSpot also offers its own social media management software that may serve your needs.
Like many of the aforementioned tools, HubSpot’s social media scheduler is designed to help you manage all your campaigns from one place. It allows you to publish content to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and schedule your content to go live at the best possible time.
Buffer is another social media scheduler that comes with tools to help you build your presence on social media. It allows you to schedule posts to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Mastodon. You can also use it to reply to comments on Facebook Pages and Instagram business accounts.
When it comes to all-in-one platforms, Buffer is relatively light on features. It doesn’t offer analytics for all platforms and doesn’t come with any social listening capabilities. However, Buffer’s user-friendly dashboard is simple and straightforward, making it great for social media managers who just want to get in, schedule, and get out.
Meta Business Suite is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to schedule content on Facebook and Instagram (posts, Stories, and ads). It’s available either on desktop or as a mobile app.
Even though this is a native tool, you won’t be able to access all the content creation features of Facebook and Instagram when scheduling Stories through Meta Business Suite. However, you can access text, image cropping, and some stickers.
Tweetdeck is a native scheduling tool allows you to schedule content to multiple Twitter accounts. (But only Twitter accounts — no other social platforms are supported.) You can log into Tweetdeck using your main Twitter username and password, then add any other existing accounts you use.
You can schedule individual Tweets or a Twitter thread, and view all of your scheduled Twitter content for each account in a handy column.
Tailwind is a social media scheduling tool that supports scheduling on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Originally Tailwind was a scheduler specifically for Pinterest. It remains one of the best solutions specifically for Pinterest scheduling, offering a personalized posting schedule, interval planning, and the ability to schedule to multiple boards.
Note that even if you just want to use Tailwind for Facebook, you’ll need an Instagram account to sign up.
RSS Autopublisher is a scheduling tool that automatically posts content from RSS feeds to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
If you create content through regularly updated mediums like a blog or podcast, RSS Autopublisher will autoschedule links to your social accounts at the same time as you schedule your content to go live.
Airtable is a little bit different from the others on this list. Rather than scheduling content to post automatically to social networks, Airtable is primarily used to create workflows for the creation of that content and triggers to autopost.
You can schedule and track goals, objectives, tasks, and timelines. Airtable Automations then uses triggers to automatically perform specified actions, including posting to Twitter or Facebook.
To turn Airtable into a complete social media scheduling tool that will automatically schedule content directly to Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest as well as Facebook and Twitter, install the Airtable Automatons app for Hootsuite.
KAWO is a social media scheduler specifically for the Chinese social media platforms WeChat, Weibo, Kuaishou, and Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok). It offers a social media calendar view, scheduling tools, and recommended best times to post.
You can also use the KAWO app in Hootsuite to track your WeChat and Weibo content alongside your other social channels in the Hootsuite dashboard.
MeetEdgar is a social media scheduling tool designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Its unique feature is that it will repurpose evergreen content to fill scheduled time slots if you don’t add any new content to the queue.
MeetEdgar can schedule and repurpose content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. However, it lacks some of the more advanced features required for larger organizations.
If you run a Shopify store, the Shopify Facebook & Instagram Auto Post app allows you to create a social media schedule that posts a new or random product to your social feeds at the same time every day, or on selected days of the week.
It’s a good way to make sure you’re publishing content consistently, even if you have no new content ideas.
Despite its name, this social media scheduling app works with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. It’s great at what it does, although it really is meant to deal with just this one very specific type of social media scheduling.
Note: If you’d like to integrate your ecommerce store with Hootsuite to access more robust scheduling features, check out the Shopview Hootsuite apps for Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or Magento.
Say what? Isn’t Mailchimp an email marketing tool?
Well, sure. But if you already use Mailchimp for your email campaigns, it’s also a great tool for scheduling social media posts. It integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, so you can create and schedule content for these platforms within the Mailchimp interface.
Another handy scheduling option is the ability to create posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that are attached to a specific email within the Mailchimp interface, so they automatically post at the same time the email sends. This is a good way to keep your social schedule and content consistent with your email promotions.
These scheduling tools work by connecting all of your various social media accounts to a central platform you can use to schedule content for posting according to your social media content calendar.
Once you schedule the content, it will post automatically at the time you choose. This means you can set up social posts for a day, a week, or even a month or more all at once and be confident that the content will go live whether or not you’re at your desk (or your phone).
But how does it actually work behind the scenes?
Scheduling tools connect to each social network through that network’s API, or application programming interface. That might sound complicated, but essentially it’s just a way for the social network and the scheduling tool to talk to one another.
Fortunately, that communication happens in the background. So you don’t need to know any code or special programming languages to make these tools work. There are usually just a couple of steps involved to post social content using a scheduling tool.
How to post using a scheduling tool for social media
Here’s a quick breakdown of how scheduling tools for social media generally work on the main social platforms.
Link your accounts to a social media scheduling tool.
Compose your social content and choose which account(s) you want to post to. A good social media scheduling tool will give you the option to customize one post for multiple social accounts on various networks, all from one screen.
Choose the schedule for later option and select your preferred time. The best social media scheduling platforms will provide customized recommendations for the best time to schedule your post for the most response.
That’s it for posts or Tweets. For Instagram Stories, there’s one more step. You’ll get a push notification at the scheduled time to complete the process.
For scheduling videos to YouTube, the process is a little bit different. Remember those APIs we mentioned? The API for YouTube behaves differently, which requires a slightly different process.
When you import your video to your social media scheduling tool, just mark the video as private and use the scheduling option to set a time for the video to go public.
For the visual learners, here are some more specific details about scheduling content for Instagram:
And some details for Pinterest:
And, finally, some details for scheduling posts to TikTok:
How to schedule multiple posts at once using a social media scheduling tool
One huge advantage of using a scheduling tool for social media is the ability to schedule multiple posts at once. This is also known as bulk scheduling.
Here’s how it works.
Add the posting dates and social content for multiple posts to a CSV file that conforms to the requirements of your social media scheduling tool. Hootsuite allows you to bulk schedule up to 350 posts.
Upload the file to your social media scheduling tool.
Review your posts, make any desired additions or tweaks, and click Schedule.
Use Hootsuite to schedule all of your social media posts, engage with your followers, and track the success of your efforts. Sign up for a free trial today.