July 4, 2022

social media automation

Growing your social media accounts is a critical part of running a business in the modern day. Even for businesses that are more focused on in person clients like boutique fitness, a large social following goes a long way. The problem is:

  • Growing your social media presence takes a lot of time and effort
  • It requires consistent posting

  • You need a solid grasp of online trends to spread your brand beyond your existing audience

  • Taking time out of your day to post at specific times is inconvenient

Social Media Automation is a great way to address this challenge. These services can make planning your posts easy and time efficient. You can create and schedule posts in advance in addition to the other useful tools provided. The only question is; What Social Media Automation service should you use?

To start off with some basic information, most social media automation services provide the ability to manage multiple social media accounts at once, and schedule posts over a long period of time, among other tools. These services are subscription based, and many have different tiers of subscription. As you would expect, this means that many of the best tools are saved for the bigger subscriptions. However, the basic subscriptions are more than enough for simply setting up automated social media posting, and those extra features may not be particularly helpful or relevant for small businesses. Some features that are generally included for any level of subscription are bulk uploading, engagement optimization, and analytics.

Pilates Business Pros Social Media Automation

social media automation pilatesbusinesspros.com

Pilates Business Pros Social Automation is a new kid on the block created for the boutique fitness business. That doesn’t mean it’s a good option for only one industry though!  PBP offers a variety of tools that aim to make it easy to manage social media effectively while taking as little time as possible away from managing a business. 

The biggest standout of the platform is the unlimited users and a comprehensive team management framework at any level of subscription. Speaking of, the 3 levels of subscription are Basic, Grow, and Thrive, but some key features are:

  • Unlimited user for an unlimited number of social media accounts
  • Unlimited storage for your content
  • Team management tools

  • Reporting tools for analytics

  • Evergreen content features

  • Preloaded Campaigns for you to instantly pick up and use for yourself

  • Dynamic Posting based on events like weather

  • Trending article resources to tap into what's hot

  • Oodles of integrations to accelerate your workflow
social media automation intergrations pilatesbusinesspros.com

Opinion

PBP’s social automation gives users a lot of power with the unlimited connected accounts. For most other social automation platforms one of the key differences between subscriptions is the amount of accounts that you can manage and how many users can use the platform. The preloaded campaigns and dynamic posting are also features that other platforms don’t offer. While it's designed for fitness businesses to manage their social media, PBP has created an automation platform that is just as useful as any other competitor regardless of business. It's clearly designed for small businesses to be able automate their social media without taking up all of their time.

Hootsuite

hootesuite pilatesbusinesspros.com

Hootsuite is a social media automation platform that’s been around for ages. It was originally designed for Twitter before expanding into managing other sites as well. As such, it's got all the standard tools that you would expect from an automation platform, and has subscription models that can scale all the way up to enterprise level.

 While they don’t provide anything crazy, everything you would need for automation is provided and works like a charm. The user interface is a little dated, and while features for Twitter are all amazing, other platforms can be lacking. The big features provided by Hootsuite are:

  • 1-5 users and 10-35 social media accounts depending on subscription level
  • Unlimited post scheduling
  • Engagement and Analytics tools

  • Trend monitoring

  • Brand mentions

  • Team management tools for all levels of subscription except for basic

Opinion

Hootsuite is a great option for social media automation. It’s what PBP used for a long time. The real limitation comes from the amount of users and accounts. The basic plan only allows for one user and 10 accounts. But if you’re only looking to manage a handful of accounts, especially on Twitter, Hootsuite will provide plenty of value to your business. It may not be at the forefront of the industry creating new features, but there's a reason Hootsuite is still a major competitor after over a decade in the business.

Buffer

buffer pilatesbusinesspros.com

Buffer is a low cost automation platform. It is noticeably cheaper than other platforms on this list but comes with limitations to match. The free subscription is a great way to test out if automation is for you at no cost, but it's missing many tools that you have to pay extra to access. 

There are 3 separate tools separate from the basic account. Buffer Publish, Buffer Reply, and Buffer Analyze. However, if you just need a low cost or even free way to automate your social media accounts easily, Buffer Publish is a great option.

  • Low cost, including a free option
  • 3 accounts, extra accounts for $5/mo
  • Simple to use interface
  • Additional users and team management behind the 2 higher cost subscriptions
  • 10 post limit for free accounts, 2000 post limit for paid
  • Posts are in a queue, not individually scheduled
  • Huge 3rd party integration
  • Lots of free tutorials and reports
  • Team features for Buffer Premium and Buffer Business users only
  • Social Listening behind the paywall of Buffer Reply
  • Analytics and Engagement tools only available for paid subscriptions

Opinion

Buffer is a great way to test out if social media automation is for you. However, it has a lot of limitations around the tools you can use for free and has important features included in other services separated by extra price tags. With the functionality of the queue system, scheduling posts for something like Throwback Thursday can be hard without a lot of math and forethought. The flexibility of being able to choose what parts of the service you want to pay for is nice, but only so long as you use one or two of Buffer’s offerings. If you’re trying to get the complete automation package, it may end up being more cost effective to pick something with a more complete offering.

Sprout Social

sprout pilatesbusinesspros.com

Sprout Social is a premium social media automation platform for a premium price. Sprout Social has a slew of features like a customizable chatbot and sentiment research. While I’m showing a few standout features, there's a ton more that aren’t mentioned. There are 3 levels of subscriptions: Standard, Professional, Advanced.

  • 5-10 social profiles depending on subscription 
  • ViralPost will automatically post at specific times for peak engagement
  • Audience Analysis
  • Sentiment Research
  • Competition comparison
  • Paid promotion tools
  • Customizable Chatbot
  • Profile, Keyword, and Location monitoring

Opinion

Sprout Social is one of the most expensive options on this list. It offers a ton of tools on top of the suite of standard automation features that makes the price worthwhile. For most businesses the decision to use Sprout Social is dependent on how much mileage you’ll get out of the extra features in comparison to the bigger price you pay. However, unless you have someone dedicated to optimizing your social media presence to a high degree, you might not get the most out of everything Sprout Social has to offer.

Social Pilot

social pilot pilatesbusinesspros.com

Social Pilot has been around the block since 2014, but has been making waves recently because of their competitive pricing and bevy of features. They have 4 levels of pricing starting at $25/mo. Most of the tools for automation are available at every level, but the only difference is how much can be done at once. The platform puts a ton of focus on post scheduling; it hosts a ton of features. For users on the Small Team plan or higher, you also gain access to client management tools for an unlimited amount of clients. It doesn’t have robust social listening like other platforms, and you have to manually confirm every post.

  • Team management features
  • Monthly calendar view of future posts
  • 500 post bulk uploading and scheduling
  • Evergreen content features
  • Suggested content
  • Monitor blog and website feeds to add to the social media queue
  • Automatically creates a posting schedule for your content
  • Simplified analytics
  • 1-5 users, 10-100 accounts

Opinion

Social Pilot is a solid option with plenty of subscription options for any budget. Having to manually confirm posts can be inconvenient, but the bevy of features around the post scheduling is worthwhile. Depending on the size and scale of your business, the pros and cons of Social Pilot will likely be the deciding factor on whether you use it or not. If you don’t have the time to manually confirm every post at peak engagement times, it may be a deal breaker. But if you can work around some of the quirks, Social Pilot is a great bang for your buck option.

About the author 

Mark Firehammer

When he is not creating content for Pilates Business Pros, training business owners to be better marketers, or producing multi-camera on-demand fitness content for FitStreams.club, you can find him playing with his cats, working in his metal and woodworking shop or sharing a meal and a bottle of wine with friends.

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