When I first became a self-published author, I read up on how to market your books. In the Internet age, you need a presence on social media. So I set up a Twitter account and an author Facebook page.
I also read about setting up a Hootsuite account to manage my Tweets and Facebook posts. Since I am always busy – writing, taking care of the kids or whatever – it seemed like a good way to maintain an online presence while getting work done.
Now while I only used it for Twitter, Hootsuite could handle all social media channels such as Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Tumblr and more. It allows you to schedule your updates in advance and to analyze their effectiveness though not all reports were included in the free version.
Every Saturday, I would schedule tweets about my latest release, my blog or things going on in my life. This worked out well. It was nice to plan my Tweets in advance when we went on vacation, or if I joined one of World Literary Café’s Tweet Teams.
I’ve done this for years until last week. When I went onto Hootsuite to promote a new release for a fellow author, I was notified that the free version of Hootsuite was now only limited to 20 tweets a week. Yikes! I do that many tweets in 2-3 days. All of a sudden, the free version won’t work for me.
I checked out the paid versions of Hootsuite thinking that I liked the program well enough to pay for the ability to Tweet more often. To move the professional version, it would be $19 per month. That is $228 a year to be able to schedule 500 messages a week.
That is more than I want to pay – especially when don’t know how much sending out Tweets helps drive people to my blog or buy my book. I don’t use any of the real-time analytics or other features you get with a paid account.
So, I have been looking at affordable alternatives to Hootsuite. The problem is that many programs I found were not affordable at $49 or more a month. Hmm….they are making Hootsuite’s price look better and better.
SocialPilot – Very similar to Hootsuite. On their free plan, you can do 10 posts a day, but you can only have 30 posts in your scheduling queue, which means I can’t do a week’s worth at a time like I do with Hootsuite. Their basic version is geared to bloggers. It is $10/month and allows 50 posts shared a day and 250 in the scheduling queue.
Buffer – This one covers Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and Google+. The free account only allows 10 scheduled posts. Their “Awesome” account offers 100 scheduled posts at a time for $10 per month.
TweetDeck – If you are only managing Twitter, Tweet Deck may be for you. And best of all it is free! With TweetDeek, you can schedule your posts, monitor timelines, manage multiple Twitter accounts and set alerts to keep up with other people’s Tweets.
For a list of other Hootsuite alternatives (many with higher monthly fees), click here.
For now, I think I will give Tweet Deck a try since it is free. After that, I may need to try one of the paid versions. Luckily, most offer a 7-day free trial. If you have a social media manager that you like, please let me know about it in the comments.