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So What? Social Scheduling Tools Bake-off

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

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In this week’s episode of So What? we compare social scheduling tools. We walk through how to create user stories for your social scheduling tools, using the user stories to evaluate social scheduling tools and how to determine which social scheduling tools are right for you. Catch the replay here:

So What? Social Scheduling Tools Bake-off


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • How to create user stories for your social scheduling tools
  • Using the user stories to evaluate social scheduling tools
  • Determining which social scheduling tools are right for you

Upcoming Episodes:

  • TBD


Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:24
Well, hey everyone, Happy Thursday. Welcome to so what the marketing analytics and insights lunch show? I am Katie joined by Chris and John, how are you fellows? Oh, that was very synchronized, I appreciate it. So most like your practice

John Wall 0:38
ready for the Olympics.

Katie Robbert 0:42
On this week’s episode, we’re covering social scheduling tools, we’re doing a social scheduling tools Bake Off, this came about because Trust Insights turned five last March. And since then, with the exception of like project management tools, we really haven’t evaluated the stack that we’re using. And so much has changed over the past five years, that we felt like it was really good time to see what’s out there. We haven’t evaluated social scheduling tools, a little literally in five years. So that’s what we’re doing today. And so we’re going to cover how to create user stories, using those user stories to evaluate these social scheduling tools and determining which social scheduling tools are right for you. And I’m going to start stuttering over social scheduling tools that reminds me of when I was in the first grade, and I had a retainer and I had one line in the Christmas play. It was it St. Nicholas, the famous Santa Claus. Brutal Anywho. Chris, do you want to start?

Christopher Penn 1:45
Well, first, we should start with us is we’re acknowledging that we should probably also acknowledge it’s your birthday.

John Wall 1:52
All right, special birthday background,

Christopher Penn 1:54
birthday back. It’s actually quite close. So I would say in terms of social scheduling, yeah, that’s the hardest part of choosing any software’s is the requirements gathering. Because even for a company as small as ours, we’re going to have different requirements based on who’s using it and what they’re using it for. You might care more about things like reporting, I might care more about data, data load, and things like that John might care about being able to generate content on the fly. That is, you know, that you can slot into schedules and make sure you’re not conflicting. So I would say, that’s probably where we should start.

Katie Robbert 2:35
Well, and great opportunity, and it matches the background to talk about user stories. And, you know, we were talking with, we were on a call earlier, Chris. And we were talking with someone who was evaluating a set of tools. And you astutely said, you know, the problem is that a lot of people choose the tool first, and then try to fit it in versus figuring out what their requirements are, and then choosing a tool. And I, you couldn’t be more right about that. Because you see it all the time, you try to retrofit your processes into an existing tool. And I think a lot of times we choose tools that have a big name, or that everybody else is using, because we also want to be using it, but it may not be the right tool for the job. So yeah, we recommend starting with user stories. So, John, in terms of a social scheduling tool, I know you’re not a power user. So what would your user story be, in terms of using a social scheduling tool?

John Wall 3:45
Yeah, for initial starting out, you know, as the content manager, I want to be able to upload files, so I can do batch loads. That’s the biggest headache for anybody just starting out. It’s like getting a bunch of posts up in one shot, as opposed to having to live and cut and paste. Hell, you know, that’s the first and easy one. And yeah, it’s, I don’t know, you’d think that that would be a slam dunk across the board. But I’m sure it was we’re gonna see today with all these tools, like, just something as simple as that. And then another one is a kill switch to, you know, to be able to stop stuff, which is also not like You’d think there’d be a big huge red button on all these tools, but there’s not so yeah, I’m interested to see who is improved who’s actually lost ground. It’s going to be interesting today.

Christopher Penn 4:27
It is. So Katie, you went through the bloody and painful process of setting up these accounts. So before we even talk about the requirements, things, just figuring out how to get underway. Talk about what you experienced in just turning these things on.

Katie Robbert 4:44
Yeah, so we definitely took the most, the most least technical person on the team to have them set up but I feel like I’m a good representation of every marketer. And so what I wanted to do was get a free trial. And so if we start with sprout sprout was easy to set up in terms of getting a free trial. So you know, they get high marks for that, once I got into the system, you know, I got overwhelmed by the interface that I didn’t really dig into it. So that’s sort of what we’re going to do today. But in terms of setting up for a free trial, that one was straightforward, it didn’t require a credit card buffer was also easy to set up, I was able to put in my username, password, and it was able to set up a free trial, both sprout and buffer allowed me to immediately connect some of my social profiles as well, during the free trial, so like, I can test out, you know, what’s going on with it. Agorapulse, we already had an account, that’s the system that we’re currently using. So there was nothing to set up there. Hootsuite, they required a credit card. And so that for me, as a user, that gave me pause, if we weren’t doing the Bake Off that we’re doing today, I probably would have stopped there. Because other tools don’t require a credit card in order for you to do a free trial. And then the last one that I set up was sprinkler. Now, sprinkler was sprinkler didn’t require a credit card. But sprinkler to me as an end user was confusing, because they have about a half a dozen products. And it wasn’t clear to me which one I should be starting the free trial for so they have social, they have insights, they have service. And the descriptions of each of these were kind of similar. So I wasn’t really sure which one I should be signing up for. But then it also made me think, well, am I not if I don’t sign up for the insights, one, can I not get data out of the social product if I sign up for that. And so as an end user, sort of putting on my I’m new to all of this hat, it was a little confusing. The other thing was sprinkler, it took a few hours for the verification of the account in the email to come through. So at that point, I’ve moved on to other things. And kind of I had requested the verification email three times. And so I don’t know if that was just a glitch in the system or something. But that was frustrating to me as an end user.

Christopher Penn 7:34
Okay, now, what are what are the user stories that you would be looking for Katie, when you’re when you’re trying to figure out what you want out of these tools.

Katie Robbert 7:46
So the first user story is, as a overworked marketing manager, I want to easily set up a system so that I can save time. And so one of the things I’m looking for is, you know, John, you know, to your point about the bulk uploads, if it if figuring out the system and taking more time to upload and approve content, if that takes longer to do it through a system like this than it does for me to manually do it, then I’m not going to use the system. And I know that some of the systems without calling out any of them have changed the way that their bulk upload and scheduling system works. And it’s a pain in the butt. And it takes too long. And you know, it’s for me, that isn’t saving me any time. So why am I giving them money.

Christopher Penn 8:39
So for folks who are unfamiliar, one of the things that you should be able to do with these systems is take something like a spreadsheet. So this is a spreadsheet we have of existing posts, and URLs. Let me go ahead and share my screen here. And we have the sort of the posts, which is the text, and then we have the URL. And so this to what John was saying, you know, if you want to stand something up very quickly, this would be the content we’d want to load. Where this comes from, for us is from systems that we built. So we’re not the typical user in the sense that your average person’s your average marketing partner is probably not going to have a lot of the backend technology to generate these files very quickly. But you could do things like export the posts from your blog feed. For example, you could do things like collaboratively work on a Google Doc with your team and have your your team as a whole contribute interesting articles that they found that we can put it into a spreadsheet like this.

Katie Robbert 9:38
Well, and I remember when we were managing social when we worked at the agency, we would have a series of URLs of articles and blog posts. Our job was to create you know social posts for each individual channel around those and then bulk upload that spreadsheet into the various systems. so that everything was scheduled out ahead of time. And so what also needs to exist, if you have a larger team is an approval process. And so somebody can upload all of the content into the system, and then assign it to someone else to say yes, no, yes, no. You know, that, to me isn’t super intuitive in a lot of the systems that I looked at.

Christopher Penn 10:23
Yep. And, you know, if you want to get fancy, which we sometimes do, you may also want to use AI services to help create some of this content. So here’s an example. This is promoting our Google Analytics 4 course, which you can find at trust, for course, I’m creating these 20 posts, these will all be Twitter posts, for example. And we can then take these, copy them into a spreadsheet, and then be ready to share them on social services. So there’s any number of ways to get these bulk files that you would then be loading into a social media marketing system. Okay, so we have Upload, we have a kill switch, what else might we want to be able to do with these systems?

Katie Robbert 11:10
We want to look at the data. We are an analytics company, if we didn’t want to look at the analytics coming out of the system, then why are we specifically using it. And so I would want to, you know, right now, I collect monthly metrics from various systems. If I have, you know, total number of followers, or growth or engagement or comments, and all of that stuff in one place for all of my different social channels, that to me is a huge win. Because right now, I don’t have that. You know, some of the systems have limitations in terms of the social channels that they support. Not every not every social scheduling tool offers YouTube or Tik Tok, or, you know, things that you would imagine at this point are standard.

Christopher Penn 12:03
Yep. And the other thing I think I would add, and this is for anyone generally is, the interface should be well enough designed that you don’t have to go through a lengthy onboarding system, right? It’s kind of like, you know, you can hand an iPad to a four year old, they’re pretty much going to know what to do, they may not know the intricacies of a specific app, but it’s pretty clear, with just the, the, the way the interface is shaped what to do. So I think part of the evaluation would be just general ease of use, and we’re going to test that today by completely ignoring all the manuals. And just winging it. So so we have four things easy use, bulk upload, kill switch and recording, reporting and data export. Let’s go through and just very obviously, let’s look for the kill switches first to see because that’s, that’s a easy one. So we’ll start with sprout. I’m going to guess we’re gonna go to publishing because that’s where you’d publish stuff.

Katie Robbert 13:00
I’m gonna share your screen in here. Oh, yes,

Christopher Penn 13:04
well, there we go. So this is good it’s already picking up our existing content which would be important and there’s an ad in the way here notifications team conversations here links connected profile, so I just just here and sprout cue I don’t see anything there’s there’s a message queue settings Ah, there’s a pause all so they do have a pause all button so sprout is anyone keeping score?

Katie Robbert 13:40
I can I can keep score in my head.

Christopher Penn 13:43
Okay, so sprout gets a point for a pause all button we like that.

Katie Robbert 13:49
I’m actually gonna keep score I’m gonna keep manual.

Christopher Penn 13:53
There we go. All right. So we’d like that we’d like pause on that was relatively easy to find what the publishing went to queue settings and there we go. All right buffer let’s see we are in publishing. Let’s close the that those campaigns do nope, that’s not it. Calendar is no. That’s posting schedule. Okay, so there’s a pause button for that in this channel. So there’s no pause all as far as I can tell. There is just one per queue. So if if sprout has gets a point buffer in this case, there is no emergency stop button. Okay. Let’s go to Agorapulse Agorapulse Close this. Alright, let’s go to our publishing whatnots for creating posts. It’s good

Katie Robbert 14:54
maybe calendar I think

Christopher Penn 15:01
No, that’s content but there’s no you controls. Now there’s queues, I was buried pretty deep down. Okay, so there is there are pause buttons on the individual queues. But there is no, there is no global panic button. So that’s a no there. Let’s go to Hootsuite. Let’s see, we got planner, I’m guessing social accounts, there’s a recommended time that’s settings, no. social accounts no status. Let’s see. So this is I can delete the stream,

Katie Robbert 16:01
which is not helpful. And I think that a lot of what I’ve seen is a lot of times the the only option is to delete it, but not pause it and then resume it. Yeah, I have to do it all over again.

Christopher Penn 16:18
That’s the inspiration for I don’t see I don’t even see a pause button here. Which is kind of concerning. I mean, that,

Katie Robbert 16:25
which isn’t to say it doesn’t exist, but the activity we’re doing here is, you know, how quickly can we find it without having to go through multiple?

Christopher Penn 16:38
Right. Okay, well, okay, so we can’t find the pause button and all just a, just a delete button. Let’s go into sprinkler. Let’s see. We have reports CRM insights, tasks publishing. Oh, goodness, assets, campaigns outbound posts.

I don’t see one in here either. Like this is a sent post.

Katie Robbert 17:17
So what? Yeah. Can you go to what create? I guess? Like, I don’t know. This is sort of it gets confusing.

Christopher Penn 17:27
Yeah, so those are that’s that’s the inbox? Yeah. Publishing here. Outbound posts, draft posts. Published posts, scheduled posts. So there’s approvals and things. Right. But there’s not. Yeah, there’s not a obvious button says stop. Okay. Okay. So kill switch.

Katie Robbert 17:54
Sprout wins that round, and they are the only ones who win that round.

Christopher Penn 17:58
Exactly. And HootSuite in and sprinkler get a minus one because I can’t even find a pause button for the like, Okay, what do I do? The world is on fire. I need to help. Okay, so let’s do, what do I do next? You want to do reporting or bulk

Katie Robbert 18:18
upload? Let’s do bulk upload, because that would be sort of without Bulk Upload. There’s no recording.

Christopher Penn 18:25
Right? Okay. So let’s see, how do we do bulk upload here? Let’s go back to our publishing. And, okay, so you can post by RSS, which means you can connect a blog feed to this. Is there a import? Twitter feeds RSS reader? That’s not it? No, I’m not looking for instant. I’m not looking for that I’m looking for I want to do a bunch of stuff at one time. Find content. That’s content viewing ideas. Add to your queue. Nope, that’s still where we just were.

Katie Robbert 19:18
And I feel like this kind of covers ease of use as well. I would definitely, because we’re kind of we’re struggling with all of these systems. You know, and again, acknowledging we have not gone through any of the training material. We are just diving right in to see if we can figure it out. And, you know, that’s how typical users use a lot of software systems like we can go through demos and you know, trainings and those kinds of things. But most people don’t have time for that they buy the system or the system is bestowed upon them. And someone says figure it out.

Christopher Penn 19:55
That is most common in an agency setting where you will get someone who is Build, Build, acquire the system then hand it off to the staff and, you know, the they’ll get the 30 Minute canned lesson and or some downloads as handbooks and then and then that’s That’s it. Right. Okay, so I can’t easily find a bulk upload in here.

Katie Robbert 20:16
Okay, so sprout does not get a point for that. Yep. All right. Yeah, that’s not to say that these features don’t exist in these systems. It’s just that we are not within the short amount of time able to figure it out. Right.

Christopher Penn 20:30
So let’s see, we have a queue. I don’t really care about Mastodon, right now. See approvals? There is my queue times.

Katie Robbert 20:41
Oh, there’s your pause queue.

Christopher Penn 20:45
Yeah, we found it for the individual queues, but not for the thing overall in buffer. So buffer has to empty queue button to, to dump it or to clean up stuff, which is good. But I don’t see a way to import a file here. And I want to say that, I think that existed in buffer once upon a time. And I believe they, when they redid their queues a few years ago, I believe they removed that function on this. In fact, I know they did, because there are third party services that offer that as an add on that you can integrate with Buffer.

Katie Robbert 21:22
Okay, so they don’t get a point for that.

Christopher Penn 21:26
That’s correct. All right. Agorapulse Agorapulse clue says bulk import queued posts. So I say that that was at least easy to find. Where is

Katie Robbert 21:42
so just for fun? It’s the bottom two. So yeah.

Christopher Penn 21:49
All right, let’s do a bulk import. And let’s pick our queue here, next. And we have content link labeled. Alright, so let’s take our content. And we’ll use this one here. Let’s hit next. All drafts. And now go, your drafts are being imported.

Katie Robbert 22:32
Now, here’s where I want to chime in.

Christopher Penn 22:35
Now, I should just field I should have to hit Save Changes. I’m done. Right?

Katie Robbert 22:38
Nope. So this is the functionality that has changed and so Agorapulse Up until about six, six months ago, you could upload your content just like this. And then you could either approve the posts one by one or approve all of them all at once. Assuming that you’ve done it previously in the CSV file. Now, you have to go through one post at a time. First, you have to click Save Changes. Then at the top of the screen, you have to click next post and you have to do this for every single post on every single feed.

Christopher Penn 23:17
But that’s not to bulk upload them.

Katie Robbert 23:19
So that to me is not time savings. That to me is not intuitive and a pain in the butt. Yeah.

John Wall 23:28
Okay, let’s start with the idea with as they’re presumably imports not gonna go well and that you’re gonna have to get eyeball them all

Katie Robbert 23:34
right, that you’re gonna have to edit every everything and that’s just, at least in our case is not true. Ours is pretty stock standard. Like, you know, we don’t do a lot of customization on our social media, that sort of, uh, you know, good news, bad news. In this case, it’s a pain because if you upload a larger file, which we had previously done 60 posts at a time you then have to go through and approve 60 individual posts per social channel.

Christopher Penn 24:06
Well, okay, so that’s not helpful. Let’s but at least we found the least did it technically exist.

Katie Robbert 24:12
So did they get a point for that? Give him a half a point. Okay. All right. All right.

Christopher Penn 24:18
Hootsuite let’s go ahead into Hootsuite and we have I’m not sure where I should do the show try to plan it let’s see if we can do it the planet here so if new post go away okay, this is individual posts. So let’s that’s not helpful. That’s text only refreshed stream

I don’t see. I don’t see one in streams. Let’s try There’s nothing in the inspiration. This is back to the composer. Let’s try to the planner, or that’s usually the Yeah, social accounts content. We’ve kept everything the same, that’s great bulk message upload. Alright, you have this, you have a can choose CSV file, it looks like we have to have date format, message and URL. So I don’t have one that’s formatted for this.

Katie Robbert 25:28
But let’s try it tells you.

Christopher Penn 25:31
Yeah, let’s try importing one anyway. And see what how badly this could go wrong.

John Wall 25:36
Well, it says try the new one too. So are they beta in the other thing? Let’s see. Yeah, beta, okay.

Christopher Penn 25:46
Try it now. So select a file such as social account, review posts.

Okay, so there’s no scheduled start dates. Your posts are ready to review, select all. Okay, obviously, it can’t sell just because a bunch of errors, but it looks like that. That would do what we wanted to do, which is here’s the file, make these go. Okay, so they get a point. So they get a point for composer. Okay. Let’s go into sprinkler sprinkler. Let’s see doo doo doo, draft posts. Tasks in ox publishing go in the right spot.

Katie Robbert 26:39
The other thing I’ll note just about ease of use for sprinkler, there’s two home buttons. And I think they go to the same place. And I found that confusing. So that’s all and above it. Is home. Okay, and as a user, I was I was very confused by that.

Christopher Penn 26:59
Let’s see. There are no scheduled posts. Okay, that’s cool. Can I? Those are approvals. There’s creative posts to say anything and settings for uploads. Global Governance Holy crap. I don’t say publish a settings. Hey, look, they will pause all posts button. Ah.

Katie Robbert 27:26
So do they get a point?

Christopher Penn 27:28
They’ll get a point for having the feature, we will probably do them on easy use. All right,

Katie Robbert 27:33
I’ll take away their negative one. This is so this is when I set up the free trial for sprinkler. This is assuming that I chose the correct product. Because their sprinkler social and their sprinkler service. And it wasn’t completely clear to me which one I should be picking.

Christopher Penn 27:57
Right. I still can’t find a bulk upload button in here. Now I’m sure like you said, a product that has this much stuff in it has got to have it somewhere. Right? It’s just not obvious where that might be.

Katie Robbert 28:12
What happens if you click the Add button in the top right.

Christopher Penn 28:17
Add post just back here. Yeah. That’s not helpful. Okay. So that would be? Well, a couple of So we’ve covered Bulk Upload to kill switch. The last is going to be reporting. So let’s see what we got for reports. Let’s go back to sprout and post performance profile performance inbox activity, strategy and insights. I should level engagement users. See you added which choose Twitter and LinkedIn?

Katie Robbert 28:50
Correct. I did Twitter and LinkedIn consistently across each platform.

Christopher Penn 28:54
Okay, let’s try Twitter profiles and see just what it has to say about our Twitter profile. So these are sample analytics. I want to toggle off see your data. Yes, that’s what I want to see my data. See, we have 5700 impressions, 125 engagements, 13 link clicks 2.2% engagement rate. Data is not available for that yet publishing behavior. publishing videos stuff are top posts. Okay, that’s pretty decent. And uh huh. A CSV file. I’d say at least for the basics. They’ve got all the goods there. Okay, so they got a point. Yeah, let’s just take a real quick look at the CSV file. In it. Yeah, so you got your dates. You got your gauges? Yeah, this looks pretty good.

Katie Robbert 29:47
So that’s data that you could do something with if you had a specific question you were trying to answer, which is exactly.

Christopher Penn 29:52
Yeah. Like if I wanted to run a regression analysis and figure out you know, what causes engagement rate, I could do that with this status. It’s in good condition. Alright, buffer, let’s go to analytics. Good afternoon. Let’s look at Twitter. The overview. MAE first mates have a hang on here. Let’s look at let’s do apples to apples a first through May 10. There we go 2700 impressions and sprinkler 2800 impressions and buffer 42 tweets. 2.8% engagement rate. So, metrics per 1000 followers, that’s okay, that’s not super helpful. But okay. I think that’s probably a little less detailed. We got our export button.

Katie Robbert 30:54
Well, and I think to this sort of speaks to, you know, doing your requirements ahead of time, knowing what kind of data you may not know all of it, but at least having a good sense of what kind of information you’re going to need to be able to make decisions on. Because the system you choose may not have it available.

Christopher Penn 31:14
Yeah. Now, this is interesting, this. Okay, so there’s our content. So Buffer dumps everything out. We’re different files in dia in a series of different files. And there isn’t sort of a one stop shopping picture like sprout does. So you can still use this day just have to manipulate it more.

Katie Robbert 31:41
Which, depending on how savvy your analytics team could make or break your decision,

Christopher Penn 31:46
right? Yeah, that could be problematic, depending on your team, like you said, Alright, let’s look next at

Katie Robbert 31:56
so Wait, does buffer buffer gets a point for that?

Christopher Penn 31:58
I forgot to point because they have it there. They have the replays CSV, Export CSV? To me, that is always the the important thing. Let’s go into Agorapulse. Let’s go into reports. Man reporting. I’m still in social profiles. Yeah. Let’s see.

Okay, reports, let’s look at Twitter. Let’s look at month to date. So may 1 through 10th. So we have here under followers 71 engagements, audience net growth 0.5% increase engagement 71 interactions of user activity users are most active at that time, no date no date available these things. So that’s pretty comprehensive. Let’s go ahead and hit export here. That’s nice. We actually get a lot of different choices. We can choose global or individual content stuff and says we will email you when your report is ready. Okay, okay. So yeah, I’d say for this. I give it marks for Mark. Let’s look at the content global because that’s what did you tweets? Yep. Yeah, Twitter engagement. So yeah, this is this is what the it’s interesting that they showed her a profile view and then the content view and like Buffer defaults, just a content view immediately. Okay, there’s our our Best Time To Publish. Cool. All right. Let’s move on to Hootsuite. So HootSuite, we have analytics. And I want to look at, I guess all reports. Oh, dear. I have to make my own report. Oh, no. Oh, here we go. General Post performance. Let’s post performance.

Katie Robbert 34:23
So you have Yeah, you have a few different kinds of reports, but not like one dashboard of reports like the other tools have,

Christopher Penn 34:31
right like how am I doing? So once my network here we are Twitter overview. So create a port Twitter audience Twitter engagement. So let’s create a Twitter overview. So, followers, let’s make sure we’re doing apples to apples on the report period. So 1800 followers, three mentions, followers by our post engagement rate they’re coming up with different engagement rates.

Katie Robbert 35:03
Well, and this is one of the things we don’t know how these systems are defining each of these metrics, which is something we talk about a lot with our clients of we need to understand the definition of the metric in order to say for certain what it is, and every system is going to do a little bit differently.

Christopher Penn 35:23
Right, exactly. So okay, let’s do an export. Ah, I have to upgrade the business plan to get CSV exports. Hmm.

John Wall 35:35
There we go. Hit the

Christopher Penn 35:37
first paywall, like,

Katie Robbert 35:39
well, and this is the only system that required a credit card in order to do the free trial.

Christopher Penn 35:44
Right. So I’m gonna give them half the points on this one, they the analytics is there, but the paywall for something as simple as a CSV report is a no fly. Okay. Just for comparison purposes, and maybe there’s something we can add in later, I pulled our actual Twitter account data from Twitter for the sake of luck you want from May one may 10. Anyone let’s take a look at this period here. So 2.4% is what Twitter is saying is the official rate from the tool itself. So this,

Katie Robbert 36:20
they could either be inflated or underrepresented.

Christopher Penn 36:23
Right. So that was 2.8%. This one doesn’t have a percentage on here. 2% on that one, either. This one says 3.28. Let’s go into sprinkler sprinkler has reports. Let’s do Twitter performance. And we want to do for a custom range of March 1 through 10. No may 1, first through 10th.

Katie Robbert 37:03
Okay, what this might actually be my fault, I think because it took me so long to get the email verification. And I’d moved on I didn’t actually connect our social accounts. So that I think might actually be my fault.

Christopher Penn 37:18
It’s picking stuff up. Okay. Yeah, it’s at least see something. But, okay, so there’s, there’s not a whole lot there. There is no CSV export, so

Katie Robbert 37:34
that you can to excel, which for some people is the same thing.

Christopher Penn 37:38
Right. Right. And it’s not paywalled. So there’s that I suppose.

Katie Robbert 37:43
Okay, they get a point.

Christopher Penn 37:45
Yeah, give them point. And then for ease of use. I didn’t time us going through all this. What do you think? John’s even watching which ones? Which? Which ones? Have you seen as he was struggling the least in the most with?

John Wall 38:07
Yeah, that’s tough. You know, Agorapulse is obviously smooth. But then that is bias because we’ve played around with that. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t see any clear winners as far as like, oh, yeah, this experience was way better than the other ones. I think. I’d be just one point across the board for everybody. There’s nobody that screams again, you know, easy walk through. How about Katie, when you fire them up? Did any of them walk you through a wizard that was like, Hey, here’s how you set this stuff up right?

Christopher Penn 38:33
Now? No.

Katie Robbert 38:36
Not immediately. But you can see at the bottom, like on sprout, they have a wizard that had we taken the time to do it, we could start to go through so that at the bottom, Chris, you could do the Let’s go. And then there was I think in HootSuite was the same thing. So again, I hadn’t gone through those and you know, admittedly, like, I feel like a lot of people would just skip those and be like, I just need to get the thing done.

John Wall 39:00
Yeah, we had a question too, from David asking about tagging people in posts versus companies. And, you know, from what I’ve seen across the board on that, a lot of that is specific networks have their rules in place about that you have to have that, you know, straight at your account level, whether you’re allowed to call stuff out. And then actually I think about that to the users actually have that in their own privacy settings, too. They can turn that off for themselves, and not be called out. So that one’s kind of all over the place, as far as I know. Yeah,

Christopher Penn 39:30
I believe that is correct. In terms of accuracy, for which, and we didn’t this was not one of our requirements, but in terms of whose numbers are actually closest. So 2.8 So the number to hit here is 2.4. So 2.8 for sprout 2.9 for Buffer. I can’t find one here for Agorapulse I see percent. Just increases 3.2 For HootSuite, and 04. So of who we found so far, sprout seems to have like the still wrong but closest police wrong?

John Wall 40:15
Yeah, we have no prizes, right winners here, unfortunately, no.

Katie Robbert 40:19
Well, and you know, so it’s interesting. So I’ve been keeping score, you know, very lightly, and the features that we care about the most like, so in terms of like just, you know, back of the envelope, scoring sprout has the highest score of things. But when I look at the individual scores, they don’t have at least immediately the bulk uploading that we would need, we need to make sure like, we would need to go deeper into our own requirements before, you know, switching tools, like we need to make sure that they cover the actual platforms that we care about. We don’t care about Facebook, we don’t care about. I don’t whatever else is in there, like we care about certain things like so we need to make sure that it’s all set, we need to make sure that, you know, it actually has the correct type of reporting that we’ve or Trust Insights would need. Yes, it has the global pause. Yes, it has reporting. But is that reporting that we care about? And so, you know, for the purposes of this episode, we want to show it a high level but for the purposes of Trust Insights, there’s not a clear winner.

Christopher Penn 41:25
Yeah, I think more than this, what we’re showing is the process for how you go about evaluating these tools. You can’t just put it in an RFP and wait for responses right you’ve got to get some gotta go roll up your sleeves. And and dig in. Because you’re right. There’s if you look at if we go back here and just look at as a simple sampling of what profiles are available like to see Tiktok Google My Business Google Play Apple App Store, this is sprout in buffer, you see LinkedIn, Shopify, Mastodon is in there. In Agorapulse. See, add social profiles. So you have you know, Tiktok, Google business, etc. In HootSuite, you have my settings for that? Who knows? So HootSuite has just these. And then in sprinkler, we have Yelp and Trustpilot and stuff. So there’s different networks. So yeah, even something as simple as which networks are going to matter. You know, Hootsuite seems to have the fewest options available. And sprout and sprinkler seem to have the most options available.

John Wall 42:44
Yeah, that’s interesting. Because I like seeing TripAdvisor in there. You know, if you were a travel, you would have to have TripAdvisor. That’s interesting how, you know, one feature like that can actually just make the decision for you.

Christopher Penn 42:56
Exactly. If you’re doing reviews, a lot of views stuff, having Trustpilot. You know, being are the review service would be really important. So yeah, it depends. Shopify, if you’re doing e commerce, you have to have an integration to your e commerce Store.

Katie Robbert 43:10
It is interesting that mastodons in here too, that’s not buffers the only one that has that listed?

Christopher Penn 43:16
Yep, exactly. Glassdoor is in sprout. So if you’re, if you care about the savage reviews that you’re

John Wall 43:25
right, well, and that was a whole area, we didn’t dive into two of the queue management, you know, the whole idea is like, okay, so you’re posting, but what about on the other side? As far as listening and replying to stuff? I mean, that’s where you can really get barbecued if you’re not paying any attention to what gets said. And, exactly. So it’s been as a whole nother thing.

Christopher Penn 43:43
So that’s the, that’s the Bake Off, as it were, we don’t have a clear winner, because obviously, we need to do a better job with our requirements. But we are pretty clearly there’s a lot of different features to judge on. There’s a lot of even something like, you know, the Google Analytics integration, some of these tools, we’d have to ask, like, Did you update for GA four? Or is this still using Universal Analytics? Right? That was something as simple as that would be? Kind of could be a showstopper.

Katie Robbert 44:13
Yeah. So I think our next step is to really, really think through what do we need from a social scheduling tool? What do we want from our social media strategy overall? Because we don’t really have a social media strategy. If we’re being honest. We post some stuff to social, we use it as an awareness, but that’s not a strategy. And so we would want to go back and say, what is our strategy for social? And then from there, we can start to drill down into our own requirements, figure out things like how easy to use, does it need to be or can we develop a process because it hits all the other marks? So that’s our next step.

Christopher Penn 44:54
Exactly. Any final words, John?

John Wall 44:58
No, did you know the other thing that To me, though, is the switching costs thing, you know, you review all these and every team has a point where they’re just like, well let them are that much better. Let’s just stick with what we know, you know, the the friction of lock in is real and something you want to use to your advantage if you can. Yeah.

Katie Robbert 45:15
What about you, Chris? I mean, we didn’t even get into how these tools are starting to integrate with generative AI. You know, what are your thoughts?

Christopher Penn 45:27
Well, first, every tool should be thinking about that if you don’t currently offer it. I would say in three months time, if we were to redo this Bake Off, and every that would be a core fundamental feature that I think every tool should have. And if they don’t, then they’ve missed the boat. And I think that’s, that’s a good sort of canary in the coal mine warning, like, yeah, this company is not innovative. They’re not going to they’re not pushing the envelope, if they don’t at least offer something even as simple as, hey, we connected this to OpenAI as API, and it’s just going to create, you know, crazy garbage. At least you tried. You get the little I tried star.

Katie Robbert 46:03
Well, if you can, I know we’re wrapping up. But if you can pull up your screen again, Chris, I believe in HootSuite, if I’m remembering. They have a inspiration. And so

Christopher Penn 46:24
only writer AI.

Katie Robbert 46:27
So that might be their own version that they’re working on. But there’s definitely some potential here, you know, you have 300 tokens left.

But having these kinds of content generation systems built into the tools is going to be definitely a game changer. Because why would why would you want to have to go to multiple tools if you could do it. All right, in one place.

Christopher Penn 47:03
Yep. Exactly. So that’s those are all things that we would want to you’d want to see in in any of these products is how, how much are you extra stuff? Can you integrate? And see publishing create? Let’s see if buffers got anything here. content ideas, generate ideas. Yeah, so they’ve they’ve got some kind of a generator there. So yeah, there’s that there’s a lot of different opportunities. And, again, that goes that goes into our requirements gathering. Well, all right, I think it’s time to go eat some birthday cake.

Katie Robbert 47:44
I wholeheartedly agree. I’m gonna go do that now.

Christopher Penn 47:47
We’ll see you all next time. Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more, check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust I podcast and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode. Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers, see you next time.

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