There is no doubt that social media is hard and time consuming. Getting the right message to your followers at a time where they are most likely to engage with you is challenging. What makes this even tougher is that managing your hospice’s social media strategy is probably not your only daily responsibility. Wouldn’t it be great if you could shave an hour or so a week off of your plate and put technology to work for you?The first challenge you will face is figuring out which social media platforms to focus on. We have noticed that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the top three places where hospices are having meaningful conversations with potential residents and their families. Finding the right tool to help master the execution on these platforms is going to be key to lowering the number of hours you spend each week working on social.

The best tools for managing your social media are Buffer and Hootsuite. Which one is best truly depends on you and what you are going to be looking to get out of it. While we have our favorite (we won’t spoil that until the end of the post), below is a quick look at each product's strengths and shortcomings.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is probably the most well-known social media management tool. If you can think it, this software can probably do it (for a price). Getting started with Hootsuite is simple and easy, including a limited free plan for individual use.

Hootsuite does a great job at the basics--scheduling posts, reaching trending topics, and a nice dashboard to monitor it all right at your fingertips. It can track your blog site and add any new posts you make to it directly on your social feeds. It has a really strong analytics platform, which might be daunting for a small organization or team whose main focus isn’t social media management.

Having multiple folks working on your social team is also a plus for Hootsuite. Their interface gives you more control over who has access to what accounts and team-member permissions.

Because it has so many different settings and features, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. You can easily get lost in trying to do to much, when the whole point is just getting the posts scheduled and out the door on time!

Buffer

Buffer is slowly gaining ground as the go-to tool for small marketing teams looking to get started with social media management and automation. Its biggest strength is how easy it is to get started. It also covers all of the basic needs of a social media manager--autoscheduling, RSS feed integration, URL shortening (using a white labeled version of bit.ly--another one of our favorite apps!), and basic analytics.

Pablo is Buffer's awesome sidekick that allows you to easily find and design images to include with your posts. We can all agree that adding an engaging photo makes the posts more memorable and engaging. 

We have been users of Buffer for a while now, and we love it. Getting up and running with the free account, despite a few limitations, still has plenty of horsepower to knock your socks off. We were up and running with posts to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, scheduled at the best time to reach our audience, in under 10 minutes.

There’s a lot to like about using Buffer for work. It’s incredibly easy to get started, and that user-friendliness never goes away even when your needs get more complex. Whether I’m blocking out a few weeks of content or just want to get something out fast at the right time, Buffer gets it done.

- Matt Weiner, Digital Content, Mindset Digital

The fact is Hootsuite is still a great tool and has a lot (and we mean A LOT) of great features. If you're at a full-blown marketing firm managing social media accounts for multiple clients it is probably be the best option for you.

But, for what we're trying to accomplish as a small business, Buffer is a real time-saver and has simplified the way we manage our social media.

In the end, content is still king. All of the shiny new tools that you sign up for will help streamline the execution of your social media strategy, but without new and fresh content, your followers will not engage with your brand on these platforms. For a deep dive into how to maximize the impact of the content you are creating on these platforms, check out our posts on Instagram and Twitter.