Free Automated Social Promotion Plugins for WordPress
We recently looked at the CoSchedule service and plugin which is a content scheduling tool for WordPress. As well as its article scheduling features, the other main selling point is CoSchedule’s excellent social media messaging functionality.
One part of its social marketing component is its ability to allow you to schedule promotional messages for your posts from the ‘add new post’ screen in WordPress. When you’ve finished writing your post, you can then create multiple promotional messages, such as Tweets, for multiple social networks and multiple accounts on those networks. You can set specific times for the messages to go live, or set them to go out after a set period in relation to when the post is published. This delay could be one hour, one day or anything of your choosing.
This is powerful stuff and something that any blogger or WordPress site owner who wants to grow their audience will find useful. While the CoSchedule plugin comes highly recommended, not everyone needs the post calendar features and collaborative tools it includes. The plugin might only cost $10 a month, but overtime that can add up and for new bloggers just starting out, with so many seemingly essential tools only costing $10 a month or less, your monthly outgoings can quickly mount up.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some plugins with similar social media scheduling abilities and see if anything compares to CoSchedule.
Social Media Scheduling Plugins
Here are some free and premium options for auto-sharing your WordPress content on the main social networks:
Social Networks Auto Poster (SNAP)
SNAP works with a range of networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Once you’ve set it up, the plugin will handle the promotion of your new posts on your social networks of choice. While the free plugin auto-posts your social message when you publish a post, the premium version gives you access to message scheduling and delayed posting.
The pro delay feature allows you to set a period of time to wait before posting your message. This can be set individually for each network, such as Twitter or Facebook. The other pro feature allows you to set a specific time for sending the social message. Again this can be set at the individual network level.
SNAP covers most of the popular social networks so you can just use one plugin to reach many audiences and hopefully get more visitors to your WordPress site. Unlike CoSchedule, it lacks the ability to create multiple individual messages for a single WordPress post.
For the scheduled posts features, you will need to upgrade to the premium version which costs $49 for lifetime updates.
Buffer is one of the most popular social media scheduling tools out there. It works with WordPress to allow you to create schedules for when to share your content on the most popular social networks. There is a free and a premium version, priced at $10 a month to choose from, so you can give it a try without financially committing to the service and then upgrade at a later date.
The free version only allows you to add one profile for each network, whereas the premium plan allows you to create up to 12. This is handy if your site has its own Twitter profile and you also want to automatically tweet a new post on your personal profile.
The premium version also allows you to buffer or schedule an unlimited amount of messages, as opposed to just 10 with the free version. The paid version also gives you more control over scheduling.
Buffer also gives you analytics data for your messages, so you can see which Tweets, for example have been the most popular with your contacts.
This is a great hands-off tool that has good coverage of the major social networks.
Publicize with Jetpack
Publicize started off life being exclusively available to WordPress.com users, but it’s now part of the Jetpack plugin, which brings a whole host of WordPress.com tools to self-hosted users. This means that in order to auto-share your content on the top social networks with Publicize, you do have to install the free but controversial Jetpack plugin on your site.
While you get a lot more features added to your site with Jetpack than just post publication-triggered social sharing, whether you want them or not, it is a popular option. Once setup, Publicize will automatically post a message to your pre-determined social account profiles when you publish a post. At the individual post level, you can edit the auto generated message or exclude certain social media account to publish to. You can also add an image for publication on Facebook, Path and LinkedIn.
There doesn’t appear to be the ability to create multiple unique messages to publicise the same post with this plugin, or schedule messages for any other time than when a post is first published. However, it is free and does offer good coverage of the main networks.
There are two versions of this popular plugin: free and premium. The free tool is another plugin that lets you auto-post to Twitter and Facebook from your WordPress site. The next version is reported to include support for Google+ and LinkedIn, which will make it an even more popular option.
This main difference between the two options is that the pro version allows you to schedule and repost social messages promoting your content. The lowest price pro version if $24 which includes use on one site and the ability to post to any Facebook page and tweet to your followers. This is a pretty basic tool but it is easy to use.
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WP to Twitter
This free plugin auto-tweets a promotional message when you publish a new post on your blog. Its features are a lot more basic than those of CoSchedule and the many of the other plugins of this type, and it obviously only works with Twitter. However it is a cost effective option for simplifying your social media promotion task list. You can get the full info on how it works and how to set it up on this post covering how to send blog posts to Twitter.
WP Tweets Pro
This is the premium version of the above plugin, and it adds many more features to the mix. The main features of interest as those concerned with scheduling your Tweets. Some of the highlights include:
- Delay Tweets after posting
- Automatically re-post your Tweet
- Create custom templates for Tweets
- Add multiple Twitter accounts for each author
- Add hashtags to tweets
- Set a blackout period of when not to send tweets (e.g. middle of night)
- View all scheduled tweets from one location
- View tweet history
The price of the plugin is $39 includes life-time usage for a single site and email support from the developer. There is also an unlimited site usage license for those with multiple sites available for $99.
Again, this plugin only works with Twitter, rather than also encompassing Facebook, G+, etc., so you might need another tool to ensure you aren’t missing out on any promotional opportunities.
This free plugin again only works with Twitter, but it does allow you to schedule when your tweets go out. WordTwitter adds a new metabox to your post editor screen where you can add your tweet message for the post you are about to publish.
You can also add multiple Twitter accounts to your site for scheduled tweeting to various profiles. It is also possible to view a log of messages that are pending and those that have already been published.
With WordTwit you can also set how many times a particular tweet will be sent, ranging from one to five times. This means you can ensure the chances of your followers seeing the message when they are logged in.
This is a pretty good option for anyone looking for a free Twitter scheduling tool for WordPress.
Of the various premium options, SNAP and Buffer to a good job of competing with CoSchedule’s social promotion features. However, they do lack some of social marketing features of CoSchedule, as well as the well-designed interface and ease of use. They also don’t offer that much of a financial saving, despite lacking a post scheduling calendar.
The free options combined do offer a solid set of features, including scheduling and sending to multiple accounts. However, individually none of them offer the breadth of features that come with the premium tools available. By using a tool like the free version of SharePress or Publicize, you can begin automating your social media promotional efforts. But if you want advanced features that will increase your reach and message visibility, then the premium options listed here, or CoSchedule in particular can’t be beaten.