When building or sustaining a brand presence on social media, having a content scheduler is essential.
A scheduler helps you plan ahead, stay organized, and work with multiple stakeholders easily. And with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram’s automatic post function for popular scheduling apps, you can say goodbye to manual posting. Thanks to this feature, create and schedule a week’s worth of content, then sit back and enjoy the user engagement pile in.
I use Later to manage the social media presences for multiple client accounts. From Hootsuite to CoSchedule, it’s one of many schedulers on the market. I selected it primarily because of its clean interface. It’s a beautifully designed tool with both desktop and mobile functionality that offers smart ways to streamline and improve workflow.
Let’s break it down:
In its core value–scheduling and viewing content–Later is functional on both desktop (via web) and mobile. It shines best on the former, though. Here, you can organize content by labels, access Instagram analytics, search and repost user-generated content (UGC), manage their Instagram-specific Linkin.bio tool (more on this below), plus more.
Later is primarily for Instagram marketing, but you can scheduling content for Twitter and Facebook through it, as well.
Later’s Linkin.bio tool is a semi-duplicate version of your Instagram feed, with one important difference: Each image is hyperlinked! This feature is a great complement to Instagram’s shoppable product post feature. Instead of having a url on your profile that links to a single page on your website, you can add a Linkin.bio url that allows your followers and fans to learn more about the specific posts that interest them. Plus, through their analytics offerings (more on these below), you can observe the click behavior of each link you add within Linkin.bio.
Linkin.bio is also well integrated into Later’s Instagram post scheduling flow. Once you finish writing your post caption, simply add the post link in the available Linkin.bio field.
Tagging and Sorting
Clients often have different promotional requirements that vary by time and priority, so I appreciate that Later provides a tagging option. That way, I can group content by promotion or brand category, then filter whichever type of content that needs to be posted.
On Later, you can also sort content by Used (published) or Unused (not published). When posting on different client accounts multiple times a day, this feature serves as a helpful reminder of what work is already completed. It can also be used to resurface previously posted promotional content.
Similar to their scheduling capabilities, tagging and sorting can be applied to content you share on Facebook and Twitter, too.
Actionable Instagram Analytics
There are many data points that can be gleaned from social media, but the data means little if it doesn’t offer a clear way for marketers to improve their work.
Later presents Instagram data in ways that are specifically tailored for social media marketers.
On the Overview tab, you can monitor an account’s follower growth rate over time, and set growth goals accordingly. I like that the growth rate is presented along with the specific number of followers gained, as both can be used to answer key questions about an account’s sustained growth over time, like “What is the average rate of growth month over month?” or “Which month did we gain the highest number of new followers?”
The Overview tab also provided metrics for an account’s Linkin.bio page, including total number of clicks, number of pageviews, and click-through rate. Plus it offers insight on an account’s best performing posts.
For further insight on post-by-post performance, there is another tab aptly titled Performance. I love this tab because it offers a visually simple way of identifying your highest engaged content (dark blue) and lowest engaged (light blue). Plus, if website visits is a key goal of your Instagram marketing strategy, it provides insight on which specific posts drove clicks to your account’s Linkin.bio page.
Easily Search and Report User-Generated Content
Another key feature is Search & Repost. For brands with engaging communities, I use this feature to locate user-generated content (UGC) that I have received permission to repost. However, through no fault of their own (it’s an Instagram limitation), this feature is searchable by hashtag only. For popular brand hashtags, this is virtually impossible. But for specific campaigns with unique hashtags, it works like a charm.
I especially like how seamlessly I can add reposted content to a client’s media library. Once added, you can interact with it just like originally uploaded content, adding an original caption and unique hashtags.
UGC content found on Later can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter, though I would only recommend doing that if you have express permission from the user to share the content on platforms other than Instagram.
Later’s pricing is pretty good for individuals and startups.
I currently have Later’s Starter option, which, at $29 per month ($24 if billed yearly), I find to be an affordable price. This plan comes with three social profiles per platform (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) and up to three users.
Comparatively, if you needed three user profiles for a Hootsuite account, it would cost you $129 a month (though Hootsuite does have advantages, which I touch on below).
If you’re managing multiple clients, you’ll be surprised to discover how quickly you can use up their allotment of three social profiles per platform with the Starter option, though—especially if you want to use Later to schedule your own brand content. Nevertheless, the next tier, at $41 a month if you were to take the yearly plan, still isn’t a bad deal. I just haven’t taken that leap yet.
Later is less holistic than other scheduling tools.
Nowadays, many brands see Instagram as their most important social media marketing channel. But for a well-rounded marketing experience, it is good to maintain presences on other social channels, including Facebook and Twitter. As mentioned before, Later shines with Instagram. However, other tools that have been around longer, like Hootsuite, have strong products for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn scheduling, reporting, and brand monitoring.
Hootsuite’s longevity in the social media industry is also evident in what they provide for multi-level brand campaigns—including tools for creating contests—and for social media marketers, like certifications. Large corporations and agencies with multiple stakeholders responsible for social media may see more value in this type of tool, or as a supplement to Later.
However, individual influencers with a particular focus on Instagram, and small, visual-based brands who need a social tool with a strong media tagging/sorting component, may still prefer Later over others.
I alternate between Hootsuite and Later for different clients but, again, prefer Later’s look and feel over Hootsuite’s more text and column-based experience.
I notice lag times when manually posting content from Later.
Instagram now allows third-party platforms to auto-publish posts, but sometimes I still prefer manual posting, even if I schedule things in advance. Usually I do this if I want to apply some of Instagram’s photo editing tools to the photo before posting.
When doing this on Later, though, I sometimes notice a lag time between scheduling the content and being able to post it when alerted by Later’s app. I believe this is due to the time it takes for Later to fully download the image onto my phone. However, I’m not 100% sure because Later doesn’t give an indication that there is a delay because of this. This could be a point of stress for marketers who are on a time crunch and need to manually post something right away.
Later is a beautifully designed tool with a lot of great features for social media marketers who are juggling multiple responsibilities and clients. Its robust desktop functionality allows it to be fully integrated into an existing workflow. Plus, it has a lot of organizational components for large collections of visual content.
Its focus is on Instagram, which could be helpful for marketers specifically focused on that platform—but not so good for those who need a strong monitoring tool for other channels.
If you are a visual marketer looking to amp your Instagram presence with shoppable features, data-informed strategy, and a clean scheduling interface, then Later is definitely one to consider.
Have you used the Later app? If so, what's your opinion of it? Let me know in the comments below!