A Mac Alternative to Hootsuite – Scheduled Posting to Social Media with MacJournal
If you are a manager of social media postings for your own company or for clients, you may have realized that to maintain visibility and interest, you have to be posting on a regular basis, if not several times a day. Sometimes your target audience is active when you are not at work: weekends, holidays, after hours, etc. Hootsuite™ is a service that allows you to create and schedule postings for future dates and times, to post when you are not online or at the office. Depending upon your responsibilities, you can add teams to your Hootsuite accounts and manage multiple clients and multiple services (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Google+,YouTube, WordPress, tumblr., etc.). Hootsuite may be essential if you are full time social media manager, but if the number of your clients who require (or are willing to pay for) this service are few, the $10 to $15 per month fee may make cause you to think twice.
Hootsuite offers a free service but it only includes 3 social profiles. You will quickly outgrow that limitation with just one client. Since I have several clients who require occasional updates, rather than continual postings, I started looking for a lower cost alternative, until more clients are convinced that they need social media services. Not every client needs social media services, but watching the growth of Google search rankings of my partner company, I.G.O.T.A.®, and our explosive growth on Facebook and Instagram, I am convinced that every regional retail or service oriented company needs a dominant position on social platforms. Popular sharing and links on Facebook, for example, have caused our clients’ rankings to skyrocket on Google and their sales to go international. I.G.O.T.A.® uses Hootsuite Business for our company services.
However, for my personal clients, who are smaller and whose budgets are more limited, I found a Mac based product that has a decent set of features, for a small, onetime fee. The product is called MacJournal ($39.95), distributed by Mariner Software. The program has the ability to schedule posts to blog sites using a blog’s embedded scheduling features. This works well on WordPress, which allows you publish on a future date and time, but other services, like tumblr, have no scheduling feature. For blog services like tumblr, you can use MacJournal’s onboard scheduling options to submit your post at a later time. However, MacJournal will need to be open and the computer awake in order to complete this task. If the scheduled date passes and your computer is asleep, it will not wake up to post the missed items. By contrast, Hootsuite posts are scheduled from the Hootsuite server. Once set up, you can forget and turn off your computer.
In addition to blogs, MacJournal also allows you to post directly to Facebook and Twitter. The problem is that it will only post to your currently active (logged in) Facebook or Twitter account. If you are trying to manage multiple client Facebook accounts, this feature is of no real value. However, there is a solution – at least for WordPress sites. By setting up your client’s WP site to publicize automatically to their Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts, when you post, it will automatically send the update to your client’s other services. That allows you to keep your client’s WP site and Facebook page updated and in sync. For every blogging site you create a separate connection, called a Journal. So you can create unlimited WordPress, tumblr and Blogger logins. And if a client has multiple services, you can create one blog post that you can post to all their accounts.
I, frankly, have not tried out all blogging services with MacJournal, so your mileage may vary, but it works well with the dominant blog, WordPress. I am having difficulty posting to my tumblr account, which I rarely use. I don’t have a Blogger service.
I have been in conversation with support for MacJournal, and they have future plans for improvements, and it is not yet a Hootsuite replacement. But it also does other things that are not related to social media like audio recording, creating books, and a slew of other things not relevant to this article. Also,
I have encountered a few bugs with the current release (6.1.2), one of which is that while you can set tags and categories for your WP posts, the categories you choose on the layout are not transferred properly. It is also a bit confusing as to how to set up future posts. In the information panel the status and due date menus are not intuitive. When exactly will your future post be scheduled? If you want to post to publish in the future, but you want WP to handle the future date and time (and not leave your computer on and awake continually), you have to publish the post immediately. If you do not choose immediate, then the post will be sent as a draft and will not post on the future date and time selected. Also, I cannot find a way to float images right or left in MJ, so you’ll have to correct these manually within WP.
Bottom Line: This is a great app for a client who has a single site and wants to update their own pages. By setting up a Facebook Page, a
Twitter account and a Linkedin page for the client and using WP for their website and blog, the client can handle their own social media to the degree they have the time, interest, and dedication. For managing multiple sites, it works best with WP where a manager of multiple WP sites for several clients and can post once and have it repost to Twitter, FB, etc. However, since Instagram posts to Facebook or WordPress via plugins, and not the other way around, it cannot receive an update from FB or WP. Therefore, MJ will not post to Instagram. That would have still to be done manually.
For companies or teams who are managing multiple clients and need up to 50 social media services, Hootsuite for Business would be an obvious choice. MacJournal cannot compete on that level. Hootsuite also has a corporate level service that is unlimited, but the price is not advertised, so you know what that means…
So, MacJournal is a good single starting point for limited social media management, but it is not yet a Hootsuite killer. It will take quite a bit of development, and an automated cloud service to come close.