Meet CoSchedule – My Favorite Social Media Tool

One of the things I have a hard time with is staying on top of social media. I’m a blogger and a web designer, so there’s really no technical reason I can’t do this stuff – but getting everything timed (and remembering to log in and post!) can be a bit of a challenge.

I’ve been playing with social media scheduling tools for quite awhile.

Being both a programmer and a web geek, I’ve tried out a bunch of tools including Sprout Social, HootSuite, and probably half a dozen others that didn’t leave enough of an impression to be worth remembering. And being a programmer, I’ve even custom-coded a few auto-posting apps to try and stay on top of things.

This is why I’m actually pretty excited about CoSchedule.

If you’ve never heard of CoSchedule, there’s a quick overview video here:

CoSchedule really isn’t a social media client – at least not in the sense that it lets you read your Facebook feed or your Twitter timeline. CoSchedule is all about helping you get your content onto social media.

CoSchedule integrates with WordPress, Evernote, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. The basic idea is that CoSchedule provides an at-a-glance calendar to show you what’s going on with your social media campaigns, and a way to manage those campaigns from that same at-a-glance calendar.

I’m not as nitpicky with social media as some, but there are two basic sets of tasks that I found easy to automate with CoSchedule. Just these alone save me at least an hour a week.

Social Media Graphics

The first task involves some social media graphics I share every week.

Every Friday I have a graphic I share to a private Facebook group and Twitter, encouraging people to message me about their decluttering problems and stressors.

Needless to say, creating the same post in a social media scheduling tool, crafting the text, uploading the graphic, and all of the other associated work can take a bit of time. But because it’s the same graphic every week, it’s a great candidate for automation!

CoSchedule’s “social template” tool took that process from 5 minutes or so per post down to about 30 seconds. I just had to invest the 5-10 minutes into learning how to create a template.

Blog Post Scheduling

The second task has to do with getting my blog posts out to social media.

I blog about once a week on my other site, and I want to make sure that post makes it out to my Facebook page, my private Facebook group, and my Twitter account. For Facebook, I only post it once. But for Twitter I’ve found that repetition drives more traffic. So on Twitter I want to post it the day it goes live, the following day, one week out, and one month out.

Social templates let me do that with three or four clicks, right from within WordPress.

See For Yourself

Here’s a quick video showing how easy it is to apply social templates using CoSchedule:

The Icing On The Cake – Support

Some companies are good at support. Some aren’t. And even the ones that are good at support tend to not be quite as good at support for their “free trial” customers.

Not CoSchedule!

I emailed them for support one day. Note the timestamps:


Four minutes from my email until they replied! Now that’s not every ticket – most take an hour or two for somebody to get back to me. But when was the last time you ever heard back from a company within four minutes?

And the best part about their support is that their people are sharp. They know their stuff, so you don’t find yourself having the ten-email back-and-forth that some companies put you through.

The Verdict

Personally, I think it’s a great tool. They have a FREE, no-hassle, 14-day trial. It’s a real free trial – no $1 credit card validation, no credit card even required. If you’re in need of some more social media automation, I’d encourage you to give it a try today!

Full disclosure: The link above is an affiliate link. If you sign up through my affiliate link, I get a bit of a discount on my monthly subscription. I hate the high-pressure sales pitches that usually come with affiliate sales, so I’m not doing one of those. I just think you’ll really like CoSchedule if you do the free trial!

Should I Get ________ Plugin?

Here’s a question I get all the time.

“Should I get (some popular plugin)?”

There are times when the answer is easy, but much of the time the answer isn’t clear-cut because it depends on the person’s business goals, their process, and a bunch of other factors I can’t know without talking to them extensively.

Here’s how I think through those questions, in consultation with the customer.

The One Main Thing

Software creates ease by applying constraints.

If you learn nothing else from this blog post, that’s your takeaway. Software creates ease by applying constraints. And this is true for everything from a WordPress plugin to Gmail to Microsoft Word to multi-million dollar government computing systems.

But what is “ease” and what is “constraint” in this case?


“Ease” seems almost self-defining, but I like to think of it in a very specific way. “Ease”, to me, implies the simplification of targeted tasks.

WordPress is a great example. To design a website fifteen years ago, I’d have to make a new HTML file for each page, manually add that page to a menu “include block”, code all the layout by hand, format all the content by hand, and then upload the page to a server.

Now, I login to WordPress, click “new page”, type whatever I want, and click “Publish”.

That’s “ease”, in my definition.


“Constraint” can apply to dozens of different aspects of a project, but the way I’m thinking of here is “reduced flexibility”.

Again, WordPress is a fantastic example.

If I want to change the width of my sidebar column on a single page, that’s very easy to do if I’m manually coding HTML for each page. I just toss in a line of code, and it’s done.

But if you’re using WordPress, that code is all hiding in a template file somewhere. And changing that sidebar width is going to change the sidebar width on your whole website, not just the one page.

Sure, you can make a second template with a different sidebar width, but the logic to switch templates, the coding of the second template, and all the attendant details are more complicated than if you knew HTML and were just coding pages by hand.

It’s A Trade-Off

With WordPress, you get a very easy-to-use page editor, so you don’t have to know HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc., but that comes at a cost of being constrained to thinking in terms of templates, themes, modules, etc.

That’s not a bad constraint, per se, but it is definitely a constraint.

An Example Of A Bad Constraint

I used to work for a company that bought some point-of-sale software. For reasons completely inscrutable to me, if their part number was numeric (no letters, symbols, hyphens, etc.) it could be 26 characters long. But if there were any letters, symbols, or hyphens in it, their part number could only be 12 characters long.

Since they were using a distributor’s part numbers for most of their inventory, this meant that they might have a part number of 69886XJC-92412. Which is two characters too long for their software.

In trying to create ease of managing inventory, tracking sales, operating their cash register, etc., they accepted a constraint on the part number that meant they had to completely re-work the way they number their inventory.

That’s a pretty serious negative constraint. We’re talking about hours, and possibly days, of coming up with a new inventory system – and the new system wasn’t nearly as easy as the old one.

This might still be worth the trade-off in the long term, but here’s the key – they didn’t discover this until they’d plunked down thousands and thousands of dollars for the software. If something this simple wasn’t discovered ahead of time, the odds are good there are other things coming down the road that they’re not prepared for either.

And that’s bad.

Why Does  This Matter?

When you’re looking to use a piece of software, you’re usually trying to solve a particular problem. That problem might be very complex (“how do I sell products online and keep inventory up-to-date on my computer at the office?) or very simple (“how do I show a random testimonial in my blog’s sidebar?”), but one thing is always true:

Software creates ease by applying constraints.

The trick is to figure out whether the constraints are reasonable for your workflow, and whether the ease created overshadows the constraints.

If you’re using an online scheduling system, for example, it might let you book twenty clients a week and integrate with your desktop calendaring software. That’s definitely “ease”.

The constraints are harder to see sometimes. Let’s say that your workflow is to get a client contact, send a questionnaire, get it back, and then you need a week to review it. There is no problem whatsoever doing this all via email, as email is almost infinitely flexible.

When you transition to the online system, there are a number of things you might find. The online system may not know how to send the questionnaire. So you still have to do that manually. It probably doesn’t have a way to track the submitting of the questionnaire, and it probably doesn’t have internal logic to delay them a week beyond that.

So now your workflow has to change to accommodate the system.

I’ve seen people that will react to that sort of thing by waking up in the morning and filling up their schedules in the online system so people can’t book less than a week out. Or contacting clients to ask them to reschedule using the online form. Or other similar (but still bizarre) things – all in service of the online scheduling system.

At that point, if you only have three client contacts a week, the additional workload created by the constraints are probably drowning out the ease.

That doesn’t mean you can’t simplify your process, and it doesn’t mean that the online calendaring software might not be perfect for somebody else – it just means that it’s not good for your particular situation.

But What About Cost?

You’ll note that I haven’t discussed cost yet. That’s intentional. First and foremost, software selection should be primarily driven by whether or not it helps you solve your stated business goals. It doesn’t matter how cheap the software is if it doesn’t solve your problems.

Knowing that a $1,000 software package will solve your problems, and that a $100 software package won’t, will save you the hassle of wasting $100 on software that’s not going to work. On the other hand, sometimes you get pleasantly surprised and discover that a $40 software package may solve your problem in a better way than a $5,000 system.

Understanding the problem, and understanding how to solve it, is the key – not the cost of the software.

The Takeaway

Software, as a whole, is great. The right software makes our lives easier and more efficient. But the wrong software can make our lives harder and more cumbersome.

Before investing in software to solve a problem, try to consider the “big picture”. What are you trying to do? How, ideally, would that look? Does this software actually move you in the direction of those goals? Does it do so in a way that complements your existing process flow?

Asking a lot of questions in the beginning is a really good way to not wind up with a software-powered nightmare a year down the road.

And if you’re stuck, I have good news. Ironing out processes is something I do rather well. And it’s something I help clients do. So if you’re in a scenario where you need to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B without going crazy in the process, drop me a line – I’d love to talk to you!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!