WordPress.com is venturing into the realm of social media management applications with its latest feature that allows users to schedule Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn updates for individual posts. This goes beyond the basic Publicize functionality that automatically shares posts to connected accounts as soon as they are published, giving users the ability to automate their content marketing to social networks for the most optimal time for sharing.
It’s difficult to know how a post will appear on social networks once it has automatically been shared, which is one reason why many people choose to manually share a post for the best presentation. You want to ensure that the right thumbnail will show up with a message customized for each network’s particular audience. The new social scheduling feature on WordPress.com includes a built-in preview screen so users can see what the post will look like once it is shared to the network and then make any necessary tweaks.
Scheduling social media posts is available on WordPress.com for Premium and Business plan users and for Jetpack Professional and Premium users. On the Premium plan level, which comes in at ~$9/month, users pay less than they would for scheduling apps like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social while also getting access to more commercial WordPress features.
To truly become a realistic replacement for these types of social media marketing apps, WordPress.com would need to offer better analytics tied into the new sharing feature to show how posts are performing at different times and networks. Although WordPress.com allows for unlimited scheduling and users, it would also need to allow sharing to more networks to be more competitive against these apps. For users who don’t need all of that data but just want the scheduling feature, a paid Jetpack or WordPress.com plan is a more affordable option.
Several other self-hosted WordPress plugins already offer scheduling social media posts for free and some even integrate the social accounts with Google Analytics. The addition of this feature to Jetpack commercial plans may not be as compelling for self-hosted users who can already find this for free, but it adds value for existing Jetpack customers who may now be able to replace a plugin or third-party service.