[Update, May 14, 2015: Edgar has been updated since I posted this. The Schedule looks different now and there are other new features.]
This is Edgar:
He’s the new social media guy in town.
Over the years, I’ve used many tools for social media scheduling. Mostly: Tweetdeck, HootSuite, Sprout Social, Buffer.
Several months ago I learned about Edgar social media via Laura Roeder‘s mailing list. Roeder, a social media marketing expert who works with businesses, developed Edgar. Edgar goes hand-in-hand with Laura’s Social Brilliant course, which I have taken. Her training programs for businesses also include Creating Fame and Systems That Sell.
From what I’ve interpreted from Laura’s materials, Edgar was inspired by Buffer.
What makes Edgar different from other social media tools? To quote Laura Roeder,
Edgar stores a library of all of your social media updates so that you can stop dealing with unwieldy spreadsheets. It just makes sense for your social media updates to live in your social media tool.
The library is key. Some people do use spreadsheets. I have on occasion, sometimes to schedule in bulk (HootSuite allows bulk importing from spreadsheets), sometimes to keep an archive in one place.
Furthermore, and this is what I think is one of Edgar’s best features and the most unique, Edgar organizes your updates into categories, which ensures you have a nice mix of content on your social accounts. This distinguishes Edgar from other social media scheduling tools.
As you see from this screen shot, Laura uses it for her business, and only her business:
I don’t do that. In fact, I barely use it for my own Twitter accounts.
How do I use Edgar?
Social media for other people, and barely my own. I do have my personal accounts on there, but I also have business accounts (businesses that pay me to do their social media + our restaurant) and Edgar allows me to have as many as I need, so Edgar can accommodate my growing client roster.
The way I use the categories is what makes it the most useful feature for me, and I don’t know if the designers even anticipated this:
I do social media for a bar that holds regular events such as a monthly film trivia night with changing themes, film screenings with Q&A segments, regular comedy nights, and screenings of sports games. They have a weekly “Taco Tuesday” featuring cheap tacos (Edgar likes tacos) and weekly food specials. There’s beer to promote, an event space available for rent, takeout service and off-site catering. Off-site, they co-sponsor live events for sports fans (moderated panel with discussion) and community events. I’ve recently started a library of beer quotes for them too, which I just noticed is at 24 quotes. 24 quotes about beer, 24 beers in a case, absolute coincidence. Now I won’t allow myself to add more without removing the same number.
Edgar makes my life easier because each event is designated to a category. The category is the event name. Simple. When an event – or an occurrence of a repeating event – is over, social media posts move to the “use once” category, which acts as the archive. See more about “use once” below.
You can also designate individual messages in categories to go out at a specific time:
Category: Use once
Use once is a built-in category that serves two purposes:
1. As the name suggests, it will only post that message once.
2. An archive.
Edgar is built to post social media status updates again and again, on a schedule of your choosing (occasionally Twitter will throw an error about duplicate tweets back in Edgar’s face but seldomly). If you categorize an update as “Use Once,” Edgar will save it in your Library, but he will not post it again.
A newer feature blurs the “use once” posts that have already been posted so that you can easily distinguish what has and haven’t been posted.
As with other scheduling tools, you can set up the message and designate a time for it to go out. However, ff you don’t designate a time, it goes into that library, or archive.
My desired feature: The ability to filter my “use once” category by account in the library. Right now all of my accounts are mixed up in “use once”. Thankfully the library recently got a search function.
I don’t use this feature but it’s an optional category built into the schedule. The idea is that if you choose it, the tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn update that goes out at that time will come from any of your (random) categories to help keep your content fresh and moving.
Edgar’s core function is scheduling tweets according to category.
- Want promotional posts every Friday at 5pm?
- Want your drool-worthy photos to post close to meal times?
- Want your social media strategy to rotate different types of posts?
- Want to control the messaging about events, starting with a few tweets at first and ramping up the promotion closer to the day?
You can easily do all that! You could do it with other tools too, but it’s so much easier with Edgar because it takes some of the work out of it. I have a short attention span. I often begin things and get distracted from finishing (such as that time recently I started to export this website, didn’t finish and spent weeks with no site). My ADD makes certain tasks more difficult. Edgar fits so well into my life.
This is the schedule that Laura Roeder uses and recommends:
Are the wheels in your head spinning yet?
Other features include statistics (only on posts made from Edgar), bulk editing (e.g. move a bunch of posts from one category to another), library search, custom images for Facebook posts and a Chrome extension that allows you to add an update without leaving your current page with one click.
What Edgar doesn’t do
Edgar sends messages but doesn’t receive them so you still need a monitoring tool.
I still do use Hootsuite. I have a paid account. For me it’s worth it.
Other considerations about Edgar
Convenient set it and forget it
This is an advantage and a slight disadvantage. It’s a great feature but I still have to do some work here:
1. I have to check my queue at least once a week to make sure that I haven’t left in any tweets that are no longer relevant.
2. I still have to update the schedule. Once an event is over, it comes off the schedule. Only once in the last 6 months have I accidentally let an event tweet go out after the event.
3. I still have to schedule real live time to read and engage with people and to respond to customers that reach out to us. Sometimes it’s a reply, sometimes it’s a click on the “favorite” star. With a busy life and an underground commute it’s not always easy. The time commitment is small, but it’s still there. This is no different than if I used another social media tool.
In other words, you can set it but you can’t (or shouldn’t) completely forget it unless your messages aren’t time sensitive at all.
Edgar is not free, but it frees up a lot of time. It helps keep me organized. It is well worth paying for.
I’ve managed to get some free time with Edgar twice. The first was when it first launched. Subscribers of Laura Roeder’s newsletter, The Dash, got a free month. The second was when I registered for Social Brilliant. Her Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale included 3 free months of Edgar and since I was already paying for Edgar, bundling them saved me a ton of money. The $200 course was essentially $50. This is one of the reasons I signed up for Social Brilliant, despite being a longtime social media user.
When I was first asked if I wanted to write about Edgar, I decided that Edgar’s favourite food is mac ‘n’ cheese. Now I think he likes tacos. Probably fish tacos. According to Wikipedia, bottom-dwelling octopuses eat mainly crabs, polychaete worms, and other molluscs such as whelks and clams. Open-ocean octopuses eat mainly prawns, fish and other cephalopods. There, now you’ve learned another something new.