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With social media marketing now in its second decade, marketers are always trying to see if there are better social media management tools out there. After all, with all the changes that go on in social media marketing, you would assume that every tool would also be continually innovating, right?
Well, the truth is that is not always the case. Some social media management tools have not changed in years, while others might simply revise their user interfaces while keeping the backend functionality the same and limiting the reach of social media marketers.
Furthermore, social networks themselves are always jockeying for our attention, so a tool that we might have used for one social network might not have the functionality we need to manage a newer outlet, necessitating the development of an all-in-one social media management tool.
I have always been a proponent of recommending that my clients do regular social media management tool audits, with the reason being that companies innovate differently for a unique customer base and at varying speeds. It is always important to understand the technology landscape so that you are always using the best tool for the job, from bulk scheduling to creating social media ads.
With that in mind, here’s a snapshot of the best social media management tools today for you to consider as part of your next audit. If your smaller business has yet to start using a comprehensive tool, needless to say that social media management tools make it much easier and more efficient to manage all your accounts. Pick the right one, and you can do most things at a glance. Then you’ve got more time for other things, including interfacing with your customers and truly engaging with your followers.
Here are some of the best social media management tools for you to consider. Note that there are always newcomers to the scene, so if your tool is not listed here or you represent a company that didn’t make the cut, feel free to introduce the tool and why it deserves our attention in the comments below.
Buffer revolutionized the way that marketers can “buffer” content at ease so that they never run out of content to post on social media. They still maintain the ease of scheduling content, but have added on a host of new features over the years.
Like AgoraPulse, users can schedule social media posts in advance, and collaborate with other members of the team. There’s even a setting that the group owner can use to determine access levels for other users.
As you can see from the above screenshot, Buffer is heavily investing into features to make your Instagram marketing easier.
Pricing: You pay by desired features and the number of users/accounts. For all features, expect to pay around $100 monthly for one user.
Hootsuite is the granddaddy of all social media management tools. It revolutionized the way that we manage social media through its unique framework of customizable columns. Since then, it has constantly added functionality as well as a host of 3rd party tools and integrations into its framework to improve social media engagement and social media marketing strategy.
Companies with an international presence and greater security or compliance needs should also be considering using Hootsuite. That’s because they can work with over 20 social media networks, while many other management tools only support the big networks with significant users in the West. With Hootsuite, you can even integrate your social management with Slack and other project management tools, allowing for a more seamless workday. Perhaps that’s why so many multinationals use this particular application. Best of all, there are specialized tools that help you ensure legal compliance across social media channels, and find great content elsewhere that you can promote.
Pricing: One user is $29 per month.
3. Zoho Social
The enterprise software company Zoho has been investing in building a social media management tool for years, and today has a robust dashboard that warrants your attention.
Like most other management tools, Zoho Social has a wide variety of scheduling and analytics tools. This one allows the leader of a team to set permissions for each user on the account, helping to keep operational control while also allowing collaboration with fewer barriers.
However, what makes Zoho Social special is its integrations. For instance, your Facebook Lead Ads account can be linked to the Zoho dashboard. Even better, data from this source can be put directly into your CRM for sales. There are also some great features to streamline customer service.
Pricing: individual plans start at $10 monthly, and $200 for agencies.
First there was Hoostuite, and then there was Sprout Social. Today, these two companies are the primary tools used by enterprises to manage large-scale social media, although both platforms can be used by small businesses, as well. However, where Hootsuite focuses on a column-based approach, Sprout Social was the first to provide a Social Inbox functionality that most of the social media management tools on this list have since emulated.
As one of the oldest social media management services, it goes without saying that Sprout Social has a comprehensive solution for marketers. Sprout goes beyond the typical scheduling and analytics that most management tools offer. Instead, there’s a host of customer care tools available, if you have the required staffing. As they point out, social media-based customer care is more important than ever, and we can expect this trend to continue.
Another nice touch is the suite of brand advocacy tools that they have released under the brand name of Bambu . Although these are intended primarily for employee advocacy, they can be adapted to be used by others, as well. Don’t be afraid of employee involvement in social media. Embrace it!
Pricing: Sprout charges per user, with service tiers starting at $99 per month.
CoSchedule has its roots as a WordPress dashboard to help teams of bloggers and contributors manage editorial calendars efficiently. Today, CoSchedule uses that same core framework of team management of publishing content to apply to social media and social media scheduling. In other words, CoSchedule functionality is based around a calendar view of your social media, which should be quite natural for most marketers who have developed an effective social media calendar.
One thing I like about CoSchedule is its flexibility. You can buy the entire marketing suite if you’d like, which includes project management and other tools for most types of marketing campaigns. Or, you can buy just the social media manager, which is all you need if you’re only working with social media.
This social media manager has all the bells and whistles a social media specialist needs: posting tools, analytics, and even monitoring. Even better, they’ll help you see what’s worked in the past and how you’re improving your strategy now. For companies that are still refining their approach, this is a great tool. Plus, you don’t have to pay for stuff you don’t need.
Pricing: Base plan is $100 monthly for the social media manager, and $150 for the suite.
Later began as a killer Instagram management tool, but now has evolved into helping you manage Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, in addition to Instagram.
Small business owners who are just starting out, as well as solopreneurs who have a tight profit margin, should consider Later. This powerful application provides you the ability to link to promotional pages from your social media posts, as well as assign appropriate hashtags to your content at a reasonable price to get started.
Like most other social media management tools listed here, Later’s notable features let you schedule posts and give you access to the analytics information you need to help formulate strategy over time. However, there’s another feature not available with some other programs: aesthetics training for their members. The owners of Later aren’t just throwing you out there to try and succeed; they’re actively helping you improve your skills.
Pricing: limited-feature free plan available, premium options start at $7.50 per month.
Iconosquare’s roots are in Instagram analytics, so if you’re looking for a specialized social media management tool focused on Instagram, Iconosquare is one to consider. Recently Iconosquare has also added functionality for Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, and its core features reflect this focus.
If Facebook and Instagram are your main channels, you’ll love how Iconosquare makes analytics easy. They’ll tell you what works and doesn’t, as well as when to time your social media posts. If you have multiple profiles on each of the two platforms, Iconosquare will let you look at all of them at a glance. These analytics features are invaluable in creating compelling, consistent ad copy.
Another great feature is the scheduler, which is sensitive to time zones and customer activity patterns. Overall, a nice tool for those who have a more limited social media presence.
Pricing: for monthly billing, plans start at $39.
AgoraPulse is an all-in-one management tool that lets you schedule posts any way you need to, engage in effective social listening, and get analytical data. They’ll even help with customer relationship management and research on your competitors.
If you’re working with a team, and especially if they’re not always located near you, AgoraPulse is a great way to make sure everything is carefully coordinated. Within the dashboard, you can easily delegate tasks and collaborate with different team members, as well as do your own monitoring.
I’ve found that this is a very efficient tool that makes life much easier. Its reporting feature alone is reason to check out AgoraPulse if you haven’t done so recently. In addition to their dashboard, AgoraPulse has also been developing a number of free social media management tools that you are free to access whether or not you have a commercial relationship with them, such as AdsReport Ad Reporting, Easy Employee Advocacy, Facebook Page Barometer, and Twitter Report Card.
Pricing: Monthly billing starts at $99 for a small business account. Add-ons such as Shared Calendar and Power Reports are available as appropriate for social media marketers.
9. Social Pilot
Social Pilot positions themselves as a simple and cost-effective solution to help you manage social media, schedule social media posts, improve engagement, and analyze results.
Social Pilot has all of the features that you would expect from a full-featured social media management tool, including effortless social media scheduling, powerful social media analytics and white label PDF reporting, a social inbox, team collaboration, and a bulk social media posting tool in addition to features that help you discover the most popular content and schedule them directly to your account with RSS feeds and content curation.
Pricing: with monthly billing, plans start at $30. You’ll want the mid-priced plan at $50 for the social inbox, though.
If you are active on Pinterest, you are probably already using this undisputed number one tool for Pinterest. In addition to helping you with your pinning, Tailwind has been developing features to help you manage your Instagram for some time. If you haven’t checked them out, you really should.
For Instagram, Tailwind has first-class hashtag selection capabilities and an agile scheduling platform. As you can see from my screenshot above, Tailwind will recommend hashtags to you as you input your caption, which also supports bold and italic fonts. Furthermore, Tailwind was the first to release a free link in bio tool called Smart.bio that is the best on the market. You can check out mine in my profile link on my Instagram profile here.
Pricing: $10 monthly per account, plus power ups if selected.
MeetEdgar is a fantastic tool that focuses on one thing and does it well: Getting the most mileage in social media for every piece of content that you have.
Don’t have a lot of content to share but still want to post on social media frequently? MeetEdgar is a great choice for you. This tool uses artificial intelligence to “pull” things from your profile and turn them into automatic status updates. They’ll also recycle content that’s suitable for reposting, automatically make changes to your posts to avoid spam rule violations, and select reposts when you run out of scheduled content.
In other words, MeetEdgar can make your profile look active and engaged without spending that much time on it. In addition, MeetEdgar also has the standard social media management tools available. For busy professionals that don’t have much support staff, this tool can truly be a godsend.
Pricing: limited-feature basic plan for $19/month, and full-featured for $49 monthly.
NapoleonCat is one of those social media management platforms that offers a whole stack of social media tools. And it comes with a great price-to-quality ratio.
Its Social Inbox helps answer social media messages and comments across platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) from a single, intuitive panel. What’s more, its auto-moderation feature is a real time-saver if you deal with high volumes of repetitive inquiries or troublesome comments.
Using NapoleonCat, you can schedule content or post immediately across different platforms and profiles. There are several collaboration features that will help your team create a clear approval workflow.
Pricing: You pay by the desired number of users and social media profiles. You can also choose between two plans: limited-feature and full-featured. For example, for one user and three profiles, you’ll pay $21 a month for the limited-feature and $42 a month for the full-featured plan.
Sendible is an innovative and full-featured social media management tool that is geared toward and loved by agencies managing multiple clients.
Are you an agency who likes to collaborate with your marketing clients? A key feature of Sendible is the ability to add white-label collaboration tools to your account. Especially if the brands you work with are particular about the face they put forward, this is an important way to promote client satisfaction.
Another thing that Sendible does well is deliver report generation features. These aren’t just intended for the marketer to look at; they’re in a visual format that allows you to download them and easily share progress and challenges with your clients. For the agency, it’s also possible to see whose accounts are scheduled to post what content, and at what times, at a glance. Busy marketers can use this to ensure that nobody gets left behind, and if a campaign is intended to directly increase sales, shed light on when additional client staffing might be needed.
Pricing: plan prices are based on the number of users and services desired, starting at $29 monthly.
Crowdfire is a social media management app that allows you to manage your social profiles from a single platform and make sure that all of your social media accounts are synced and functioning together in harmony. In addition to helping you manage your social profiles, Crowdfire is a social media management platform designed to help you identify the best content for your social platforms. By combining a tool that allows you to manage and organize your social accounts and find the best content for those accounts, your social profiles can enjoy cohesion and compelling content.
To use Crowdfire for your social media strategy, you simply place your preferred areas of interest for your social platforms in Crowdfire, and browse through all of the content you can utilize on your social accounts. From there, you can post that content across all of your social channels, and can even share content from your own site, blog, or previous social posts.
Pricing: Crowdsource offers a free service, designed to allow you to share 10 posts over 3 social channels to determine if this bulk scheduling service is for you. From there, pricing increases from $7.48 to $37.48 to $74.98 per month, to increase the number of shares, accounts, and services you are able to utilize.
Loomly is designed specifically with teamwork in mind. Loomly’s primary claim to fame is its attention to effective team management within social media channels. Loomly is built to allow social media management across several social media accounts and several different team members. For this reason, Loomly is not typically utilized by single-person entities (though it certainly can be). The focus of Loomly is on the synchronization of calendars in order to ensure that your social media network campaigns are being executed flawlessly and seamlessly between team members.
Loomly is also a content management tool that helps you with ideas and ideal directions for your social posts, allowing you to not only work across different departments, but to collaborate on projects driven by data and advanced analytics. Loomly is a social media tool that incorporates social media content ideas while managing marketing campaigns, communication, and your company content calendar.
Pricing: There are 4 basic pricing tiers for Loomly, as well as a 5th customizable tier. The tiers are $25, $57, $119, and $249, with each successive tier offering additional features, such as advanced Google analytics and complex integrations.
eClincher is a social media marketing tool that focuses all of its marketing energy on increasing ROI and broadening your reach in order to most effectively increase social engagement and support marketing teams to effectively reach their target audience. eClincher operates as both a management tool and a social listening tool, in order to maximize the engagement delivered by your social audience and increase the likelihood of developing new leads in response. Using eClincher, you can merely schedule content in advance across social platforms, or develop evergreen content through social listening tools, reporting and analytics tools, and content creation and collaboration.
By taking marketing teams along from the beginning, identifying relevant content through the end, scheduling content across all major platforms and monitoring the distribution and reception of that content, eClincher offers a truly comprehensive tool.
Pricing: eClincher offers 3 tiers of service, ranging from $65 per month to $175 per month, and concluding with $425 per month.
17. Promo Republic
Need something that’s tailored to businesses that advertise mainly to local audiences? Promo Republic was built with the small local business in mind. Another effective use for this platform is the business which needs to do promotions in local markets, such as chains in the service industries that must adapt to local conditions.
One way they help local marketing efforts is with their editable templates service. This will provide customized templates that you can adapt to the local promotions, then post them on social channels. There’s even a built-in graphics editor to help you.
In addition, Promo Republic has the same tools as standard social media management programs, including analytics and collaboration modules. This way, you can scale the account to reflect the number of people on your team.
Pricing: management services start at $49 monthly, and content packages at $169.
What are your favorite social media management tools? Let me know in the comments!
Hero photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash
The 3 social media tools are:
1. Competitive Analysis Platforms
2. Listening Platforms
3. Publishing Platforms
Here are the four main types of social media tools:
1. Social media analytics tools
2. Social media scheduling applications
3. Content creation tools
4. Content curation tools
Social media management software is an application or software created to allow users to manage their social media networks easily. This includes monitoring, sharing, and scheduling content, responding to customers, and planning content strategy.
These are some useful social media management tools:
Social media marketing tools are designed to help businesses, marketers, and brands create and execute a good digital marketing strategy. They make it easier for the users to efficiently manage all their social media platforms, plan and schedule content, know more about their audience, engage with them, and even create effective social media ads.
Actionable advice for your digital / content / influencer / social media marketing.
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