I’m not going to bore you with long, earnest paragraphs preaching the importance of social media to your marketing strategy. We all know by now that consumers spend a significant amount of time on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, so targeting these platforms with relevant and engaging content is going to be essential. Got it.
So, that’s the why covered. But what isn’t as clear is the how – how can you manage your social media strategy as effectively and efficiently as possible?
The answer lies, as it does in so many aspects of modern marketing, in choosing the right tool to match your aims and budget.
The good news: there is definitely a tool out there that perfectly aligns with your needs. The bad news: there are just so many to choose from, finding your perfect match can be tough! This article aims to make your choice a little easier by outlining what a good social media management tool should contain, as well as presenting some of the very best on the market.
So let’s jump straight in and look at…
A complete social media management tool should be just that – complete. There are many tools at there that specialize in certain aspects of social media like scheduling your posts, for example, but you should aim for a tool that includes all of the following key features:
The tools featured in this article include these key features and more, meaning that they can be considered to be complete social media management tools. So if you’re serious about getting your social media optimized and running to its full potential, it’s time to consider one of these.
Boasting over 16 million users, Hootsuite is the most popular and well-known social media management tool on the market. It built its reputation on its ease of use – you can manage multiple accounts across a variety of platforms from one dashboard. This means that you can compose your posts, schedule them, and release them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter YouTube, and Pinterest with just a couple of clicks!
Great for those who are looking to save time which, let’s face it, is all of us.
Hootsuite features a generous free subscription, which allows up to 3 connected social accounts. This is great for small businesses or those just getting started. The free version also has some nice, but basic analytics and reports, but if you pay for a Pro, Team or Business subscription, you’ll get a much more comprehensive version, as well as multiple team members, more profiles and more overall functionality.
Plans start at $29/month.
Like Hootsuite, Sprout Social is an established and well-known platform that provides engagement, publishing, reports, and analytics, as well as teamworking tools. It can also manage multiple accounts from one location, and you can track keywords across different social media platforms to find out where and when your brand is being mentioned.
Sprout Social has a fantastic analysis and reporting feature – it’s possible to sort your KPIs by specific demographic and geographic metrics so you can discover exactly which kind of content is resonating with which followers. This is really handy for precisely targeting different followers with more personalized messages!
Plans start at $99/year
What began as a scheduling tool made specifically for Twitter, Buffer has expanded to include other major social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
It can now do much more than scheduling posts too, allowing you to easily manage all social accounts from a single interface. As well as scheduling, you can create stunning visuals to go with your posts, assign unique tasks and permissions to team members, and integrate with a ton of other useful apps including Zapier, Feedly, IFFT, Pocket and many more.
Buffer has a simple and intuitive interface that’s smooth and a pleasure to use, with real-time analytics to keep a close eye on the performance of your content.
Plans start at $15/month
MeetEdgar is all about content creation – its clever interface offers a variety of ways to create and easily tweak your posts for a consistent, yet diverse content stream. This automated content manager lets you schedule post resharing while boosting engagement with a category-based tool, mixing types of content so your followers don’t get bored.
The coolest feature on MeetEdgar is its smart composer, which uses a natural language processing software to create posts in your personal tone, offering a variety of options for you to choose from. This saves you a lot of time on evergreen content creation while keeping a consistent voice across all of your posts.
Plans start at $49/month
Sendible is great for teams and agencies with multiple clients, making teamwork on content creation for clients’ posts a seamless and intuitive experience. For customer service, this is great, with posts and engagements easily assigned for quick responses, so you’ll never miss an opportunity or keep a customer waiting on any issues they might have.
With more supported integrations than any other social media tool, you’ll be able to track not just your mentions and your competitors but get deep reporting too, with a Google Analytics integration that traces clicks and behavior for any traffic that comes through from any of the many social media platforms available. This, together with excellent social listening tools, will ensure you and your team know exactly what content is performing, and what could use some more work.
Plans start at $29/month
Just as Buffer began as a Twitter-specific tool, Later was born from a dedicated Instagram scheduling app. Now, they support a bunch of other platforms too, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, but the visually-focused aspect of their Instagram background still shines through and it is now the world’s leading Instagram marketing platform.
With a strong, calendar-based scheduling feature, you can easily drag and drop a month’s worth of posts in just a few clicks and let them run. Analytics allow you to track your likes, followers, and clicks, while you can find exactly who is talking about your brand via likes, users, or hashtags. For marketers with a strong visual, Instagram focus Later is an ideal tool but is lacking in some of the more comprehensive features of other tools.
There is a great free option, but for multiple profiles and more posts, plans start at $9/month
Agorapulse is an excellent platform for agencies, offering extensive teamwork options and a social media management experience that caters to more complex, multiclient requirements. Offering various scheduling options, advanced analytics and reports (which are easily exportable to your marketing team and clients), and a social inbox so you can monitor all activity related to your target brand, Agorapulse makes it easy to create content across multiple platforms and closely monitor its performance.
Some unique features of Agorapulse include an Automated Inbox Assistant, which filters messages by priority, and easily organizable Publishing Queue Categories so that your team always knows exactly what content is going out when.
Plans start at €79/month
Loomly is a content creation tool designed for small and medium-sized businesses, using a calendar-focused scheduling system. What it doesn’t have in deep social listening and influencer tracking, Loomly makes up for with fine-tuned content creation tools so you can view and tweak posts as they appear on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Loomly has a simple, intuitive interface that offers live post optimization tips, ideas for new posts, the opportunity to moderate comments and messages, manage approval workflows, automate post scheduling, and much more. This ease-of-use, alongside its advanced analytics, makes Loomly an attractive option for small teams who are looking to build and grow their social media strategy from scratch.
Plans start at $25/month
Another popular tool that offers all of the essential features in one, easy-to-use package. An attractive calendar-based scheduling tool allows for things like queued and bulk scheduling, while there’s an intuitive, drag and drop content creator for easy post making. Reporting and analytics are smart and functional, clearly highlighting how different posts and accounts are performing, and pointing out where more engagement is needed.
This flexible platform is scalable for everyone from small businesses to agencies and even large enterprises, with a social inbox that helps you to easily keep track of any replies, comments, and mentions you might have across multiple social media platforms. Socialpilot is another strong contender for the best all-in-one social media management tool, boasting excellent reviews and pushing Hootsuite for its number 1 spot!
Plans start at $25/month
So there you have it, I hope you’ve now got a better idea of the different types of social media management tools on the market. As you can see, there are many different options all with their own strengths, weaknesses, and unique features – it’s not simply a case of choosing the most popular or highest rated.
Choose a tool that best suits your specific needs and budget. Are you a small or medium business? An agency? Do you handle many accounts across various social media platforms, or just a few? Do you prioritize something like Instagram, for example, over other platforms? These are all things to take into consideration, I wish you the best of luck in your quest to conquer the social media landscape!
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