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 that is not always the case. Some social media management tools have not changed in years, while other might simply revise their user interfaces while keeping the backend functionality the same.
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.
I have always been a proponent of recommending that my clients do regular social media management tools audits, with the reason being that companies innovate differently for a unique customer base and at varying speeds, so it is always important to understand the technology landscape so that you are always using the best tool for the job.
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. Thanks!
AgoraPulse is an all-in-one management tool that lets you schedule posts any way you need to, listen to your audience, 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.
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.
CoSchedule has its roots as a WordPress dashboard to help teams of bloggers and contributors manage editorial calendars efficiently. Today CoSchedule uses that some core framework of team management of publishing content to apply to social media. In other words, CoSchedule functionality is based around a calendar view of your social media, which should be quite natural for most marketers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 lets you schedule posts and gives 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.
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 your 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 plan for $19/month, and full-featured for $49 monthly.
NapoleonCat is one of these social media management platforms that offer 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.
Post Planner has always excelled as a platform that helps you find and leverage user-generated content to augment your social media strategy.
Post Planner helps your profiles from becoming too “salesy.” For instance, they’ll help you find content from other sources that you might want to repost, which increases your overall audience. Sharing top rated content gets other people interested in your brand, without making them feel sold.
Another feature is the ability to organize content into collections, helping users find what they want quickly. Oh, and analytics still figures into the equation.
Pricing: Starts at $3 monthly for one user.
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. 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.
Sendible is an innovative and full-featured social media management tool that is geared towards 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 its 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.
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.
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.
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 sometime, and 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 in 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.
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.
What are your favorite social media management tools? Let me know in the comments.
For further reading, if you’re looking for more specialized tools, check out these other posts:
- Top 15 Instagram Tools for Marketing
- The Top 15 Facebook Ads Tools You Didn’t Even Know Existed
- The Top 15 Twitter Clients Used by the Top 35 Social Media Influencers
- The Top 15 Pinterest Tools You Need to be Successful on Pinterest
- 21 Content Marketing Tools Every Marketer Needs
- The Top 27 Tools for Blogging That Will Help You Start and Make Money from Your Blog
- The 15 Best Email Marketing Tools to Consider Investing in Today
- Top Tools to Create Stunning Social Media Graphics
- 15 Best Social Listening Tools for Business
- The Definitive List of 64 Influencer Marketing Tools for 2020
Hero photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash