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5 of The Best Social Media Management Tools

Social Media Management Tools

Which social media management tool is best for your business? If you are creating and posting content on social media platforms, the chances are you will want to do this as easily and time efficient as possible. 

There are many platforms available that allow you to amalgamate a majority of your social media activity into a single dashboard. All starting at different price points, with varying options and functionality. 

Social media management platforms can get costly depending on the number of users and platforms you want to add, and they vary considerably with their level of functionality. Especially when it comes to posting on on certain platforms such as Instagram, and acquiring a deeper level of data and insights.

We look at 5 of the most popular options available that are within reach of most small business budgets.

Sprout Social

 
 
 
Sprout Social is a semi-premium option that certainly is not the cheapest to subscribe to out of our top 5. But what you will get is product that covers nearly every base necessary for scheduling, community management, and reporting. 
 
Sprout Social easily allows direct scheduling and reporting on every core social media platform, including Google Business Listings and Instagram. It is possible to manage your social media communities through Sprout Social, although most of the customer management features are not available until the mid, and higher level subscriptions. The Inbox feature has improved over the years but it is still not as aesthetically friendly as Hootsuite. 
 

There are 3 subscription levels available – $99.00, £149.00, and £249.00, each providing the user with slightly more advanced features. The most cost effective subscription would be the Professional subscription at $149.00 per month. Let’s have a look at an example of their mid level professional plan. 

Sprout Social Professional Plan

  • Space for 10 Social media profiles and 1 user
  • All-in-one inbox
  • Content Calendar
  • Competitive social media reports
  • Trending Key words
  • Paid campaign reporting
  • Integrations with Google Business Services and Bitly
  • Workflow approvals
  • Message tagging

Sprout Social can easily integrate with HubSpotMicrosoft, and SalesForce, and Google services. If you’re looking for a tool that can easily fit in with your ecosystem, try out Sprout Social. It is Free for 30 days with subscriptions starting at $99.00 per user. 

Hootsuite

 

Hootsuite is a well known and widely used social media management platform used by some of the largest organisations globally. They were the industry standard until more competition flooded the market in the last few years.

Where Hootsuite has always excelled  is with scheduling, community engagement, and message monitoring through the use of streams. As a customer service tool for answering enquiries and engaging with comments Hootsuite has few competitors. Where they cannot compete is with analytics and data. They have a host of expensive analytics add ons that a small business simply would not be able to afford.

Over the years their key focus seems to be on enterprise subscriptions and they have reduced the number of features in their free and lower priced subscriptions, and even removing the messaging function from their free plan.

A basic subscription starts at $25.00 rising all the way up to £520. Compared to a platform like Sprout Social, Hootsuite lacks many of the key calendar features, social media platform integrations and reporting outside of their business and enterprise plans.

If you have a relatively small social media footprint and your main aim is to amalgamate your activity, Hootsuite is a great starting point for anyone new to social media management tools. For $25 per month you get enough features to keep track of your content, and enough reporting features to keep your strategy on track. Let’s have a look at their professional plan features below.

Hootsuite Professional Plan

  • Space for 10 Social media profiles and 1 user
  • Auto scheduling
  • Content Calendar
  • Free apps
  • Basic reporting
  • Message inbox

At Business and Enterprise levels Hootsuite has a range of add-ons that can be purchased. But it is really only at these levels where you will have the option to purchase additional subscriptions to listening and analytics services such as Brandwatch and Impact. If analytics and data are important, there are other alternatives.

 

Buffer

 
 
 

Buffer is an all in one social media management tool that is comprehensive enough to be used for scheduling, community management and analysing data. Due to the way Buffer is broken down into bite sized subscriptions, you should be very certain about what functionality you need from a social media management tool.

Broken down into two different sections of subscriptions, you can build your own tool that fits in with the needs of your online activity. As far as customisation and integration is concerned, you get an awful lot for your budget with even their free subscription offers the ability to connect 3 social media platforms. 

Payment plans vary in price depending on what level publishing, or analytics is needed. What you do not get is a perfectly balanced service with the top publishing subscription offering far more social account connections than the top tier analytics subscription provides.

Using an amalgamation of the top tier business plans to create a subscription will set you back $149.00 per month. But you get a good deal for your budget. 

  • Space for 25 Social media profiles and 6 users
  • Auto scheduling
  • Instagram stories publishing
  • Workflows and approvals
  • Reporting for 10 social media profiles
  • Shopify integration
  • Instagram Hashtag tracker
Buffer is perfect you’re looking to move onto a more advanced platform and have no more than 10 social media profiles you want reports for. It would help greatly if you were certain about what features you  need in a social media management tool. You could reduce your monthly subscription considerably by not opting for every option.
 
 

 Agorapulse

 
 
 

Built for agencies, Agorapulse is an all in one social media tool. Their offering in terms of social profiles is generous compared to other social media management tools. Their subscriptions start at $99.00 all the way up to $499.00 if billed monthly.

A wide number of features are available especially within engagement and monitoring where some key word searches can be monitored. For a small business there are a lot of features available on their $99.00 subscription that should keep most social media managers busy for a few days. 

Agorapulse is built to be used within teams and across organisations with many users, and active social media profiles. There is nothing to say you cannot use this for your business even if you are not an agency, some of the features’ could come in handy depending on how your business accounts are managed.

 Medium business plan at $99.00 per month are suitable for a small business and come with:
 
  • Space for 10 Social media profiles and 2 users
  • Shared client calendar
  • Social media inbox
  • Social listening
  • Bitly integration
  • Content labelling
  • Social media CRM
  • Team workflow
Built for agencies and larger businesses with multiple users in multiple locations. Agoraplulse may prove to be a little too technical and have too many features for smaller businesses, or individuals looking to sure up their social media activity.
 
 

Social Pilot

 
 

Social Media Platform Management in Leeds

Social Pilot is another social media management tool that is predominantly built around the needs of larger businesses and small agencies. That is not to say a single user couldn’t get a great deal of use from the features.

For a budget friendly subscription fee of between $30.00 and $100.00 per month, you get a large number of social profiles, integrations, and features that are considerably more on other platforms.

Apart from volume, there is nothing that differentiates the features between the bottom and top tier subscriptions. The basic Social Pilot subscriptions are perfectly adequate for the needs of most businesses and individuals. What is a little outdated is the dashboard itself which does feel it is from a bygone era.

Top subscription at $100.00 per month:

  • Space for 100 Social media profiles and 10 users
  • 10 ad accounts spaces
  • Bulk scheduling
  • Url shorteners
  • Integration with CanvaDropbox and Box.com
  • Platform analytics
  • RSS feeds
  • Social media inbox
Social Pilot is a cost effective route for the larger company or social media management agency looking for a relatively broad ecosystem and features. Social Pilot is limited with it’s analytics offering nut perfectly adequate to report on most key metrics.
 
 

Other Social Media Management Tools  To Consider

 

There are are large number of free and paid social media management platforms available. With all social media platforms offering their own native analytics and audience insights.

Facebook Business Manager now renamed Facebook Business Suite. Is a free tool available on Desktop, or as an App from the Googe Play or Apple Store. Facebook Business Suite is an all in one management system for Facebook and Instagram, allowing you to create, publish, and analyse both paid and organic content.

You are able to amalgamate all your Facebook marketing tools such as Ads Manager, Audiences and messaging inboxes in one place, whilst securing your accounts more securely. Being a free tool you are limited with functionality, and there is a learning process when using native applications as they are not always intuitive for non technical users. 

Google Search Console is a website maintenance tool that allows you to find and fix website issues that could be affecting your sites Google search results. There is a level of technical knowledge that is needed in order to maximise the use of this tool, especially when it comes to reviewing site reports that can often be somewhat technical.

Bitly is a link shortening and click reporting tool. It allows you reduce the amount of text in any URL to 14 characters. This is especially useful if you are posting content on social media and want to use a UTM link that could ruin the aesthetics of your post. 

You are limited with the free version, data retention is only 30 days and you are unable to customise your URL or print reports. For a short term solution it is more than adequate for monitoring short campaigns.

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