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Best Social Media Management Tools

Written by: Stefan Medovarski  | November 1, 2021

Humans may not be connected through their minds but we sure as hell is through social media. Social networks have encapsulated our lives and most of us check our multiple accounts across numerous social media platforms.

Whilst there are both positives and negatives to this cultural development, there's no argument against its usefulness. Especially when we're talking about brands and businesses. Major social media platforms enable audience engagement of the highest order, as well as enhancement of marketing efforts and the strengthening of social media presence.

An incredibly high number of both large and medium-sized businesses use their numerous social channels to communicate their ideas, needs, and offers to the public. Some even use paid social media ads to spread their messages across their fanbases.

However, all of this social activity is becoming more and more difficult; the way a social media platform is used today has evolved drastically over the past few years and as such, requires much more dedication and work.

This is where social media management tools come in. Their purpose is to aid both business owners and social media managers to create, adapt, and overcome various obstacles in the search for better engagement trends and marketing strategies.

After all, a marketing strategy needs to be detailed and intelligently planned and may require some unusual post ideas for example. These social media tools may also provide sufficient social monitoring, social analytics, and various other tools to provide users with the best social media management experience.

Our Top Picks for Best Social Media Management Tools

  • Best overall Customer Relations Management tool (CRM) - Sprout Social
  • Best all-in-one platform and great for Zoho customers - Zoho Social
  • Best for in-depth social media analysis - HootSuite
  • Best for smaller social media marketing teams and large-scale collaboration - Loomly
  • Best for scheduling posts across many different social networks - Buffer

Reviews of the Best Social Media Management Tools

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is one of the best social media management tools out there, but it doesn't excel in any category. Instead, the tool has been made to be useful in a plethora of situations whilst providing a wide variety of important information about the different social media platforms you use.

Sprout Social also gives you 30 days of trial; some of the longest trial periods in the business. This is an incredible amount of time to figure everything out and see whether or not this type of tool is what you need.

With that said, Sprout Social is better for businesses than individuals; you'll find tools such as analytics, scheduling, social media posting calendar, response time and rate reports, Twitter hashtag analysis, and more. It also includes an all-in-one social inbox.

The Standard plan is actually pretty powerful compared to the more advanced ones, although there is a limit on how many accounts you'll be able to manage. Specifically talking about the standard plan, you can manage multiple accounts up to five.

In general, Sprout Social is a great tool with many useful features. The only major downside is the price - almost a hundred bucks monthly means this piece of software will be out of reach for many startup businesses.

Features:

  • $89, $149, $249 per month (Standard, Professional, Advanced plans respectively)
  • Available on Desktop, iOS, and Android
  • Has paid promotion tools (Facebook)
  • 30-day free trial
  • Integration with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Youtube
  • Ability to create shoppable posts for Facebook Shops and Shopify

Pros:

  • 30-day trial is more than enough to test the software
  • SEO tools are readily available
  • Ability to schedule posts in advance
  • Incredible dashboard design and usability
  • Various analytics and information about ROI

Cons:

  • Expensive Standard plan
  • Limit on number of social media accounts you can manage
  • Number of features may cause delays in the learning process

Zoho Social

Zoho Social is an extension (kind of) of the Zoho CRM tool. A tool packed with features that is bound to help any business or individual with their social needs; specifically, managing emails, projects, and more.

The great thing about Zoho is that all of their tools can be integrated and used together which reduces the need for other social media tools. As such, Zoho can be used to manage and store your emails, create and manage projects & products, and have an overview and control the accounting side of things.

Technically, if you were to integrate all of Zoho's tools, you would seldom need anything else but unfortunately, Zoho tools aren't as efficient or detailed as some other ones, especially when analytics and reports are concerned.

Nonetheless, Zoho Social lets you schedule and publish posts on almost all major social media platforms which is great but the standout feature here is Bitly integration. Shortening links is very much needed, especially on Twitter where the character limits are very small.

In the end, Zoho Social is a great choice if you're an individual or business, but not very good if you're an agency, primarily due to the cost. But as far as CRM and team collaboration is concerned - definitely one of the best.

Features:

  • $10, $30, $40 per month (Standard, Professional, Premium plans respectively)
  • Email, project, accounting, and webinar management
  • Bitly URL shortener integration
  • Free plan available; limited functionality
  • Zoho CRM integration

Pros:

  • Great CRM integration and use for the management of emails, accounting, projects, etc. in one place
  • Free version with no time limit and adequate functionalities (option to upgrade is also available)
  • All major social media platforms can be integrated with Zoho Social
  • Plans for individuals start at $10 per month which is very affordable
  • One of the best collaboration tools for teams

Cons:

  • $230 per month starter plan for agencies if too expensive
  • Plans for businesses and individuals allow for only one to three team members
  • Standard and Professional plans aren't too different from each other
  • Reports and analytics are barebones compared to true social listening platforms

HootSuite

HootSuite is one of the most well-known social media management tools and has been a respected member of that group for a while now. All analytics and reports are generated in real-time and feature plenty of useful information.

What's interesting is that HootSuite's analytics tools apply to both normal posts and paid ads which means you'll easily be able to monitor the success rate and efficiency of your ads.

HootSuite is predominantly a very powerful social listening tool that comes with customizable analytics and reports, as well as reports about team productivity. Unfortunately, all of this comes at a cost. While the Professional and Team plans are cheap and affordable, the Business and Enterprise ones are not.

What this means is that some of the analytics and reports will not be available to you unless you pay more. With that said, businesses that are just starting out will have a great time with HootSuite.

The Professional plan lets you manage ten social media profiles and infinite scheduling - albeit for a single user. The Team plan increases both of these numbers; twenty social media profiles and scheduling for three social media accounts.

Lastly, all HootSuite plans come with unlimited automatic scheduling, unlimited message scheduling, a calendar for publishing posts and content, a social inbox, and a lot more. Not too shabby at all!

Features:

  • $49, $129, $599 per month (Professional, Team, Business plans respectively)
  • Enterprise plan is available but the price varies depending on your needs
  • Limited free plan for testing the waters
  • Free courses to teach you about social media marketing campaigns
  • Compatible with most major social platforms
  • Ability to schedule campaigns

Pros:

  • Professional plan is cheap and affordable whilst having plenty of useful features
  • Can be connected to more than 20 social platforms
  • Free plan is ideal for testing purposes
  • 30-day free trial is also available (any two of their four plans)
  • Impressive analytical capabilities and social data reports
  • Scheduling posts is very easy

Cons:

  • Add-ons are somewhat expensive, especially if you have more of them
  • Only the enterprise plan has the full features
  • Free plans are somewhat limited
  • Some reports and analytics require additional payment

Loomly

Loomly is a very specific and unusual tool regarding some of its features. For starters, it's a great one for smaller social teams that are looking to improve their collaboration skills. On top of that, Loomly comes with various calendars, the ability to create workflows, and set project deadlines with ease.

However, what makes Loomly truly exceptional is its ability to create interesting content ideas for your social media strategies. It does this with some powerful analytics work. These ideas are based on current trending topics across multiple social media accounts and platforms as well as social conversations that happen on the regular.

Top off what we just said with a nice, easy-to-use user interface and a price that is very affordable and you've got yourself quite the social management tool in your hands.

If you ever get stuck using Loomly, there's email and chat customer support for any questions you might have. They seem to be quick when answering so that's another plus for Loomly.

Lastly, if two users are not enough for you, then you can get the Standard plan which allows 6 users per team. All in all, Loomly might not be a dedicated social listening tool but it's still exceptional in other ways. Well worth the price!

Features:

  • $25, $57, $119, $249 per month (Base, Standard, Advanced, and Premium plans respectively)
  • 2, 6, 16, 26 users per team (Base, Standard, Advanced, and Premium plans respectively)
  • Enterprise price and number of users available after inquiry
  • Audience targeting
  • Sponsoring posts
  • Basic analytics
  • Automatic publishing
  • Tracking and overview of interactions

Pros:

  • 15-day free trial is great for those who want to test the software out
  • Base and Standard plans are affordable for most businesses
  • Post and content optimization is done in real-time
  • Manage social media assets in one place
  • Provides various ideas based on trending topics for your social media posts

Cons:

  • Large-team plans are expensive
  • Spending more than a certain amount on ads forces you to upgrade to at least the Premium plan
  • Cannot publish to Instagram without Buffer or mobile app integration

Buffer

Buffer is not only cheap but also perfectly aligned with the various marketing campaigns you might come up with. Its main purpose is to help you schedule when content will go live across multiple social media channels, thus ensuring everything goes smoothly and according to plan.

On top of that, the tool comes with a link shortening functionality that guarantees your links are nice and tidy. You'll also find some other tools within Buffer such as hashtag optimization, tag optimization, and finding mentions across social platforms.

Every plan comes with the ability to add Buffer to your browser as an extension, mobile app access, two-factor authentication to protect you from unwanted access, and email & social media support.

The free plan provides one user with access to three social media accounts but you can increase this number by paying an extra $5 per month (the Team Pack upgrade comes with access to unlimited users and social channels).

Although Buffer isn't as detailed as some other tools, it's still a good choice for planning marketing campaigns, even visual marketing ones. So whether you're planning on posting to a Twitter account or maybe Facebook and Instagram, Buffer helps you ideate everything in advance.

Features:

  • $5, $15, $65, $99 per month (Basic, Pro, Premium, and Business plans respectively)
  • Content scheduling across multiple main social media networks
  • Work sharing
  • Ability to post articles, photos, and videos to social media channels
  • 14-day trial available (any plan)
  • Link shortening available
  • Mobile app support

Pros:

  • Exceptionally cheap starter plans
  • Great integration with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Linkedin
  • Drag-and-drop system for publishing ease
  • Includes some basic analytics
  • Can handle a couple of social media accounts with great efficiency

Cons:

  • Price rises as more team members are added
  • You'll need to constantly re-authorize social accounts which is tedious
  • Integration with other tools is lackluster
  • Free plan comes with only three social media profiles

Buyer's Guide for Social Media Management Tools

There are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before proceeding to purchase a social media management tool. These questions are vital in determining whether you even need them, and if you do, how to look for the best one for your social media management needs.

Do I even need a social media management tool?

Some smaller businesses (including yours if it fits the description) may not even need a social media management tool just yet. Being on a smaller scale implies a somewhat easier time coming up with a social media strategy as well as social media engagement.

After all, you don't have to cover dozens of different characteristics of the company. Because of this, there are a few sub-questions in this section that you should check. If more than six of these are followed by a positive answer - a social media management tool is perfect for you:

  • You manage more than 5 social accounts
  • At least two people are working on these social accounts
  • You manage your social media across multiple social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • You create at least one social media post per day on these social media accounts
  • You keep track of at least a couple of hashtags on social networks
  • You prefer to publish social media posts at different times each day
  • You pay for/run ads on social media apps (Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
  • You would like to have a centralized dashboard that shows all relevant information about your social media accounts
  • You try to respond to various comments on social channels as soon as possible
  • You like checking up on social media analytics (can also be basic analytics)
  • You can budget at least $10 per month for a tool

If you have less than six of these are positive (apply to you), then you might not need a social media management tool after all. Otherwise, a tool such as that will be perfect to keep your social media management nice and tidy.

What to take into account when choosing a social media management tool?

Choosing the right social media management platform for you depends on a variety of factors. These factors also help in determining what exactly you want and need from such a tool. Here's a breakdown:

Publishing content on social media - Includes the ability to publish various content on social media, plan it in advance, and set up when the posts will go out automatically.

Tracking how your content does across multiple social media platforms- Includes research and discovery of what social media platforms support in terms of third-party tools (including social media management tools.

Monitoring activity on your social media pages - Keeping an eye on where your business is mentioned and in what way (comments, direct messages, mentions of your brand/business through hashtags or @, comments on social media ads - paid ones).

Social listening - Mentions of your business but not through hashtags or callouts; simply in plain text form.

Social media activity reports and analytics features - The bread-and-butter of most social media management tools; these reports and analytics are a massive help when determining whether or not a social media strategy is worth pursuing.

Team collaboration on social media - These tools enable both your business and your clients to have a clean and detailed overview of what your social media marketers are doing. It also helps the team themselves communicate with each other in a simpler and easier way.

Integration with other top social media management tools - Combining multiple different social media management tools is an exceptional idea - but you should still make sure whether or not these tools can work together. Also, keep a lookout for Google Analytics integration as this is the main analytics platform used by millions of businesses worldwide.

How much does a social media management tool cost and can I afford it?

Once you're done analyzing and answering the previous two questions, you should ask yourself whether you can afford social media management software paid plans. While for example, $10/month might not sound a lot, the cost can add up if you're looking to get multiple of these tools.

Make sure you're financially stable enough to get them else they'll just be a waste of time and effort.

Frequently Asked Questions about Social Media Management Software

Why are social media management platforms useful?

Coming up with an effective social media marketing campaign used to require marketing teams to sit down together and analyze the current trends. This would both require time and money as people had to get paid for their expertise. And even then, a marketing campaign might whiff completely, thus wasting these precious and valuable resources.

Social media management software changed this for the better. Teams can now be smaller but with the same knowledge and expertise as before, with a few helping hands. The helping hands I'm talking about are the various social media management tools.

They're useful in many ways but primarily for the information they provide you such as analytics, content analysis, current trends, and more.

Are social media management apps and tools expensive to use and maintain?

Well, they may or may not be. It all depends on which one you get. A free tool is generally great when you're just dipping your toes in the water but anything more than that would most likely require paid plans.

In general though, social media management tools don't usually cost a lot; you may pay anywhere between $5, $10, and $500 per month. Of course, the most expensive ones come with the most features though they're generally oriented towards larger businesses.

Regarding your own content - social media analytics tools are your best bet as they provide insight on whether or not your content is efficient. To put it shortly, social media management tools aren't expensive to use and maintain unless you're looking for the full package.

Which social media platform is the best?

That all depends on what you're looking for but you'll agree that having multiple communication mediums would be the best course of action.

Facebook is great for general updates, promotions, and some interesting video content. It is the most used social network that connects billions of people worldwide. However, it generally isn't considered the best in any category, although overall, it is the leader.

Twitter is perfect for quick messages, some very intriguing promotional content, and in general, it's the most friendly social media mobile app. Anyone can pick up their phone, write a quick tweet, and be done with it. It isn't the best for long-form content and its media features aren't the best.

Instagram is exceptional for photographs and videos; you can make specific marketing campaigns and save them on your profile. It's also a good choice if you're looking to promote something that is time-limited by using Instagram's 'stories' feature.

We can go on and on, analyzing all social media channels but there's no need. Each one is great in its own way and their effectiveness mainly depends on what you need from them.

Are social media management tools difficult to learn and use?

Not at all! Many social media managers very quickly learn the ropes of social media management tools. Even if they're packed with features, most of them are oriented towards beginners as well. It might take a few days to get used to them but that's about the extent of how much time you need to spend on learning them.

So, whether you're publishing content, expanding your media library, or want to schedule content - these social media marketing and management tools are of great help.

They will also save you plenty of time and money since you won't have to train people to such an extent. Just give them a social media tool such as HootSuite, lean back, and enjoy the process.

Final Thoughts

Pinning all the work on a single social media manager is both mean and inefficient. One person simply cannot manage multiple social media channels whilst at the same time coming up with new and exciting ideas (or marketing campaigns) to promote on said channels.

But today, social media management teams aren't large and usually number only a couple of people. This is primarily due to the existence of social media software and tools that help in so many ways. The social media landscape has changed and so too did the approach towards it, especially when we're talking about businesses.

It should be noted that only the best social media management tools should be used as these are the ones that are most efficient or cheap but packed with features or any other reason. With the help of various scheduling tools, analysis tools, a visual content calendar here and there, you too can transform your social media experience for the better!

Don't miss out on upgrading to the present; social media planning has never been easier than now. If you're hesitant or don't trust these social media tools, you should get one or two and compare the results. We guarantee that your, or your social media managers' lives will be better and simpler.

That's about it as far as our social media management platform review is concerned. We wish you good luck future endeavors!

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