Best Social Media Management Tools 2019: Reviews & Pricing
Social media management tools make it easy for you to publish, monitor, and engage with your followers on all your social media profiles from one tool. You can find some that are meant for a single social platform, others that cover the gamut of social sites, and they’re surprisingly affordable (even free, in some cases).
Best Social Media Management Tools
In order to determine which social media management tools are the best among the hundreds available, we considered the most popular choices, the most helpful features, and the various social media platforms each tool supports. It’s also important to take into account that every small business has different needs, whether it’s budget or integrations. Our top choices for social media management tools are well known in the industry for being the best at what they do.
+ Easy to use
+ Integrates with lots
+ Custom reports
- Outdated interface
For: Small businesses that need complete social media management
+ Easy to use
+ Unlimited RSS feed posts (paid plan)
+ Free plan offered
- Needs a mid-tier pricing plan
For: Small businesses on a budget that need social media management
+ Predicts optimal post time
+ User-friendly interface
- No Pinterest support
For: Small businesses that need multiple third-party integrations
+ Offers free trial
+ Includes Pinterest management
- No editing posts through Buffer after publishing
For: Small business that need to post to up to six different platforms
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How to Choose the Right Social Media Management Tool
If you’re ready to reclaim your day back from the hours you spent posting on various social media profiles, then you’re ready to pick one of the many social media management tools. You’ll want to consider the monthly cost of a tool, and that it supports the social media sites you use. Alternatively, you might want to go with a service or hire someone to do the work for you. A quick way to get to the social media software that’s best for you is to take our quiz.
Pricing: How Much Will Social Media Marketing Tools Cost?
You might be surprised to learn that there are free social media marketing tools available, but a paid plan may be a better choice for your small business. Typically, social media software comes with a monthly fee, but you may also get a discount for paying on an annual basis. Below is the average cost and sampling of possible features of some plans from some of the most popular social media marketing tools.
The best free social media management tools give you the ability to schedule posts, monitor at least three profiles, and allow you to connect third-party apps for more functionality. However, free social media management tools are typically limiting. There are some good “free forever” plans out there that make managing your personal social media easy, but they aren’t likely robust enough for a small business’ needs.
Many users see low-tier plans as the bare minimum for businesses that need social media management. It’s at this level that you should be able to pull content from RSS feeds, monitor more than just a handful of social media profiles, and have access to a social inbox, where you can see all the likes, follows, etc.
Upgrade to a mid-tier plan for social media management tools and you’re looking at unlocking features such as, optimized post suggestions, premium app integrations, and custom reporting. Some social media software will analyze your social media activity to determine the best time for you to post, which could help drive more traffic and boost your followers and engagement. Premium app integrations means you could link apps like Zendesk for customer service to your social media management tool, which consolidates tasks even more. Custom reporting lets you see the data you want, so you can analyze what’s working and what isn’t.
Social media management tools with high-tier plans typically offer better customer service, training, fewer limits, and more features. You should be able to connect all your social media channels and manage more than one brand from a single app. Plus, you’ll be able to assign tasks to other users and have multiple users on the social media software.
SocialPilot is a social media scheduling and analytics tool that helps businesses manage multiple social profiles. Prices range from $10-$80/month. View Profile
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that lets businesses run social campaigns on different platforms. Prices range from $0-$599+/month. View Profile
Buffer allows businesses to manage multiple social media accounts in a single platform. Prices range from $0-$399/month. View Profile
Social Report offers solutions for social media scheduling, social media analytics, automations, and more. Prices range from $49-$199/month. View Profile
Sprout Social is a program that lets businesses manage multiple social media accounts in one platform. Prices range from $99-$249+/user/month. View Profile
TweetDeck is a free social media management program that lets users manage multiple Twitter accounts in a single platform. View Profile
Zoho Social is a social media management tool that lets users manage multiple social accounts in one platform. Prices range from $0-$125+/month. View Profile
What the Best Social Media Management Tools Do for Your Business
All social media management tools help you in three key areas: publishing, engagement, and monitoring. By connecting all your small business’ social media accounts to one tool, you’ll save time. You can schedule posts, see what your followers say and then respond, and monitor what else they’re liking, retweeting, or posting. Plus, you can run reports to see how well your posts are doing with your followers. Some social media management tools are easier to use, let you connect multiple social accounts, or allow for multiple users, so you aren’t alone in managing your business’ social life.
Without social media management software, you’re stuck on your phone or on your computer making new posts every day to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, et al. Sign up for a social media management tool, and you’ll be able to schedule posts for all your accounts, so you may only have to deal with posts once per week or month.
Social Media Supported
Some social media software only support one or two social media platforms, while others support up to six of the biggest ones out there. If you plan to post to several at once, choose your social media management software accordingly.
Most social media management tools let you schedule your posts ahead of time, which means you can set it and forget it for the week, month, or longer, even. Typically, the number of posts you’re allowed to schedule varies based on the plan you choose.
It’s helpful to have social media software that lets you create a post, save it as a draft, and finish it later.
Having a calendar for scheduling posts can be helpful, as you can set it up for posts months in advance. This feature is often included in higher-tier plans.
The best social media management tools offer predictions for optimal posting based on how and when your followers engage with your posts. Follow these data-driven predictions for the best results.
Many social media managing tools include an integrated URL shortener, so you can keep your links short and sweet.
One of the most useful features of any social media management tool is the ability to connect to apps you’re already using, which helps to cut down on how much back and forth you’re doing. For example, if you can easily access media or a graphics program from one tool, you can quickly create and schedule posts, without having to open a new app, create the thing, download the thing, upload the thing, and then schedule a post.
*It’s important to note that some social networks work a little differently than they did in the past because of spam issues, and fake profiles (and news). So, personal accounts may not have the same publishing tools from third-party apps like social media management tools. This means you’ll have to ensure all your social media accounts are business, not personal.
Every small business owner knows the importance of interacting and engaging with their followers and audience, and social media management tools get that. You’ll find a few helpful tools to help you interact at the right time, consolidated messages and comments, and a quick way to show your appreciation from each like, retweet, follow, or other engagement.
Most social media software includes app integration, so you can quickly access media. They also typically have a spot where you can keep your brand images, go-to videos, and more. You can quickly add these from the library to a post or comment, and stay on top of your social goings-on.
The integrated inbox that can be found in most social media management tools is one of the best ideas for making the job of managing social media so much easier. All interactions from all your social media profiles are pooled in one spot, so you can quickly add likes, comments, and respond to direct messages quickly.
This feature isn’t available from all social media management tools, but it’s a good one. To be fair, it could be included in the publishing section, but the idea behind it is to garner the most engagement from your followers (and to get you new ones). Algorithms are used to monitor your followers’ behavior with your posts, such as when they see them, when they’re likely to interact, and so on. Then the social media management tool predicts the best time for you to schedule a post for the most possible likes, follows, retweets, etc.
Before third-party apps put everything social media-related in one place for you, you’d have to log in to every profile separately to see what was happening. Now you can monitor, measure, and view everything on one dashboard with the best social media management tools.
You can pick and choose which social media profiles you want to see the post feed for in some social media management software. It’s a helpful feature because you can see everything on one screen in some cases, so you can monitor it all in real-time. Also available from some social media management tools are RSS feeds, so you can pluck content and use it for your own posts.
Some social media software let you create custom reports, so you can see exactly how many likes you got in the last week, for example. Others offer views of how well your posts have worked to engage followers or to pick up new ones, so you can rework your hashtags, if needed. You can even see the top influencers in the social media world who have liked, retweeted, commented, or followed you, which can help give a boost to your business’ social influence.
All Social Media Management Tools Reviews
If you’re sure you want social media management tools to help your business succeed in its social life, then take a look at these social media management tools reviews. You can see how others feel about each one, which can help steer you toward the right choice for you.
Why You Need Social Media Management Tools
If you’ve ever tried to tame the social media beast for even just one brand, you know how harried it can get. You’re flitting back and forth between different channels, you have about a million tabs open, and that’s just at your desk. Your phone is also being bombarded by an ever-changing feed, and it seems impossible to pick up on every like, retweet, comment, and DM. That’s why social media management tools are a must for every small business owner.
Simplify Your Life
Plug in all your social channels to a social media management tool and watch, as if by magic, everything is sorted for you. You’ll be able to do everything you need to with your social media accounts from one screen. The bulk of posting can be done in advance and scheduled, so you pick up the most engagement from followers and would-be followers. Plus, there’s little chance you’ll miss a like or comment, which brings us to the next point.
With all your communication through social media profiles in one spot, you’ll be able to handle an influx of comments and messages quickly. In today’s social media-obsessed world, it’s important to spot the moment a post goes viral, whether for good or bad. You can keep the likes and follows coming, or you can put out a fire quickly. Plus, the more you engage with your followers, the more they’re likely to continue engaging.
When a hashtag is trending, you might be tempted to jump on board to stay relevant and on the screens of millions. Using a social media management tool can help you spot these trends, but it can also help you slow down before jumping on a bandwagon that could lead to a hashtag fail (remember DiGiorno Pizza’s snafu?). Watch, listen, and respond appropriately. Having access to a feed with the trending hashtag can give you the context behind it, so you can make an educated decision.
Outsourcing Social Media Management
Managing your own social media accounts may be too much work for you, even with the help of a social media management tool. Outsourcing social media management is another option. There are services available that will handle it for you. Or you could even hire someone to handle your social media, so you won’t have to touch a single app.
If you’d prefer to find a single person to hire to handle all your social media, look to a freelancer marketplace like Fiverr. It’s an affordable way to keep your social posts and likes flowing. Most freelance social media managers start at $40 and go up from there, depending on what you need.
Go with a Service
Services vary wildly. You can find an agency that will handle social media strictly, or find a combined social media management service and website from a service like Hibu. You’ll get an SEO-optimized website that puts your business’ brand front and center for a local audience. Plus, Hibu will take care of ads on Google, Facebook, and other social and search sites.
Pricing: Cost Difference of Tool vs. Service vs. Hire
Your budget may be the determining factor in whether you’ll handle social media management yourself or leave it up to someone else. So, here’s a look at the average cost you could pay for a tool, service, or hiring a social media manager through a freelance site. Keep in mind we did not include any upfront costs, rather we focused on the ongoing monthly price.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Social Media Management Tools
It might be difficult to see the value in social media management tools when social media seems like such an easy task. So, ask yourself these questions below to help you determine whether you need help with managing your business’ social profiles.
How much time do you have to spend posting and replying to social media events, comments, etc.?
Many social media professionals suggest you spend 4 to 8 hours per day on social media, including the three big ones (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). You should be commenting on others’ posts, liking and following relevant profiles, posting content that makes sense for your brand, and responding to anyone who engages with your brand. Doing that from just three profiles can be a full-time job, but if you have everything consolidated, it will be easier to schedule posts, monitor activity, and respond in meaningful ways to boost your social status.
Do you scour your social media profiles for every retweet, relevant hashtag, comment, and like?
Scrolling through long feeds and relying on a sharp eye for hashtags and mentions can be difficult at best. Do that every day and you’re bound to burn out or miss something. Social media management tools makes it much easier to follow the hashtags you want to see, and respond swiftly to interactions with your brand.
Would having all your social media channel in one place simplify your life?
If you open up multiple tabs on a browser to check your social media channels, you’re likely to miss something important as you shift-tab between them all. Social media software puts all of what you need in one spot, which can cut down on your multitasking, or at least make it possible to streamline your workflows.
Are you creating your own content for your brand every time you post?
Creating unique content for your social media profiles is important, but you might find that you’re tapped by the end of week one of each month. Most social media management tools give you access to RSS feeds, where you can find relevant articles for you to post. Plus, you can do everything you need to from within a single platform.
Do you know how well your posts are performing, or if they’re even being seen?
Analytics are hard to find on social media engagement without the proper tools. If you’re doing this with the help of various apps to see when and how many likes you get for posts, you’re doing it the hard way. Social media management tools make it much easier to get a snapshot of how well your posts or hashtags are performing, which allows you to adjust when things are skewed, or keep going with a successful campaign.
Still unsure about social media management tools? Take a quiz that will help guide you to the right choice for you.
The Bottom Line
Social media management tools are one of the best ways for you to keep your social media organized and up to date. They’re easy to use and most offer affordable plans, so you can step away from the computer or your phone and focus more on other areas of your business. Scheduling posts, finding content, and engaging with your business’ audience has never been easier than with social media management tools.
Here’s a growing list of social media sites and related software that are no longer in operation.
Over To You
If there’s one message these platforms have for us from beyond the grave, it’s that even the most brilliant innovation can fail if left unchecked. While most of us will never know how it was to work with these long gone social media platforms, their demise led to the development of the ones we enjoy today.