Social media management has become essential for business and personal use. While it is theoretically possible to navigate and manage your ever-expanding social profiles separately, it becomes a disparate mess as your networking scales. Need an example?
Let’s take a metaphorical walk…
Consider your arms and legs, each one a social profile. Now also consider that you are verbally directing each one individually. Here we go:
You tell Twitter, your right leg, to take a big step forward. You tell your left leg, Facebook, to take the next step.
But wait; don’t forget about your Google+ and LinkedIn arms for counterbalance! Okay great, you remembered to shout to them as well. You’ve taken your first step in multiple account management! That didn’t seem too hard.
Now try a sprint… while juggling, jumping rope, and patting your head…
You couldn’t possible give the orders fast enough! Forget about having time or remembering to take breaths. This is what happens when your networks grow rapidly and your social accounts require more attention, dedication, and engagements than you or your team are capable of handling.
But if we relegated these directions to our brain, our command center, our central hub, then the process can become automatic and fluid. We don’t have to think about moving the parts or breathing.
Having a social media management tool allows us to simplify the process, avoid lag and disconnects, and prevents your social accounts from becoming a weight around your ankles. You are then free to focus on running your business, not the process of making it run.
Take the first step towards centralizing your social media management by trying out some of these 10 outstanding social media management tools:
Typical Pricing: $8.99/month for the absolute basics
Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, Mixi (Japan)
Primary Uses: Brand & Feed Monitoring, Post scheduling, Social Analytics, Content Curation
One of the most affordable and comprehensive social media management and collaboration tools, Hootsuite is a well-known brand and a conglomerate of sorts. Having acquired 7 business and twitter-focused tech companies since 2010, they are continually on the lookout to acquire the best technology to make their product your one-stop solution for all social management.
While focused on your streaming feeds, publishing, and analytics, there is also the capability to assign leads to your team for collaborative content / contact generation and customer engagement. Hootsuite is a usable and adaptable tool for most small businesses with 1-5 social management personnel.
- Clean interface with all of your social feeds in one place
- Capability through Apps and RSS to integrate most (if not all) of your content feeds
- Comprehensive content scheduling
- Team Functionality
- Hootlet Chrome plug-in, Bookmarklet, and App – publish or schedule anytime
What you get for $8.99/month:
- 2 users and up to 50 social profiles
- 1 analytics report per month
- Advanced scheduling (up to 350 at a time)
- Access to “Premium” Apps
- 100 archived messages
- Hootsuite University learning platform ($21/month extra)
- Custom URL’s on shortened links ($50/month extra)
- Enhanced technical support ($5/month extra)
- Room for a larger team to use the product ($10/month per extra user up to 10)
- Useful archiving (100 messages included – up to 100,000 for $50/month extra)
- Ability to get multiple enhanced analytics reports ($50/month extra per extra report)
Typical Pricing: $99/month per user
Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn
Primary Uses: Engagement, Brand Monitoring, Post scheduling, Profile Analytics
Sprout Social is another social media management suite that focuses on engagement, publishing, and reporting. A simple interface hides the robust inner mechanisms of this platform. The single-stream, combined feed will either be a huge draw or a turn off for you, though the filtering options allow you to select which of your connected profiles to display at any given time.
Effective in all of the basic functionalities you would expect, where Sprout Social really shines is it’s reporting. The reporting is always available, in real time, and is filterable based on accounts. Get the full picture of your team’s response time, average engagements, and your trends in addition to many other reporting options. Plus, the reports are stupidly easy to comprehend, making them perfect to export and dump on a higher-up or analytically deficient coworker’s desk.
- Unified inbox – all streams combined into one, filterable stream
- Ability to manage and filter between many accounts in the same place
- Simultaneous publishing to multiple accounts
- Monitor keywords and hashtags in addition to accounts
- Sprout Social Chrome plug-in, Bookmarklet, and app to share / schedule content
- Save notes on contacts – conversation history is saved
- Clear visual reporting
What you get for $99/month:
- 1 user and up to 50 social profiles
- Real-time brand monitoring
- Always available, comprehensive advanced visual reporting
- Advanced publishing
- Social Care Suite – turn Sprout Social into a CRM with task assignments and tickets
- Google Analytics, Zendesk / UserVoice Integration
- Free personal account per paying member
- Complimentary training and support
- Multiple user accounts – expect to do some multiplication… $99/month extra per user
- Dynamic URL tagging on shortened links (Enterprise)
- Advanced permissions and security – restrict access to certain profiles (Enterprise)
- Little other integration available
Typical Pricing: $119/month
Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn
Primary Uses: Social Campaign Scheduling, Social Marketing, Engagement
Self-described as “Social Media Software for Business”, Oktopost is an excellent social media campaign manager. Post scheduling is typically done at a “campaign” level, but you can generate content at any time and schedule it for distribution but itself or add it to an existing campaign.
Much like other social media managers, you can create stream columns and new tabs with separate groupings in their “Streams” section. The “Social Inbox” provides you with updates about comments on your shares, allowing you to respond to feedback from audience members who are looking to engage with your business.
- Track favorites, mentions, lists and keywords
- Social Inbox to receive and reply to comments from one location
- Campaign-based, unified marketing strategy
- Asset (saved post) management and Autoposter – send saved campaign updates automatically
- Drag & drop calendar rescheduling
- View analytics at profile, message, or campaign level
- Sync leads with marketing automation and CRM platforms
What you get for $119/month:
- 3 users with up to 25 social profiles and 50 LinkedIn Groups
- Ability to capture leads and export leads and reports
- Autoposter for saved messages
- Phone support (as opposed to email or none on lower levels)
- Google Analytics, Bitly, Marketo, and GoToWebinar Integration
- Geo-targeting of posts
- Profiles include Facebook Pages and groups so if you manage 1 page per product or service, it can fill up fast
- The content suggestions are not very customizable, but they do learn from the highest converting posts so they will become increasingly more relevant
Typical Pricing: $49/month
Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook
Primary Uses: Post Analytics, Engagement
If you want a simple, data-oriented solution, Crowdbooster is a great value for teams looking for insights. With 8 users for $49/month, your whole team can get engaged with and utilize Crowdbooster’s advanced analytics. The ability to drill-down on each message with ease makes understanding successful posts more clear while the audience metrics (tweets, retweets, likes, etc) show your most loyal fans.
Crowdbooster also boasts recommendations based on the data gathered which they claim learn and adapt over time. This solution is perfect for entry-level social media management but is also useful for larger enterprises with very few social accounts.
- Real-time charts and feedback
- Growth tracking
- Post and Contact drill-downs
- Intelligent alerts about who to tweet / contact
- Access restrictions – include clients with minimal access to show them results if you run as an agency
What you get for $49/month:
- 8 users and up to 10 social media accounts
- Real-time metrics / analytics
- Dynamic recommendations based on data
- Facebook and Twitter scheduler
- Online Support (live chat / forum)
- User role / access management
- Priority email support
- 24-hour support
- Ability to have many social accounts (10 is limit in Silver plan – 30 in Gold plan)
- Add many “clients” as users since there’s only room for 8 (30 in Gold plan)
Typical Pricing: $39/month
Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ / YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram
Primary Uses: Social Campaign Scheduling, Contests / Promotions, Analytics, Team Collaboration
Rignite is a very powerful and flexible social campaign management solution with some impressive features. Designed to allow for multiple types of campaigns, run your Twitter or Facebook contests, campaigns, or post schedules from one place, with automated thresholds and requirements such as: required hashtags, number of replies before giving out coupons, and contest winner selection, Rignite allows you to promote and analyze in a simple and intuitive way.
The team collaboration tools, such as ticket assignment, in-house chat and forums, permission regulation, and social groupings allow different members to manage interrelated or separate aspects of your social media. Get campaign level analytics to get a segmented view of your posting, support case analytics to ensure quality customer support, and other valuable insights.
- Campaign templates and scheduling
- Run contests, promotions, and coupons with automated responses and thresholds
- Collaborate as a team in chat, support cases, and in-house asset management and forums
- Real-time analytics of campaigns in progress
- Drag and drop post rearrangement
- Set up in-browser notifications for team collaboration and chat – always stay in touch
What you get for $39/month:
- 1 user with unlimited social accounts
- Create and monitor streams
- Group social accounts to send or allow access to specific segments
- Link shortening and click tracking
- Campaign-level analytics
- Run coupons, giveaways, and contests with automatic thresholds, notifications, and triggering
- Send “goal-oriented” (like above) campaigns to up to 10,000 followers
- All team chat, case, email, and forum functions
- Unlimited “view-only” users
- Ability for multiple managers - Additional admin users are $19/month each
- Onboarding demos and support
Typical Pricing: $50/month
Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, App.net
Primary Uses: Post Scheduling, Content Curation
Buffer is another of the more widely known / utilized social media management tools. Their key focus is scheduling, but with a recently introduced business plan, you receive analytics, tracking, and (slightly) collaborative features. You can add managers to profiles and restrict access at different levels. Integrate your Google Analytics account to track campaigns, plus use their integrated analytics to see KPIs on your individual posts. The analytics, while still rudimentary, are a step towards perfecting by far one of the most solid scheduling solutions available.
- Create schedules to spread out posts by day
- Buffer directly to your queue and posts will be sent automatically or select to post it “next”
- Buffer directly from within Facebook and Twitter
- Built in link shortening and analytics
- Fairly relevant content suggestions
What you get for $50/month:
- 5 team members and 25 social profiles
- Up to 200 posts in your queue
- Vary schedules by day (5 posts Monday, 3 posts Wednesday, etc)
- 15 RSS feeds connected to each profile
- Additional analytics capabilities – Google Analytics, tracking, export data, and sorting
- Over 50 Apps and extra integrations
- Visual streams - feeds come in as lists (good for some, but you don’t get images)
- Setting schedules to different time zones within same account
Typical Pricing: $39/month
Supported Networks: Twitter, Instagram
Primary Uses: Engagement, Community Analysis, Targeting, Competitor Tracking
SocialBro is an analytics and search platform wrapped in a social media management suite. The sheer number of features and reports that you can generate is astounding, and the platform provides you with very actionable data. Discover the “Best time to Tweet” report and then export the optimized schedule to Buffer or Hootsuite.
Set up rules to automate tasks such as tagging, list building, and replies and create direct message campaigns from your aggregate lists. Also has follow and unfollow management so that you can clean up your unreciprocated follows and inactive subscribers. Takes a bit of time to get used to the interface (even though it’s intuitive) since there are so many things that you can do with it.
- Monitor hashtags and keywords
- Automated rule builder – Trigger, criteria, action (very powerful)
- Direct Message Campaigns
- Advanced Twitter user search – by industry, location, tweets, followers, and more
- Find best times to tweet and export schedule
- Discover keywords that your audience is tweeting about
- Instagram integration in Beta
What you get for $39/month:
- 3 users and up to 50k followers over 15 Twitter accounts
- Best time to Tweet report in 1000 user custom segments
- Custom segmented community insights
- Follow / unfollow management
- Tweet analytics
- Direct message campaigns
- Email import capability with automatic pairing to Twitter accounts
- Premium support
- Ability to buffer or schedule tweets from their editor – they are partnered with Hootsuite and Buffer, this functionality would be expected
- Loading large email lists ($0.10/email after 250)
Typical Pricing: $7.50/month
Supported Networks: Twitter
Primary Uses: Follower / List Management, Influencer Discovery
Tweepi is one of those tools that you don’t really know that you need until you see what it can do. The “Dashboard” is a Twitter management toolbox which you can use to flush your unreciprocated followers, force undesirable “Tweeps” to unfollow you, and eliminate users who are inactive, have no bios or images, and who you may no longer wish to follow. It is truly a blessing for those businesses whose accounts garner unwanted attention from spam follows or who want to have a solely active, engaged user base.
The “Follow Tweeps” section is essentially like an influencer discovery engine where you can search for people following any particular user, their friends, or members of lists. You can then sort to find the most influential Tweeps to follow and engage with. There is also a search function to find keywords within peoples’ bios as well as to search tweets for keywords.
- Dashboard with all of the key functions available at a glance – in clear, plain language
- Ability to flush, reciprocate, and clean up your followers
- Influencer discovery features including: search by keyword, by user’s followers, and by bio text
What you get for $7.50:
- Ability to see 100 users per page – lists are paginated so this is a big plus
- Sort and filter all user results, not just on a per-page basis
- No more ads
- Access to any “Premium Silver” functions – Filter all users, Sort all users, etc
- Force unfollow feature
- Bulk add users to list
- Follow / unfollow history column
- User bio and tweet search functionality (includes geo-location information)
Typical Pricing: $35/month
Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, App.net, Plurk, Various Blog Platforms
Primary Uses: Scheduling, Social Monitoring, Follower Management, Complex Functions
While not as easy to navigate (or use) as other social media management solutions, SocialOomph is powerful. It handles complex automations such as bulk search and modifying of queued updates, bulk uploads of updates, and many more. The automatic friend finder feature will run in the background, finding and selecting new contacts for your approval based on a comprehensive list of criteria that you define. This is an amazingly versatile tool but don’t expect to master it within a day (or week, or month).
- Complicated, database-like queries on your scheduled content are possible
- Keyword and mimic search for new followers – replicate competitor followings
- Submit social updates via email
- Schedule and publish blog posts / pages – has built in WYSIWYG editor
- Create auto drip feeds
- Bulk uploads
- Create self-destructing updates (ones that will go away after certain periods)
What you get for $35/month:
- 1 admin user with unlimited accounts for all social platforms – team can post using existing email
- URL shortening
- Facebook, LinkedIn, Plurk, App.net, Blogs, and RSS feed access
- The lack of instruction for each feature and section is disturbing – be ready to search the help section
- Automated direct messaging / response to new followers
- A modern, more usable interface
- Real actionable analytics – you are better off using a supplementary service
Typical Pricing: Free
Supported Networks: Twitter
Primary Uses: Brand Monitoring, Content Curation, Filtered Streams, Tweet Scheduling
TweetDeck is a product of Twitter itself. With this come a number of benefits, the first and foremost being that it will always adhere / function with the latest Twitter technology and guidelines. This is also a hindrance, as it is limited by its privacy, spam, and user agreements effectively eliminating certain (often desirable) functionality.
Limitations aside, it works flawlessly as a real-time monitoring dashboard and has some very functional filtering options. Add multiple accounts and use it as a hub for managing your product lines, business accounts, and personal account. For many people and small businesses, an intro-level dashboard like TweetDeck plus a free version of a more robust scheduler can often be enough power until you scale and working between two separate platforms becomes unmanageable.
- Twitter’s in-house platform - so you know it will always function with the API
- Add any number of filtered streams
- Embed any filtered timeline – generate specific feeds to embed anywhere
- Schedule Tweets
What you get for Free:
- Ability to add multiple accounts
- Tweet to multiple accounts at once
- Lots of functionality that other services offer
- Ability to group accounts
- Creating tabs to show different dashboard combinations
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Let the community know your experiences these tools in the comment section below!
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