As much as 63% of small businesses use social media as a marketing tool. Why? Because social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram have hundreds of millions of users, who spend an average of 145 minutes per day on the platforms. If you’re looking for exposure, then social media is the answer. Another reason is that by resorting to social media, businesses (whether big or small) will have a platform to communicate directly to customers about their respective inquiries.
The challenge right now is that with so many platforms out there, how do you choose which one to prioritize? Can you select one, let’s say Facebook, and leave out the rest? If you do choose them all, won’t that be a logistical nightmare to manage?
Imagine you just started a business. You’re sure that social media is the platform to go to reach the maximum audience at the soonest possible time. You’ve set up your handles on all major social media platforms. You took on the role of marketer on top of your role as a chief development officer, customer support, among other roles because again, #startup.
Your campaign starts to gain traction as you did your assignment as far as marketing is concerned. Here comes the nightmare. You soon realize that 24 hours a day is not enough to answer all the queries sent through your social media handles. You’re beginning to lose control of the manufacturing and logistics processes because of the apparent disorganization.
The bottom line is that this is simply not feasible for many small businesses that operate with a handful of employees. Luckily, you can turn to social media management platforms to help you come up with a comprehensive social media strategy where you can manage everything in one place.
Table of Contents
Before we get into the juicy details, let’s discuss what social media management tools are.
Social Media Management (SMM) tools are tools that allow a user to efficiently manage his social media accounts. With the help of these tools, you no longer have to log in to each account and post content individually. Social Media Management tools provide a robust and effective scheduling platform so you can schedule posts ahead of time and simply wait for them to be posted. You can make content ahead of time for weeks on end.
The good thing about this is that if you already have a following, you’ll be giving them a sense of predictability. Your customers can count on you to post regular content consistently.
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There are hundreds, if not thousands, of social media management tools in the market right now. Looking for the best one can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, so to speak.
This article narrows the criteria into three practical elements: engagement, scheduling features, and reporting. When we speak of engagement, we mean that the software has a dashboard where you can see all the activities and interactions your business account has with its customers. For scheduling, the software should have an easy-to-configure system that allows you to plan contents ahead of time. Lastly, a great SMM software should be able to give you a report on the performance of each post along with other pertinent metrics (depending on what your business requires).
Here are our picks for the best social media management tools to try:
Best Overall Social Media Management Tool
Choosing Sprout Social over the rest of the candidates here was due to the software’s usability, publishing features, and availability of analytics (which covers all major social media platforms).
It also has built-in features where you can easily utilize paid promotion tools to boost your content on platforms such as Facebook. Its availability in mobile devices (Android and iOS) makes it a handy tool to bring despite being on the go. If you want to try out Sprout, they have a free 30-day trial period.
Managing social media has never been easier!
Agorapulse is a simple, no-frills SMM tool, yet packs the same scheduling, visual calendar, social inbox, analytics, and team collaboration featured that most of its counterparts have.
Agorapulse also provides a comprehensive competitor analysis report. You can also use Agorapulse to publish, engage, listen, report, and collaborate with your social networks. You can do this by posting your content through Agorapulse, and then let the software queue and schedule your content.
Best Choice for Analytics
Hootsuite remains one of the best social media management tools because nothing compares to its comprehensive analytics and social media tracking tools that allow users to furnish customizable reports including team productivity. It also has a nifty feature where you can pay on a per-report basis for ROI reporting, benchmarking, and other social media-related queries.
Hootsuite is a renowned name when it comes to online marketing. Even though we’re including it on this list primarily due to its powerful analytics features, it doesn’t mean that its other features are lackluster.
Best All-in-one Tool
Zoho Social made it to this list as it is the best all-in-one tool based on how its social media management software functions with the rest of its CRM products. Zoho allows you to save and access your email, create campaigns and oversee its performance, and perform accounting tasks all in one platform.
Zoho also offers comprehensive social media management software that has built-in features or can buy other features/plugins to experience the full suite of its features.
Best SMM for Small Business and Agencies
This powerful social media management tool has everything you need to execute your social media marketing strategy.
There are a wide array of features and capabilities offered by eClincher, such as a comprehensive content publisher, an intuitive drag-and-drop visual calendar, built-in campaign tracking, competitor-benchmarking analysis, and a dashboard where you can edit social media posts.
The real value of eClincher for a small and medium business owner manifests itself when you need to scale. If you have many brands to manage or many franchise locations, that cost adds up in thousands.
Another highlight with eClincher is its support team. If a feature doesn’t exist, you can reach out to their support team through their live 24/7 live chat offering and suggest the improvement. If it is scalable and beneficial for companies like you, they will implement that suggestion. No other SMM treats their customers like that.
Best for Enterprises
Falcon is a cloud-based social media management and customer experience management solution that allows social media professionals to access certain structured features tools for social media listening, engagement, publishing content, measuring, and customer data management.
They have a Social Inbox feature in addition to social monitoring and listening. Falcon allows users to design their own inboxes. You can create one with multiple feeds, labels, and use filters. You can also create custom response templates for quicker replies and bulk actions. This saves you more valuable time than manually replying to each of the inquiries.
Best for Organizational Collaboration
Loomly is an excellent pick for those businesses with a large employee pool. The tool features a clean and intuitive interface. A unique feature with Loomly is that you can set workflows for tasks that need collaboration.
When you create a post, you don’t have to worry about getting lost along the way, as Loomly employs a straightforward process. You can either create posts from scratch or pull one from the RSS feeds that automatically create drafts from them.
Best for Specific Market of Startups, Small Business, and Marketing Agencies
SocialPilot does a great job of keeping up with the demands of the ever-changing social media scene; this can be seen as it was one of those who embraced early support for TikTok. Nonetheless, the lack of a direct Instagram connection is disappointing, especially when the likes of Buffer can offer this. Another letdown is that it doesn’t post scheduled content right away, although you can schedule a reminder so that you can push it yourself.
There are still plenty of positives when it comes to social media posting on SocialPilot. The post creation interface is clean and intuitive, with a very handy Canva integration if you want to add imagery or video from your account. It also has a built-in content suggestion feature that may come in handy during times you have writer’s block. The post preview tool is effective, and you can add clients or team members to the account group so they can have input on the content before it goes live.
Best All-around Social Media Management Tool
Sendible makes it convenient to engage with your followers/audience, monitor product performance, and check results all in one dashboard.
The most amazing feature we noticed about Sendible is its Priority Inbox. This brings all your social media messages, regardless of which social network, into a single stream. Nothing will be amiss! To take it one step further, it will only retain those messages which are unread or unanswered.
Scheduling through Sensible is as easy as dragging and dropping items in your calendar. If you notice high-performing content, you can easily set it up for reposting with relative ease.
Best Option for the Budget Conscious
Buffer is the best choice out there for businesses that only have a few employees, yet cannot survive without the help of Social Media Management tools.
Buffer is a well-rounded and easy-to-use SMM tool that allows users to publish social media posts, monitor engagement, and furnish analytics.
For a tool that is available for free, it’s amazing that Buffer allows its users to schedule up to 10 social updates free of charge. With the paid service, you have access to unlimited scheduling. This gives beginners a great opportunity to try out the tool before committing themselves to the paid subscription.
Best Option for Visual Content
With Later, you can organize and schedule your Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest content for the whole week with a simple drag and drop tool integrated with a publishing calendar. This is especially handy for visual posts like images, videos, and stories, which typically drive higher engagement. Later does not currently support text-only posts for Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin but is open to user feedback.
A Keen Eye on Performance
Iconosquare is as close as you can get to a “set it and forget it” social media marketing while remaining strategically focused on outcomes and performance. Think of this social media management tool as an extra set of hands that can maximize the time you or your social media coordinator spends on the nuts and bolts of social campaigns and communication. You’ll be able to plan better, execute more efficiently and monitor performance.
Automated Design Made Easy
No more staring at a blank screen, hoping for inspiration. Tailwind is a social media tool that automates designs optimized for Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest so you quickly have multiple posts from one design with a click. No design skills are needed!
Build Your Brand
Ripl takes the guesswork out of designing eye-appealing content for all your social channels with ready-made templates, customizable content, and brand management tools. Optimize then gauge your efforts with performance tracking.
Something for Everyone … and Affordable
With Crowdfire, you save time by integrating your platforms. Connect your Shopify or Esty account, WordPress or Medium blog, or YouTube channel to schedule product updates or announcements directly from Crowdfire.
The King (or Queen) for Content
If you’re like many and hit a creative block or just run out of gas with content creation, Edgar is a social media automation tool that keeps your pipeline full of time-saving evergreen posts for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Powerful technology made easy
With MavSocial, plan, create, publish and boost your social media content, all from one convenient platform. Maximize your efforts by creating a master post that you can customize for specific networks. Looking to curate? An RSS content manager fills your feed which is easily filtered by topics, industries, or favorites.
Best for Link Management
Rebrandly has all the advanced tools you need for the technical side of social media management to ensure your content is attractive to your social following and optimized for search engines.
A few parting words. The choice of a social media management tool heavily relies on what your business needs are. As you can see from the extensive list above, there is no shortage of options to choose from! You can even go with the ones like Hootsuite or Buffer which make their services available for free (albeit limited in character).
The point is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the benefits of a Social Media Management tool. If you need to spend a significant amount, make sure that your organization really needs the additional features that the paid service is offering; otherwise, it will be all for naught.
Your choice of the right Social Media Management tool will have long-lasting effects on your business and your personal productivity. We hope that this comprehensive guide can shed some light on the advantages of the current market’s leading SMM names.
Last updated on by Joshua Holdeman