The one constant about social media is that it is constantly evolving, with new tech that should always be considered. The latest platforms and best-reviewed social media management tools can be on everyone’s radar for short or long periods of time. Then, before you know it, those are pushed aside for the Next Great Thing. Each year brings new tools to the forefront, and here are some that have caught our eye.
What are Social Media Management Tools?
Social media tools are software programs designed to help people publish, administer and monitor their social media networks. These tools are also referred to as social media management software, or SMMS. They can be application programs, or software suite modules. SMMS helps organizations connect social media accounts and evaluate all the interactions from one dashboard. They can provide automated posting to different platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram, and the best SMMS offers additional services to help companies reach their full social media potential.
Eclincher details the most important features that a SMMS can have. One of the first is a unified social inbox, which allows users to connect with audiences across different social platforms in real time. The ability to track competitors, and review sites, news articles, and keywords is also essential. Some social media tools have integrated RSS feeds, which automatically publish blogs to social channels; it is also important to be able to track website traffic, posts, and ads to help with audience targeting.
A good SMMS will also include strong publishing and scheduling features. You will want unlimited scheduling, a monthly calendar, customized posting across different channels, and other automated functions. Also look for custom reporting, which is one of the best ways to track and analyze your accounts. This is necessary if you want to grow and improve your networks.
Compare Social Media Management Tools
Eclincher shares a list of the top social media management tools, starting with their own product. It is compatible with LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. This all-in-one tool uses a single dashboard, and automates tedious marketing tasks. Next is Flacon.io, which is cloud-based and versatile. It includes features for publishing content, customer data management, social media listening, and engagement.
Sprout Social came in third, and it includes basic tools and customizable options like individual statistics for posts. Hootsuite has been around for more than a decade, has well-reviewed RSS integration, social media scheduling, and monitoring. Agorapulse includes the most important scheduling features, team collaboration, and competitor analysis, but it lacks an influencer feature.
Loomly comes in at #6, and it focuses mainly on content creation and branding. It does not have some of the features (listening and monitoring, for example) that other SMMS have, and it is not fully integrated. SocialPilot is fully integrated, and its best features are its collaboration tools, custom reporting, and workflows with permission settings.
Three More Social Media Management Tools
The final three SMMS on the list are Sendible, Buffer, and Later. Sendible allows managers to repurpose content, and it is best for targeting organizations that want end-to-end solutions with CRM. Well-rounded and easy to use, Buffer is described as an “intuitive, streamlined social management platform.”
Later’s strong points are its scheduler and visual content calendar. It does not have RSS integration or a social inbox, and it is mostly focused on Pinterest and Instagram. These top ten social media management tools have different price points, even several within most companies, with intro plans ranging from $7.50 (Later) to as much $599 (Hootsuite’s higher-level plans) per month. More features come with higher price tags, so many companies start in at the lower end and add-on features afterwards.
The Best Social Media Management Tools (Free)
Most of these SMMS companies offer free trials, but there are a few free social media management tools out there, as well. MagePlaza mentions Napoleon Cat, which works with all the major platforms. It has a Social Inbox, filters out recurrent questions and harmful content, and manages customer service and social media engagement.
ZoHo Social also helps companies grow through brand optimization. It allows users to schedule posts, and has an excellent analytics tool package and tracks performance. SocialOomph was also well-reviewed, and hailed for its wide range of features. Not only does it work with multiple platforms, it has automated messages for new followers, removes outdated information and schedules and analyzes activity.
When shopping around for social media management tools, you can compare features, benefits and pricing. You need to have goals in mind first, along with the automated functions you need prioritized. A free trial can be the best way to start, or you can look into a free service. Just be sure to read the fine print first!