Best Social Media Management Tools

Contributor, Benzinga

If you run a business, there’s a good chance that you’re on social media. With today’s algorithm changes, how do you stay on top of engagement? 

Social media management tools are a great way to streamline the process, and they may even be able to help you meet your engagement goals! Here are some platforms that are worth considering.

1. Best for Relationship Building: Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a robust social media management tool with many features, but it’s the customer relationship management (CRM) aspect that really makes it stand out. The CRM tool collects information to build a customer’s profile, which you can then use to develop and maintain a relationship with them. 

You can use the information to encourage a budding relationship that leads to a purchase, resolve customer problems, answer questions they pose, and enhance your brand’s image overall. On each customer’s profile, you’re able to view your conversation history, their contact info, and any notes that have been made internally among team members.

Sprout Social also offers other features that you would expect from a leading social media management tool. You can create and schedule posts within the tool, all of which can be viewed and organized in Sprout’s visual calendar. 

Sprout will even provide you with suggested post times for optimal engagement based on your content and each social platform’s specific algorithm. Like many of its competitors, Sprout Social offers a custom reporting feature as well. 

In addition to gathering your own insights, you can compare your performance to that of your competitors to find new opportunities for growth and engagement. Sprout Social connects with several platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, and Google My Business.

Pricing: Free trial. Then, it costs $99, $149, or $249 per month depending on your preferred plan.

Mobile app? Yes. 

2. Best for Free Accounts: Hootsuite

If you’re running a small, independent brand and want to try a social media management tool, Hootsuite might be the best option for you. Most tools offer free trials, but Hootsuite takes its free offerings one step further by offering an entirely free account. This account only gives access to one user, but you can connect two social accounts and schedule up to five messages at a time. 

Need more from Hootsuite? It also offers a $49 monthly professional plan with a free 30-day trial. The professional plan allows you to connect up to 10 social media accounts and schedule unlimited posts. 

It also offers additional features like auto-scheduling, bulk scheduling, a publishing calendar, reporting templates, message monitoring, and more. Hootsuite is compatible with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Pricing: Choose from a free plan or a plan that costs$49 per month after a free 30-day trial.

Mobile app? Yes.

3. Best for Team Collaboration: Agorapulse

For agencies and other businesses that need to have several people be hands-on with social media, Agorapulse takes the lead. This tool makes it easy for teams to share notes, give feedback, and track action items in real-time among team members. 

You can even give your team members access to the content calendar so that they can review all of the drafts as well as both scheduled and published content. Your content can even be organized into separate queue categories so you can track your content based on the topics they’re related to. 

In addition to creating your own content, Agorapulse offers its users the opportunity to monitor the social media content of others. You can search for conversations about your company’s brand, keep an eye on what competitors are doing, and even narrow down the exact words you want to track. 

From there, you can then save and organize your searches to make it easier to stay up-to-date. You can engage with monitored content directly through Agorapulse by liking, sharing, or replying to the conversation. Agorapulse allows you to track key performance indicators and major trends on social media within the tool. You can also measure each team member’s performance and create custom reports.

Pricing: Free plan, $99/mo, $199/mo or custom pricing with a free 30-day trial

Mobile app? Yes.

4. Best for Performance Tracking: Buffer

Buffer is a straightforward and well-known tool for both individual social media management and team-oriented collaboration.. If you use this tool, you’ll be able to manage each of the connected social media accounts and ensure that each team member is in the right place. 

Your team can draft posts within Buffer to get feedback from team members, seek approval from upper management, and see everyone’s posts within the publishing schedule. Buffer works with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. 

For Instagram, you can set up direct scheduling for posts and receive notifications that remind you to  share content to your Instagram Stories. You’ll also be able to schedule the first comment alongside your scheduled posts, reply to comments, and manage your shop grid. 

As great as all of that is, Buffer’s standout feature really is its performance tracking. Buffer accounts have a dashboard where you can find all of your social media analytics and reports. You can create custom reports for your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels from this dashboard all while trusting that your reports will be updated daily. 

Some of the insights that you can gain from Buffer’s performance tracking include key engagement metrics, hashtag analytics, paid vs organic boosted posts, and audience demographics. You can also integrate your Buffer account with Google Analytics.

Pricing: After a free 14-day trial, there are four plan options with different costs: free plan, $15 per month, $65 per month, or $99 per month.

Mobile app? Yes.

5. Best for Video Content: Ripl

If your business or brand publishes a lot of video content, Ripl could be exactly what you’re looking for. This tool specializes in video content and provides thousands of templates that can be used for just about any marketing goal that you can imagine. 

You’ll also gain access to over 500,000 stock images and videos that can be used in your content, as well as music tracks and more than 150 fonts. No matter what you decide to use, you can ensure that your branding stays on point by setting your brand colors, keeping your fonts the same, uploading your logo, and providing contact information in every post. 

In addition to its content creation features, you can use Ripl to schedule, edit ≤and reshare any of your posts. This platform works with several social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Ripl can also provide you with customized suggestions to help you reach your marketing goals.

Pricing: After a free seven-day trial, Ripl costs $14.99 per month.

Mobile app? Yes.

Important Features of Social Media Management Tools

  • Scheduling: One of the key components of all social media management tools is the ability to curate and schedule your posts. This is key to creating a cohesive content strategy.
  • Engagement: It’s also helpful if your management tool provides real-time updates so you can respond to questions and comments all in one place.
  • Reporting: To continue improving upon and building your social media strategy, you’ll need to know if your current strategy is working. Look for a tool that offers custom reporting features so you can monitor your business or brand’s performance. If you need to show your performance to clients or a boss, these reporting tools come in handy because they display up-to-date reports.

Benefits of Social Media Management Tools

  • Social media management tools allow you to collaborate with team members on your brand’s overall social media strategy.
  • Some tools offer suggestions and optimizations that can help boost your brand’s performance.
  • Scheduling your posts ahead of time will help you ensure that your brand has a strong, consistent presence on social media.
  • Engagement tools allow you to track all of your social media correspondence in one place.
  • Reporting tools can help you identify patterns in your social media performance so that it’s possible to build and maintain a strong social media strategy. 

Cost of Social Media Management Tools

Social media management tools often offer dedicated plans that vary in many ways because social media management tools are not one-size-fits-all. The needs of businesses are different from one company to the next, and social media management tools seek to meet these needs on various scales. 

Some tools also offer custom pricing for larger businesses and agencies. The cost of plans will depend on the specific tool and the features that it offers. To get an idea of general pricing, let’s take a look at Buffer’s pricing structure.

For Small Businesses: For an account that allows 1 user, 8 social channels, and up to 100 scheduled posts, the plan is $15 per month.

For Mid-Size Businesses: Monthly fee of $65 for an account with 2 users, 8 social channels, and up to 2,000 scheduled posts.

For Large Businesses: For a monthly charge of $99, you’ll receive an account that allows 6 users, 25 social channels, and up to 2,000 scheduled posts.

Which Tool is Right for Me?

When picking a social media management tool, you should consider your goals and your brand’s current social media strategy. When thinking about your current social media strategy, what are the features that you wish you had? And how many employees are going to require access to the tool that you choose? After you’ve answered these questions and any others that come to mind, you can sign up for free trials or access demos to see which tool ultimately offers the best value for your business.

Best Social Media Management Tools Methodology

Benzinga analyzed the top social media management tools by industry and narrowed down the list to include those with the best attributes. We prioritized pricing, features, and scalability. We also considered the availability of a mobile app and the consensus of consumer reviews.