October 16, 2021

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11 of the best social media management tools to try

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Trying to choose between social media management tools?

From planning and scheduling your posts to analyzing and optimizing their performance, there’s plenty of legwork involved.

And you can’t afford to “just wing it” with these tasks anymore.

Fact: 88% of marketers believe that social positively impacts their bottom line. This speaks to the importance of investing in the right apps for the long-term growth of your business.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best social media management tools to help you level up.

Whether you’re an up-and-coming agency or a brand with an established presence, these tools can help you reach your social marketing goals.

And with that, let’s dive in!

Can’t blame us for giving ourselves the top spot, right?

Our platform’s all-in-one scheduling dashboard gives you the freedom to seamlessly switch between social platforms and manage them more effectively. Integrating with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube, you can work across your entire presence in a single platform. Plus, you can also manage reviews from sources like Google My Business and Facebook, and create shoppable posts integrated with Facebook Shops and Shopify catalogs.

You can queue up your posts in advance, providing opportunities to optimize tags and captions for each platform with ease. Sprout’s ViralPost feature ensures that you publish your content when your followers are most likely to engage, boosting visibility and reach automatically.

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Beyond planning a comprehensive social strategy, we know that responsiveness is a top priority for marketers today. Sprout’s Smart Inbox guarantees that you don’t miss any messages from your audience.

The Smart Inbox compiles all your incoming messages from different social media platforms, giving you a complete view of all your social interactions. You can also search for specific messages using branded keywords or tag filters. This is particularly useful when it comes to dealing with customer service concerns.

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Sprout lets you show the value of your social strategy with comprehensive analytics and reporting functionality. In addition to helping you identify the most relevant hashtags for your content, you’ll find plenty of ways to break down insights into your performance at large.

For example, you can track your audience growth, impressions, post engagement and link clicks across social in one place

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These data points highlight your most engaging content and top-performing platforms. In turn, you know the types of content your audience wants to see and where they hang out. The custom URL tracking feature in Sprout Social gives you a more in-depth insight into how your posts are performing in terms of referral traffic and conversions.

Pricing: Sprout’s “Standard” plan starts at $89/mo per user.

Sendible is brimming with features tailor-made for busy agencies.

Like the rest of the social media management tools on our list, the platform allows you to schedule and monitor engagements across multiple social accounts. For marketers juggling a roster of clients and campaigns, a dedicated management platform is a must-have or reining in the chaos.

Sendible encourages the use of workflows and approvals for the sake of assigning and delegating tasks in a timely manner. Features such as roles and account limits are helpful for agencies working alongside clients and freelancers. Much like Sprout’s own ViralPost, the platform has its own optimized timing feature as well.

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Pricing: “Creator” plan starts at $29/mo.

Loomly is an ideal tool for small social teams and agencies looking to master the art of collaboration.

In addition to social media management features, the platform also boasts features to help marketers wrangle their projects. This includes calendars, deadlines and workflows.

As an added bonus, Loomly actually generates ideas for your social media content strategy based on trending topics and social conversations. The affordability of the platform is a huge point in its favor, as is Loomly’s clean, easy-to-use interface.

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Pricing: “Base” plan starts at $25/mo for two users.

HubSpot is a household name in marketing and the platform’s social media management features are nothing to scoff at.

Specifically, Hubspot lets you monitor social engagement in the context of your customer relationships. Shout-outs and mentions from customers are logged by default, representing a massive time-saver and less manual logging on your part.

Coupled with HubSpot CRM, the platform gives you a detailed understanding of your customers’ social interactions and how many actual leads you’re generating from specific platforms.  This allows you to immediately highlight the ROI of your social campaigns.

That said, the platform is only available to those already using HubSpot and isn’t a native social media management app.

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Pricing: $800 as part of the app’s “Marketing Hub Pro,” not available standalone.

Planable describes itself as “the easiest collaboration tool on the planet,” promising 6x faster approvals for teams juggling social media tasks.

With an emphasis on workflows and approvals, this is yet another tool meant for agencies eager to reduce bottlenecks. Features such as one-click approval between you and your clients make for near-frictionless collaboration.

Although there are few truly free social media management tools out there, Planable does offer a generous 50-post free test period for marketers on the fence.

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Pricing: “Starter” plan begins at $33/mo; your first 50 posts are free as part of the platform’s trial.

If you’re looking for a collaborative scheduling calendar that’s simple and straightforward, POSTOPLAN can do the trick.

Built for SMBs and agencies alike, the platform is laser-focused on keeping your content calendar full via mass scheduling and planning features. Integrations with WhatsApp and Google My Business set POSTOPLAN apart are a plus, too.

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Pricing: Free account with limited features available; “Pro” plan starts at $19/mo.

Crowdfire is focused not only on social media management but zeroing in on content that gets people talking.

The platform’s dashboard clearly identifies recent interactions and your most engaging posts. Content curation and recommendation features likewise suggest new post ideas to engage your audience. Monitoring mentions and sentiment analysis among your followers, you’re more likely to understand which posts are working and how to replicate them.

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Pricing: Free account with limited features available; “Plus” plan starts at $7.50/mo billed annually.

With features like scheduling, publishing and engagement monitoring, MavSocial is a standard but solid social media management tool.

A nice touch of MavSocial is the platform’s detailed, real-time post previews. These are useful for visualizing what your captions and images will look like across various networks.

Other notable features include scheduling for Facebook Stories and the ability to run ad campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. The latter is notable for agencies and marketers running paid social for their clients that want to reduce time spent bouncing between tools.

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Pricing: “Advanced” plan starts at $19/mo.

Simple and straightforward, SocialPilot’s platform is accessible to those new to social media management and want a no-frills solution.

The ability to schedule Carousel posts to Facebook and LinkedIn is notable, as is the platform’s features for repeating and recycling past content. Client and campaign filters make it easy for agencies to keep their various calendars in order.

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Pricing: “Professional” plan starts at $25.50/mo.

Zoho Social is one of the best social media management tools for team collaboration.

The app allows you to start discussions, share reports, create team roles and encourage feedback. This makes it super easy to get everyone on board with your updates, strategies and performance insights.

In addition to scheduling, the platform has its own optimized timing features similar to Sprout. Zoho Social also has built-in Instagram scheduling, allowing you to publish posts and repost user-generated content straight from your desktop.

And similar to HubSpot, instant integration with Zoho CRM and the ability to monitor customer interactions is a huge plus.

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Pricing: “Standard” plan starts at $10/mo: “Premium” plan with full features (including CRM integration) starts at $40/mo.

Post Planner emphasizes boosting likes and interactions for your account, plain and simple.

The platform curates articles, images and custom content feeds so you always have something fresh for your followers. Identifying your most popular posts, the platform has automated features to repeat, recycle, and recreate top-performing content.

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Pricing: “Starter” plan begins at $5/mo.

Why modern businesses need social media management tools

Again, brands today can’t afford to freestyle when it comes to social strategy.

But maybe you’re still on the fence about investing in paid tools.

Or perhaps you’re struggling to justify your social software budget to higher-ups.

We get it. As a refresher, consider the key benefits of adopting social media management tools and how doing so can be a game-changer for your business.

Raise brand awareness

First thing’s first: management tools encourage you to ramp up your publishing frequently and get more eyes on your content.

Tools such as social scheduling and optimized timing are essential to maximizing your social content’s reach. In an era of ever-evolving (and often fickle) social algorithms, having such features at your fingertips is a huge point in your favor.

Engage more customers and offer better service

With more and more brands juggling multiple platforms, social media engagement is becoming an increasingly involved task.

Mentions. Questions and concerns. Shoutouts and call-outs. It’s a lot of ground to cover.

Engagement features baked into social platforms empower you to interact with more customers and speed up your response time, though. This includes:

  • Consolidating your @mentions across platforms into a single inbox
  • Canned responses and automated replies to common social questions
  • Collaboration and permissions that allow multiple users to interact with followers at once

Align social media with big-picture business goals

The importance of social media analytics can’t be overstated.

Insights from social are invaluable for campaigns and initiatives beyond social.

Below is a snapshot of just how much marketers can squeeze out of their social data (based on our research):

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In short, the dashboards and reporting in our list of social media management tools can help brands do all of the above.

Comprehensive competitive analysis

Data from the most recent Sprout Social Index also notes that 86% of marketers use competitive insights from social to make business decisions.

If nothing else, social media management tools are perfect for keeping an eye on your competitors. This includes:

  • Competitor growth (think: followers, engagement rate)
  • Content trends among your competitors (think: promotions, formats)
  • Customer sentiment based on @mentions and conversations among your target audience

How to determine if a social media management tool is the right fit

Whenever marketers tap into a new tool, they want to find one that adds value to their marketing tech stack rather than more bloat. Here are some factors to consider to narrow down your choices as you’re deciding between tools.

Pricing and budget

This is may be obvious, but definitely worth mentioning.

Whether or not you can get by with totally free social media management tools really depends on your business’ size and scope. For solo businesses and up-and-coming agencies, free or freemium tools might serve as a stepping stone toward paid ones.

But oftentimes, “you get what you pay for” rings true. That’s why it’s important to assess which features matter most to your business and what your non-negotiables are.

And when in doubt, testing out tools (like with Sprout’s 30-day free trial) and seeing what they can do firsthand is always a safe bet.

Automation and time-saving features

“How is this tool going to save me time?”

The more ways any given app is able to answer this question for you and your business, the better.

Features ranging from publishing and scheduling to a social media calendar, automated responses, and content ideation can seriously free up your schedule.

Another key consideration is whether or not your tool of choice integrates with the rest of your marketing stack. This can serve as a massive time-saver in and of itself.

Collaboration features

From scheduling content to responding to customers in real-time, the best social media management tools make it easy to collaborate.

For example, how many users can work within the tool at once? Can you easily set up permissions to onboard new members to your social team?

How many seats an app has is crucial, especially if you’re outsourcing part of your social or plan on scaling your team.

Reporting and analytics

We can’t stress enough how much analytics matter.

The easier it is to highlight your performance and KPIs, the better.  Whether you’re reporting on behalf of clients or presenting data to stakeholders yourself, in-depth and easy-to-read reports are an absolute must-have.

Additionally, reporting can help highlight what’s working and what’s not in terms of your social presence. Before investing in any tool, make sure that it monitors the social metrics that matter most to your business.

Ready to test-drive some new social media management tools?

Social media has become an integral piece of any given business today.

Customer service. Competitive analysis. Promotion and sales.

And that only scratches the surface.

As these tasks become increasingly important, companies are investing in social media management tools for the sake of growth and keeping up with the competition.

The good news is that there are a wealth of tools that can help you reach your goals regardless of what they might be. Hopefully, our list can help you hone in on the right one for your business.

And if you haven’t already, make sure to check out a Sprout Social demo to get a first-hand look at our automation, collaboration and reporting features yourself.

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