Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.
87% of shoppers say that they visit brand social media before making a purchase decision. And up to 50% of users choose to follow brands in social nets to stay informed about new products and discounts. That’s why social media are an important sales channel, and around 40% of e-commerce businesses use them to increase revenue.
But social media management may take a lot of time and effort. To automate this process, businesses use different tools. In this article, we’ll take a look at the most popular social media schedulers and compare them to help you choose the most suitable one.
But first, define your goals
Before choosing any tool, you need to analyze what features have the highest priority and what goals you want to reach by integrating them into the workflow. Here are the main features SMM tools may have:
- auto-publishing according to the defined schedule for one or multiple accounts
- joined inbox from all the accounts (agree that it would be nice to check all the comments and DMs in one place from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn)
- auto-publishing of blog posts in socials (no need for manual content seeding sounds like heaven, isn’t it?)
- brand reputation monitoring by mentions, keywords, and competitors (someone has written a bad comment about your business? You’ll see it and can solve the problem asap)
- competitor analysis
- custom reports.
Also, social media scheduling tools may be free and paid. So you need to define your annual or monthly budget for them.
Top 5 social media management tools
Here are the SMM tools we will examine below:
As they all are very different, to make the comparison clear, we’ll analyze them by the following parameters:
- price and trial
- supported social networks
- main features.
Price and trial: prices vary from $15 to $399 per month, and a 14-day free trial is available.
Supported social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest.
Buffer includes products for publishing, engagement, analytics, and teamwork. It has an easy-to-use content planning process that is the main feature of this tool. You can schedule a new post on the go because it has not only a web version but also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari and mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
Also, you’ll get a special inbox with all the messages that require your reply.
Depending on the plan, you will get access to the analytical tool Buffer Analyze that will give you statistics on engagement metrics, follower demographics, and organic vs. paid posts, etc.
Another advantage of Buffer is that it supports RSS feeds, so you can connect any other service to it. For example, if you have a blog on WordPress, you can add a new post to your schedule automatically.
If you work in a team, you can enjoy collaborative features. Buffer allows you to create new users and set user permissions.
Price and trial: prices vary from $29 to $299 per month, and a 30-day free trial is available.
Supported social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and WordPress. Sendible can also connect to Google My Business, Tumblr, Facebook Pages, Blogger, and others.
Sendible is often defined as a perfect tool for digital agencies.
Sendible allows you to find royalty-free images in Flickr and Google Image and customize them in the Canva integration. And for a data-driven approach, you can enjoy not only built-in analytical tools but also integration with Google Analytics.
But back to SMM features. Sendible has a Smart Queue that allows you to maximize the engagement of every post. It offers the most suitable publication times and can auto-recycle your best-performing evergreen content.
Moreover, you can set up automatic notifications about specific keyword results and track your brand reputation.
It also has Social Inbox, RSS feeds support and collaboration features.
Price and trial: prices vary from €15 to 460 per month, and a 15-day free trial is available.
Supported social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google My Business.
Zoho Social includes all the tools you may need as social media manager. It has automatic queue updates, and you can post to all your social networks at once. But it includes 2 features that stand Zoho out from competitors.
First is collaboration opportunities. Even the standard pricing plan already includes 2 team members, and you can add more for an extra $10 per user. Also, you can create different roles for your employees, for example, if one person publishes posts and another answers to DMs. Moreover, Zoho has a built-in messenger where you can discuss any questions with your team.
The second feature that may impress you is Live Stream. On your home page, you can see how users are engaging with your content in real-time. Has anyone sent you a DM or left a comment under the post? Has someone mentioned your brand on Twitter? Everything will be displayed right on this dashboard.
Price and trial: prices vary from $9 to $49 per month, and a free plan is available.
Supported social networks: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.
Later is the software that is focusing on visual content and visual social networks like Instagram and Pinterest. The strongest side of this tool is a content calendar where you can schedule your posts using drag-and-drop.
Later has a free plan that makes this tool highly affordable for small businesses and startups (like Small Business Website Design Companies). For example, if you have a local clothing store and Instagram is one of the main selling channels.
On paid plans, you can share not only images but also videos, stories, and image galleries. If you have a business account, you can create a media library from stock photos, enjoy hashtag suggestions, track all your mentions, and analyze statistics.
Price and trial: prices vary from $29 to $599 per month, and a 30-day free trial is available.
Supported social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, WordPress, YouTube, 100+ partner apps, and integrations.
If anything we have talked about above hasn’t impressed you, you probably were looking for Hootsuite. Hootsuite is one of the oldest and famous SMM software that has everything from post scheduling to an ROI calculator. It integrates with 35+ social networks and has an educational project for marketers - Hootsuite Academy. Here is the list of just MAIN features Hootsuite has:
- posts scheduling: bulk-schedule and AutoSchedule functions
- updates via CSV file
- ads in social nets
- RSS integration
- social streams: monitoring of multiple accounts, keywords, hashtags, engagement, locations, etc.
- 200+ analytical metrics, including your social ROI
- content library with free stock photos and GIFs from GIPHY and the possibility to connect with Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Adobe Stock.
- team features: user roles and tasks for team members
- extension for Chrome
- mobile apps for iOS and Android
- integration with Zapier.
This platform is like Space X in the world of SMM. It’s expensive, but it provides you with everything you need and even more. It’s literally an all-in-one solution.
We have considered the top 5 social media management tools, and to help you sum up and make a choice, we’ve gathered all the main info in the table:
And how do you manage social nets? Share your experience in the comments!