3 Top Social Media Management Tools Compared
Social media management has morphed from an afterthought into full-time jobs. In some cases, social media is a company’s only source of lead-generation or income. As a marketing professional, it can feel daunting to manage the online social presence of a brand – multiple channels, endless algorithm updates, and follower engagement can consume valuable time and money. Staying up-to-date can be a chore, but luckily, as social media has evolved, so have social media management tools.
Utilizing these platforms can save you hours of headache and boost online presence in a matter of clicks. However, deciding which platform will work best for a client can be a chore. Many offer comparable services, but the nuances of each platform can make the decision harder than it needs to be.
While there are many software platforms on the market, I will dive into three: Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Buffer. These three platforms provide very similar services at three very different price points, allowing you to decide based on if the added features are worth the higher cost.
Overall, Sprout Social is the most comprehensive management tool. It rises to the top based on its ease of use, social listening and post scheduling tools and analytics across platforms. It connects with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and more. TikTok is not supported (yet). With all that in mind, it is also the most expensive. The Professional level is $149 a month, there is a Standard level at $89 a month, but that only allows for 5 social profiles and doesn’t include certain features.
The Professional plan lets you manage up to 10 accounts and comes with all-in-one message inbox, content calendar, response rate and time analysis reports, analysis tools for Twitter hashtags. You can also manage on the go with their app. The platform offers a 30-day trial for new users.
Is Sprout Social right for you? This social media management tool is right for clients with a larger budget who are looking to hone in on their social presence and see in-depth analytics.
Arguably the most popular management platform. Its analytics and scheduling tools, along with real time engagement trends and social media ad analysis make is a popular choice for professionals. It connects with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. The Professional level is more affordable, at only $49 a month, but also offers higher levels with added users and additional channels at a higher cost.
The Professional plan also allows you manage up to 10 accounts and comes with all-in-one message inbox, content calendar, response rate and time analysis reports, analysis tools for Twitter hashtags. In addition, you can boost posts directly through the platform. A bonus for Hootsuite is their 50% nonprofit discount. The application process is simple and the support team at Hootsuite is responsive with any questions.
One difference between Sprout Social is that Hootsuite offers a free plan. It allows you to manage two social channels and schedule up to five posts. Ideal for those who want to see analytics, but will not allow you to schedule a full month of content all at once.
Is Hootsuite right for you? Clients with an average budget looking to spend less time posting and more time engaging. This is right for clients who also want to see analytics and recommendations for post times.
With plans starting at $6 a month ($5 if you pay annually), Buffer is a great option for clients with a small budget. The pay structure for Buffer is different than others, it is more customizable by allowing you to pay per channel. If you only have three channels, you are only paying for those channels. The Essentials plan is for those who want publishing, analytics and engagement tools, without added frills. Buffer gets the job done without the high price tag. It features built-in link shortening tool, perfect for Twitter. It connects with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
A comprehensive free version is also available, allowing you to connect up to three channels and schedule 10 posts per channel (an even better option for budget-conscious clients).
Is Buffer right for you? Buffer combines the functionality of most social management platforms with easy of use at a nominal cost.