As a digital marketer and online business, you are always on the lookout for the tools that can help you get better results from your marketing. Social media marketing is no different – in fact, without the right tools in your arsenal, managing a social media strategy can turn into an unnecessarily complicated process. Even worse, you could be losing opportunities. That’s why, it’s best to use a tool that will help you get the results you need for your business. How do you know which one is the best for you, though?
G2Crowd and Ian Anderson Gray of the Seriously Social Blog have partnered up to create an infographic on the top 5 social media management tools on the market and have rated each of them based on customer reviews.
In this post, I’ll be going into the results from this infographic while also taking a closer look at each of the tools – which, hopefully, can help you find your next favourite tool.
Simply put, social media management tools help you save time and become more productive. In theory, they are designed with the sole purpose of helping you get better results from your social media marketing while also making the whole process easier for you and less time-consuming.
They are especially useful to those who are managing multiple social media accounts, as not only do they allow you to access and manage all of your accounts from one dashboard, but they also make it easier to keep track of all your notifications, mentions, leads and whatever else is requiring your attention.
That said, even with one or two accounts to manage, a good social media management tool has features that will help you get better results than if you only used one social media platform to manage your social campaigns. For example, you could monitor conversations and mentions more easily so that you can always find new opportunities for engagement and connections. You can also schedule updates, collaborate with your team members, manage and organise your followers and much more – all within the same tool.
Now, let’s go through each of the tools rated in the infographic and find out what makes them stand out and where they are failing.
Agoraplse is a lesser-known social media management tool, but one that has quickly acquired lots of loyal fans raving about it. There’s a good reason for that; not only does it have a beautiful, intuitive interface and dashboard, but it also has most big features you could be looking for in a social media management tool.
Monitoring: monitoring with Agorapulse is extremely easy. Their Social Inbox assures you see each and every one of your social notifications so that you never miss any opportunity to respond and engage. You can also easily track keywords, mentions, shares and more for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Publishing: you can use Agorapulse to publish updates to your social accounts, as well as to schedule any update. It also has a content calendar where you can easily see all of your scheduled content and add more.
Analytics: Agorapulse provides built-in analytics reports with actionable metrics that are customizable. You can also export your reports to PowerPoint which is great if you have to present your results to the board or clients.
Other noteworthy features: Another cool feature is the CRM function that allows you to organize your fans and followers and find out who are your brand ambassadors and influencers. You also get rich user profiles and you can see all of your past conversations with any user. Agorapulse allows you to run Facebook quizzes and contests, as well, such as photo contests, sweeptstakes, personality tests, coupons and more.
What the infographic has to say: Agorapulse has won in most categories, only tying with Sprout Social in the “usability” category.
Hootsuite is perhaps the most well-known social media management tools out there and one of the first. It’s kept up with the times in terms of features, and perhaps one of its best ones is that it works with a multitude of social networks.
Monitoring: In terms of monitoring, you can easily set up tabs to monitor keywords and mentions so that you can easily respond and find engagement opportunities.
Publishing: It’s very easy to schedule and post updates with Hootsuite and it also has a built-in URL shortener that you can use.
Analytics: While Hootsuite does provide analytics, the downside is that you need to pay if you want any extras. Depending on the plan you have, there is a limited amount of reports you can get.
Other noteworthy features: One of my favourite parts about Hootsuite is its collection of extensions and apps. For example, you can get Hootlet, a free browser plugin that allows you to easily share content to your social profiles.
What the infographic has to say: Hootsuite has scored pretty low ratings compared to the other tools, especially in terms of product direction and user satisfaction. That said, it still got pretty good marks – just not as good as some of the other tools.
Sprout Social is a full-suite social media management tool that has some pretty great features.
Monitoring: Just like Agorapulse, Sprout Social has an Inbox feature that makes it easy to monitor any mentions, likes and other engagement you’re getting. You can also easily monitor keywords, hashtags, locations (for Instagram) and influencers.
Publishing: publishing updates is very easy and I really like their content calendar as well. Their scheduling tool allows you to schedule multiple times for publishing a single update, which is pretty cool as it helps you save time. If you’re working with a team, you can also make sure nothing gets posted without your say-so with their message approval feature.
Analytics: Sprout Social provide a plethora of reports on anything from the usual Facebook or Twitter reports to team reports to see how each of your team members is managing social media.
Other noteworthy features: just like with Agorapulse, Sprout Social has pretty solid CRM tools. You will be able to see all of your past conversations with any user, as well as a rich user profile that will make it easier to engage more efficiently.
What the infographic has to say: Sprout Social gets some pretty good ratings in this infographic, most times landing the number two spot behind Agorapulse. The only category in which it loses more points is the ‘meet requirements’ category – meaning, they aren’t always responding well enough to business needs.
Buffer is a bit of a special case, as it’s not exactly a full-suite social media management tool. What it does, though – and does very well – is publishing to social networks.
Buffer basically helps you publish better and get more results whenever you post a new update on social media.
One of the cool things about Buffer is Pablo; with this tool, you can easily create awesome images designed for social media that can help you stand out and get more engagement from your followers.
They also have a browser extension that allows you to add content you find online and easily queue it up.
It also works with a multitude of platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.
What the infographic has to say: Buffer got pretty good scores, mostly sticking to the third spot, with a couple of appearances in fourth and second place. User reviews got it the number two spot in terms of meeting business requirements – which makes sense, as when it comes to scheduling and publishing updates, Buffer knows it’s stuff.
Sendible has been around for years now and has evolved into one of the top social media management tools out there. It has full-suite of management tools:
Monitoring: This is one of Sendible’s strongest features in my opinion as it allows you to monitor mentions on more that just social networks, but also on news outlets and blogs. Another cool thing is that you can monitor reviews from Yelp and CitySearch – great for those who have a shop, café or restaurant.
Publishing: With Sendible, you can post and schedule updates to social media and blogs. It also has an RSS auto posting feature that helps you by publishing relevant content several times throughout the day – great for when you don’t have time to post anything new but still want to be active. There is also a team calendar where you can easily make changes by dragging and dropping updates.
Analytics: Sendible’s reporting is pretty good and the best part is that you can create your own reports by dragging and dropping the stats you want to see. You can also set up reports to be sent automatically to clients or shareholders every week or month – or even on a daily basis.
What the infographic has to say: Sendible often lands the fifth spot in the infographic for it’s ability to meet business needs, usability and maintenance. That said, it also gets third spot for product direction and customer support.
With all of these wonderful tools out there, it can be quite difficult to find the perfect one for you and your needs. I hope this post helps you make a better, more informed decision. Let me know what you think – do you agree with the results? What is the best social media management tool?
Author Bio:Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit,
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street with her presence! In a nutshell, she’s a hugely connected and highly influential serial entrepreneur – the embodiment of Digital Intelligence.
Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. Recently listed as the number one Digital Marketing Influencer in the UK by Career Experts. She is also a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award (by the Global Connections for Women Foundation, GC4W) for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.
After launching her first business within three years of becoming a mother, her financial success was recognised by being a finalist at the Best MumPreneur of the Year Awards, presented at 10 Downing Street. Following a resultant offer and wishing to spend more time with her daughter, she sold her first business to focus on social media, developing a multi-site blog and online marketing portfolio that generated in excess of 600,000 + visitors per month.
Lilach is consulted by journalists and regularly quoted in newspapers, business publications and marketing magazines (including Forbes, The Telegraph, Wired, Prima Magazine, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Social Media Today and BBC Radio). What’s more, her books have achieved No 1 on Amazon for Sales and Marketing and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
When Lilach isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of Zumba.