Note: this post has been rewritten from scratch as of September 11th 2017.
Looking for an all-in-one solution to manage your social media presence?
Perhaps you need a smarter way to manage multiple profiles and networks? Or maybe you need to improve team collaboration?
Whatever your situation, managing social media requires the right strategy and the right tools.
And while there are thousands of social media tools, not all of them can be classed as management tools. For instance, Buffer is great for scheduling, but it doesn’t manage network engagement.
This post focuses on social media management tools that include these three key elements:
- Engagement – A single dashboard where you can monitor all your social network messages and engage with your audience
- Scheduling – A system of scheduling and recycling your content to each social network
- Reporting – A method of analyzing and reporting how your content performs on each network
These tools offer other features as well, like running social contests, but that’s not in our scope. However, we have included information on the pricing structure and the number of networks covered by each platform.
Let’s get started.
Sendible makes it easy to engage with your audience, monitor your brand and track results from one dashboard.
The Priority Inbox brings all your social messages from multiple networks and profiles into a single stream. From there you can identify important messages and take action. Only the unanswered messages remain in the inbox.
Sendible lets you schedule your content either individually or in bulk. Everything is stored in the interactive calendar, so if anything needs adjusting you can drag-and-drop the content accordingly. Once you discover your best-performing content, you can recycle it with repeating schedules.
Sendible also takes care of content curation. The content recommendation engine analyzes posts already shared on social media and suggests the best content most likely to generate high follower engagement.
There’s also an RSS Auto Posting feature so you can publish relevant quality content to social networks at regular intervals throughout the day from your blog and other favorites.
Sendible has a range of pre-designed templates to help you create in-depth social media reports for your clients and team members. The ready-to-go social media reports provide an instant snapshot of your social activity. Alternatively, you can create your own report by choosing from over 250 modules. Once your reports are looking good, you can arrange to send them via email on a regular basis.
With Sendible you can connect to most social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and more. On the advanced plan, you can even publish directly to WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr.
Sendible offers a range of subscription plans based on the number of users and services that you want. They also offer a fully-customizable, white-label solution for larger teams and agencies. If you’re not sure what you’ll need, you can start with a 30-day free trial and then upgrade or downgrade as required.
- Prices start from $49/month or $492/year
AgoraPulse is an easy and affordable social media management tool for teams and agencies.
The social inbox is set up just like your email inbox so you can see what’s been reviewed and what needs your attention. AgoraPulse combines all your content in one place for all your profiles so you can reply, review, assign or tag. Check them off one-by-one, and your inbox will be clear.
You can take things one step further by setting up automated moderation rules to capture spam and assign questions to the right colleague.
AgoraPulse lets you schedule your content in advance with a pre-selected the date and time. Or you can program your posts to run once every hour/day/week/month. You can also take advantage of the queue function to share your evergreen content again and again.
The detailed performance reports in AgoraPulse can save you loads of time compared to checking each social media account.
You can measure reach, engagement, response rate, conversation rate, community growth, and customer service. Plus you have the option to select your reporting date range; for example, last 30 days, last week, etc.
You can view your reports on-screen or download them to PowerPoint. And if you have clients you can add custom branding with the white-label option.
AgoraPulse works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn.
AgoraPulse has a range of subscription plans for individuals and teams. Each plan can be customized by adding additional users or profiles rather than forcing you to pay for users and features you don’t need.
- Prices start from $49/month or $468/year
eClincher lets you manage multiple social media accounts, pages, and groups with one intuitive tool. It’s perfect for social media managers, businesses, marketing professionals, teams, and agencies.
The Unified Social Inbox from eClincher collects all your social media messages and notifications in one place, so you can respond, thank, follow, or engage with your audience.
As soon as you log into eClincher, you’ll see how many pending notifications you have. Once you’ve answered a message, it disappears from your list so you can focus on the remaining messages.
If you prefer to monitor your social media activities in real-time, then the Live Social Feeds is for you. Inside you can see each of your connected social media profiles, pages, and groups. And from there you can like, comment, and reply, in one place rather than visiting each native platform.
eClincher gives you the ability to plan and schedule your posts, tweets, and pins to multiple social media accounts, profiles, groups, and pages. You can view the schedule as a smart calendar or standard list format.
If your scheduled post includes a URL, then eClincher automatically shortens it using the Google (goo.gl) shortener. There’s also a built-in image editor and integration with Canva to ensure your social imagery is eye-catching.
The Auto Post feature from eClincher lets you recycle your content via three types of queue:
- Recycle Queue – Recycle your evergreen content
- One-time Queue – Publish your posts once
- End-date Queue – Recycle your queue content until a specified end date (great for campaigns).
As Neal Schaefer says:
It’s a killer feature for companies who have lots of evergreen content and want to share it on a periodic basis across a wide variety of social networks.
eClincher combines the power of Google Analytics with its Social Analytics module in one dashboard so you can see how your social media activities impact your website traffic.
You can view and analyze the real-time performance of posts on your Facebook pages, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Plus you can analyze follower trends and brand mentions.
The customizable dashboard lets you drag-and-drop the reports and graphs so you can see the most important data. You also have the option to generate PDF reports from the dashboard. And agencies can take advantage of the white-label option to add company logos.
eClincher connects to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Blogger.
eClincher has a broad range of subscription plans for individuals, teams, and agencies. There’s a 20% discount if you choose to pay yearly, and you can start with a 14-day free trial.
- Prices start from $15/month or $144/year
The Hootsuite platform offers you the tools to manage all your social profiles from a single dashboard and automatically find and schedule effective social content.
Hootsuite uses multiple Streams rather than an ‘inbox’ to manage engagement. You can set up streams for each social network to monitor its content. And you can use tabs to organize your streams into groups. In effect, you create your own dashboard. If you’re working in teams, you can assign posts to the right person, department, or region.
With Hootsuite’s Auto Scheduling you can maintain a 24/7 presence on social media. Once you have a content schedule, it’s easy to add new posts to fill the gaps. For instance, you can use the Hootlet extension to schedule posts as you surf the net. Or you can upload your content in bulk via a CSV file.
However you choose to add your content, you can always see your schedule at a glance either in a list or a calendar with daily, weekly or monthly views.
Hootsuite comes with a default report showing your key metrics on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can take this to the next level by building customized dashboards or using templates to check on engagement.
Hootsuite lets you export your reports in a variety of formats including Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and CSV. And for those of you managing teams, you can track their response and resolution performance on Facebook and Twitter.
Hootsuite connects with over 35 popular social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
Hootsuite has a range of subscription plans designed around the number of users and social profiles you want to connect. They also have a Limited Free Plan that’s designed for one user and includes Message Scheduling for three social profiles.
- Prices start from $29/month or $228/year
5. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a leading social media management platform that provides engagement, publishing, analytics and collaboration tools for teams of all sizes.
Sprout Social has a Single Stream Inbox where you can manage all your messages in one place. You can manually mark completed messages and hide them from the inbox so that you remain focused on the current workload.
For teams, there’s the option to add custom tags to categorize messages, filter the inbox and share the workload. You can also see live activity updates in the inbox when a teammate is viewing or replying to a message, so there’s no chance of duplicating tasks.
Sprout Social allows you to schedule, queue and publish messages to each social network from their web app, browser extension, and mobile apps. Sprout’s ViralPost tool determines the best times to post your messages so you can maximize engagement.
The user-based publishing permissions let you set up team members to draft and submit messages, and then have team leaders or managers approve them. Using the shared content calendar you can view and manage social posts across multiple profiles, networks, and campaigns.
Sprout Social provides an in-depth suite of analytics and reporting tools.
Their integrated network analytics allow you to view network, profile and message-level insights for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Sprout Social also tracks your team performance so you can measure overall and individual members’ responsiveness and engagement.
Distributing information to clients or management is straightforward with the presentation-ready reports that can be custom-branded and exported in CSV or PDF format.
Sprout Social integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Sprout Social has four monthly subscription plans. Each plan rises in price according to the number of features. And on top of that, you pay for how many users you need. For example, if you required 4 users on the $99 Premium Plan it would cost $396 per month.
All plans include a 30-day free trial, and there’s a 10% discount if you prefer to pay annually.
- Prices start from $59 per user/month or $637 per user/year
MavSocial is a Social Media Management platform with a focus on visuals.
MavSocial lets you engage with your audience across all your social networks from one convenient inbox. From its Social Inbox you can:
- Track and monitor social conversations, messages, and notifications
- Allocate team members to individual messages
- View follower replies and comments by network or profile
- Search, sort, and tag interactions
- Post a reply, like, or retweet directly
Visuals are an important part of social media engagement. The MavSocial Digital Library lets you upload and manage your photos and videos, plus anything you purchase from their Stock Images Store.
There’s even a built-in photo editing tool where you can add filters and text overlays before posting your content.
With MavSocial you schedule your content through campaigns. You can create campaigns across one or many networks and view your schedule in the calendar. From there you can drag-and-drop content to change the publishing dates and times if needed.
You can reschedule your content by creating cyclical campaigns. For example, you could have campaigns for blog posts, quotes, promotions, and events. Either add your content once and let it repeat cyclically or create variations by modifying it.
MavSocial includes an RSS reader, so you can pull in your content as well as other favorite industry content, giving you ideas of what to schedule. And if you find something while browsing the net you can use the handy Chrome extension to add that into the calendar, too.
MavSocial’s built-in social analytics lets you track the performance of your social content. The Reporting Dashboard displays visual data for engagement statistics, detailed follower insights, your top-performing posts, plus the best times for posting.
You have the option to export the graphical reports via PDF or download the data in CSV format. You can run the reports based on time, campaign, network, or individual post, so you know what’s working.
MavSocial supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr.
MavSocial has several pricing plans starting with a free limited plan. The premium plan prices for professionals and agencies use features plus the number of social profiles and users, with the option to buy additional users if required.
- Prices start from $19 per month
TweetDeck is a favorite Twitter management tool that was acquired by Twitter in 2011. It offers a more convenient Twitter experience by letting you view multiple accounts in one interface.
Twitter describes TweetDeck as “the most powerful Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing, and engagement.”
It makes it easier to engage with your audience by using a series of customizable columns rather than a single Twitter timeline.
You can add columns that show all your mentions, direct messages, lists, trends, favorites, search results, or hashtags. Each column can be filtered to include or exclude words or tweets from users.
TweetDeck allows users to tweet messages immediately or schedule them for later delivery. If you manage multiple accounts through TweetDeck, you have the option to schedule Tweets for each of them.
You can make changes to a scheduled Tweet before it’s published, and you can also add images and GIFs to your message.
TweetDeck doesn’t have any analytics and reporting, although Twitter is proposing to add that feature to a future premium version:
The premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting and signalling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customizable dashboard.
Meanwhile, you can use the built-in Twitter analytics to track your performance.
The Home tab provides an overview of your activity featuring your Top Tweet, Top Mention, and your Top Follower.
On the Tweets tab, you can find metrics for every single one of your Tweets. You can see the number of Impressions, Engagements, and Engagement rate for each tweet.
The Audiences tab lets you track your follower growth over time and learn more about your their interests and demographics.
TweetDeck only supports Twitter.
TweetDeck is a free tool and is available as a web app, Chrome extension or Mac app.
Tailwind is a social media marketing toolkit for Pinterest and Instagram. It’s perfect for bloggers, small businesses, agencies and large enterprises.
Engagement on Pinterest is slightly different compared to Twitter and Facebook. People don’t comment as much, and Repins are more of an engagement signal.
To boost Pinterest engagement, Tailwind introduced its Tribes feature. (Note: It’s still in beta.)
A Tribe lets you meet and grow with other marketers in your niche. You add your own content to a Tribe, and your tribe mates view, schedule, and share your content with their own audience. And as it’s a Tribe, you share the other content too. It’s a win-win.
Here’s what Social Media Manager, Andrea Jones, told me:
For Tailwind, I’ve found using tribes has slightly increased my repins. Overall, comments and replies are on a rapid decline on Pinterest. Community engagement on that platform mostly relies on repins.
Tailwind is packed with powerful features and shortcuts to help you schedule pins and posts each day.
Tailwind’s Smart Queue helps you pin and post at the best times, so your audience gets content when they’re looking for it. To start with, Tailwind recommends the best time when it knows people are active. But over time it evaluates the optimal time based on your history and audience engagement.
You can populate your schedule days or weeks in advance, by adding content in bulk from your desktop or mobile device. Tailwind also tracks your best performing content so you can reuse it again.
Tailwind lets you track key performance indicators to evaluate if your marketing strategy is working. For Pinterest, you can measure followers, engagement trends, and virality by pin, board or category. (For Instagram, you can find influential followers and connect with them to broaden your reach.)
Tailwind also keeps you informed of progress with customizable reports and notifications via email.
Tailwind works for Pinterest and Instagram.
Tailwind is priced per account, so if you want to use it for both Pinterest and Instagram, then you’d need two accounts. You can get a 33% discount plus unlimited scheduling if you purchase the annual plan. But there’s a free trial of 100 pins on Pinterest and 30 posts on Instagram to get you started.
- Prices from $15/month per account or $119/year per account
Each of the social media management tools reviewed here has its pros and cons. And there’s one thing for sure: what suits one person, won’t suit another.
Some people like the idea of an inbox to monitor and manage conversations, while others prefer multiple streams.
Some tools are better suited for teams and agencies, while others are ideal for solopreneurs and small businesses.
It’s important you choose the right tool for your situation and budget. And in some cases, that might mean not using any of these tools at all, even if it’s free. I’ve tried Hootsuite and TweetDeck previously and found myself overwhelmed by the amount of data on the screen.
A tool needs to help you, not hinder you.
Right now, I’m happy to use the native apps for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, plus Tailwind for Pinterest.
Which social media management tool is the best fit for you?
To help narrow down your selection here are some different scenarios.
If you’re just getting started and want a free tool:
TweetDeck is a great option if you need a tool solely for use with Twitter, especially if you’re monitoring more than one account.
Alternatively, Hootsuite and MavSocial both have free plans with a decent amount of features.
If you have clients or need to manage a large number of social accounts:
Sendible, eClincher, and MavSocial seem to work out the most cost effective with large numbers of social accounts.
If you need robust team collaboration features that won’t break the bank:
Sendible and AgoraPulse both provide great team collaboration features. And they’re both cost effective. Sendible feels more refined and easier to use in some areas, but AgoraPulse has the added benefit of Facebook apps for running social media contests.
Sprout Social has excellent team collaboration features, but costs can spiral out of control because their plans are priced per user. For example, on the $99/month plan, you’ll pay just under $400/month for 4 users.
If you’re a serious blogger/marketer and need a good all-round social media management tool that is cost effective:
Sendible, eClincher, and MavSocial all fit the bill.
eClincher stands out when it comes to overall features and includes both the social media inbox, as well as streams. That said, it feels a little clunky.
MavSocial is big on visuals and has plenty of features.
Sendible has all the important features and feels very refined.
If you need an effective tool to manage your Pinterest/Instagram accounts:
A lot of tools on this list support Instagram scheduling, but when it comes to Pinterest, there’s only one option; Tailwind.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might receive a commission if you make a purchase. My opinions are my own and I only recommend tools that I believe you’ll find valuable.