Social media tools for business can help you take your digital marketing to the next level. They can help big teams pull all their resources together. As importantly, they can help small businesses and individuals scale their efforts to compete with larger competitors. But are they worth the investment and hassle of onboarding?
Yes. Social marketing may be accessible to everyone. After all, there’s a lot that you can do that’s inexpensive or even free — particularly with social media campaigns. The problem is that there’s just so much noise. It’s hard to hear or be heard by the right people.
Some of these social media management tools come with free trials or even limited free plans for individuals. Others are meant for more robust teams — and, accordingly, have higher price tags. They also have different functions, although not all may apply to you.
This list of social media tools should help you develop your marketing strategy and increase your online presence. Learn more about the best social media tools in the following guide.
It can feel as though you’re already a whole team of people, even before you start counting the actual members of your social team. You must maintain multiple social media profiles. Account management and scheduling tools consolidate these profiles, letting you schedule and/or respond to content from one place.
Different tools specialize in different areas of account management. For example, some target creation or collaboration. Others incorporate or even focus on a social listening tool, which tracks mentions of your brand, reviews, and relevant trends across social media channels.
Digital communities are omnipresent and powerful. For example, over a billion Facebook users regularly engage with Facebook groups. That’s not just a large percentage of social media users; that’s a large percentage of the global population. Stay engaged with these communities with the tools below.
Hootsuite is the granddaddy of social media management tools. It’s been around since 2008, making it ancient in social media years.
Those years add up to a lot of experience and capacity. Hootsuite integrates with an impressive number of networks and business tools. Its directory of apps contains over 150 integrations and other ways to extend its functionality.
From your Hootsuite dashboard, some of the things you can do include:
- Creating and scheduling posts
- Planning social media marketing campaigns
- Managing and monitoring multiple channels
- Responding to incoming messages and comments in a central inbox
- Measuring your performance
You can also manage Hootsuite from mobile apps, as well as your desktop.
That said, 13 years have also given competitors a lot of time to emerge and refine their offerings. It’s hard to beat the sheer volume of functions that Hootsuite offers, but other tools score higher in individual areas.
Plans: Professional ($49/mo), Team ($129/mo), Business ($599/mo), Enterprise (Price by request)
It’s worth noting that these prices are based on annual billing, not monthly. The same is true for most of the following tools to manage social media.
Buffer is another centralized management tool that brings all your platforms together. It shines in ease of use and publishing social media posts. Many users praise the clean and intuitive design, and its social media calendar performs above average. The tool has also recently added the option to build custom landing pages for consumers brought in through social media.
The tool does less well with ads and analytics, however. The pricing structure has also changed many times in the last few years, which has confused some users out of more money than they'd meant to pay.
Plans: Free (Publishing tools only, up to three channels), Essentials ($5/mo per social channel). You can also add on the Team Pack if you’re looking for more collaboration.
3. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is another example of all-in-one social media tools for marketing. It sets itself apart with strong publishing tools and even stronger social listening and engagement tools. It centralizes customer service and social media communication and lets users track and filter relevant content with ease.
Reviews are less positive about its management of paid social advertising. Its price point also puts it out of reach for many individual creators and small businesses.
Plans: Standard ($89/mo per user), Professional ($149/mo per user), Advanced ($249/mo per user)
4. Brand 24
Brand 24 is one of the newer tools focusing on media monitoring. It lets you track mentions of your brand and protect your online reputation. It identifies negative mentions and sends instant alerts, so you can handle them as soon as possible.
It also has more extensive reporting features, letting you measure your reach and other social media key performance metrics (KPIs). You can also access hashtag and influencer tracking data, letting you know the industry players who are talking at any time — and what they’re talking about.
Plans: Personal ($59/mo), Premium ($119/mo), Business ($179/mo), Max ($299/mo)
MeetEdgar is the answer to your wish for a personal butler that handles your social media accounts while you’re busy. The tool doesn’t have the reach and features of most social media tools, but it does automation as well as or better than anyone.
With MeetEdgar, you build an evergreen library of content and then let Edgar continuously refresh your social accounts. It will even repost successful content.
Plans: Edgar Lite ($19/mo), Edgar ($49/mo)
Sometimes, the most effective content is the material you share with other writers and creators. But the time that goes into finding and promoting the right pieces can add up. That’s the problem that inspired the developers behind these tools.
Content curation tools streamline the process of discovering, collecting, excerpting, and sharing content that enhances your brand image and helps establish your community. Many social media management tools come with some curation-focused functions, but these tools specialize in it.
UpContent is a social media tool that crawls the web and evaluates content to bring you the best articles for your brand. Its integrations and automation also let you distribute the content through several account management tools.
It receives high marks for both its integrations and its customer support. While some have complained about its performance in highly scientific and technical fields, its algorithms are constantly improving.
Plans: Sharer ($13.50/mo), Curator ($44.08/mo), Engager ($85.50/mo), Orchestrator ($238.50/mo)
Feedly is a content aggregator designed for both personal use and professional content curation. It monitors your favorite sources for new posts and pulls content from across the internet on your top priorities. Its AI “research assistant” filters your feed so you can scroll through high-value material with ease.
Feedly also offers a free basic reader that will follow up to 100 sources, organizing them into up to three feeds.
Plans: Pro ($6/mo), Pro+ ($8.25/mo), Enterprise (Price by request)
Research and Analytics
Research should play a large role in all your digital marketing efforts. One reason that digital channels yield such high rates of return is all the data that gets built into all social platforms, and even the most rudimentary tools.
Social media analytics tools let you track and analyze data in multiple components of social media marketing:
- Measuring ROI for your social media campaign
- Tracking marketing team efficiency
- Social media strategy
They identify and distill the important numbers for you, helping you find the people most likely to be interested in your business and measuring your performance.
Every social media management platform makes some basic discovery functions available to everyone, but these tools can make you more precise, more efficient, and more effective.
BuzzSumo offers content insights. The tool combines discovery, analysis, and monitoring capabilities to help you create the best social media content with the best influencers. It also helps you set benchmarks with exceptional features for industry and competitor research.
You do have to pay for access to all of its insights. The most frequent complaint is its price tag. There is a free plan, but it only lets you perform a limited number of searches per month and doesn’t let you set alerts or export data.
Plans: Pro ($79/mo), Plus ($139), Large ($239/mo)
Audiense started with Twitter, and Audiense Connect is still one of the best Twitter marketing platforms. It lets you create a chatbot and build and analyze whole communities in your network.
Audience Insights is an audience intelligence platform that uses machine learning to better select your target audiences on a deeper level.
Plans: Free (Limited versions of both products), Twitter Marketing ($39/mo), Audience Insights ($696/mo)
10. Social Status
Social Status is remarkable for the detailed reports it generates on your social profiles, ads, competitors, and influencers. It tracks an incredible number of metrics, which lets you focus on any specific detail of your campaigns.
Plans: Free, Starter ($26/mo), Pro ($179/mo), Business ($359/mo), Corporate ($539/mo), Enterprise ($1,349)
Almost all account management tools offer ways to manage paid social media alongside your organic accounts. However, there are a couple of social media tools for business aimed entirely at your ad campaigns. You can also often find features for paid media in more comprehensive digital marketing tools, but these two make it the main event.
With Smartly.io, you can automate ad creation and distribution. It personalizes your content and customizes it for every channel. But it’s the targeting features that are best in class — from general targeting to geo-targeting and retargeting, Smartly.io promises to get your ads in front of the right people at the right times.
Smartly.io offers managed services as well as a software as a service (SaaS) product.
Plans: Pricing for both solo and managed plans is a percentage of your media spend.
AdEspresso is a tool produced by Hootsuite that effortlessly integrates with its parent company. You can create ads for different platforms and run A/B testing to find the social content that performs best. However, reviewers tend to protest the price, claiming it doesn’t go far enough beyond what social media networks offer in-platform for free.
Plans: Starter ($49/mo), Plus ($99/mo), Enterprise ($259/mo)
Brands used to have to pay top dollar to major celebrities to take advantage of influencer marketing. But these days, a lot of industry experts have their own followings, and social-media-savvy people have built interest communities of all sizes. A survey run by Twitter found that 49% of consumers actively depend on influencers for product recommendations.
Many of the above tools include features to help find the best influencers for you, but these tools wholly focus on influencer marketing campaigns — from discovery to campaign management to analysis and payment.
Upfluence helps you find, recruit, and manage relationships with the influencers who can take your brand to the next level. Its sophisticated discovery feature lets you refine your search according to multiple criteria, and AI recommendation generates even more names for you to consider.
You can also manage your campaigns, relationships, and affiliate links through the software, keeping track of all the necessary details for a successful venture. Communication and payment can all happen in the social media platform, and Upfluence also provides reporting and analytics.
Reviewers are generally positive and particularly enjoy the centralization provided by Upfluence.
Plans: Growth, Scale, and Enterprise. Price by request.
Grin delivers most of the same functions as Upfluence. It helps with:
- Relationship management
- Discovery and recruiting
- Reports and analytics
- Content management
- Product seeding
Both of these SaaS companies also provide plenty of integrations with email, productivity tools, and e-commerce platforms.
In reviews, delighted customers repeatedly praise its ease of use and customer service — two areas in which it has a slight edge over Upfluence. Grin comes out ahead in user ratings across various social media sites, but Upfluence may work better for those with less of an e-commerce focus.
Plans: Custom. Price by request.
How to Pick the Right Social Media Tools
With so many options, it can be hard to choose between social networking tools. The first step is to figure out what you need. Do you need a post planner or something to help develop your social strategy? Are you trying to track your social media performance? Do you want to appear on a wide range of social media platforms?
All of the listed tools come with features that make them ideal for brands, depending on your needs. But here’s the good news — many offer free trials. Take a week or even a month to test tools that appeal to you and see what is best for your next social campaign.