Social media is a critical component to any small business marketing effort. It allows you to showcase your brand to a much wider audience than you might typically attract to your website. You can interact directly with your audience. You have 100% control over the content that is shared on your channels. The benefits are endless but they’ll only happen if you effectively manage your social media. Since most small business owners use more than one channel, using a social media management tool is smart, but with so many out there, which should you choose? Take a look at our top 7 social media management tools picks below (in no particular order).
- Hootsuite – one of the most popular tools out there for small business marketers, and for good reason. First, they have a free version if you’re looking to just dip your toe into social media and only want to manage a few social profiles. You can manage multiple networks, schedule posts, and engage your audience, all in one place. It lets you monitor and listen to the people and topics that matter to you most. The tool helps you to schedule messages and use RSS to automate content to post Visually track follower growth and find out which content resonates most with your audience. The free version lets you manage up to three profiles, provides basic analytics, allows you to use videos and images in the posts, and gives you access to an app so you can manage your profiles wherever you are.
- Buffer – Buffer allows you to schedule, publish and analyze all your posts in one place. You can use images and videos in your posts, and it comes with basic analytics. For the free version, you get one social platform, can schedule up to 10 posts at a time, use their link shortening tool and use their app. Need a little more? They have several reasonably priced options that will add features like additional platforms, additional users and more. Check out their pricing page to see which level is right for you.
- SocialOomph – just like Hootsuite and Buffer, they have a free version so you can check out the tool. SocialOomph helps you boost your social media productivity and includes the ability to manage Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, RSS feeds, blogs, and more! Users can schedule updates, find people to follow, and efficiently monitor social media activity. The free version has some great features and is more substantial than Buffer’s free version. It also has a great keyword tracking tool. Still need more? You only have one other option: “professional”, which allows for advanced features like auto follow and automated direct messaging.
- EveryPost – Everypost makes it easy to curate visual content from a variety of sources, customize and schedule posts, and take control over your all of your active social pages. The all-in-one publishing solution helps users to share multimedia content across multiple social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest and tumblr. Everypost offers five pricing plans (one of them is free), depending on features. As with the others, start with the free version to see if you like the interface and functionality; you can always upgrade if you love it!
- Social Spout – except for a 30-day trial, there are no free versions available with this tool, but don’t overlook this platform without digging deeper. It shares many of the same functionalities as the other social management tools, but the interface, analytics and reporting are much cleaner and more sophisticated. This tool is definitely meant for businesses looking to take social media management to the next level. Learn how you can use social media as a customer service tool. Social Sprout’s focus is that it targets the idea that communication and engagement between businesses and customers should be better and more open and it does a great job facilitating engagement. It’s a more robust tool so the learning curve is deeper, but if your company needs a higher level of customer engagement, check this tool out.
- Zoho Social – Manage multiple social networks, schedule unlimited posts, monitor keywords, and collaborate with your team, all from a single dashboard. Users can create and publish content, bulk schedule messages, and their SmartQ feature will automatically schedule your post to go out at a time when most of your audience is likely to view it, which can help with engagement. The tool has three price levels: free, standard and professional. The free version allows for one user, one brand, has a URL shortener and a browser plugin. If you need more, you’ll have to step up to the standard version for features such as reporting and collaboration options.
- MavSocial – rounding out the list (remember, these are in no particular order), MavSocial lets you schedule and publish content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Tumblr. Create one post and then publish it across networks for optimal time-savings. You can reschedule posts, which saves cut and paste time if you have a post that really drives engagement. As with the others, you can track engagement and use videos and images in your posts. Their “small business” version is free, and allows for one user, two social profiles, a campaign planner, a scheduler, and the ability to store in a library.
Which are the best social media management tools? Here are a few items to consider:
- Do you only want a free version, or can you step up to paid, and how much are you willing to pay?
- How many social profiles do you need to manage?
- How many users need to be able to access this tool?
- What are nice to have features vs. must-have features that you need?
- What kind of access do you need (apps, browser, etc.)?
Make a list and then check out the free versions of each of the above. While any of these will greatly enhance your social media management, find the one that’s right for your business.
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