By Mitt Ray
Are you looking for the best apps for managing social media that won’t cost you an arm and a leg?
Choosing the right platform might be harder than you think – here’s a transparent breakdown of which app might actually be the best fit for you.
If you want a cost-effective and productive way to manage your social media channels in 2018, you need to find the right app.
If you don’t use an app and individually jump from one social media account to another you will end up wasting a colossal amount of time and money.
The perfect social media management app in 2018 should help (or automate) a handful of tasks that once took far too much time to execute manually, such as:
- Scheduling your social media posts days, weeks and even months ahead of time
- Sophisticated audience, activity, and engagement analytics
- Simple and presentable reporting features
- Monitoring profile notifications, and audience sentiment
The best social media management app should integrate with several social networks (not just the major players, but also helpful platforms like Yelp and Google Analytics). This way your entire marketing team can cohesively manage all your social profiles on one platform.
Finding this perfect app can be a time-consuming task as there are hundreds of social media management apps you will need to sift through. You will first need to find the tools that are available and then experiment with them to see if they work for you.
To help you find the right apps for managing social media at the right price, I have created this list.
Below we’ll jump into each tool and the features they possess. I’ve also included the advertised and true cost so that pricing is transparent and you can easily choose one that is within your budget and meets all your needs. Let’s jump into it.
Agorapulse is the social media management app of choice here at JeffBullas.com, which is why it’s on the top of the list. From a feature perspective, it’s better than anything on the market.
For example, if you are looking for a social media management app that provides some of the best analytics you should use Agorapulse. You can use it to schedule on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and Google+. After the posts go live you can track their presence using their wonderful analytics.
You can also use it to track various other things like hashtags and competitors.
They too have a social inbox feature that can help with customer service. While communicating with customers Agorapulse can also help you identify key influencers so that you can connect with them better.
Solos and small businesses: They offer small and medium plans for as little as $39 and $79 respectively.
Price for a small agency: Smaller agencies can purchase their “Large Business” plan and expect to pay $159/month. You can add 25 social profiles and 6 team members. Additional social profiles and team members can be purchased here too.
Price for a growing or established agency: Mid-sized agencies should get their “Enterprise” plan which costs $239/month. You can add 40 social profiles and 12 team members here. Additional social profiles can be purchased for $6/profile (not too bad).
Free trial available: Agorapulse offers a 15-day free trial.
#2. Social Report
Social Report is a social media management app that tends to fly under the radar but has started to jump into a lot of top reviews lately. And there’s a good reason why – they truly deliver on all of the features an agency or team needs and at an affordable price.
Not only do they offer integrations with major social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but they also integrate with a ton of other social networks that most tools overlook. These include Google Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Analytics and plenty more.
On top of their wealth of integrations, Social Report also delivers a suite of features that most platforms charge premium pricing for. Their suite includes the latest features – like direct scheduling to Instagram and all major networks – as well as in-depth analytics on your social audience and one-click PDF reporting to easily present your impact and value to clients or stakeholders.
I’d like to also add that their scheduling features include several power features such as RSS feed integration and a Snip.ly-like feature called “Link frames” – which allow users to source content from relevant blogs and news sources and place their brand logo and a call to action on those pieces of content. It is a great option for teams that don’t have the time and money to spend on content creation every single day or just need something quick to fill in an overlooked day or time.
I could probably dive a bit deeper into all of their features, like their Smart Inbox, team management, automation and an array of white labeling choices, but for time sake and getting to the other platforms, I won’t.
Just know that if you are looking for a single app to manage all your social media at scale, Social Report is a fantastic option. Not only do they offer all of the features a team really needs, but their pricing – which I’ll jump into below – includes the largest amount of connected users and profiles at the best price on the market.
Price for a growing business: Social Report’s standard plan begins at $49/month and allows you to add up to 5 users and connect up to 25 social profiles, which is awesome for businesses just getting going and not looking to break the bank.
Price for a growing team or established agency: If you’re an established or mid-sized team, then their advanced plan might be a good fit. Under this plan, you can add up to 10 users and connect a total of 50 social media accounts, for just $99/month.
Do they offer a free trial? They do – Social Report offers 30-day free trials on all of their plans.
#3. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is quite similar to Social Report in the features they offer. Sprout integrates Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Google+.
You can schedule and publish posts to all the aforementioned five social networks very easily and smoothly, as they have a nice and responsive interface.
They also have a tool called “Landscape” that makes it easy to resize images you want to attach to your post, as well as a content calendar where you can view all the posts you have scheduled.
To help you execute social media customer service efficiently they have a social inbox where all messages accumulate, and they integrate with Zendesk too.
And of course to help you track the performance of your posts, Sprout Social comes with a fair amount of analytics. You can use to not only track your social media followers and their engagement, but to also assess the performance of team members.
Price for small teams: Sprout Social is a bit on the expensive side. Their most comparable plan for small teams is labeled as the “Premium” plan, which allows you to add up to 10 social media profiles to it and costs $99 per user/month.
Price for a growing team or established agency: They also have more intensive plans at a price point of $149 per month and $249 per month, which offer more in-depth analytics and reporting.
Free trial available: Sprout offers 30-day free trials for each of their plans.
Hootsuite is one of the oldest apps for managing social media. It hasn’t got the most updated interface, but it is still very popular. You can use it to schedule posts and to perform other important management tasks.
One of their features that simplifies social media management is streams. This is where you create a different stream for different social media activities. For example, for Twitter, you can create streams for your tweets, tweets of people you follow, direct messages you get, direct messages you send, etc.
This makes it easy to neatly organize and manage your activity. You can schedule posts and create streams for the social networks Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.
They also have a detailed analytics section where you can monitor all your activity with easy to read charts.
Price for a small team: Hootsuite has a range of plans, including a basic “Free” option for individuals, and then a $25 a month option for up to 10 social profiles.
Price for a growing team or established agency: Hootsuite’s “Business” plan is built for agencies and big teams with an established budget. You can connect 35 social profiles and add up 5 team members but it will cost you $785/month.
Free trial available: Yes, Hootsuite offers 30-day free trials on their plans.
Sendible can be used to schedule on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Tumblr, Google+ and more.
Like most of the above tools, it has features like RSS feed integrations and a calendar that makes it easy to view and organize scheduled posts.
Another interesting feature that simplifies finding and scheduling content is relevant content suggestions. It finds interesting content that you can share that is most likely to drive more engagement.
To make it easy for you to find and add visuals they integrate with Google Images, Flickr, and Canva.
They also have several features that can help you collaborate as a team and offer customer service.
All your activity can be measured using their analytics. They also integrate with Google Analytics which allows you to compare data from your social media with your web analytics.
Price for a small team: Sendible plans start at a very affordable $29 a month for up to 12 social profiles.
Price for a growing team or established agency: As you need more users and social integrations the plans steadily increase. Fully-fledged agencies should get Sendible’s “Large” plan. You can add 64 social profiles and 12 team members here. It costs $299/month.
Free trial available: Yes, 30-day free trial available.
Buffer is a fairly popular app for managing social media. You can use it to schedule on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram. They’re known mostly for their clean and simple branding – which sits well with visually driven social media managers.
Using one of the cleanest interfaces around, Buffer allows you to schedule and publish text updates, links, images, gifs and videos. To help you create images they also offer a free tool called, “Pablo.” You can either upload images or use the images they provide and then modify them with filters and overlay text and schedule them onto your social networks connected to Buffer.
In addition, Buffer integrates with RSS feeds to make it easy for you to find content to share.
You can check your performance with their detailed analytics, integrate Bitly for shortlink tracking and more. It’s truly a great platform for the single social media manager.
Price for a small team: Buffer has a “Free” Plan for individuals and then paid plans kickstart at $15 a month for 8 social profiles.
Price for a growing team or established agency: Buffer also has a range of “Business” plans that offer analytics and team collaboration. The prices vary between $99 and $399 per month.
Free trial available: All of Buffer’s business plans include 14-day trials.
Coschedule is a content marketing tool that can be implemented for social media management, just like all the others we discussed. I can say that CoSchedule is primarily used by bloggers as they offer the ability to schedule full blog posts to WordPress. In addition, it can also be used to schedule to popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest.
Usually offered as a standalone tool at a separate price, CoSchedule provides a feature called “ReQueue” that lets you schedule evergreen social media updates. If you’re not familiar with evergreen, it’s essentially a bank of posts you’ve tagged as evergreen that can be easily republished as needed to reach a new segment or more of your audience.
All the social media updates you schedule will be neatly organized into one, simple calendar, where you’ll be able to get a clear overview of what’s in place and easily edit as you see fit.
Once your posts go live, CoSchedule’s social media analytics will track post performance and show you the results within the dashboard. Their presentation is very aesthetically pleasing (which some businesses might require).
Price for individuals and small teams: CoSchedule offer a $40 a month plan for individuals, which jumps to $60 a month if you want to add new users and manage more than one site.
Price for a growing or established agency: Their agency plans range from $60 to $300 per month depending on your capacity.
Free trial available: Like Buffer, Coschedule offers 14-day free trials on their plans.
Put these social media management apps to the test
These are the top apps for managing social media for teams and agencies. Anyone of these apps can help you execute all social media marketing tasks as a team, but you have to make sure that the app you decide to move forward with has all the features you need (as not to cost you more by having to pay for additional tools down the line) at a fair and competitive price.
Of course, all of the platforms I’ve listed offer a free trial. If you’re an agency, or even a business looking to find out if a platform is worth its weight in social media gold, then sign up and test drive it until you can make an informed decision that fits both your needs and your budget.
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