In an ever-evolving digital landscape, staying ahead in the social media game is pivotal for building and nurturing your online community. The crux lies in choosing a social media management tool that resonates with your business ethos, and aligns with your social media strategy and goals. Whether you are dipping your toes in the water or are seasoned social media marketers, tools like Buffer, Later, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social offer a range of functionalities tailored to meet diverse business needs.
From managing you social media calendar to delving into insightful analytics, these platforms are your allies in carving a robust social media presence. They alleviate the hassle of managing multiple social networks, enabling you to focus on crafting compelling narratives and relevant content that resonate with your audience. As you venture into the realm of social media marketing, arm yourself with a tool that aligns with your goals, and watch your online engagement soar.
So, with all these social media tools, which is right for you?
Our Recommended Tool for Beginners
Our Pick: Buffer, an easy-to-use social media tool with all the key features
Social Media Platforms: Facebook, Google Business Profile, Instagram, Linkedin, Mastodon, Pinterest, Shopify, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube
For those taking their first steps into social media management, simplicity is key. Look for a tool that has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface so you can get up and running quickly. We’ve found Buffer provides the perfect balance between being easy to learn but also having all the key features essential for a good social media tool. Unlike the majority of social media management tools, Buffer also offers a free version (not just a free trial!) with some top features included like; auto-publishing posts, a calendar for planning and scheduling, and more so ideally for getting started.
Their premium plans, are the ideal next step for growing your social media efforts, and are also of great value, especially considering the plan includes detailed social media analytics tools.
Buffer Pricing: As mentioned Buffer includes a free plan, their premium subscription then starts at $6 a month for essentials and goes up to $120 for an agency account.
Honourable mention: Later
Slightly more advanced than Buffer but a great option for beginners is Later. Often regarded among the most popular social media tools, Later prides itself on ease of use, plus it has a visually appealing platform that's great for managing visual content. Later is also one of the cheaper options in the market.
Best All-Round Social Media Marketing Tool
Our Pick: Hootsuite, an outstanding social media tool packed with comprehensive features for every marketer.
Social Media Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube
For those wishing to maximise their social media marketing efforts, Hootsuite stands as one of the best amongst all social media management tools. Hootsuite offers comprehensive features that help you manage your presence across multiple social media accounts.
It integrates with all the top social platforms, has a content calendar that easily allows you to schedule posts and collaborate across teams, and includes both manual and automatic scheduling based on your audience engagement patterns. Although out of all the features Hootsuite offers, the in-depth reporting and social listening tools are what really set them apart from the rest.
Hootsuite Pricing: Hootsuite recently removed their free plan (which caused a great deal of controversy online!) so prices start at £89/month for their Professional Plan. For larger teams prices jump up to £249/month for the Team Plan.
Overall, Hootsuite's scheduling capabilities and social media monitoring features empower businesses and users to maintain a strong and consistent online presence while optimising engagement with their audience. A clear winner for best all-round social media marketing tool.
Honourable mention: Sprout Social
Another great option for an all-around social media scheduling tool is Sprout Social. Sprout is known for its robust analytics and collaboration features, making it a worthwhile choice for those looking to dive deep into social media data. However, the downside to Sprout Social is the higher monthly cost. So depending on your needs and budget, it may not be the right tool for you.
Top Pick for Small Business
Our Pick: Later, easy to use with great content creation features
Social Media Platform: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube
Smaller businesses need affordable, straightforward tools to manage their online presence. That's where Later shines. With a focus on content creation, Later offers a visual content calendar that aids social media managers across multiple platforms. This allows users to plan, schedule, and manage their social media posts effortlessly. It also includes a great range of features like a media library, a link in bio tool, a drag-and-drop editor and more. All of this for a ver reasonable cost.
Later Pricing: Later is one of the cheapest options available so a very realistic and still very helpful solution for small businesses. The Starter Plan starts at $25/month, their Growth Plan then goes up to $45/month and for the Advanced Plan $80/month. All plans have a 14-day free trial!
Honourable mention: Buffer
Buffer's social media management tool is equally useful, especially for businesses keen on social media performance and enhanced social media presence. While not as feature-rich as some competitors, it does have all the tools needed for social media scheduling and a free plan perfect for small businesses.
Our Choice for Larger Business
Our Pick: Sprout Social, an advanced tool for large enterprises
Social Media Platforms: Facebook, Google Business Profile, Instagram, Linkedin, Mastodon, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Whatsapp
For larger businesses with more complex social media needs, Sprout Social is our top choice. With a suite of sophisticated features, it gives you the ability to manage multiple social media profiles all on one platform. Their platform is also specifically designed for those who wish to deep dive into social metrics with a range of detailed social media reports to help you gauge the efficacy of their social efforts.
The platform's team collaboration features are also a great tool for bigger teams with task assignment and content approval workflows to help you produce high-quality content.
Sprout Pricing: This is the only downside to Sprout is its high price point. With Sprout, you pay for the fact they are the leader in the industry and the sophisticated features. A standard plan starts at $249/month going up to their Advanced Plan at $499/month.
Honourable mention: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is arguably on par with Sprout in terms of its social media management capabilities and core features. It also earns an honorable mention with its ability to integrate with a myriad of other tools and platforms, making it a flexible choice for large businesses with diverse needs. However, Hootsuite can be seen as less sophisticated than Sprout. It does lack advanced automation capabilities and seems to be showing its age in some areas.
Overall, the vast difference in pricing means Hootsuites is a more reasonable and therefore still a highly recommended social media management platform for larger businesses.
So, which of the social media tools is right for you?
As we've already discussed the right social media tool can significantly simplify your social media management, freeing up time to engage with your audience in a more meaningful way. Whether you're just starting out, running a small business, or steering a larger enterprise, there's a tool out there that's likely a perfect fit for your needs. So take your time before making your choice, do some further market research, try out a few of the different tools, and be confident in the right solution for you.
If you need any help or would just like to chat through your options, get in touch!
Social Media platform integration comparison.
After you've decided on the right tool for you it's time to turn your attention to creating engaging social media content for your audiences. You may find the following blogs helpful to get you started.
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