Recently we published a list of the Top 25 Social Media Tools which gained quite a bit of a response. One of the most common questions we recevied was “can you tell us more about this one?” Well, here you have it. A deeper dive into the Top 5 Social Media Management Tools.
Proper social media management can make a big difference in the overall success of your marketing efforts. Management tools allow you to save on the amount of time and effort that you expend on your social media campaigns.
Not only do these management tools aggregate multiple streams from your social media profiles, but many also allow you to update all or some of your profiles with the same update simultaneously. The applications may also feature their own analytics tools that may integrate with popular apps like Google and Facebook analytics.
Here are our picks for the top five social media management tools:
1. HootSuite – The HootSuite dashboard allows users to manage eight social media platforms and it has an App Directory available for other social networks. The included platforms are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, Foursquare, Myspace, WordPress and Mixi. The App Directory includes applications for YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and many other social networking sites and services. Users can sign up for a free account in which they get five social profiles, free Quick Reports analytics, message scheduling and two RSS/Atom newsfeeds. The other option is HootSuite Pro, which costs $9.99 a month. The Pro account includes unlimited profiles, message scheduling, two free users, one free enhanced analytics report, Google Analytics integration, Facebook Insights integration and unlimited newsfeeds. Also, Hootsuite & Hubspot have partnered together to bring you closed loop social media marketing.
2. Sprout Social – The Sprout Social service caters more to business clients with three primary pricing plans: Small Biz, Deluxe and Premium. The platform allows users to manage their conversations on social media sites at a team level. The Small Biz plan provides up to 20 profiles, message scheduling and publishing, data tracking and analytics, brand monitoring, and targeting and contact management for $39 a month. The Deluxe plan provides up to 40 profiles with team collaboration, Google Analytics integration, profile grouping, location-based marketing and live support for $59 a month. The Premium accounts is for large companies and provides unlimited profiles along with dedicated support for a much heftier $899 per month. The service also has a “Pro” account that only costs $9 and provides 10 profiles. Special rates are available for annual contracts, high volume users and for non-profit organizations. Sprout’s power comes from providing users with the ability to manage collaborative teams on social media. Companies can set tasks, schedules and permissions for teams and they are able to track the performance of each team member.
3. TweetDeck – The TweetDeck management tool is free and it allows you to manage all of your social media networks on one interface. One advantage of this service is that you can update all or a select number of your social media platforms simultaneously with the same message. Users can organize feeds as they like in customizable columns. These columns slide back and forth across the screen for easy perusal. The application, though, is optimal for Twitter accounts and it allows users to schedule tweets and to set up notification alerts for new tweets. The system also features filters that allow the user to concentrate topics that appear in the feeds. TweetDeck is available as a web application or users can download it for their desktop. The desktop app requires Mac OS X 10.6 or Windows XP or later. Since so many feeds can display simultaneously, the app updates may slow down considerably during busy periods.
4. Shoutlet — The power of Shoutlet is its ability to create custom content for publication across your social media platforms. Social Canvas is a tool that allows users to create pages and designs without knowledge of complex coding languages. You can even build interactive applications for social media sites including video players and slideshows. The service allows you to schedule and automate updates of your syndicated content across your global networking profiles. Shoutlet allows you to create and distribute content, observe and participate in conversations, and track and measure performance. The social analytics component allows tracking at campaign level using Social Switchboard. Corporate level customers will be able to see tracking data on all their brands across global networks on a single interface using Social Enterprise. The company does not provide pricing information on its website, and you must request a demo for more detailed information. Generally, this platform is more suitable for those looking to monetize their social media campaigns.
5. AgoraPulse – AgoraPulse also caters to business users from small companies to large brand names. The platform is entirely for managing Facebook profiles and it has powerful tools for accomplishing this task. The service offers versatile marketing campaign apps along with applications for managing customer relationships and leads. The reporting and analytics capability allows users to measure the return on investment of their Facebook marketing campaigns. AgoraPulse offers five pricing plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. The Bronze through Platinum accounts range in price from $9 to $99 a month, while the company asks you to call for Diamond plan pricing. The plans differ by feature and also by the number of fans allowed. The Bronze plan only allows 1000 fans while the Diamond package has no fan limit. Among the marketing applications provided are sweepstake, coupon, instant win and photo contest apps. The platform provides Platinum and Diamond users with advanced scheduling of posts and Timeline management that provides information on most active fans. Platinum users can store all their historical tracking data for three months while Diamond users have unlimited storage access.