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Although many of the tools we covered last year are still great choices and are still highly recommended, there are a variety of other options with great features and benefits. Hootsuite, Buffer, AgoraPulse and Crowdbooster are still favorites this year. However, there are several others that deserve some attention. Post scheduling has grown in importance over the past year, and more users are focusing now on where their traffic comes from and how to increase it. They are also shifting toward a one-on-one contact approach with clients and markets. Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ are growing, and simpler photo posts are trumping word-only posts in popularity.

Tools For Multiple Platforms

1. Curalate

Although it may not seem like the best commentary on today’s society, we are moving more toward communication through pictures rather than words on social media. Curalate’s visual-focused platform is ideal when followers are mostly on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. You can monitor conversations on specific topics, schedule posts, track fans, plan campaigns and simplify conversion.

Pros: The Like2Buy feature allows you to turn images into product listings with easy buying options for followers. You can also track who comments on your posts to engage them further.

Cons: Analytics are provided on your products themselves but not your pages or sites.

Reviews: Users like this tool’s instant Instagram revenue and how it minimizes the involvement of their staff or themselves with ecommerce.

Price: Pricing is variable depending on your needs, users and selected options.

2. ViralTag

This program is great for planning scheduled posts at optimal times. If you want to maximize the amount of people who see your pins on Pinterest, you need to post them at the right times for your market. ViralTag makes that task a breeze. Edit images, find new content and make new posts quickly.

Pros: ViralTag works across multiple social media platforms with a focus on visual-based platforms. This program saves hours of time by making posts in specific time increments throughout the most optimal posting period. You can use it with Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr.

Cons: No free plans

Reviews: People who rely mostly on Pinterest especially prefer this program.

Price: Plans start at $12 per month (a special rate reserved for new bloggers) and climb up to $500 per month for access to all features, UGC rights and more social profiles. If you can’t afford their plans, ViralTag offers a 60 percent discount on the lowest plan if you write an honest review about them in your blog.

3. Sprout Social

This program mentioned last year deserves a repeat mention for emphasis. It shows your social media content, monitored keywords and social account reports in one convenient stream. Use it to schedule posts on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook. You can also send scheduled messages on a computer or with the mobile app. The discovery tool allows you to see who mentions you and who you interact with. A convenient cleanup feature eliminates silent accounts or accounts that do not follow you back on Twitter.

Pros: Sprout Social offers clean and well-organized reports, easy message management and a tool you can use to compare yourself to your competitors.

Cons: The discovery feature is only applicable for Twitter accounts.

Reviews: Users rate this as a good product for beginners and seasoned social media marketers. The program’s ease of use, reliability, centralization of accounts and pricing structure earn it high ratings.

Price: There is a three-tier system starting at $59 per month and ranging up to $500 per month. Each tier comes with a free trial period.

4. PostPlanner

This Facebook and Twitter program allows users to queue their posts and schedule a time for them to be posted. While there are plenty of apps out there for this purpose, this one makes the list because of its unique viral feature and its affordable price. The viral feature highlights photos and posts within your targeted industry and allows you to share them to fuel social engagement.

Pros: The program is easy to use and is powerful at building engagement because of its viral feature.

Cons: PostPlanner is limited to Facebook and Twitter.

Reviews: This is the perfect product for users who have limited time, want to spend less money and need to increase their social media presence.

Price: Pricing plans start between $5 and $7 per month depending on promotional offers.

Analytics

5. Sysomos

If search engines were combined with social media marketing analytics, this would be what the final product looked like. Sysomos collects conversations about your brand or product from forums, social media sites, blogs and reviews across the Internet. You can use the program’s tools to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of a brand.

Pros: This program eliminates the need to spend hours browsing search engine results, review sites and market-specific forums for chatter about your brand. You can use this information to determine what to feature more or less of with your future posts.

Cons: The pricing structure seems a bit mysterious and does not come in flat rates. If you rely on regional social media data, this program will disappoint you with its lack of regional information.

Reviews: People who want to know what is being said globally about their brand call this product a time-saving tool. However, those who want a wide range of social networking sites do not find this program as useful.

Price: You must contact Sysomos to discuss your individual needs for a specific price.

6. QuillEngage.com

This tool works with Google Analytics. If you find it tedious to sort the data from Google Analytics and do not have the time for it, this tool is your summary of only the most relevant details. Learn about the site’s decline, growth, traffic and previous data collection.

Pros: Convenient reports are gathered and sent directly to your email every week.

Cons: QuillEngage only works with Google Analytics.

Reviews: Users rave about having all of the most important information condensed into an easy-to-read report.

Price: Free for weekly and monthly website reporting on 1 GA View. Upgrade plans for additional website reporting, data analysis and customization options like selecting your KPI’s, adding a logo and color to the report and turning sections on and off.

Content Development And Management

7. Portent Content Idea Generator

Engaging content is just as important as a catchy title for your blog posts. If you have trouble coming up with ideas, this program will get you hooked and instantly become your best friend. Its content idea generator suggests topics that will attract attention.

Pros: The program generates multiple title suggestions in addition to content creation ideas. They range from witty and shocking to gripping and insightful.

Cons: Broader keywords may not yield the most useful results. Use targeted or specific keywords for best results.

Reviews: Bloggers and marketers who are responsible for generating content say this tool is addicting because of its helpfulness.

Price: This content idea generator is free to use without download on Portent’s main site.

8. KingSumo

Every good marketer knows the tediousness of testing blog headlines. KingSumo is a WordPress plugin allowing users to enter up to 10 poss