Social Media Management Tools

Let’s face it: there is no single, affordable tool or application to manage every aspect of social media marketing and to handle all of your social media channels. While many companies continue to try to create the one and only tool, you may need to assemble a toolkit of several applications to cover your needs. Research the most reputable ones to ensure consistency, stability and good customer service.

Social media management tools, also known as “social media dashboards,” give you a single-screen or compact view of multiple social networks. Each dashboard tool tries to be compatible with as many social networks as possible but there are limitations. There are tools that integrate with Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and in a limited manner, Instagram.

Many social media dashboards also work with Facebook, but forget about using a third-party tool to manage your Facebook Page posts. Facebook discourages outside schedulers and post managers and will limit the visibility of your posts. Use Facebook’s built-in scheduler instead for your Facebook Page, Facebook Groups and even posts to your Facebook Events.

Look for social media management tools that can help you do the following:

  1. Handle multiple social media accounts.
  2. Provide a dashboard view of your social media channels.
  3. Give access to multiple users, preferably with different permissions.
  4. Schedule tweets, posts and updates.
  5. Help you filter, manage and respond to messages – and even better if you can assign to others on your team and track progress.
  6. Provide metrics and easy-to-generate reports for your social media activities.

Many social media management tools are accessible on mobile devices either through a mobile-friendly website or a downloadable mobile app. Some provide a desktop client and most can be accessed on the web using a standard web browser. Look for tools that give you multiple ways of accessing your dashboard.

Here are some popular social media management tools:

Hootsuite – This tool provides a free version that can work well for managing over 35 social networks including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn. Hootsuite offers iOS and Android apps as well as a browser bookmarklet called the Hootlet that lets you share content to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A free version limits you to three social profiles and allows 30 scheduled messages at a time. The Professional version of Hootsuite for one person is $19/month and raises the number of social profiles you can sync to 10 with unlimited scheduling. The Team level at $99/month accommodates teams of up to three users for collaboration with unlimited scheduling for up to 20 social profiles.

SproutSocial – A platform that helps you monitor, engage, publish and analyze results for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+. You can draft, schedule, queue up and post messages to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn from a single window. Plan your social media messaging in a calendar view. Try SproutSocial for free for 30-days. Premium level is $99 per user per month for up to 10 social accounts.

Zoho Social – Another platform for scheduling messages to multiple accounts, track revenues generated through social media, generate reports and collaborate with your team. Works with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. Try the free account for one Team Member and one Brand or the Standard account for $8.33/month for up to seven Channels for one Brand and two Team Members.

Other useful management tools include:

Buffer – Buffer helps you easily schedule posts in several ways and tracks results but does not let you monitor social networks. Buffer connects with Twitter accounts; Facebook Profiles, Pages & Groups; LinkedIn Profiles & Pages; Google+ Profiles & Pages; Pinterest Boards (on the Pro and Business Plans) and Instagram accounts. Buffer Publish now offers both Direct Scheduling and Reminders for Instagram. Buffer’s Free plan provides scheduling for one social account with up to 10 posts at a time. The Pro Plan for $15/month accommodates eight social accounts but no team members. The Small Plan for $99/month covers 25 social accounts and five team members. Buffer is also available for iOS and Android smartphones.

Cyfe – This dashboard includes social media, analytics, marketing, sales, support, and more, and offers a free version and a premium version for $19/month. Through Cyfe widgets, you can pull data from many of the other apps you use like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn as well as Mailchimp, Shopify, SlideShare, and Wordpress.

dlvr.it – Helps you manage and measure the distribution of your content from your blog RSS to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more. Auto-recycle your best social posts or schedule posts in bulk. Free for three platforms, 10 posts per day, and five site feeds. Premium accounts start at $8.29/month.

Use your social media management tools to identify, connect with, and better communicate with your customers and prospects. With the need to listen 24/7 to social media conversations and to respond quickly, having the right tools can relieve some of the demands of monitoring, engaging and publishing.