15 best social media management tools 2018

Social media management is a must for any small business in 2018. Looking for an all-rounder, high-impact or budget-friendly tool? We help you

There was a time when people thought social media was nothing more than a passing fad – a gadget for teens, and a million miles from anyc business strategy. How wrong they were!

Today, out of over 3 billion internet users, over 2 billion of them have active social media accounts. That makes social networks fertile ground for anyone looking to raise brand awareness, and engage with new and existing customers.

It’s safe to say social media is no longer optional. But if you’re a newcomer to this space, it can seem overwhelming. What should I post? How often? When? The good news is there are plenty of easy-access tools with all the answers.

You can think of social media management software like your very own marketing expert. The best tools will break down the trickiest parts – from crafting powerful content right through to data crunching – to give you the best chance of success.

The only question you now need to ask is: which media tool is right for my small business? Below we’ll tell you everything you need to know to work it out.

Or if you’re ready to skip ahead, just fill in the quick form above – and go straight to the best suppliers for you.

In this article you will learn:


WHO?

The Top 15 social media management tools for small businesses

Let’s get right to it. Here we have divided our Top 15 into Top 5s for the 3 most important categories for small businesses. These are:

  1. The all-rounders
  2. The high-impact
  3. The budget-friendly

Based on our rigorous assessment (explained below), you’ll be pleased to know the chart-toppers aren’t necessarily the most expensive – nor the best known.

Here they are in brief:

The Top 5 for all-round ground control

Tool Great for…? Star Rating
Sprout Social Action-packed media management ★★★★★
eClincher Hassle-free marketing and expert support ★★★★★
Sendible Fool-proof online marketing ★★★★★
CoSchedule Staying on top of it all ★★★★
Agorapulse Fool-proof online marketing ★★★★

The Top 5 for high-impact

Tool Great for…? Star Rating
SocialFlow Getting heard on Facebook on Twitter ★★★★★
Oktopost B2B social media made easy ★★★★★
Crowdfire More followers, guaranteed! ★★★★
MavSocial Hootsuite meets Photoshop ★★★★
Canva A free and easy alternative to Photoshop ★★★★

The Top 5 for shoestring budgets

Tool Great for…? Star Rating
Zoho Social Growing businesses ★★★★★
SocialPilot A big time-saver for little spenders ★★★★★
Everypost An intuitive dashboard ★★★★
Hootsuite The media management celeb ★★★★
SocialOomph A hike in social productivity ★★★★

We provide in-depth reviews of the full Top 15 below.


What are social media management platforms?

Social media management apps let you plan, schedule, and post your social media content across all platforms, all from one easy-to-use interface.

Their dashboard-based layout helps keep you organised with a clear overview of your marketing campaigns, whilst their reporting tools provides the analytics you need to drive engagement and measure your success.



WHY?

Why are social media tools a must for small businesses?

Media management tools have a never-ending list of benefits for small businesses and start-ups.These are the key ones:

socialmedia management tools benefits

1. Get organised

If you are already unlocking the benefits of social media, the chances are you’re on more than one platform. And if you’re not, the stats suggest you should be. Media management tools make it a breeze to manage all your channels from one simple interface.

2. Save time

Social media management software does the legwork for you, meaning you can multiply your reach without duplicating your workload. Plus, scheduling your posts in advance lets you tap into peaks in traffic without having to work weekends.

3. Save money

Today, UK-based small business owners spend around 16% of their budgets on marketing. But because this software means having your very own marketing pro on board, you can spend less on hiring an ad agency or social media manager.

4. Boost sales

It isn’t enough to be present on social media to grow your business: you need to know how to get results. Media management tools are your best bet at maximising your impact. They can suggest the best times and content to help your social media posts get through to the right people.

5. Manage crises

Social media is a dream for brand building. But sometimes it’s your ammo against harmful PR. Media management is a lifesaver: many tools give you live updates and alerts, so you can come to the rescue of your brand in time, and stop a bad post costing you customers.

6. Crunch data

Social media is an ever-changing jungle: you’ll need AI expertise. And with most software offering easy-to-digest data analytics, you can go one step further. Work out which posts are working, what’s trending, and get to know your customers better.


Why can’t I just stick to the social media platforms?

Of course you could, but then you’d be missing out on the host of benefits provided by management software – from saving your precious time to boosting the impact of your posts.

Plus, media management tools offer game-changing features you can’t get on social networking sites themselves – things like letting you schedule posts in advance, and taking advantage of your all-powerful data through analytics tools.


Do I really need to fork out money on social media tools?

Some great social media managers (like Hootsuite, Everypost and Social Pilot) offer free plans – and they all have free trial options. These no-commitment versions take the stress out of running several social accounts, and can be a handy first step for beginners.

But to really reach new heights with your social media marketing, it can pay off to pay a little. You may be surprised by the ROI (return on investment) even basic plans provide – by giving you more access to the AI marketing muscles that drive real business results.



HOW?

How do you choose the top social media management platform?

Our crack team honed in on the 4 most important aspects of social media management for small businesses and entrepreneurs specifically. To get in our good books, it needed to give you what you want the most, so it needed to tick these boxes:

  1. User Experience – How user-friendly is the software?
  2. Features – All-you-can-eat, or all you need? Does it work with all major social networks?
  3. Price – Will it work for small businesses on a shoestring? And more importantly, does it offer value for money?
  4. Customer support – How responsive and helpful are their team?

If the software shines in these areas, it’s bound to work well for you.

How do I know which one is best for me?

Of course, all small businesses are unique. We understand there’s no one-size-fits-all media management tools. Our review below will help you grasp the differences between the tools on offer, and what type of businesses will best suit which software.

To help you assess your own needs, just ask yourself 3 key questions:

  1. What are you hoping to achieve with social media marketing?
  2. Why are you looking for a social media management tool?
  3. What are your must have features?

Ready? Let’s dig in.



WHICH?

Which are the best social media management tools for small businesses?

You’ve seen the full lists. Now, for the break-down…

Top 5 social media management tools for: all-rounders

1. Sprout Social – For action-packed media management

Sprout Social Pros – very intuitive, easy-to-use, Digital Asset Library to store your media, clean interface
Cons – limited reporting, sometimes slow to load
Price from – £69/month
Value for money★★★★★

What is Sprout Social?

Sprout Social is bound to impress, with one of the highest levels of user satisfaction, at 93%. That must be why it’s trusted by high-flyers in the media space, including Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Evernote and Zipcar.

Sprout Social makes social management easy, and lets team members collaborate over its platform, and provide stellar customer service. The software is available via web browser, iOS and Android, and supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.

To dig a little deeper, here’s their video:

Is it for me?

If you would appreciate some hand-holding in the world of social media for small businesses, Sprout Social wins hands down for customer experience.


2. eClincher – For hassle-free marketing and expert support

eclincher logo Pros – easy-to-use, affordable, devoted customer service, full integration with a range of channels
❌ Cons – outdated design, hard to see date of queued posts
Price from – £35/month
Value for money★★★★★

What is eClincher?

eClincher works as a great all-rounder for businesses of all sizes. It does everything you’d expect, including scheduling posts, content automation, engagement with live social feeds, keywords and hashtag monitoring, analytics, mobile app – and more.

If you find it hard to make time to produce new content, you’ll like the Auto Post queues which help you maintain an active social media presence, without the need for constant creation.

Then there’s the live analytics dashboard which can tap into your Google Analytics account, and provide up-to-the-minute insights.

Is it for me?

eClincher will be a match for anyone seeking full-frontal social media management. This is one of the most comprehensive tools around, and it even integrates with third-party software like Feedly and Canva, so you have a single dashboard for all your media needs.


3. Sendible – For fool-proof online marketing

sendible logo Pros – full editing features, easy-to-navigate dashboard, good value
❌ Cons – made with freelancers in mind, small learning curve
Price from – £25/month
Value for money★★★★★

What is Sendible?

Sendible is a popular media management tool that makes it easy for small business owners to engage with the right social media profiles, monitor their brand, and track results, all from one dashboard.

It’s optimal for finding new leads through social channels – plus, every time you interact with someone new on social media they are auto-added as a contact in Sendible’s Social CRM.

Is it for me?

Sendible users love its built-in social listening features which monitor keywords online to keep you ahead of the trends. Does that sound like you? And does this look like the kind of platform you could get on board with?

sendible dahsboard


4. CoSchedule – For staying on top of it all

coschedule logo Pros – swift integration with WordPress, dynamic calendar with colour coding, slick interface
❌ Cons – limited guidance of software
Price from – £40-45/month
Value for money★★★★

What is CoSchedule?

CoSchedule is a project management tool for mini marketing teams. It’s a great gadget for scheduling and collaboration, and lets small businesses plan their entire marketing campaign from one handy calendar.

But it goes further. With team workflows, it’s easy to collaborate on projects and assign tasks to get more done. You can also get your hands on need-to-know data about your team’s progress to help you drive productivity.

In their video, they explain more:

Is it for me?

Yes, if you like staying organised. The marketing calendar is key, and shows you your entire marketing strategy at a glance. Here’s what it looks like:

coschedule calendar


5. Agorapulse – For simple social networking and CRM

agorapulse logo Pros – feature-packed, easy-to-understand reports via PowerPoint, comes with an app, responsive customer service, handy notifications
❌ Cons – interface can be slow, some of the reports are already available on social media platforms
Price from – £35/month
Value for money★★★★

What is Agorapulse?

AgoraPulse is a media management and CRM platform that lets small business owners take charge of their social media marketing.

It makes it a breeze to schedule posts, monitor social channels, and get actionable reports all in one dashboard. It’s not complicated, and should be all most small businesses need.

As you would expect, AgoraPulse integrates nicely with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+, and you can dip your toes in with a free trial.

What makes it unique?

Agorapulse makes social media marketing easier and eons faster. It’s a great one for newcomers to the sport, thanks to its intuitive dashboard. You can see for yourself:

agorapulse dashboard



Top 5 management tools for: high-impact

1. SocialFlow – For getting heard on Facebook on Twitter

socialflow logo Pros – real-time data, good team-player with Facebook and Twitter
❌ Cons – you can only work on one account at a time
Price from – Quotes on request
Value for money★★★★★

What is Socialflow?

“SocialFlow Solves the “If a Tree Falls in a Forest” Problem”
Jeanne Meyer, Founder & CEO of Watch This Space Marketing

SocialFlow was made for brands and publishers who want to be heard on social media – especially Facebook and Twitter. Major publishers like NYT, WSJ, and Conde Nast all use it to optimise their social content.

SocialFlow harnesses real-time data to track the shifting interests of your audience, then helps direct you to the windows where your posts will be best received. So, their motto is: “Right message. Right audience. Right time.”

Is it for me?

SocialFlow’s unique algorithm is for small business owners looking to go one step further than scheduling posts. It uses real-time data to determine the best time for you personally.


2. Oktopost – For B2B social media made easy

oktopost logo Pros – easy-to-use, handy bulk upload feature
❌ Cons – limited customer support
Price from – Quotes on request
Value for money★★★★★

What is Oktopost?

While other media management tools work towards engagement and brand awareness, Oktopost takes you deeper into the data, so you can see the ROI of your social media content.

This tool specifically measures your social post to lead conversion, so you can identify what’s working for you – and what content you might like to change.

But Oktopost also scores well for scheduling, team collaboration and nice integration with social networks as well as leading e-commerce and analytic platforms.

Is it for me?

Oktopost is the only social media management tool that’s custom-built for B2B marketers, and the first one to track the ROI of your social accounts. Not only that, it has a user-friendly design. Here’s what it looks like:

oktopost dashboard


3. Crowdfire – For more followers, guaranteed!

crowdfire logo Pros – free for up to 2 social media accounts, growth guaranteed, helpful daily reminders
❌ Cons – follow4follow system is less effective at driving new customers, no integration with personal blogs
Price from – Quotes on request
Value for money★★★★★

What is Crowdfire?

Crowdfire claims it’s the biggest marketing tool for Twitter and Instagram, thanks to its guarantee of speedy growth online. It also offers exclusive features, including data about unfollows, and other more elaborate social media analytics.

The software has helped over 19 million businesses and entrepreneurs of all sizes to gain followers by targeting the right people for your brand. Its technology blocks irrelevant and spam accounts, and you can sell directly using DMs (direct messages).

Is it for me?

Crowdfire is for anyone who wants a quick and easy way to get more followers – they’re 100% guaranteed.


4. MavSocial – Hootsuite meets Photoshop

mavsocial logo Pros – easy-to-use, plenty of functionality (including some unique features)
❌ Cons – slight learning curve
Price from – £10-15/month
Value for money★★★★

What is MavSocial?

MavSocial is a winner for any small business owner who posts visual content on social media. The user-friendly platform lets you store, edit and publish visual marketing materials to all major social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.

Your team can securely upload your images, videos, and audio files to MavSocial’s cloud-based library, making them accessible (with the permissions you set) from any location across a single platform.

Although MavSocial may look like a pumped-up photo editing software, it is primarily a media management toolkit. Its robust campaign management features include content calendars, scheduling posts, as well as engagement analytics.

Is it for me?

If you’re a Photoshop fan, MavSocial will be your new best friend. Plus, it comes with exclusive features (like adding metadata to content for lightening-fast access) rolled in.


5. Canva – For a free and easy alternative to Photoshop

canva logo Pros – almost no learning curve, nifty templates
❌ Cons – basic features, software has occasional blips
Price from – Free/ from £9.99/month
Value for money★★★★

“I’m a one person office who needs all the assistance I can get. Canva was a God send for me.
– Susan Daniels, small business owner

What is Canva?

Canva is a visual design tools just like Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Publisher. But it has almost no learning curve, uses a freemium business model, and runs on the web.

Canva is ideal for small business looking to create an array of marketing content, from social media posts to infographics and even magazine templates.

The drag-and-drop functions will save you bags of time, but if you’ll want to craft branded content or organise your media effectively, the free version might not quite cut it.

Is it for me?

If you’re no Photoshop pro, but still want to up your visual content game, Canva can help. With Canva, you’ll be up and running in no time, and get an impressive range of editing features for free.


Top 5 social media management tools for: low-budgets

1. Zoho Social – For growing businesses

zoho logo Pros – user-friendly, perfect for teams, post to the minute, very responsive support, extremely cost-effective
❌ Cons – no Pinterest integration, some features are basic
Price from – £5-6/month
Value for money★★★★★

What is Zoho Social?

Zoho Social helps small business owners grow their brand awareness on social media, using data-driven and actionable insights into their engagement.

Zoho Social is big on analytics. The real-time dashboard lets you monitor your brand’s performance on social media, and the software even suggests the best times to post. Then there’s the keyword tracker and instant notifications, to ensure you are never left behind.

Here’s how they put it:

Is it for me?

Not only is Zoho Social ideal for budget-tight small businesses and start-ups, you also have the option of tapping into Zoho’s vast suite of apps to manage everything – from CRM to payroll.


2. SocialPilot – A big time-saver for little spenders

socialpilot logo Pros – big time saver, affordable, detailed and easy-to-digest analytics, bulk image scheduling
❌ Cons – less than intuitive interface, limited stats
Price from – £6-8/month/user
Value for money★★★★★

What is SocialPilot?

SocialPilot is one of the easiest and most wallet-friendly ways of managing all your social media accounts from a single platform. Not only will you boost brand awareness and traffic, you stay in the driving seat by being able to tailoring all your automated posts.

SocialPilot is a time saver, letting you create and schedule your posts to the widest range of social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vk, Tumblr and Xing.

Is it for me?

SocialPilot doesn’t overcomplicate your social media output, and makes the most time-consuming tasks a walk in the park. That means it’s ideal for busy first-timers looking for a crystal-clear interface. Here’s what theirs looks like:

socialpilot dashboard


3. Everypost – For an intuitive dashboard

everypost logo Pros – great user experience, extremely intuitive interface, good audience reach
❌ Cons – can take time to master
Price from – Free / £6.99/month
Value for money★★★★

What is Everypost?

This social media tool simplifies the task of juggling different accounts. It’s a popular solution amongst small businesses and entrepreneurs because of how easy it is to customise and schedule your content.

Everypost works well with all the key media platforms, and its algorithms help grow the social profiles who engage with your brand. But the main reason Everypost is so popular is its intuitive interface which guides you through the post creation process.

Is it for me?

Everypost is one to watch for small businesses who like staying in control, sinc this software lets you craft and schedule tailored content for each social network.


4. Hootsuite – The media management celeb

Hootsuite Pros – user-friendly, great for beginners, deep-dive analytics, top customer support
❌ Cons – platform can have glitches when posting URLs, some analytics can lag behind
Price from – £16/month
Value for money★★★★

What is Hootsuite?

No list of top media management tools would be complete without Hootsuite. Used by over 15 million people worldwide, it is probably the biggest tool on the market today.

This all-in-one platform lets you curate and schedule content, measure social ROI, run social media ads – and much more. It comes with default reports for all your accounts, or you can customise your own with the information that matters to you.

And, used by over 800 of the Fortune 1000 companies, it’s got to be doing something right.

Here is what you need to know:

Is it for me?

With a customer service that’s second to none, Hootsuite is a top option for social media novices.


5. SocialOomph – For a hike in social productivity

socialoomph logo Pros – Twitter pro, effective search function, possible to send DMs
❌ Cons – Twitter-focused, less rigorous analytics than some competitors
Price from – £4.97/fortnight
Value for money★★★★

What is SocialOomph?

SocialOomph was built to boost social media productivity by scheduling and tracking posts across a range of platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plurk, App.net, and any blogs you have.

This is a turbo-charged tool for Twitter fans, with advanced features that grow your follower lists using recommendations and keyword searches. And unlike many of its competitors, you can send DMs directly via the software.

Is it for me?

SocialOomph is perfect if your go-to social media platform is Twitter, but you can also manage others here.



WHERE NOW?

Where can I get tailored quotes?

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of what social media management software can do for you, and what you want out of it.

Now, you can slice through the noise and go straight to the Number 1 software or shortlist of providers who will work best for you personally.

To get your tailored quotes, just take 60 seconds to fill in the form below, and you can get your hands on your best matches now.