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The best social media management tools 2019

Social media management is vital for any small business in 2019. Looking for a budget-friendly tool, an all-rounder, or something high impact? We’re here to help

There was a time when people thought social media was nothing more than a passing fad – a gadget for insecure teens, and a million miles from any business strategy.

Today, there are 3.9 billion internet users, and there are 2.89 billion people with active social media accounts.

This makes social networks a 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 it can seem overwhelming. What should I post? How often? And when? The good news is, there are plenty of easy-access tools with all the answers.

Think of social media management software like your very own marketing expert, tasked with planning, scheduling, and posting your social media content across all platforms.

The best tools will break down the trickiest parts – from crafting powerful content, right through to data crunching – and provide you with the analytics you need to drive engagement and measure your success.

But deciding on a social media management tool can be difficult: How easy are they to use? What are the costs like? And how do you go about hiring external help to assist with all of this, should you wish to do so?

We’ve compiled a guide that tells you everything you need to make the most informed decision. This guide includes an in-depth look at some of the best social media management tools for small business, advice on choosing the right tool, as well as tips to consider when hiring an agency. So the only question you need to ask is: which social media tool is right for my small business?

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to skip the work and hire a professional to do it for you, try completing the form above – this will allow you to compare quotes for digital marketing agencies, based on your company’s specific requirements.

Best social media management tools: At a glance

ToolBest forPrice range (price from)
Sprout SocialAction-packed media management$99 per user/month
CoScheduleStaying on top of it all on social mediaVaries depending on the organiser(s) chosen
AgorapulseSimple social networking€79/month (billed annually)
OktopostB2B social mediaQuotes on request
CrowdfireMore followers$7.48/month
Zoho SocialGrowing businesses£8/month (billed annually)
HootsuiteThe celebrity of social media management£25/month

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 – $99 per user/month

Value for money – ★★★★★

What is Sprout Social?

With one of the highest scores for user satisfaction, Sprout Social is bound to impress. That must be why it’s trusted by so many high-flyers in the media space, including Glassdoor and Vice.

Sprout Social makes social management easy. It allows team members to collaborate over its platform, and provides stellar customer service. The software is available via web browser, as well as iOS and Android mobile apps. It can support Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Is it for me?

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

CoSchedule – For staying on top of it all

coschedule logo

Pros

  • Swift integration with WordPress
  • Dynamic calendar with colour coding
  • Slick interface

Cons 

  • Could be easier to use

Price from – Varies depending on the chosen organiser(s). CoSchedule offers an editorial calendar for individuals and startups. A range of organisers are available in the marketing suite of products, including a marketing calendar, as well as work, asset, content and social organisers. 

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 you plan your entire marketing campaign from one handy calendar.

But CoSchedule goes further than that. 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.

Is it for me?

If you like staying organised, then yes! CoSchedule’s marketing calendar is a key factor, and shows you your entire marketing strategy at a glance:

coschedule calendar

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 – €79/month (billed annually)

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, and LinkedIn, and you can test the water with a free trial before diving in.

What makes it unique?

Agorapulse makes social media marketing quicker and easier. Thanks to its intuitive dashboard, it’s a great platform for newcomers to the field:

agorapulse dashboard

Note that the price is in Euros and the sample image is in French.

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 social media management tools work towards engagement and brand awareness, Oktopost takes you deeper into the data, so you can see the ROI (return on investment) of your social media content.

This tool specifically measures how many converted leads you are generating per social post, 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 its nice integration with social networks, as well as its leading ecommerce and analytic platforms.

Is it for me?

Oktopost is a social media management tool that’s custom-built for B2B (business-to-business) marketers. It can track the ROI of your social accounts, and boasts a particularly user-friendly design:

oktopost dashboard

Crowdfire – For more followers

crowdfire logo

Pros 

  • Free for one social media account
  • Growth-focused
  • Helpful daily reminders

Cons 

  • Email support is only available on the Premium and VIP plans

Price from – $7.48/month

Value for money – ★★★★★

What is Crowdfire?

Crowdfire claims to be the only social media management tool you'll ever need, thanks to its high number of users and focus on growth. It also offers a broad array of features, including an automatic best time to post feature, as well as the ability to customise your post times. Plus, it offers post performance and engagement metrics, as well as more advanced analytics. 

The software has helped over 19 million users worldwide. You can schedule and publish content however you like, as well as curate content from your Shopify or Etsy account.

Is it for me?

Crowdfire is for anyone in search of a quick and easy way to get more followers.

Zoho Social – For growing businesses

zoho logo

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Perfect for teams
  • Precise publishing
  • Comprehensive support
  • Cost-effective

Cons

  • No Pinterest integration
  • Some features are basic

Price from – £8/month (billed annually)

Value for money – ★★★★★

What is Zoho Social?

Zoho Social helps small business owners to 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 monitor and team collaboration features, which ensure that you’re never left behind.

Is it for me?

Not only is Zoho Social ideal for small businesses and startups with tight budgets, but you also have the option of tapping into Zoho’s vast suite of apps to manage everything from CRM to payroll.

Hootsuite – The media management celeb

hootsuite

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Great for beginners
  • Deep-dive analytics
  • Free online courses

Cons

  • Platform can be glitchy when posting URLs
  • Some analytics can lag behind

Price from – £25/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’s 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.

Hootsuite is used by over 800 of the Fortune 1000 companies – so it’s got to be doing something right.

Is it for me?

With comprehensive support available, Hootsuite is a popular choice among social media novices.

How do I choose a social media management tool?

When choosing a social media management tool for your small business, you should hone in on these five important aspects. To get in your good books, the right tool should tick the following boxes and criteria:

  • User experience – consider how friendly and accessible the software is to use. Think about if you need training or advanced knowledge, or if you can simply set it up and start scheduling
  • Features – assess the features each tool offers: do you need the basic elements, or a package with plenty of options? You should also ensure that your chosen tool works with all major social networks
  • Price – will it work for your startup’s budget? And more importantly, does it offer value for money? 
  • Customer support – find out how you can contact customer service, as well as how responsive and helpful the team is
  • Goals – think about what you are hoping to achieve with social media marketing, and why you are looking for a social media management tool

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

Pros and cons of social media management tools

ProsCons
- Get organised
- Save time
- Save money
- Boost sales
- Manage crises
- Crunch data
- Lack of strategy
- Still requires some time to manage
- Additional costs for extra features or upgrades
- No tone of voice assistance
- Have to handle worst-case situations independently
- Analysis and planning skills required to maximise reporting

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 get organised, and to manage all your channels from one simple interface.

But how do you know if what you’re doing on one channel will work for the others? Although social media platforms do have some overlap, there are a lot of differences between them too. This is where an agency could step in to offer specific expertise, as social media management tools lack strategy – while they’re great in telling you when to post, they can’t assist you with what to post.

Social media management software does the legwork for you, meaning you can multiply your reach without duplicating your workload. Scheduling your posts in advance also lets you tap into peaks in traffic, without having to work weekends – all helping you to save time.

However, you’ll still need to dedicate some time to scheduling content and using the tools. Consider outsourcing social media management to an agency, who can take the task off your hands completely. 

Budget

In 2018/19, UK-based small business owners were predicted to spend around 16% of their budgets on marketing. But because social media management software is like having your very own marketing pro on board, you can save money that might be spent hiring an ad agency or social media manager.

However, you may need to budget for more than one platform to get all the features you want. You’ll also need to account for updating it as the technology develops. By contrast, with a social media agency, you wouldn’t need to worry about additional costs, as these are likely to be factored into the fee.

Growth

In order to grow your business, it isn’t enough to simply be present on social media: 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, and could help to boost sales.

While the tools can suggest the best posting times, you’ll still need to create content that fits your brand ethos and connects with your customers, without pushing a hard sell. A social media management tool can’t help with tone of voice, whereas an agency could.  

Crises

Social media is valuable for brand building, but sometimes, it’s your first line of defence against harmful PR. Many social media management tools give you live updates and alerts – this means you can come to the rescue of your brand at the right time, manage crises, and stop a bad post costing you customers.

But if the worst should happen, an agency would know from previous experiences what to do, plus have the team on hand to manage the situation. In contrast, with social media management tools, you’re on your own when it comes to handling any worst-case scenarios.

Data

Social media is an ever-changing landscape, and sooner or later, you’ll need AI (artificial intelligence) expertise. And with most software offering easy-to-digest data analytics, you can go one step further. Crunch data to find out which posts are working, what’s trending, and get to know your customers better.

Although data is available, some tools only offer limited reporting. Also, you’ll need to have sufficient analysis and planning skills in order to work off the data provided from reports. This is something an agency could help with, as reporting is often a key feature of their services.

Should I hire an agency for my social media management?

In this section, we’ll discuss which aspects of social media management you can take care of on your own, and which you might need help with, when deciding if hiring an agency is best for your company. Plus, we’ll look at the costs involved with both options. 

Benefits of in-house management

  • Control of software used
  • Cost-effective
  • Focused on your company only
  • Thorough understanding of brand values
  • Develop internal talent

Benefits of outsourcing

  • Access to multiple software packages and tools
  • Work with industry professionals
  • Gives you back the time to focus on other areas of your business
  • Experience of handling social media crises
  • Fresh, creative thinking
  • Affordable options are available

The best social media management agencies

Here, we showcase some of the best social media management agencies for small businesses in the UK.

Yell – best for affordability

With more than 20 years of experience connecting businesses with online customers, Yell could be an ideal choice for budget-conscious startups in need of social media management. 

Yell offers the following digital marketing packages:

Package typeWhat’s included?Monthly starting price from
Promotion- Yell.com sponsored listing
- Social advertising on Facebook (a campaign managed for you)
- PPC
- Reputation manager (for accurate details online)
- Display advertising
£56
Presence- A website optimised for mobile
- Reputation manager
- Video
£60
Total marketing- Fully managed website
- Video
- Reputation manager
- Sponsored listing on Yell.com
- PPC
- Social advertising (a Facebook campaign managed for you)
- Display advertising
£84
Premier management service- Tailored to your business
- SEO audit
- SEO recommendations
- Advanced PPC campaign
- Social ads on Facebook, Instagram, Bing, Google Display Network, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest
Custom - note that the premier service is also available across all other Yell products (websites, video etc.), subject to a minimum monthly spend.

In addition, all packages come with:

  • Customer service
  • Online account management dashboard
  • Yell for Business app

Due to its multiple package offerings, not to mention its low prices, we think Yell is particularly suited to startups that are looking for simple, cost-effective way to try out agency-style social media management.

Born Social – best for aspirational small businesses

Born Social works with startups through to big, recognisable businesses, including Nando’s and the BBC. Boasting seven years of experience, the agency operates using a social-first approach.

Born Social offers the following services:

ServiceExplanation
StrategyIt can outline the approach to take
CreativeIt has its own in-house content and production team
MediaIt can run paid social campaigns
Management Social media management, including project management, community management, influencer management, scheduling, and reporting – is available seven days a week

Born Social is especially suitable for small businesses who are looking to grow, and that want to put social media at the forefront of their marketing strategy. 

Contact Born Social for quotes.

Little Media Agency – best for startup-to-startup social media management

Birmingham-based Little Media Agency is listed by app media publication The Business of Apps as one of the Top Social Media Agencies of 2019. Meanwhile, Clutch – a data-focused guide for B2B ratings and reviews – also included Little Media Agency on its list of the Top UK Social Media Marketing Companies. 

Little Media Agency offers the following services:

ServiceExplanation
Social mediaWith social media, the agency can assist with content creation, management, and advertising, as well as running workshops with on-site teams
Video marketingShort video production
BloggingWriting and posting SEO-friendly blog posts

Due to its small size, Little Media Agency could be a perfect fit for startups who are wanting to work with another small business.  

Contact Little Media Agency for quotes. A free consultation is also available.

Next steps

Hootsuite is by far the most popular social media management system, and with prices starting at £25 per month (or £99 per month per team), it’ll pay for itself in next to no time.

If you operate B2B, Oktopost is the agency for you. But if costings are your biggest concern, and you have a small team, then Crowdfire ($7.48 per month) is the best for stretching that shoestring budget.

However, if you’re looking to supercharge your startup’s social media management, then hiring an agency could be ideal – and Yell, Born Social, and Little Media Agency are some of the best around. Not only do you get access to professionals’ expertise with an agency, but it lessens your own workload, freeing you up to focus on other areas of your business. 

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