How to Choose the Right Social Media Tool
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on the right social media tool for your business. Here are some of the major features you'll want to think about when picking a social media management platform.
Supported Social Networks
Possibly the first decision a business will need to make is which social media sites they're looking to target. Not every SMM software covers the same sites, so you'll want to know your audience.
For example, if you're targeting a younger audience, you'll want to make sure you get a software that can post on TikTok and Snapchat (Loomly). But if you're largely video-based, YouTube is a must-have, so springing for Hootsuite or Sprout Social is a smart move.
Cost will obviously be a large deciding factor when a business is looking for any kind of software or tool. The cost of SMM software can range from anywhere between $12 per month to $599 per month (or even more if you factor in bespoke tiers), so it can be as affordable as you need it to be, as long as you're okay with missing out on some features.
Posting and User Limits
Depending on the size of your business, you'll want to make sure you're not going to find your social media campaigns halted mid-month because of any posting limitations. That's why considering the amount of posts and user profiles you'll need is important.
The good news is that almost all platforms offer unlimited posts across all plans, with the only exceptions being HubSpot and Sendible. But if you want multiple employees to have access to your social media management, you'll want a platform like CoSchedule or Loomly, both of which offer high amounts of user profiles.
Finally, there might be something your business cannot operate without. For example, your business might absolutely need to know when it's being mentioned on Twitter. If that's the case, you'll want a feature included with HubSpot or Sprout Social that alerts you whenever your business is mentioned on certain social media sites.
On the other hand, you might have no interest in that, but instead need complex analytics and the ability to create custom reports on these numbers. In which case, Buffer or Zoho have you covered. There are loads of features out there, so making sure your SMM choice has the features you need is key.
If you're new to the world of social media management, there are some important terms to understand that you might not be aware of. Here are some crucial keywords in the world of social media management:
- Email marketing integrations: The ability to connect your SMM software with any email marketing software you have, combining both of your customer relations systems
- Ecommerce integrations: The ability to connect your SMM software with your online store, which can allow you to increase conversions directly through your social media
- Post scheduling: Rather than having to write a post at the time you want it sent out, you can create posts in bulk and then set them on timers to be sent out over the course of the campaign
- Send time optimization: Some SMM software can assess the best time to send out a post (like when people are on a lunch break or on their phones in bed), allowing your post to be seen by the maximum amount of potential customers
- Listening: Get alerted whenever someone mentions your brand publicly, and even gauge the public sentiment of your business
- Analytics: Get a bird's eye view of your business by seeing which posts did well, which fell short, and figure out the best way to optimise your social media presence
- Message inbox: Rather than having to check all of your profiles' inboxes one by one, any messages sent to you on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram etc will be compiled into one easily accessible inbox
How Much Does a Social Media Management Tool Cost?
Obviously price is going to be one of the main decision factors for any business looking to invest in social media management software. And while every product will cost a different amount, here's a general sense of the cost behind SMM software.
Firstly, if you're really pinching pennies, there are free tiers offered by certain software providers. Both Hootsuite and Zoho have free tiers, though as you can assume, they're not loaded with every feature on the market.
Outside of free tiers, a basic plan will cost a business around $25 per month. For example, Sendible, Loomly, and Hootsuite all offer their lowest plan for exactly $25 a month.
If you want every attachment, however, you'll be paying considerably more. Many SMM software have higher tiers that cost around $250 a month, with Sprout Social, Sendible, and Loomly all costing around that amount. However, there are more expensive options, like Hootsuite's Business Plan ($599 a month). These all offer a user higher limits and advanced features, like content libraries and ad builders.
Finally, many SMM software platforms offer bespoke plans. Hootsuite and Sendinblue both offer bespoke plans that can be crafted by a user to fit their exact needs. The prices of these plans vary wildly depending on the limits and features the user wants.
How we make our recommendations
To help you choose the right social media management tool for your business, we’ve partnered with business software experts AppWiki. Using the AppWiki comparison chart, you can click through to find deals and discounts and decide on the best product for your needs. AppWiki’s recommendations are based on features, value for money, and aggregated user reviews from across various feedback systems.
We at Tech.Co also do our own independent research. We look at each software’s website, gather information on pricing tiers, features, and other noteworthy features. We then compile our research into a comparison table, weighing the software against each other and finding out where each software’s strengths and weaknesses lay.
For independent recommendations, advice and reviews, see our Tech.co social media management guides, below:
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