Our Picks: 4 Platforms to Make Managing Your Social Media a Breeze
Updated: Jun 23
We all know that a strong social media game is a non-negotiable for a thriving business these days. We also know that you don’t have the time to waste logging into every single social account everyday to find, create, and post content, let alone analyze data and respond to comments.
That’s why you need a social media management system that allows you to manage all your channels in one place, schedule and publish at your preferred times, and get detailed analytics to help you amplify your reach. There’s a slew of options for platforms that can do all this - and more - for you. But which one is right for you?
Hootsuite has gained a reputation as the industry leader in social media marketing and management, as their claim to fame is that they are “trusted by employees at 800+ of the Fortune 1000.” Companies as diverse as LiveNation, the University of Washington, and the AARP are currently using it to create, post, and analyze their social media. Hootsuite offers the widest array of integrations of different accounts, ranging from the expected Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to the more unique Spotify, Reddit, and Slack. Plans start at just $29/month, which allows just one user to link up to 10 social media profiles and schedule unlimited posts. Right now, Hootsuite is offering a limited Free plan, which allows one user to link up to three social media profiles and schedule up to 30 posts at a time (and additional posts once any of those 30 are published).
Bottom line: Hootsuite is extremely user-friendly and intuitive, but it’s slightly pricier than its competitors below. If you want to spend minimal time learning how to use a management system and can afford to spend some cash to do so, this is a great option for you. Hootsuite also has the best team collaboration aspects, so if you’re lucky enough to have a whole team managing your social, this is your best bet.
Buffer invites its customers, “Tell your brand’s story and grow your audience with a publishing, analytics, and engagement platform you can trust.” It’s an official marketing partner of Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and as well-respected, if somewhat less widely-used, as Hootsuite. Like Hootsuite, it’s a fairly intuitive interface with a dashboard displaying all of your social profiles on one page, and includes options to both plan your content and analyze its effectiveness after it’s posted. If your business has been impacted by COVID-19, this is an excellent option, as Buffer is offering extended 90-day trials for new customers, as well as gifting premium options for that same time period. If Instagram is one of your primary channels, Buffer offers the unique ability to include a first comment on your IG posts and to add a “shop grid” to get customers moving quickly from your Instagram bio to your online store. Plans start at $12/month for one user, eight social accounts, and the ability to schedule up to 100 posts.
Bottom line: Choose Buffer if you’re looking for a more affordable option, your business has been impacted by COVID-19, or you’re using Instagram as one of your primary professional channels.
Sendible has a content recommendation tool, which allows users to search for a topic or hashtag and access an infinite list of related content and images to post. It can also auto-reply and even auto-tweet on Twitter if users set up monitoring alerts for certain topics or hashtags. Sendible links to the usual suspects in terms of social accounts, as well as five popular blogging platforms including WordPress, Medium, Blogspot, and Tumblr. Their cheapest accounts start at $24/month with a 14-day free trial, which allows one user to link up to 12 platforms. Sendible also includes a customer CRM, which helps you build relationships with new customers, tailor your communication (broadly and with individuals) to your audience, and use location-specific tagging.
Bottom line: This is the right choice if your business is active on a lot of (read: more than eight) social channels, or if you’re particularly interested in finding new customer leads through your social media strategy.
Later is known as the industry leader in social media managing and marketing for Instagram specifically. Whereas Buffer is great for Instagram as well as other social platforms, Later is the go-to for Instagram-only businesses or brands that are truly prioritizing Instagram as their number one audience. They describe themselves as “The user-friendly - and wallet-friendly - Hootsuite alternative.” They offer fewer linked accounts than the options above, with only Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest available. Plans start at $7.50/month if billed annually, which enables one profile and 30 posts per platform. Other plan options include features like hashtag suggestions, recommendations for the best time to post on Instagram, and Twitter click tracking.
Bottom line: Choose Later if you’re looking for the lowest-cost option and you use four or fewer social channels, or if you want to go all-in on your Instagram strategy.