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Social media management tools: where do you even start?

Here are the 10 top social media management tools you need to know. Learn the advantages of social media marketing and how to grow your business with the right tools.

In years past, social media had a reputation for "whatever works, works" — but current social media managers (SMMs) will tell you that's far from the right approach.

Content, design, analytics, listening, influencers...the list of *things* on SMMs' minds is nearly endless. Having one hub to schedule comments, keep track of mentions, follow hashtags, and schedule content leaves organized social media managers more time to focus on what really matters: the customer.

At the end of the day, you'll probably find an even split of marketers who value genuine interactions with the community versus those that value conversions earned from social. But, we're not here to debate that. The point is, the right social media management tool will free up time to spend as you see fit, while also providing an on-brand, consistent impression of your brand to followers.

Finding the right tool for your needs is essential, and it starts with figuring out what you want to accomplish.

Why use social media management tools?

Social media is about listening to your customers as much as it’s about promoting your own content and products. That’s the theory, anyway.

But many businesses’ social media feeds are just long lists of posts about themselves. There’s no engagement, no interaction, and they don’t even bother to respond to customer comments or questions. And customers notice.

The good news is, you don’t have to be that business. The right social media management tool can help you engage with your customers by liking and commenting on their posts. It can also work out what content they’re interested in so you can tailor your output to your audience.

Have followers in different timezones? Many social media tools let you reach the right people when they’re online. And all with a bit of personality.

Let’s start with some top tools, then we’ll dig into the features.

Top 11 social media tools for marketing

Here’s our list of leading social media management tools in 2024:

The free version has tons of useful features, so you can easily manage your company’s social accounts without burning your entire marketing budget. You can even create Facebook and Instagram stories from within the app.

Known for its simple and intuitive interface, Buffer allows users to schedule posts across various social media channels and provides analytics to track performance.

With Sprout Social, you can save replies to commonly asked questions, and get Message Spike Alerts when there’s a major jump in mentions or keywords related to your brand or industry.

Focused primarily on Instagram scheduling and management, Later also supports other platforms and offers visual planning tools.

This tool provides content scheduling, recycling, and categorization features, allowing users to manage their social media presence efficiently.

Agorapulse offers scheduling, monitoring, and reporting features, along with advanced moderation and collaboration tools.

Known for its robust editorial calendar and social media scheduling features, CoSchedule is popular among content marketers.

Set up an RSS feed to automatically publish blog content to social platforms, and define rules to flag broken messages.

Falcon.io provides a unified platform for social media management, including scheduling, monitoring, engagement, and analytics, suitable for larger enterprises.

Tailwind is primarily known for its Pinterest and Instagram scheduling and analytics tools, with features tailored for visual content.

There are other tools out there, but that should get you pointed in the right direction. Now what can these tools actually do for you?

Benefits of social media marketing tools

Here are some of the main features of social media management tools that help you overcome your business challenges.

Schedule posts at just the right time

Want to post that new article at 6pm, right when you’re planning to be in the gym? Planning to be out of office the rest of the week but want to keep your content flowing? Noticed that your posts perform best at 2am, but prefer to be sleeping at that time?

Use a social media tool to automatically schedule posts for those inconvenient hours.

Or even better: let the software pick the time that it thinks is best based on past performance. But keep an eye on your posts to make sure they’re working how you hoped.

Sprout Social's social media scheduling feature.

Know what to post with analytics and reporting

Need to know how many likes, shares, comments, views, and link clicks your social media posts have had? Not sure how your Facebook marketing is going? Or want to drop your daily visits to Twitter Insights and get all your data in one spot?

This is where social media analytics and reporting comes in.

If you’re just starting out with social media, it can be difficult to know what to post. But once you know how your posts are performing, you can work out what resonates with your audience and do more of that. You can even get analytics on how specific links perform on social media with a custom URL shortener like Bitly.

Equally important is learning what doesn’t work. It’s a big step toward improving your social media marketing strategy.

Buffer social media reporting.

Stay in touch on the go with mobile apps

Social media management mobile apps make it easy to stay on top of your channels when you’re on the move. Don’t let going out of pocket be an excuse for being out of touch.

With mobile marketing apps, your team can share interesting innovations, product demos, celebrity cameos, and more while at conferences, in the office, or really, anywhere.

Keep an ear on the buzz with social media listening

What are people saying about you? Social media management tools let you monitor social media mentions of your brand name and other keywords you care about.

Listen for conversations that impact your brand, like customer complaints or trending industry news.

This helps you respond quickly to any negative comments. And it makes it easy for you to add timely, valuable input to relevant conversations.

And it sure is nice to keep up with all those positive mentions too. 🙂

Hootsuite social listening tool.

Integrate with the other tools you use

With the right tool, your social media info can flow seamlessly between your social media accounts and other apps like your CRM, customer success software, or email marketing system.

Let’s say you’ve received a complaint about your product or service on Twitter.

If your social media accounts aren’t connected to your customer service system, your customer success team won’t be able to respond effectively. Integrations make sure that relevant info is shared.

Remember: if there’s a specific product you need your social media tool to work with, check that program’s website to see if it’s listed there. These are typically called "integrations."

Collaborate to stay connected

Consistency is key to social media marketing success. If you post ten times one day, then not at all for the next three weeks, your followers will forget about you.

You also need to be on the ball when responding to interactions and messages across channels. This is why it's essential to have a team of individuals helping to handle your social media profiles.

Even if you’re a small business or startup with a single social media manager, these people get sick and need the occasional vacation. The right software helps multiple people share the social media responsibility.

Agora Pulse team collaboration.

Get started with a free trial

This isn’t technically a feature, but it’s important to try before you buy—and social media management tools are no exception.

Free social media management tools and trials are pretty common. So you can try out the basic features of a few alternatives and make an informed decision.

Choosing the right social media solution

It’s tough to choose the right social media management tool when there are so many on the market. They all have similar features, and they all promise they’ll transform your business beyond your wildest dreams.

So, instead of suffering from choice paralysis:

  • Make a realistic list of all the problems you want the software to solve

  • Research each feature to see how it can solve the issue

  • Ask software companies to demo how their product can help you overcome these problems

  • Sign up to a free trial, or free version of the software

So little to lose, so much to gain. Because with the right social media management tool, you can go from one-way monologues to meaningful conversations with your audience.

Looking for unique ways to engage your social audience? Get started with a social media quiz.

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