The best social media tools for engagement, automation and monitoring.
With so many social media tools at your disposal, it can be hard to know what to choose and how to measure ROI. At Marzipan Media we assessed some of the best tools for your business or start up on the market today.
We determined that the right social media tools need to focus on four core elements:
- Workflow management
- Evaluating & Reporting
Each of the tools outlined below is capable of performing most or all of your needs right out of the box. We’ve kept it broad here but can offer a tailored service to find your company or start up the best tool for your organisation.
We look first at ‘all-in-one’ social media tools. They are industry leaders in their class that offer broad-based features to enhance and streamline your communications both internally and externally. They can, if you wish, be paired up with single-purpose tools that specialise in listening and monitoring to gain even greater insight to your audience sentiments. We will examine these in another post.
Single purpose vs All in One Platform
There are numerous social media platforms that either focus on improving a specific aspect of social media management while others provide a single platform that works across multiple parts of social media management.
Solutions which offer a broad range of features try to provide users with a single solution that can be used to manage all or most of their social media activity. On the other hand, specific tools offer a deep specialisation in a single or specific area or functionality within the Social Media landscape, e.g. Reporting and Analytics.
Whilst, “all-in-one” solutions are very good in some key areas of social media they tend not to deliver the best in-class features right across the spectrum social media management, thus it can be worth supplementing them.
The key considerations when using multiple platforms is the requirement for social media managers to manage multiple user IDs and to be proficient in more than one platform.
From ten of the best all-inclusive tools the short list below shows our recommendation for all in one systems that work on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These tools provide broad-based skills across a range of needs.
The top social media tools 2019 reviewed:
Hootsuite have been managing social media platforms since 2008. The system’s user interface takes the form of a vertical dashboard, and now supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.
Hootsuite lets you build your social audience across multiple networks with solutions for social publishing, scheduling, and more. Hootsuite also allows you to target messages by location or demographic profile, and schedule them to post at the best time automatically based on your channel data. It also allows you to boost your social advertising performance through campaign optimisation features and services.
Workflow is made easy with the ability to assign tasks and communicate within the app. A social media calendar can be easily shared and viewed for approvals however Hootsuite does not allow you to preview posts as they appear in situ.
It is easy to share your success with your team with Hootsuite’s easy reporting tools allowing for one-click report exports to Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and CSV formats. The overview report divides your social accounts into four views: posts, followers, engagement, and metrics. This is a nice way to get a broad view of how your social channels are performing, but the dashboard also lets users dig into the minutiae of different social data points.
If you need more than what’s on offer out of the box, Hootsuite’s longevity on the scene means it can work smarter by integrating with over 150 free and paid tools to extend your insights to one dashboard. It is Hootsuite’s age that can provide some of its major drawbacks, with a sometimes clunky and un-appealing aesthetic that can take a bit of time to get used to and navigate.
- Emoji support
- Visual reporting
- Extend tools with range of plug ins and add ons
- Insitu preview unavailable
- Limited reporting – no total community metric or overview
- No phone support available
Sprout Social makes “social media management, advocacy and analytics software for businesses”. Sprout is a great tool that allows you to easily communicate with customers on social channels, collaborate across teams and measure the effectiveness of their efforts, and provide clear and concise reporting.
It’s a highly visual piece of software that is intuitive and easy to use. Sprout’s social media management tools can help you and your team monitor, respond, measure and collaborate to ensure smarter and faster communication. Whether posting updates or engaging with consumers, Sprout’s publishing tools make communication across networks and devices seamless. It is a highly visual tool with easy to view reporting and an intuitive dashboard to navigate. You can easily provide calendar views to showcase planned content of all channels in one spot, so you’re not pulling content from multiple locations to share your plan.
The platform allows you to view network, profile and message-level insights for one or many profiles with in-depth channel reporting across Facebook, Twitter and, should you choose to extend your channel mix, Instagram. Sprout’s strength comes from its analytics. The platform goes beyond post specific metrics to uncover valuable social media management insights like trends in responsiveness and engagement. Collaboration is easy and you can set team members up to draft and submit messages for approval making approval easy. It does not include device or channel specific viewing of draft content as all content lives within the calendar view of the site.
This shared content calendar provides a comprehensive view of upcoming messages across your entire team allowing you all to review, edit and add content where needed.
- In depth, visual reporting allowing you to easily benchmark growth and identify strengths and weaknesses
- Collaboration is easy and workflow management is simple and streamlined
- Gifs & Emojis easily integrated into all posts and channels
- Easily boost posts direct from Sprout
- Requires some self confidence to get the best of the tool
- Device specific previews unavailable
AgoraPulse is a fairly new social community and moderation tool only allowing full social suite integrations in 2014. The platform has been expanded to include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. AgoraPulse scores highly for being very user-friendly and can be implemented with little or no prior training. It offers flexibility, a short learning curve, and topnotch customer support compared to some of the other solutions we investigated. It’s currently picking up all of the top ratings across social review sites.
The key benefit of AgoraPulse is the ease at which it lets you collaborate and publish content. Publishing a single piece of content to multiple social profiles at once is a great way of saving time but not all channels are the same. Agorapulse gives you the ability to customise your multi-published piece of content for each social network. Want to put hashtags on Twitter but strip them on Facebook for example? AgoraPulse makes it easy to tweak content quickly and easily.
The platform boasts easy to use publishing & approval workflow, allowing you to keep track of who has published what, and assign levels of access to each team member. This helps with engaging with your audiences as you can assign tasks to each team member and easily view your inbox and comments from each of your social channels. With Hootsuite, you have to click through each post to uncover the comments, with AgoraPulse it’s all visible all of the time making it effortless to keep on track of your engagement. AgoraPulse helps you save time each day by taking just a few minutes in the morning to review the overnight interactions and check in through the day or as soon as we receive alerts from them. It’s cleaner and easier to view than Hootsuite and Mav Social.
The content report lets you identify your posts that achieve the best reach, engagement and clicks for any given period. Reporting is made easy with their downloadable PowerPoint or CSV exports. They also provide clean and visual ways of understanding your analytics and insights on your audience, engagement, and brand awareness. Discover how your hashtags and content tags are faring.
- In depth reporting allowing community metrics, keyword and hashtag tracking on all channels and audience metrics
- Facebook integrations for polls, quizzes and photo contests
- Clear dashboard view of your channels in one place
- Phone support available
- No photo reply in comments allowed
- Device specific previews unavailable
- Strictly social media – no blogs or news reporting included
MAVSocial was built with visual content in mind. It is a perfectly integrated social media platform designed to help businesses organise and approved visual content, seamlessly publishing it to each of the major social networks. One thing that sets it apart from other social management tools is its digital media library, where you can store all your videos, images and audio files. MAVSocial boasts of powerful yet user-friendly content and marketing features allowing you to stay in control of your communities easily and affordably. Their “visual first” approach gives you added tools that may not be featured in the other tools we’ve examined such as quick access to stock images and in-built photo editing software to get the best out of your images. Handy if you’re own image library is hard to manage or locate professional imagery.
While MAVSocial excels at image first capabilities it comes at the cost of monitoring with only rudimentary reporting and monitoring available currently. Although they insist these are “coming soon”.
You can plan your posts in advance using the campaign calendar and preview them to make sure it’s consistent across all your accounts. You can also boost posts directly from the platform making it a true all in one place to work.
Collaboration is included allowing you to work effectively with team members and protect your social media accounts with individualised permissions and approval processes. Like many of the tools we’ve outlined above previews are not device ready but can be viewed on a channel by channel basis.
- Photo editing supporting in site
- Easy access to free stock images
- Boost within the platform
- Gifs and emojis supported
- Needs a little time to get up to speed
- Device specific previews unavailable
- Tagging people and locations is under development
Hope that helps choose the right social media monitoring tool for you!