The best evaluated social media management tools

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social media management

# 1 Agorapulse

It may be that Agorapulse not as well known as Hootsuite, but has recently grown in popularity. It is the best qualified tool in all the points included in the infographic.

It was founded in 2011 and, originally, it was only integrated with Facebook. Since then, the number of functions included has been automated and now integrates Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn (profiles and pages), Google+ pages, as well as Facebook pages.

Agorapulse stands out when we talk about managing conversations in social medias because it clearly shows which mentions and comments require a response. It gives you access to detailed reports (available for download in Powerpoint) and an analysis of competitors. It also allows you to create Facebook apps and allows you to synchronize comments on your Instagram ads and dark Facebook posts.

Agorapulse is excellent for teams because it allows you to delegate certain roles to the members of your team. Agorapulse devastated each point of the evaluation: usability (9.3 / 10), user satisfaction (99/100), product direction (9.6 / 10), easy to learn (9.2), customer service (9.5 / 10) and compliance with requirements (8.7 / 10). The total rating given by users of this software in G2 Crowd is 4.6 out of 5.

In some cases, it may be more expensive, but you get more for your money. For example, you have unlimited access to reports in all plans, members of your team have access to the tool, you can use the analysis of competition and monitoring of Facebook ads in all plans starting at $ 99USD / month and onwards. The medium plan ($ 99USD / month) includes 5 members of your team, so you do not need to invest more money if you have a small team that helps you manage your social medias.

# 2 Buffer

In the infographic of last year, Buffer was not included. No number of people asked why. The reason why Buffer was excluded, back then, was because it was not a social media management tool.

Let me explain it.

There is something Buffer does very well: the publication. It allows you to program your publications on various social medias including Twitter, Facebook (profiles, pages and groups), LinkedIn (profiles and pages), Pinterest and Google+ pages. It also offers basic reports on its “Free” and “Awesome” plans and more detailed reports on its “Business” plans. Buffer does not offer information feeds or the ability to interact from the tool, so you need to find another complementary solution to do so.

However, in December 2015, Buffer acquired the customer service tool through social medias , Respondly. This tool, now called  Respond , and managed by Buffer. It allows you to interact with your users and provide customer service. Although Buffer does not integrate with Respond directly from the Buffer tool , Buffer is making the transition to a social media management tool, although disconnected. This, plus Buffer’s popularity, was the main reason to include it in this year’s infographic.

Buffer works for teams if you subscribe to a business plan.

Buffer was the best rated, as well as Agorapulse and Social Sprout, in usability (9.3 / 10), second in compliance with requirements (8.5 / 10) and a total rating in G2 Crowd of 4.5. Third was placed in the sections of user satisfaction (96/100) and ease of use (9.0 / 10) and fourth in the direction of the product (8.8 / 10) and support (8.3 / 10).

The mobile app is not perfect, but it is usable and great to work wherever you go.

If you are only interested in programming and publishing content, you can not go wrong with Buffer, unless you are an agency or business with several social media accounts. Your Business plan only has basic role management and can be expensive. Your Awesome  plan gives you access to 10 social media accounts for a single user for $ 10USD / month. The basic Business  plan costs 10 times more ($ 99USD / month) but only gives you 25 social media accounts and up to 6 members of your team. It would be cheaper to buy 6 Awesome plans , and you would have 60 social media accounts. The “large” Business plan , for example, offers you 100 social media accounts with access to 20 team members for $ 399USD / month and after that you need to contact Buffer about your Enterprise plan . The reports are very basic in the Awesome plan  are not better in the Business plan , with additional basic graphics.

The main problem with Buffer is that it only offers publication and basic reports. If you need help with conversation management, customer service, proficiency analysis, detailed analytics, you need to use an additional tool.

If you need a complete social media management tool, then combining Buffer with your conversation management tool, Respond is an option for you. This will cost $ 149USD / extra month. Do not get me wrong, I love Buffer and use it regularly, but they do need to work on integrating Respond with Buffer, improve analytics and fix the exorbitant price of their Business plans .

# 3 Social Sprout

Sprout Social was founded in 2010 and has a large user base. It integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. All users have full access to reports and analytics. Sprout works very well for teams because you can delegate account groups to different members of your team. The same amount is charged per month by additional team members. Sprout Social includes powerful and attractive reports in all its plans.

Sprout is postulated as the first in usability (9.3) and second for user satisfaction (98/100), product direction, (9.0 / 10), ease of use (9.1) and support (9.3 / 10). Sprout Social is third in the total rating awarded in G2 Crowd (4.4 / 5) and fourth in compliance with the requirements (8.3 / 10).

However, there are still some problems with Sprout and the main one (which does not have to be a surprise for Nadia because it is the most recurrent criticism) is the price. Although the base price of $ 59USD / month is not astronomical, this is the monthly price per user. That is, if you have a team of 5 people, the subscription will cost you $ 295 USD per month. If you compare it with the Agorapulse medium pIan of $ 99USD / month (which includes 5 users) and the Small Business   Buffer plan for $ 99USD / month, you can see why people say that Sprout is expensive.

There is also the issue of Sprout Social’s unified inbox that divides the opinion of people: some love it and others … no. A unified inbox combines all mentions, messages and comments from all your social medias in the same window. This unified inbox system helps you focus more and Sprout allows you to filter by social media. However, I personally prefer to manage my tweets and Facebook messages separately and not see them in the same inbox. If your budget allows, Sprout is a robust and powerful social media management tool.

# 4 Sendible

Sendible was founded in 2009 by Gavin Hammar. It integrates with a wide variety of social medias, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, WordPress, Blogspot and more. The plans include a number of “services”  instead of social medias. So the publication on Twitter is a different service than the monitoring on Twitter.

The basic plan includes 1 user and you can add additional users by switching to a larger plan or paying extra per user. Sendible has some advanced features such as geo-location to reach certain segments of your audience or integration with Google Drive, Dropbox and Canva. Sendible allows you to use your product as a “white label”, making this option attractive to several agencies.

Sendible was 3rd in the product direction (8.8), support (8.6) and 4th in user satisfaction (95/100) and total rating in G2 Crowd (4.2). It was placed in fifth place in the sections of ease of use (8.3), usability (8.5) and compliance with requirements (8.3).

First of all, there is a big problem when charging for “service”. Most of the tools tell you how many social medias you have for each plan. Sendible, however, offers a number of “services” with each plan and I think it is very confusing. For example, if you want to add a Twitter account in Sendible, you can end up paying for 2 or 3 services (1 per post, another for monitoring or perhaps another for lists on Twitter). You can quickly run out of service in your current plan, which forces you to change to the next.

# 5 Hootsuite

Hootsuite was founded by Ryan Holmes in 2008. Originally, Hootsuite was only integrated with Twitter and back then it was called BrightKit. Now it integrates with all the most popular social medias, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. They also have an application directory that extends the number of social medias you can manage in Hootsuite.

Hootsuite has a free plan as well as a paid plan: Pro and Enterprise.  For reports, you can have 3 basic reports for the free plan and 3 basic reports plus 1 advanced for the pro plan. You can pay extra to get more reports. 2 members of your team (including you) are at your disposal in the pro plan, and you can pay extra for each member of your team up to a maximum of 10 users.

Hootsuite was in third place for compliance with requirements (8.4) and 4th in ease of use (8.5 / 10) and usability (8.6 / 10). He obtained the 5th place for user satisfaction (93/100), product direction (8.3), support (8.0 / 10) and total qualification in G2 Crowd (4.1 / 5)

Hootsuite was the first tool to incorporate the publication on Instagram (Buffer and Agorapulse already have this function), although it is not fully automated. You have to use the mobile app to send your photo and description and “copy and paste” to the Instagram app. At least this way complies with Instagram’s terms of service !

Hootsuite has a mobile app for iOS and Android, so you can manage your social medias wherever you go.

However, despite the positive points, there are many problems in Hootsuite. Unfortunately its interface has errors, it is clumsy and it is not very intuitive.

The reports that include the plans are really basic that at the end of the day you have to invest between $ 50 or $ 60 extra per month to get reports that are still basic. They do not integrate with bitly, and if you want to use your  custom URLS shortener  (with your owly service) it will cost you $ 580 USD per year.

It does not include a social Inbox such as Sprout Social or Agorapulse, or competitive analysis or automatic rules of moderation. What they do offer is an excellent system of team roles that is available from your Enterprise plan at a cost of $ 22,000 USD per year. You can have up to 10 users in the pro plan and if you need more, you will have to change to your Enterprise plan.

Despite this, Hootsuite is one of the few tools that offer a free plan. If what you need is to cover basic functions for the management of your social medias and you are comfortable working with its interface, then you can try the Hootsuite Pro plan, which is worth it for its low cost.

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