“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”
- Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon.com
Social media today is pervasive and needs no introduction. Every self-respecting business has at least some social media presence – and those who don’t are actively trying to get on the bandwagon.
Facebook, alone, has 1.65 billion monthly active users and 1.09 billion daily active users, on average. In fact, more than 2 million advertisers regularly use Facebook to market their business.
How do you stand out in this crowd?
In this day and age, average just doesn’t cut it. Which is why we bring you the top social media tools to look out for in 2018 – it’s time to power up your game!
These tools do a variety of jobs. You could schedule your post to be published at a later point in time, publish the same content on multiple platforms, curate your content, find out how your brand or service is perceived in the market, and compare your presence and outreach with your competitors.
How do you know which tool is for you?
Depending on your target audience, the functions you want to perform, the size and nature of your business and the type of social engagement you are aiming for, you may select a mix of tools that are the most appropriate for your business.
In this article, we gather the fabled five of today’s Social Media Management scene and take an objective look at what they are packing.
Popular for its Instagram capacities, Social Drift is the first item of discussion for today owing to the simple fact that it has managed to develop an organic system which is highly efficient in improving your presence on Instagram.
While many other products also offer Instagram integration, Social Drift stands unmatched in its ability to boost the numbers.
Cost: Social Drift comes in two packages:
- The seven day Package ($13 per week)
- The 30-day package ($39/week)
Supported Platforms: Instagram
- Has a highly customized and audience oriented interface
- Supports scheduling, rescheduling, reposting and queuing projects.
- Flexible pricing and easy-to-use UI
- Supports graphics and image generation
- Expensive, even more so if you consider that it focuses only on Instagram profile building, audience, content curation etc.
- Lacks some features like support for bigger videos and curation from video input.
The Verdict: While quite efficient, Social Drift has one major drawback: it handles only Instagram. However, despite many of its contemporaries offering multi-platform assistance, Social Drift is popular owing to its efficiency to launch new accounts.
Crowned as the Siri of social media, Buffer does something really simple. It send out your posts to all your social media platforms, in the sequence you set them up, according to the schedule you put in place.
While deciding the posting schedule, you can decide which post goes where and when, and what is the time-zone that this schedule follows. You can specify not only dates and days but also the exact time at which the post should be published.
Buffer’s graphics development tool, Pablo, is quite efficient and can generate a variety of images and customized graphics.
Cost: Buffer offers two membership plans- The Awesome Plan (@ $10/m) and Business Plan (@ $99/month).
Supported Platforms: Pinterest (on paid plans), Facebook (profile, page, group), LinkedIn (profile, group, company), Twitter, Google+ (pages only), Instagram.
- Pablo: easy to generate graphics and images
- Message Scheduling
- You can set how many posts you want published each day and schedule your posts to be published on different times on various days.
- Management system absent
- Lack of powerful analytic tools
- Can’t reply to mentions or messages through Buffer
- Due to the Closed API Instagram uses, Buffer will only remind you to post to Instagram at the scheduled time via a notification.
Made primarily for easy sharing and scheduling, Buffer doesn’t really measure up to its contemporaries in terms of features. However, it does take the limelight while doing what it does: scheduled and easy sharing.
Social Aider is an up and coming social media management platform, offering a staggering set of features at a minimal price range. Apart from their preset plans, they also offer customized price plans tailored to your needs.
In terms of functionality, not only does this tool allow you to post, repost, schedule (down to the very time of posting), delete existing posts and bulk uploads, but also provides the user with a unified dashboard and supports multimedia content.
Cost: Social Aider offers three preset plans:
- Free Trial (1 year free trial) (all facilities enforced)
- Personal ($4.99/month)
- Professional ($11.85/month)
Also, you can have a package tailored to your requirements.
Platforms Supported: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr. (Google+ and Instagram will soon be integrated)
- Unlimited number of social profiles and projects supported.
- RSS feed and bulk uploads supports.
- Scheduling posts and time zone adaptation supported.
- Reposting, rescheduling, post deletion etc supported.
- Video input supported along with graphic content.
- Unlike Bundle Post which supports upto 1.75 GB of video input uploading, Social aider supports a maximum of 200 MB in terms of a video upload.
The Verdict: While the maximum video size may seem limiting to some, it is a fine size for most. Considering the plethora of features Social Aider brings to the table, for such a miniscule price, the aforementioned drawback loses significance. Also, agencies which handle multiple clients across the globe will now get a one stop solution for all their work.
Working in tandem with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and many others, Sprout Social is a Social Media Management tool which not only lets you schedule, publish and analyze your content, but also engage with your audience from the platform itself.
Cost: Social Aider offers the following three options to its users:
- Deluxe plan for $59/user/month;
- $99/user/month for Premium Plan;
- $500/month with three users for the Team plan.
Platforms Supported: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Zendesk, UserVoice, Bitly, Feedly etc. Also supports Google Analytics.
Pros: (For the standard variant: Deluxe package)
- A unified social inbox for all your profiles.
- Real-time brand monitoring
- Scheduling posts is pretty easy with Sprout Social
- Supports upto ten profiles at a time
- Social CRM included in the package
- Doesn’t support Youtube
- Limited filtering options
The Verdict: Although more expensive than most of its competitors, Sprout Social offers the richest feature suit. For a comprehensive management of various profiles, in particular when cost is not a factor (more often than not, cost is a factor), Sprout Social is a great tool to use.
Not only does BundlePost help you in managing your content sources, irrespective of how many you have, this tool also facilitates easy discovery, scheduling and hashtagging of curated content. To top it all, you get to share your marketing messages consistently across platforms. Still wonder how it gets you great ROI?
Cost: Bundle Post offers four packages:
- Free Trial (for 30 days)
- Personal ($19.99/month) (for individual usage)
- Expanded ($50.00/month)
- Pro ($100/month)
Platforms Supported: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Feedly, Bitly etc.
- Tailored to your need approach in defining cost of packages.
- Supports auto-hashtagging, queue folders, curating, scheduling etc.
- Supports searching and replacing your brand name in twitter feeds.
- Provides randomization and time slot support for posting content
- Supports custom posting schedules
- Supports Custom posting schedules
- Expensive if you wish for a more comprehensive tool.
- Most of the important features are available in only the Pro or Expanded version.
- No dedicated dashboard stream for hashtags searched over Twitter feeds, unlike HootSuite.
The Verdict: while Bundle Post does offer an extensive number of features, some of which are quite handy (like the SRM folders and the randomization support), the fact that its ‘not-expensive’ price packages are still expensive enough. Also, most features are available in the Pro or the Expanded package only.
|Social drift||Buffer||Sprout Social||Bundle Post||Social Aider|
|RSS Upload (Individual)||Supported||Supported||Supported (Through feedly)||Supported||Supported|
|RSS Upload (Bulk)||Supported||Supported||Supported (Through Feedly)||Supported||Supported|
|Editing Scheduled Posts||–||Supported||Supported||Supported||Supported|
|Reposting Old Post with One click||–||–||–||–||Supported|
|Free Trial?||Yes (3 day Trial)||YES (30 day Trial)||30-day Trial Period||30-day Trial Period||1-Year Free Trial|
|Cost?||Expensive||Relatively Cheaper||Expensive, especially for Teams||Relatively Cheaper||Quite Affordable|
|Number of Social Media Accounts allowed to be linked||Depends on opted package||2/4/unlimited depending on chosen package||Ten||Depends on opted package||Unlimited|
In conclusion, we can only reiterate the obvious, if you are looking out for a tool which you can use to bring order to the chaotic world of social media management, you have a strong contender in Social Aider. While Sprout Social is still the most reputed tool on the list, Social Aider is very prominently the next big thing.