Free social media monitoring tools can seem like a dream come true for most nonprofits, but the truth is… they’re usually too good to be true. So yes, free tools exist, but they don’t always offer high-value data or analysis. They can certainly help you in a pinch—or as a supplement to your paid tools—but there are some drawbacks to be aware of.
If you are a nonprofit, you may have noticed that big name social media monitoring tools like Sprout Social and Flocker can be real budget-busters. We’ve put together a list of free, or low cost options for nonprofits to use.
Social media monitoring and listening
Every day, billions of conversations are happening on social media. Before you get to managing your online presence, it’s essential to research the environment:
- Get to know the community you’re operating in
- Manage your reputation
- Connect with volunteers and donors
- Secure influencer and media support
- Keep track of what’s new in your field.
Below are my best picks for social media listening.
Awario is a social media monitoring and listening tool which tracks every mention of your brand or cause on all of the major social media platforms and the broader web. Thanks to the baked-in analytics, the mentions are then transformed into data insights such as sentiment, reach, major topics, locations & languages, platforms, etc.
Best for: Tracking your reputation, finding opinion leaders and donors, researching causes and communities.
Pricing: $29/mo for the Starter plan, $89/mo for Pro, and $299/mo for Enterprise. Saves 2 months with a yearly plan.
Non-profit discount: 50% off Pro and Enterprise.
As the name suggests, Mention is a social media management and monitoring tool which scans social media for all the conversations around any chosen keyword. Along with these mentions, you get crucial metrics such as sentiment, influence score, volume, etc. In addition to this, Mention offers social media management features.
Best for: Identifying trends, interacting with the media and influencers, developing engaging content.
Pricing: Solo is $29/mo, Pro is $99/mo, and Enterprise is $450+/mo. All yearly plans save you 2 months.
Non-profit discount: 20% off yearly subscriptions.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular and widely-used social media management tools, due to its ease of use, accessible pricing, and variety of features.
Key Features: Hootsuite allows you to manage your presence from all major social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube from one dashboard. They also offer integrations with several other platforms. Hootsuite allows you to schedule up to 350 social media posts at once. You can also schedule Instagram posts, including regrams.
My favorite feature is the ability to add the Hootsuite button into your browser, so you can schedule a tweet, Facebook post, or LinkedIn post with one click.
Pricing: Free for one individual user and 3 social profiles. Other paid plans available if you need to add more team members or profiles. Hootsuite offers 50% off on all of their plans for nonprofits.
Keyhole is an AI-powered social media monitoring tool. It offers non-stop brand and campaign monitoring, advanced performance predictions, and machine learning-based content suggestions. Similar to other social listening tools, Keyhole keeps you updated on any buzz around your topic, as well as key figures and trends.
Best for: Brand optimization, campaign monitoring, crafting high-performing content.
Pricing: Professionals is $199/mo, Corporations is $599/mo, and Agencies & Enterprise is $999+/mo. Annual plans save you up to 50%.
Non-profit discount: 10% off real-time data subscriptions (no historical data).
Buffer is similar to Hootsuite in many ways; with the free version, you can connect up to 3 profiles and schedule up to 30 posts at any one time. Their dashboard is much more streamlined than Hootsuite’s and really only lets you schedule and view your posts (whereas Hootsuite gives you streams of all your content and engagements). And while their interface for creating and editing posts is much more intuitive and easy to use, it doesn’t include an auto-schedule feature.
If you want to bulk upload posts via Buffer, you’ll have to connect a third-party app to publish.
However, their platform is more straightforward overall and gives you only the information you need to get your job done well:
You can connect your Facebook, Linked, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest profiles to Buffer:
Where Buffer really comes to the rescue is when you want to schedule social media posts in advance that include links to your scheduled (as in not yet published) blog posts. In our experience, all of the other scheduling tools fall short, but Buffer is able to pretty reliably publish content that works and looks good.
If you want to explore your social media analytics, schedule posts across platforms, and monitor engagement, Sprout Social is a great all-in-one social media management tool. The platform allows you to analyze your social media data beyond the built-in analytics offered by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also track engagement on keywords and hashtags, identify influencers, build custom dashboards, and more. Sprout integrates with all major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+), as well as other systems including Bitly and Google Analytics.
Pricing: Sprout Social starts at $99 per month, but they do offer a 30-day free trial period so you can give the platform a test run.
Formerly known as Latergram, Later is designed to help you organize your visuals for social campaigns. With Later, you can schedule posts for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as bulk-upload photos and graphics, search and repost content, and track Instagram analytics.
Pricing: Later is free for basic use, which includes multi-platform posting and basic analytics. For access to more features, pricing ranges between $9 and $49 per month. They also provide a non-profit discount for 50% off an annual subscription to their Premium plan.
Agorapulse is a social media management and listening app which enables you to combine all of your social profiles under one inbox and automate their management. Assign roles and tasks to your team members, schedule and publish content, all the while researching trends, opinion leaders, and the sentiment your audience displays.
Best for: Managing social media as a team, tracking hashtags and trends, identifying influencers.
Pricing: Medium is €99/mo, Large is €199/mo, X-Large is €299/mo, and Enterprise is €499/mo. Save up to 20% with yearly plans.
Non-profit discount: 25% off monthly and 15% off annual subscriptions.
Since Buffer and Hootsuite let you schedule lots of content at once, you should consider using another tool in tandem that will let you plan your content and collaborate with others to create posts: Airtable.
It’s like a magic, interactive spreadsheet that can act as a hub for all your social media needs. Before you schedule your posts, you can use their Social Media Planning and Design template to organize your content. You can even have collaborators upload their images so one person can do the scheduling for your nonprofit:
Once you’ve created your content in Airtable, you’re able to download as a .csv and upload your posts to your preferred scheduling platform.
Create better Social Media Captions faster.
If you want to succeed on Social Media, you’ll need more and better content at scale. StoryLab.ai is a free tool that helps you generate highly relevant Social Media Captions. Simply describe what you would like to post about and StoryLab.ai’s tool will do the heavy lifting for you.
You’ll have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Captions in no time.
It’s like having an AI buddy that you can spar with and shoot ideas with a click of a button.
StoryLab.ai’s Social Media Caption generators come with a free trial. No credit card is needed.
Liinks lets creators design and build pages in minutes, with more ways to customize than other link-in-bio tools.
No two pages are alike – great for creatives, personalities and brands wanting full control over their page’s look and feel. Create beautiful micro landing pages with ease. Drop in your links, style your page and add it to your bio.
It’s free to get started with Liinks, but upgrading to Liinks Premium (only $3.99/month!) unlocks robust features giving full advantage of all the awesome customization options.
Every Liinks user gets:
– Unlimited basic links
– Profile picture and bio at the top of your page
– Social icons for quick reference
Premium Liinks users can:
– Add images to your links and choose between 6 awesome different layouts, including Grids and Carousels
– Customize the colors, fonts, background, and more to match your brand.
– Add Media embeds (Youtube, Spotify, etc…)
– Connect to Instagram to automatically update your Liinks page with links from your post captions
– Collect emails in Mailchimp with a Mailing List block
– Animate your Liinks to draw attention or schedule them to show and hide at a specific time
With an expanding feature set and low price point – Liinks is a great option for those looking to stand out with a beautiful and unique bio link page. Explore some of our favorite pages here!
Social media monitoring tools can help you find out what people are saying about your nonprofit. Discover how to get started and the best free social meadia monitoring tools for nonprofits.