Are you a small business owner wondering what the best social media tools for your business are? If so, you’re in the right place! I’ll show you some of the top free and low-cost social media tools that I recommend all small businesses use.
First, you might be thinking, “How can social media tools help my small business?” There’s a lot to cover here, but we can start by outlining who should use these tools and what they can do.
Social Media Management for Small Business Owners: What to Look For
Now that we’ve established why social media management for small business owners is important, let’s explore the features and functions you should look for in your social media management tool of your choice. There are plenty of options to choose from out there: some are bare-bones products that are usually free or inexpensive but offer limited functions, many are in the middle of the road in terms of features and cost, and a few are loaded with features but come with a hefty price tag.
1. The Features You Need
The most obvious place to start when comparing social media management tools features. You’ll want to strike a balance between having the features you know you’ll need for your social media strategy and the annual subscription cost of your social media management tool. If your company’s social media presence is in its early stages, you won’t likely need a feature-packed product. Instead, focus on the basic elements, such as post scheduling, multiple user support, and analytics. You can always scale up to a more feature-laden option once your strategy is more established.
2. The Number of Seats You Get
Most social media management tools allow a certain number of people to use the platform at any given time. In social media parlance, these are called “seats,” since anyone can use them (but only one person can sit in them at a time, metaphorically speaking). The number of seats you get with your social media manager varies, depending on your level of service and the price of your plan. Be sure to get enough seats to accommodate the number of employees you expect to use your social manager—too few could make it difficult for employees to access the system, but too many could make you pay more for services you’re not using.
3. Client Support
Learning how to use a new social media manager can be a challenge, even for seasoned social media veterans. Each platform’s features have nuances that are unique unto themselves, and it’s not always easy to find all of the functions you’d like to use. Most social media management tools come with a certain level of client support to help you overcome the learning curve. Some provide a set number of hours every month, while others might give you unlimited assistance. A good number of providers also create webinars and are willing to help you train your team on their platform, too.
The social media management tools for small businesses vary in price, both between providers as well as the levels of support and functionality each platform provides. Thankfully, most social media managers provide upfront pricing for their standard packages, so you can see what works within your budget. In some cases, you may even be able to negotiate terms with your prospective social media management platform. Be sure to compare the features you need versus the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Plus, if you right-size your platform to fit your business, you could devote more money to social media marketing and take your social presence to the next level.
The Best Options in Social Media Management for Small Business Owners
Once you’ve accounted for your social strategy, the features you need to execute it, and the budget you can spend on a social media manager, it’s time to dive in and compare your options. As we mentioned earlier, every social media manager for small businesses offers different features and pricing. Here are some of the best tools to consider for small business social media management based on the financials, features, and ease of use.
1. The Best Entry-Level Social Media Manager: Hootsuite
Hootsuite was one of the first social media managers that let users monitor and post to all of their social media accounts in one place. The platform remains competitive to this day in terms of features, ease of use, and pricing. Users can manage their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube accounts seamlessly within one environment. Plus, Hootsuite offers intuitive analytics, team management, post-approval processes, and social listening tools. Multi-user plans start at $129 a month, which gets you support for 20 social profiles and three user seats. Larger plans start at $599 or more, depending on your needs. If you are the only person who needs access to the account, you can opt for the $19 a month plan, but note that you will not have any additional seats in the program unless you upgrade.
2. The Best Small Business-Centric Social Media Manager: Sprout Social
Sprout Social offers a specific social media management package for small businesses. This option creates a price-conscious package that lets entrepreneurs access Sprout’s exceptional content management, social listening, analytics, and post-scheduling tools—as well as the right number of seats to let several employees access the platform. Sprout makes social media management easy with an intuitive workflow and the ability to manually set post times or to let the program’s algorithm optimize your post time for maximum visibility. Packages start at $99 per month, but most small businesses may need to opt for the Corporate package that costs $149 per month (since it provides more than one seat on the platform).
3. The Best Social Media Manager for Businesses on a Budget: Buffer
Buffer offers an easy-to-use social media manager for small business owners. The platform is similar to Sprout and Hootsuite but includes a more robust mobile experience. Users can post on the go without having a limited set of functions if they’re on mobile. The entry-level plan is free but does not include scheduling or social analytics functions. The pro-level includes these features and more and only costs $15 a month. Also note that Buffer does not offer social media monitoring or customer service functions at any level, however, so consider whether these features are important to you.
4. The Best Streamlined Social Media Manager: Everypost
Everypost is a simple, affordable social media manager that provides its users with the basics of social media management. The tool supports social media posting, collaboration on posts, and scheduling options. Everypost doesn’t offer more advanced features, such as analytics or post-approval processes, but it does provide a broader array of plans to help cater to your company’s needs. Although a free membership exists, almost every small business owner will need to purchase the $9.99 a month pro plan to make Everypost a viable option to run their social channels.
5. The Best Social Media Manager for Established Companies: Sprinklr
Sprinklr offers a suite of services, customizations, and audience analytics that no other social media management application can match. The platform supports customized approval paths for different kinds of content (and on different social channels), an audit trail for every post, social listening capabilities, and support for more social media channels than you’ve ever heard of. Sprinklr might be overkill for most small business owners—especially if they’re new to social media, but companies that have advanced social media strategies or a robust client acquisition network coming from social may find that Sprinklr best fits their needs. Be aware that Sprinklr’s bells and whistles come at a steep price though, with introductory plans beginning at $60,000 a year.
Best Social Media Management Tools
To find the best social media management tools for your small business, see the list below. These handpicked tools will help you save time while growing your community and your potential customer base.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management platforms available. The platform lets you plan campaigns, schedule posts, manage media like photos, monitor messages and mentions, and track relevant analytics.
There’s a free plan and paid professional plan available. The free version supports one user and up to three accounts. The paid version is $49 per month and offers advanced features like team accounts, permissions, content assignments, and up to 10 social accounts. There are also larger accounts for big businesses and enterprises. All are available with a 30-day free trial.
MeetEdgar is a social media management platform that focuses on automating content. Users get unlimited scheduling of social media posts along with flexible automation features. These include an evergreen content library, auto-generation for creating post variations, and easy scheduling. You can even set up A/B tests to monitor trends and automatically receive engagement updates.
Plans start with Edgar Lite, which lets you manage up to three social accounts for $19 a month. The regular Edgar plan is $49 per month and gives you unlimited posting, tons of automation, and up to 25 social accounts. Both come with a 7-day free trial.
3. Sprout Social
Sprout Social focuses on helping businesses optimize value from their social media strategy. In addition to basic features like publishing and scheduling, the platform offers easy-to-use engagement and analytics features. You can monitor conversations, uncover trends, and see how specific types of content perform over time.
There are various plans to choose from, starting with the standard option for $99 per user per month. This includes up to five accounts, a content calendar, review management, and an all-in-one inbox. Each Sprout Social plan also lets you add on specific features like listening and premium analytics to customize the experience. Free trials and demos are also available.
4. Zoho Social
Zoho Social offers flexible scheduling features to meet the needs of a wide array of businesses. Platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google My Business. In addition to basic features, the social media management platform can even analyze when your followers are most active to find the ideal times to post. And since it’s part of the Zoho One suite, you can integrate it with other tools like Zoho CRM and ads to maximize performance.
Business plans range from $10 to $37.50 per month and come with 15-day free trials. There are also options for social media agencies that need to manage accounts for multiple brands.
Buffer is a simple social media management platform that aims to help businesses create authentic connections online. You can publish content or add it to a queue to publish periodically on its own. The tool also provides analytics features to monitor post-performance and help you find the best times to post and the most effective type of content for your brand.
There are both free and paid plans available. The free plan lets you manage up to three accounts and queue up to ten posts at a time. Paid plans range from $15 to $99 per month and offer management for between 8 and 25 accounts.
AgoraPulse focuses on helping social media users save time and stay organized. The tool offers publishing, reporting, monitoring, and even team collaboration tools. You get one unified inbox to monitor messages and mentions. This helps you stay up-to-date with conversations and customer service inquiries across platforms. And the intuitive publishing features let you easily create and schedule posts quickly. The company also boasts the top customer support rating in the industry.
There is a free option available for a single user and up to three accounts. Paid accounts start at $79 monthly and include extra features to support extra social networks and small teams.
CoSchedule includes features to let you organize all of your marketing in one place. The marketing software includes a calendar for publishing and automation, along with a marketing suite for managing team workflows. You can use both of these tools together or just choose one. In addition to managing your social media posts, these tools can be used to manage other marketing like blog posts and ad campaigns. So it’s ideal for companies that need to see all of that info together.
The marketing calendar starts at $29 per user per month. And the marketing suite tools are all priced separately. You can request a demo to see them in action.
8. Facebook Publishing Tools
Facebook Publishing Tools are perfect for small businesses that mainly need help organizing their Facebook content. There are a variety of options for managing everything from post scheduling to advertising. Some features, like Creator Studio, even work with Instagram as well. Since each option is a separate function, it takes some time to learn the functionality and navigate the options. But it’s easy to access for any business with a Facebook account.
The Facebook Publishing Tools are generally free for Facebook users. However, some that connect to advertising campaigns may come with additional costs.
TweetDeck has mainly been known as a Twitter management platform. Twitter now owns the tool, which replaces its previous “Dashboard” app that was discontinued back in 2016. You can use it to track conversations, organize posts, and monitor engagement. You set up multiple streams of content to monitor — maybe one with brand mentions, a specific hashtag, and a Twitter list. Then you can also tweet or manage content from the same dashboard.
TweetDeck is free to use. You just need a Twitter account to sign up. Of course, this doesn’t provide functionality for other social networks. But it’s perfect for those that want to create an advanced presence on Twitter.
10. Social Pilot
SocialPilot is a tool for social media scheduling, marketing, and analytics. The platform is ideal for small businesses that deal with a lot of social networks and a high post volume. You can manage up to 200 accounts and up to 1,000 posts per day. You can also get white label analytics reports and PDFs that dive into your social media strategy and results. Additional features include a central inbox to manage conversations and a team collaboration feature.
Professional plans start at $25.50 per month for one user. The option for small teams costs $42.50. And there’s even an option for agencies that manage accounts for multiple social media clients at $85.11. eClincher
eClincher offers a social media management tool that can be customized to the needs of each business. There are features optimized for small teams, enterprises, and agencies. You can schedule posts, monitor engagement, manage a media library, collaborate with your team, and view analytical reports. The focus of this platform is on ROI. So everything is optimized to help you determine how effective your time and monetary investments are. Then you can focus on the social media activities that are most efficient.
The basic plan starts at $59 per month for one user. And there are also premier and agency accounts for $119 and $219, respectively. All options also come with a free trial and live demo options so you can get to know their features.
Loomly touts its service as a brand success platform. You can use it to gather inspiration for posts, create content, optimize posts, automate publishing, and manage team workflow. The social media management platform even integrates with social ad features and analytics tools. So you can use it as part of a larger marketing strategy.
Plans range from $25 to $249 per month. All of them allow multiple users to manage accounts. But the upgraded accounts come with higher ad budgets, custom workflow tools, branding, and IM integrations.
Sendible is a social media management software made for agencies and marketers. The scheduling and collaboration features are built to help users easily communicate and work with clients and team members. You can create posts, have people check and edit them. Then you can send them to a wide array of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google My Business.
Monthly plans range from $29 to $299. The most basic plan includes one user and up to 12 accounts. You can also request eight quick reports or more to see how your content is performing. This is also an essential part of providing social proof for clients.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool built specifically for Pinterest and Instagram. For Instagram, you can schedule posts, get hashtag suggestions, and find the best times to share content. For Pinterest, you can schedule a week’s worth of pins in minutes and access deep analytics to find the best ways to post. Pinterest and Instagram are included in some other social media management tools. But since Tailwind is specific to these platforms, its features are perfect for businesses that focus on these visual platforms.
The Pinterest and Instagram tools are $9.99 monthly each. You can get started free and simply sign up with your accounts on these platforms. There are also add-on products for things like pin creation and content repurposing.
15. Hubspot Social Media Software
Hubspot offers social media management software that is built to facilitate efficiency and authentic connections. You get one dashboard that shows your activity and conversations from all of your social media platforms. You can monitor mentions and respond to customers right from the main dashboard. And you can get reports that show how your social media strategy has impacted your overall marketing efforts.
Hubspot’s social media software is integrated with its other marketing tools. So prices start at $45 each month. But that also includes additional features like landing pages and ad management.
16. SEMRush Social Media Toolkit
SEMRush’s social media toolkit offers a variety of functions that you can manage in one centralized dashboard. This tool includes support for social profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google My Business. You can schedule posts and find the best times to share content. There’s also functionality for boosting posts, creating ads, and even tracking competitors.
The internet is a great place for small businesses to grow online. Social media has become one of the most important ways to do that because it allows for simple and free marketing. For most small businesses, however, social media is also a challenge. Growing a strong presence on social networks takes time and resources that they don’t always have.