Recent figures show that around 63% of small businesses use social media as a marketing tool, and it’s easy to see why. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram have hundreds of millions of users each. Having a cohesive social media presence allows small businesses to speak to customers where they’re at.
With so many prominent platforms out there, however, managing multiple social accounts can be an absolute nightmare. After all, business owners would have to find the time and energy to log into multiple social media accounts, write a post for each, and schedule them as needed throughout the day. This is simply not feasible for many small businesses that operate with a handful of employees. With that in mind, many small businesses turn to social media management platforms that let them create a comprehensive social media strategy they can manage all in one place.
Investopedia compared all the top social media management platforms available today to see which ones offer the best tools and features for companies that want to expand their reach across all the major networks. If you’re in the market for a platform your company can use to get ahead, keep reading to learn more.
The 8 Best Social Media Management Software of 2021
Best Overall: Sprout Social
We chose Sprout Social as our best overall due to the platform’s usability, publishing features, and analytics across all major social media platforms. This provider also offers one of the longest free trials in the business.
Excellent user dashboard lets you manage your social networks in one place
Utilize Social Media Optimization tools
Analytics and reports help you manage your user engagement and return on investment (ROI)
Scheduling tools make creating posts a breeze
Free 30-day trial
Standard plan starts at $99 per month, which is considerably higher than competitors
Limits to how many social profiles you can manage
We chose Sprout Social as the best option for businesses based on the array of scheduling tools and analytics they offer, as well as their mobile app for iOS and Android along with their paid promotion tools to help you expertly boost Facebook posts. One major benefit you get with Sprout Social is a 30-day free trial with any of their plans. If you’re unsure of the value of this software, this free trial gives you a full month to try it out.
This software currently supports all the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest—which makes it an excellent choice for all-in-one management. There are three paid plans to choose from: Standard for $99 per month, Professional for $149 per month, and Advanced for $249 per month. Sprout Social says their Professional plan is most popular since it lets you manage up to 10 social media accounts in one place.
This plan also comes with an all-in-one social box that lets you read all your social media messages, a social content calendar, response rate and time analysis reports, analysis tools for Twitter hashtags, and plenty more valuable tools. With any of their plans, you also get a mobile app you can use to manage your social media accounts on the go.
The Standard plan from Sprout Social is only $99 per month and it includes many of the features of the Professional plan, yet you can only manage up to five social profiles if you choose this option.
Best for Analytics: Hootsuite
Hootsuite earns high rankings for its tracking tools and analytics. This software lets you analyze trends and engagement in real time. Their analytics tools extend to both regular posting and social media ads.
Free plan available
Professional plans start at just $29 per month
Free 30-day trial available
Hootsuite connects with 20+ social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest
Some analytics reports are at an additional cost
Free plan includes limited tools
Plans can be costly if you have a lot of social profiles or spend a considerable sum on ads each month
Hootsuite made our ranking as best for analytics because they offer some of the most comprehensive analytics and social media tracking tools on the market today, including customizable reports and team productivity reporting. However, you can also pay on a per-report basis for paid and organic ROI reporting, competitive benchmarking, and social listening tools. While paying more for detailed analytics and reporting can cause the cost of Hootsuite to swell, having access to this information can be crucial for businesses that rely on social media for the bulk of their marketing efforts.
Hootsuite does have a free plan available, although inclusions in the free plan are limited, and you only get to manage three social profiles. This provider has three paid options—a Professional plan for $29 per month, a Team plan for $129 per month, and a Business plan for $599 per month. Hootsuite also offers customizable plans for larger or more complex institutions, although pricing can vary.
The starter Professional plan can be a good option for small businesses because it allows you to manage 10 social profiles in one place. You also get unlimited scheduling, although you’re limited to one user. The Team plan is available for up to three users, and you can manage up to 20 social profiles in one place.
Note that all plans from Hootsuite come with unlimited social messages, unlimited auto-scheduling, a publishing calendar, a social inbox, and plenty of other tools. You can also try any plan for free for 30 days, which is a major benefit if you prefer to try before you buy.
Best All-in-One Tool: Zoho
Zoho stands out as an all-in-one tool consumers can use to run the social aspects of their business in one place while managing their email, projects, accounting, and webinars.
Zoho offers a CRM product that lets you manage your email, projects, accounting, and more under one umbrella
You can integrate their social media management platform, which works with all major social media networks
Social media planning for individuals starts at $10 per month
Free plan available
Plans for agencies start at $200 per month, which is on the expensive side
Plans for individuals and businesses only include two to three team members, with more users requiring an additional monthly spend
Zoho made our ranking as the best all-in-one tool based on the CRM product they offer in addition to social media management software. You can utilize Zoho to store and manage your email, create and oversee products, and take care of accounting all in one place. Zoho also offers comprehensive social media management software you can buy separately or integrate for full all-in-one management.
When it comes to their social media management software, Zoho offers two plans for businesses and individuals: a Standard plan for $10 per month and a Professional plan for $25 per month. Both plans let you publish and schedule posts across multiple platforms, access summary reports and analytics, and access a Bitly integration & URL shortener. However, the Standard plan is for one brand and up to two team members, while the Professional plan can be used by up to three team members. Both plans also let you add additional team members or social channels for an additional cost.
Also, note that a free plan with limited functionality is available. With the free plan from Zoho, you get access for one team member and brand and the ability to publish multiple posts in one place. Zoho also offers social media software for agencies that manage at least 10 different brands under their business umbrella.
Best for Automation: MeetEdgar
MeetEdgar stands out due to its automation and scheduling features. They even offer continuous posting, which means they will automatically curate and reshare relevant posts on your social media accounts.
Excellent automation and scheduling features let you set your social media and forget it
Free trial for seven days
Analytics for engagement and response
Edgar Lite plan starts at just $19 per month
Only integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram
Most affordable plan only lets you work with three networks
No central inbox for messages or managing comments
MeetEdgar wins for best automation because they are set up to help time-strapped businesses automate their accounts. This software lets you generate posts using a browser extension, set up category-based scheduling that saves you time and effort, and execute continuous posting that ensures you’re always engaging your audience.
With MeetEdgar, you also get access to an unlimited content library, which the platform will shuffle and schedule for you on your behalf. You can also set up your account to automatically upload your newest content and you can use an automatic link shortener that helps you save space when you share your content on social media.
MeetEdgar offers two main plans: an Edgar Lite plan for $19 per month and an Edgar plan for $49 per month. Both plans offer similar tools, although the Edgar Lite plan only lets you integrate with three social media accounts. The more expensive plan also offers 1,000 recurring scheduling time slots per week versus just 10 with the Edgar Lite plan.
Either way, you can try MeetEdgar for free for seven days.
Best for Large Team Collaboration: Loomly
Loomly is our top pick for large team collaboration due to their comprehensive plans for teams of up to 26 people. All plans also come with core features such as audience targeting, post preview, automated publishing, analytics, and more.
Try it out free for 15 days
Base plans start at just $25 per month
Manage and share all your social assets in one place
Real-time optimization of posts
Plans for large teams can be costly
Companies with large ad spend may have to upgrade to a more expensive plan regardless of their team size
Loomly is an excellent option for large teams that want to collaborate on a social media strategy. While their base plan is only accessible for up to two users, their top-tier plan for businesses can include up to 26.
Core plans from Loomly include the following: a Base plan for two users for $25 per month, a Standard plan for six users for $57 per month, an Advanced plan for up to 16 users for $119 per month, and a Premium plan for up to 26 users for $249 per month. However, this pricing is only available if you pay for a year of management upfront; you’ll pay more if you want to pay for your plan on a monthly basis. As you compare options, you’ll also note that each tier of management software has a cap for ad spend, so you will have to use the Premium plan if your business spends $5,000 or more on ads with Facebook.
All plans from Loomly let you post unlimited content and come with core features like audience targeting, automated publishing, post sponsoring, interaction tracking, and basic analytics. You’ll also get chat and email customer service with each of their plans. A 15-day free trial is also available regardless of which tier of coverage you want to try out.
Best Integration: Sendible
We chose Sendible as best for integration based on the sheer number of platforms you can use it with. As a Sendible customer, you can integrate with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business (GMB), Pinterest, YouTube, Wordpress, Medium, Tumblr, Canva, Google Analytics, Google Drive, Slack, and so much more. In total, Sendible allows you to integrate with 26 different platforms or tools.
More integration options than other providers
Useful social media dashboard lets you monitor your social game in one place
Starter plans start at $24 per month
You can save 15% if you pay for a year of management upfront
14-day free trial available
Basic plans are for one user only
No free option available
Sendible earned the top spot in our ranking in terms of integration since it lets you sync with all the top social media networks as well as popular tools like Canva, Google Analytics, and Slack. This lets you manage almost all aspects of your social media strategy in one place, saving you time along the way.
Sendible offers four plans for companies of different sizes: a Starter plan for $24 per month, a Traction plan for $84 per month, a Growth plan for $169 per month, and a Large plan for $254 per month. However, you do have to pay for a year of software access to secure these low prices or you’ll pay about 15% more for your plan on a monthly basis.
All plans from Sendible include up to 10 queues, content publishing, workflow tools, bulk scheduling, keyword tools, and an inbox for engagement and monitoring. However, more expensive plans include more queues, more users, and the ability to include a larger number of social profiles for management purposes.
The good news is that all social media management plans from Sendible offer a 14-day free trial. You can also cancel at any time.
Best Budget Option: Buffer
Buffer scored well in our ranking due to the fact their plans start at just $15 per month and their most expensive plan only costs $99 per month. You can try any Buffer plan free for 14 days, and there’s a free plan for one user that lets you access three social channels and create 10 scheduled posts.
Plans start at $15 per month
Free 14-day trial available
Free plan available
Works for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest
Doesn’t integrate with as many major platforms as competitors (i.e., doesn’t work with YouTube)
Most expensive plans only include up to six users
Buffer is the best budget option for small businesses with few employees that want to manage social media without a pricey management plan. They offer a free plan that lets one user access three social channels. However, you can also pay $15 per month for a Pro plan with up to eight social channels for one user, $65 per month for a Premium plan for up to eight social channels for up to two users, or $99 per month for a Business Plan for up to 25 social channels for six users.
Either way, you can use a 14-day trial to get started, and all plans let you directly schedule posts on the platform. Other core benefits that come with Buffer’s plans include a posting scheduling tool, custom video thumbnails, a calendar view tool, and Instagram tagging. All plans also come with a browser extension, access to a mobile app, two-factor authentication, social media and email support, and access to the Buffer community.
Best for Small Teams: SocialPilot
We believe SocialPilot is best for small teams since their lowest-tier Professional plan allows up to three users. By contrast, many competing software programs only allow one user on their most affordable plan.
Most affordable plan is available for up to three users
Discount available if you pay for one year of usage upfront
14-day free trial available
Manage a minimum of 25 social media accounts with any plan
SocialPilot works with LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, Google My Business, Vk, and Tumblr
Can integrate with Canva, Bitly, Zapier, Box, and more
Must pay for a year upfront for lowest pricing
Basic plans don’t include as many tools or features
Each plan limits the number of posts you can publish per day
SocialPilot is the best option for businesses that want access to affordable social media software for more than one user. This is predicated on the fact that their Professional plan lets up to three users have access for just $25 per month.
In total, three plans are available. You can sign up for a Professional plan for up to three users and up to 25 social media accounts for $25 per month, a Small Team plan for up to five team members and up to 50 social media accounts for $41.66 per month, or an Agency plan with up to 10 team members and up to 100 social media accounts for $83.33 per month. Just remember that to access this special pricing, you do have to pay for a year of access upfront after your 14-day trial.
All plans from SocialPilot come with features like unlimited scheduling, bulk scheduling, access to social media analytics, a browser extension, and customer support. Higher-tier plans from SocialPilot let you have more users, oversee more social accounts, manage more Facebook ad accounts, and gain access to special features like client management tools.
Be aware that plans from SocialPilot set limits on how many posts you can publish per day. Their Professional plan only lets you post up to 200 posts per day, the Small Team plan limits you to 500 posts per day, and the Agency plan limits you to 1,000 posts per day across all your clients.
What Is Social Media Management Software?
Social media management software is crucial for businesses that want an effective social media marketing strategy. After all, social media is now used by more businesses than ever as a way to curate and engage with clients while spreading messaging about their products and services.
However, social media management programs also help businesses save time and money. Where you would otherwise have to manage each social media platform separately, social media management platforms let you create and schedule posts across multiple platforms in one place.
You can also access valuable engagement tools like idea generation, analytics, and integration with other software you use. Social media management software can even help you manage and reply to comments, gather user information for sales funnels, and target specific audiences with online ads to boost sales.
What Is the Most Effective Social Media Platform?
Different types of businesses may be better off focusing on specific social media platforms. A company that offers a budgeting app might do better with Facebook since clients can click directly on ads, for example, yet a travel brand or a luxury clothing brand might do better with Instagram since it lets them lure users in with visual appeal.
Some say that Facebook has a major advantage over other businesses, mainly due to the extraordinary opportunities you have when it comes to advertising to millions of potential customers in one place. Facebook also offers incredibly targeted advertising tools, including the ability to create and manage multiple audiences based on customizable factors. However, the best social media platform can also depend on how businesses rely on and utilize ads.
At the end of the day, a social media management platform like the ones that made our ranking could be used to help you identify which platforms provide you with the best results. This is because these software programs offer analytics and reports on engagement, which can help you determine where your time, energy, and dollars should be spent.
What Are the Expected Costs of Social Media Management Software?
Social media management software can be free, but the free basic plans some companies offer come with minimal tools and are typically only good for one user. If you want more features and the ability to integrate with more platforms or manage more accounts, you can expect to pay $15 per month to $600 per month. If you have a large company and you need many user profiles or access to more social media accounts across many brands, you may even need to pay more than that.
How We Chose the Best Social Media Management Software
For the purpose of this ranking, we looked for social media management software programs that let users access the broadest range of social media networks. We also checked for integration options with other tools and programs, and we gave preference to providers that let customers manage more social media accounts across as many networks as possible.
Price was also a big factor in our ranking. While we include many social media software program options that cost $100 per month or more, we gave preference to providers that offer an inexpensive or free option as well as a free trial.
Visual Objects. "How Small Businesses Use Social Media in 2019." Accessed Dec. 7, 2020.
Statista. "Most popular social networks worldwide as of October 2020, ranked by number of active users." Accessed Dec. 7, 2020.