It’s quite irritating to see why SME’s sink a lot of precious time and money into expensive social media management tools… and come up with relatively nothing.
Of course, they have all the necessary business-data they require but don’t know how to analyze or monetize.
Suppose you are a content marketer, or an
To put things in perspective…. a Social Media Management Tool, or SMMT and a Social Media Management System, or SMMS… permits you to manage numerous social networks…and all from one dashboard.
All social media management tools allow you to publish to at least one social network and, usually allow you to do many other things such as monitor, schedule, analyze, and produce reports and more.
By now, you would have realized that the social media tools landscape is very much a fascinating one. Every now and then, emerges a new social media tool, which eventually becomes a part of our daily lives.
The best way to identify the ideal tool for your business is to do a bit of competitive analysis… and find out what is it that your competitors have… and which you don’t. And, which are the tools you can use to achieve this.
That your business needs a social media management tool is vital, as you will invariably have to devise a concrete strategy, with easily understandable reporting and visualizations.
Obviously, the tools you plan to use must have a good social listening ability. In other words, it can pick up and deliver any mentions, conversations, tweets, hashtags, and other chatter about your company. Of course, you need to know the other side as well…i.e., who is talking about you and spreading a good word about your business!
Of course, this would mean that there would be high costs involved. But, we are here to focus on the FREE ones, if not the low-cost ones…the low-cost tools that are beneficial to SMEs. If you are interested in free social media tools that can help you, given below are reviews of some pretty decent, low cost/ FREE social media management tools.
Best Free Social Media Management Tools to Try in 2017.
Neither all social media management tools come cheap, nor are they free. So, most of the reviews given below are of those which fall in the FREEMIUM segment, or those which come free for a limited period.
It is the analytics capability of the tool, that will eventually determine its usefulness. A tool can gather all sorts of data… but how the analytics piece of the tool disseminates and delivers the insights…is the key to whether or not it can be used to accomplish business objectives.
It is here where Buffer, Quuu, Hootsuite, Zoho Social stand out as content curation, social publishing, and analytics platforms…mainly because they either have a FREE option or are much more affordable…
Hootsuite and Zoho Social also offer a do-it-all social publishing and analytics hub for SMBs.
These are tools that any social media manager or small-business user can operate with ease.
Anyway, let’s dive in and take a look…
Mavsocial, even as a FREEMIUM, comes with so many features that it can be classified as a social brand management system. Mavsocial not only allows scheduling of posts for different social media networks but also retains images and other assets on the platform for re-usage.
Mavsocial works with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube.
One word to describe it it is versatile “Accessibility.”
With the FREEMIUM alone, you get around 50 social profiles on six different social networks. It comes with a content calendar, a full campaign planner, and an advanced analytics dashboard. In addition to having access to thousands of free stock images and a digital asset library….it also provides e-mail support.
It is great for media-driven social strategies, but it is a bit difficult to learn and to use.
If you opt to upgrade, you get a customized analytics dashboard with unlimited digital asset storage… apart from additional social network integration. You can also republish your posts.
Hootsuite is one of those early, recognizable tools, which integrated most of the popular social media platforms….It is accessible to businesses of all size with a FREEMIUM offering.
Hootsuite helps small businesses in designing their social media strategies. It lets you schedule posts, and manage all of your social media profiles and groups, from one dashboard.
The FREE Account permits you to connect up to three social profiles from your choice of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube. You can monitor post engagement and success with analytics.
The FREE Version permits the user to connect and manage up to three social media profiles…and comes with a 30-day risk-free period. However, it does not allow you to add images to posts and comes with a limited analytics platform. But, the cool factor is that the auto-scheduling feature never allows your profiles to ever go dormant.
You can always upgrade to Pro for $10 per month, which permits you up to 50 social profiles,
You can set parameters (schedule two posts daily), and auto-scheduling content adds them to a ‘queue’ at the next available time. Hootsuite also has a browser extension that allows you to schedule content from the webpage that you’re visiting directly.
In short, it is almost a necessary marketing tool for SMEs and startups in this digital age.
3. Quuu 2.0
One of the challenges faced by most SMEs is being able to find quality content… content, that has volume, and which can be used to share on their social media accounts, especially Facebook and Twitter.
It is here where Quuu plays an important part. Quuu provides hand-curated content suggestions for social media sharing…especially for those SMEs who don’t have time to post to their social media accounts.
Guru offers a number of plans that range from FREE to $30/month…
It has an amazing community (of real people, not computers) that hand-curated content for you and loads your Buffer queue.
All you have to do is connect Quuu to your Buffer account and select any interest categories that are relevant to you and your audience.
It not only finds awesome posts that go out to any social media following… but also promotes your content through Quuu Promote… where it is shared by a host of social media personalities. What I like about it is the number of shares that a post gets in addition to the
Qu is definitely a great addition to any SMEs social media tools. Here are some comments from Product Hunters
Buffer, to put it simply, lets you schedule social media posts, import RSS feeds and share pages you are reading.
Buffer has made things downright simple….the best part is that you do not have to report whenever you share the same content.
Buffer’s FREE version allows you to schedule posts for a single profile… Besides, limiting an individual’s account to ten posts… this makes it ideal for managing individual accounts. However, the FREEMIUM status does give you access to nearly ALL of the paid features.
Buffer’s cool and standout feature is Pablo… the built-in image creator, which allows you to create content to post right within the app.
Most reviewers have said that Buffer is easy to understand and is very organized. However, they have also said that although the FREE version is limited, but is easy to upgrade.
The $10 per month plan… gets you 10 profiles and 100 scheduled posts, as well as a few other features, that include… Google Analytics integration, custom URL tracking codes, Groups functionality for team members, and the ability to export analytics and post data as CSV files.
5. Likable Hub
Likable Hub is a perfect social media management tool with a FREEMIUM option for individuals, but not for SMEs or businesses.
With the FREEMIUM level, you can integrate and auto-schedule from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In addition, you are also offered basic analytics and reporting, email support, and access to a database of thousands of social media post ideas.
Easy upgrade to many more features for $19.99/month.
In short, it not only saves you a huge amount of time in looking for and brainstorming fun content to share, but it also helps you have something consistent online.
6. ZOHO Social
ZOHO Social is a smart social media management tool that helps businesses reach their right audience at the right time. It allows revenue tracking, managing multiple social networks, scheduling unlimited posts, monitoring keywords, and team collaboration…all from a single dashboard. It works great with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
It allows businesses to listen and engage with their audience in real time and stay updated about what customers are talking about them.
ZOHO Social also helps provide compelling content, with the browser extensions allowing users to instantly share their content.
Zoho Social offers a FREE package for individual brands/users (1 user, 1 brand) (this includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram plus Publishing plus Default Zoho URL shortener, plus SocialShare Browser Plugin). They also offer a standard $10 per month plan, which is a great offer for SMEs.
SocialOomph is very useful for those social media managers who are new to the business. It works with the leading social media networks, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Plurk, blogs, and RSS feeds.
It comes with a FREE level, where it allows you to work on a maximum of five Twitter accounts and track tweets and keywords… along with other features such as a URL shortening feature.
One of the features that set it apart from other free tools is that it allows you to manage your Twitter followers and your direct messages box from within the app.
The tool also allows you to save and reuse social posts, for when you want to use posts as part of a campaign or get an extra boost out of your top performing content.
Recently, they also added the ability to schedule pins to Pinterest boards as well.
Unfortunately, SocialOomph’s FREE level only allows you to work with Twitter and accessing profiles on other platforms requires an upgrade. However, you can easily upgrade at a cost of $7 for 2 weeks.
Reviewers said that it was a great tool to automate social media posting.
SocialPilot is an app that is geared primarily at online stores, although other types of businesses can use it as well.
The FREEMIUM level offers three connected profiles across eight different social networks, which include Pinterest and Instagram. It allows ten posts per day, with content discovery, suggestions, and bulk scheduling.
Another interesting factor is that SocialPilot can effortlessly be integrated with any of your eCommerce or online businesses… This can help send out branded Facebook posts, thereby allowing you to post the products directly on social media, using existing product photos available on site. This is very helpful for eCommerce sites that rely on visuals.
You can also easily upgrade your account for $5 per month.
Reviewers also found SocialPilot easy to use and effective.
9. Panda 5.
Panda 5 is a smart FREE newsreader, powered by integrations. It helps you speed up your content curation process by allowing you to browse multiple websites at once, integrate with other websites, and pull in RSS feeds of your favorite content.
I love Panda and the newest version just brings more great headlines and creative inspiration to my browser.
You can also customize your tab with a whole lot of new options if using the Chrome extension. Here are some feedbacks of some comments from Product Hunters
Go through this quick video of the new Panda 5 to check out what you are missing.
Panda 5 offers a number of plans that range from FREE to $5/month… (If I remember clearly, they have a 40% discount on the $5/ month offer, as the Panda 5 is still in its Beta Period)
Panda also comes pre-built with integrated feeds for a number of popular sites…some of which that include Inbound.org, The Verge, Dribble and Product Hunt to name a few.
TweetDeck has some of the most advanced and helpful Twitter functionalities and is very useful for all Twitter-savvy businesses. This will shave hours off social media management while helping you do more. Most important, it is free for all Twitter users.
Let’s get one thing straight…
There is no use perusing the above unless you clearly know what your needs are.
Then, perhaps, choosing the right social media management tools for your business would be beneficial… What I am trying to get across here is that there are a lot of tools that appear downright cool, but they might not be useful for you.
Instead, focus on what your business requires, and what your competitors are doing and succeeding.
Once you identify that, am sure you would be in a better position to select the right social media management tool for your business…
Bottom line is to select those social media management tools that will give your business room to grow.
Of course, please feel free to share this post, and do share any FREE social media management tool that could be useful for others.