Succeeding on social media in 2021 is harder than ever. Virtually every business has an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube account.
In 2021, experts estimate that 91.9% of marketers at companies with more than 100 employees use social media. And which small business or solopreneur isn’t going to take advantage of a free marketing channel?
Of course, that doesn’t mean that success is impossible. With the right toolbox, you’ve got more than a fighting chance.
In this article, we cover all the social media management tools you need to succeed, from content planning to scheduling, publishing, analytics, and even influencer research.
What are social media management tools?
Social media management tools are apps that make life easier for professional social media managers and business owners.
To be more specific, they’re typically software as a service (SaaS) products that help you schedule, monitor, and analyze your social media campaigns.
For example, some of these tools can let you automate schedule posting ahead of time across multiple platforms. That’s the most basic form of a social media management tool.
But it also includes tools that let you see what people are saying about your brand online or find relevant influencers that you could collaborate with.
In our list, we included 19 tools in several different categories:
- Social media scheduling and planning tools: tools that help you post during ideal times on all platforms without having to log on and do it yourself.
- Social listening tools: tools that let you monitor brand mentions online, even if they don’t tag your account.
- Social content brainstorming and collaboration tools: tools that help you collaborate and find better ideas for content to grow your social presence.
- Influencer and social trends research tools: tools that help you find the right people to collaborate with.
- Social analytics: tools that help you evaluate the impact of your social media content and strategy.
What’s your social media team missing? Feel free to jump to the section with the tools that have the most potential for you.
Social media scheduling and planning tools
The first category of tools is the most obvious and may be what you imagined when searching for social media management tools in the first place.
Scheduling and planning tools help you plan, schedule, and automate the process of posting across multiple platforms.
Note: most of these tools also offer other features, like social listening or social analytics.
Buffer is one of the original social media scheduling tools on the market and has since evolved way beyond the scope of just that.
You can plan future campaigns with visual planning tools, analyze the impact of your social media posts and videos, and much more.
The pricing is also small-business-friendly, with a free tier for accounts that only use 3 social channels and post 10 times or less per month.
To get access to an advanced approval workflow with editors and content creators, you need a premium plan at $65/month.
The analytics product is separate from the scheduling software and starts at $35/month for up to 8 channels.
Sprout Social is another early mover and mainstay in the industry, but it caters more to enterprises with advanced features and a robust platform.
You have access to visual planning tools, post scheduling for all major social media platforms, and full-fledged social analytics.
Starting at $99/user per month, it’s not the most SMB-friendly pricing.
Hootsuite also offers scheduling, planning, and publishing management tools as part of its platform.
It also integrates with platforms like Facebook and Twitter with their APIs and offers you an integrated analytics dashboard where you can see how your posts perform over time.
The cheapest Hootsuite plan starts at $49/month and is suitable for a solopreneur.
Agorapulse is another full-featured social media publishing platform with scheduling, approval workflows, analytics, and even social listening tools built in.
It also offers a unified social inbox to help you stay on top of — and quickly reply to — incoming messages from all social media platforms.
Agorapulse also offers a free tier plan with basic features. Its pro plan starts at $79/month.
Sendible is a social media management tool with publishing, analytics, and smart tools for ideating new content.
It offers content suggestions, Google Alerts, Creative Commons image search, and more, straight inside the dashboard. This makes creating your next social media hit that much easier.
The cheapest plan, Creator, starts at $29/month and actually includes many of the platform’s advanced features.
Because of its low price and advanced features, Sendible is a good social media management software option for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Mavsocial is another social media tool that handles everything you expect. You can schedule and publish posts on every major social media platform with a few clicks.
The cheapest plan starts at $19 and allows 1 user with multiple social media accounts — up to 10. It also includes social media analytics and UTM tracking so that you can keep track of the impact of every post.
Falcon.io is a social media management platform with everything from publishing to social listening.
The advanced suite of tools is more designed for enterprises rather than a small business, and the pricing reflects that.
Its essentials plan starts at $129/month for a single user and doesn’t include social listening tools or content ideas.
Put strategy first with monday.com’s social media planner template
There’s more to social media marketing than scheduling posts. You shouldn’t just create a social media account, start posting random posts every day, and expect your following to grow.
You need to develop and follow an effective social media strategy if you want to succeed.
With monday.com, you can map out and collaborate with your team on implementing this strategy over time.
Use our social media planner template to keep your team on track and always hit the right notes with every post.
For example, you could alternate between questions, anecdotes, and resharing fun memes from your industry.
What sets monday.com apart from the competition is the extensibility of our platform. You can edit every aspect of the template to suit your workflow and strategy.
You can also use our automation builder to set up custom notifications that make sure everything runs according to schedule.
When done right, it can feel like you hired an extra social media manager to your team.
Social listening tools
A social media listening tool helps you stay on top of your reputation on multiple social media platforms.
Even if a user doesn’t tag your social account, a listening tool will register and catalog all brand mentions across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms.
Plus, social listening is rapidly becoming one of the best ways to get more information about your customers, according to a 2020 study by Gartner.
These tools will help you keep your finger on the pulse of your customers and boost engagement.
Mention is a dedicated social media listening platform with a multi-channel dashboard and inbox that helps you reply quickly to any questions or concerns.
It also offers in-depth analytics tools that help you make sense of the trends in your brand reputation on social media.
It offers a basic free plan with 1 alert — based on a single product or brand name — and up to 1,000 mentions per month.
Paid plans start at $25/month for 2 alerts, 5,000 monthly mentions, and 5 social media accounts.
Awario is another brand monitoring and social listening platform that helps you manage your online reputation.
Find conversations about your company or brands on platforms like Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and even online blogs.
The cheapest plan starts at $24/month with up to 30,000 monthly mentions, 3 topics or alerts, and basic analytics features.
Brandwatch is an enterprise solution for social media listening with complex trend analytics and reporting features, along with audience segmentation and insights.
If you’re looking for more information to develop your ideal customer personas, it could be the right choice for you.
The downside is that the pricing reflects the enterprise target market, starting at $1,000/month for 10,000 mentions.
If you’re just looking for social media monitoring, that price tag is a bit high.
Complete social media management platforms like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Sendible, and Agorapulse also offer social listening tools as part of their platforms.
In marketing, you can’t make good decisions without having data to base them on. That’s why social analytics platforms can be so powerful. The data will show what types of posts and which influencers drive the most engagement.
TweetReach is a platform dedicated to figuring out the exact reach and impact of every tweet you post.
It gives you in-depth analytics on any topic, hashtag, or account that you want to monitor. That means you can get in on industry trends early and see what works — and what doesn’t — for your own accounts and your competitors too.
Buffer’s analytics product is separate from the scheduling and publishing tool. It tracks LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles.
You can create custom reports and get a performance breakdown of both 100% organic and boosted posts.
Plans start at $35/month. You need to opt for the $50/month plan if you want Instagram Story performance analytics.
Again, complete platforms like Hootsuite, Sendible, Falcon.io, and Agorapulse all offer robust social analytics tools as well.
Social content brainstorming and collaboration tools
If you want to keep churning out not just creative posts but content in line with your strategy that builds your brand over time, you need the right infrastructure in place.
But it can be hard to set up, especially if you have a distributed or fully remote team. With monday.com, you can use our existing apps and features to create a system that works for your team.
monday.com virtual whiteboard
One of our best tools for real-time creative collaboration is the virtual whiteboard app that you can combine with live calls for productive brainstorming sessions.
With color-coded cursors and a real-time interface that lets you add and edit text or shapes, as well as free-form drawings, it’s easy to be creative. Your team can quickly come up with engaging social media graphics or video storyboards.
Physical distance doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a fun and productive creative meeting with your team.
monday project management features
One issue that many social media teams and businesses struggle with is staying consistent over the long term.
For example, you might start out great but slowly forget about your strategy and lose control over your posting schedule.
If you want to build an audience in a social media landscape where virtually every other person on earth is a competitor for attention, one-and-done doesn’t cut it.
Instead, you can use our advanced project management features to schedule and ensure that your team stays on track over the long term.
Use our visual content calendar template — and customize it to your workflows — to collaborate and create a consistent schedule over the long term.
You can assign writers, editors, and designers directly to posts and add crucial details like the target market, angle of the post, and more.
You can set up multiple boards for planning, brainstorming, and evaluating progress over the long term.
With monday.com, you can create a consistent workflow that lasts for years and helps you build your brand without issue.
You can even develop an onboarding process, so every new writer, designer, and manager follows a smooth transition.
Influencer and social trends research tools
If you want to make the most of social media marketing, you need some level of influencer marketing strategy.
In 2020, 94% of marketers agreed that influencers aren’t just good for raising awareness but also driving sales, according to a study by Launch Metrics.
And don’t think that you need to pay Selena Gomez $1,000,000+ for a post to be successful. You can use tools to find smaller influencers to collaborate with organically or give a free product in return for a review.
Which approach will work best depends on your industry, your brand on social media, and much more.
But the first step is finding the right tool for the job.
Buzzsumo influencer search
The main feature of Buzzsumo is actually more closely related to content marketing: searching Google and social media for top-performing blog posts and videos.
But the secondary search engine lets you find influencers through words they include in their bio or topics they post about frequently.
You can rank results based on the number of followers, the strength of their blog’s domain, and many other factors.
The free plan lets you do 10 searches per month — with limited results — and the cheapest paid plan starts at $79/month.
ShareIt by Socialpilot
ShareIt is a 100% free content curation and influencer discovery tool. It functions as a simple search engine where you can search for topics that are trending on social media or influencers who have a lot of clout on a specific topic.
There are no sorting tools available for the influencer search results.
If you’re looking to more seriously invest in influencer marketing and brand-building on social media, you might want to consider a tool like Brandbassador.
It’s a complete micro-influencer discovery and outreach platform. It helps you not only find influencers through searching categories, but you can also create campaigns to contact them at scale.
If building a network of small brand ambassadors sounds like the way forward, this is the tool for you. But there’s a catch: influencer outreach platforms don’t come cheap.
Brandbassador’s plans start at $499/month.
Upfluence is another complete influencer marketing platform and gives you access to potentially 4,000,000 influencers of all sizes.
It offers influencer search, outreach, and analytics functionality to help you through every stage of a campaign. You can focus on a specific social channel or go omnichannel.
Plans start at $495/month.
Keyhole offers some of the same functionality, with a basic discovery feature for influencers based on hashtags and topics.
But rather than an outreach platform, it offers in-depth analytics of the effectiveness of any influencer promotion you do.
The platform also includes social listening, competitor analysis, and benchmarking tools.
The standard plan starts at $79/month.
The right tools make social media success possible, even in 2021
With millions of other businesses and people’s actual friends and family competing for attention, it’s not easy to make social media work for your business in 2021.
You need to truly stand out from the crowd.
Only by researching what else works, posting at the highest impact times, and using planning tools to ensure you follow a concrete strategy, you have a fighting chance.
The tools make the social media marketer.
Our social media planner template will help you follow a concrete strategy and use social media to drive sales and lasting customer relationships, not just empty vanity metrics.