January 22, 2019
With 2019 upon us, whether it be eating more vegetables or finally using that overpriced gym membership, you’re probably in full goal-setting mode. New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken, right?
Perhaps when it comes to personal goals, but for marketing goals, now is the time to tackle your strategy with full-force.
Organization is one of the keys to success in marketing, so if you are not managing your social platforms, or, if you’re an agency, managing your clients’ social media accounts, with a social media management tool, that needs to change today!
Not only will using a social media management tool make your life substantially easier, it doesn’t need to go through rounds of budgeting approval – because there are many robust free tools out there to help you accomplish all of your social marketing goals in 2019.
Social management platforms will help you manage multiple social profiles in one place, schedule posts in advance, run contests, track analytics across platforms, and the list goes on. These tools really are game changers for your social strategy!
And lucky for you, I’ve rounded up a list of the seven best free social media management tools to incorporate into your 2019 strategy, starting with my personal favorite, Hootsuite!
Hootsuite has a special place in my heart, likely because it’s the first social media management platform that I used at my very first job as a Marketing Assistant. At the time, I was managing the company’s social strategy before social advertising had really taken off. I can still remember the hours upon hours I would spend putting together a posting content calendar and setting reminders for myself to tweet at certain times. This was until I discovered Hootsuite and my life as a frantic Twitter bird instantly changed.
So what does the Hootsuite free plan include? This option is decently robust with the ability to:
- Manage 3 social profiles in one place
- Schedule 30 posts in advance
- Generate leads with social contests
The free plan also includes basic analytics for tracking followers and various growth and content statistics and two RSS feed integrations. Not too shabby!
Next up is Buffer. Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer has been in the social media management space for quite some time, and they are a respectable platform that allows you to manage multiple social profiles with ease.
With many overlapping features to Hootsuite, some of my favorite Buffer features include the ability to easily schedule content while browsing the web with their Chrome extensions. Buffer also suggests the perfect moments to post based on follower activity – pretty neat!
While there are a variety of options for larger organizations and agencies, the free plan just may suit your social media management needs. Buffer’s free plan includes the ability to manage three social profiles, schedule up to ten posts, utilize their browser extensions and mobile apps (iOS and android) feature, create and schedule content using their image creator and GIF/video uploader, and shorten and track links.
If Twitter is the bread and butter of your social media strategy, then TweetDeck is likely the best social management platform for you! TweetDeck will allow Twitter birds to use custom timelines, create and manage Twitter lists and searches, and add team accounts. It is also free for Twitter users!
While TweetDeck may not be the all-in-one platform you’re searching for, it is the perfect tool for social marketers managing multiple Twitter accounts where these live conversations are critical for business success.
Not only do I love the name of SocialOomph, I’m quite impressed by the wide range of features they offer for multiple platforms – ranging from the typical features like scheduling and analytics, to some interesting ones like keeping your DM Twitter Inbox clean to help with increasing followers. They definitely offer a wide variety of unique features for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest management, as well as the ability to manage and schedule blog posts.
While SocialOomph does indeed have a free plan, the features are limited and mostly lean towards Twitter management. On the free plan you can do things like schedule tweets, track keywords, shorten URL’s, and manage up to five Twitter accounts, but some of the more sophisticated features require a paid plan. If you’re looking to manage multiple social platforms aside from Twitter you will need to pay to play.
Friends+Me is another prime player in the social media management tools family. While Friends+Me puts the highest emphasis on Google Plus features, many other social platforms are supported. Friends+Me appears to get rave reviews from users, and has a beautifully designed website with plans available based on the size of your business. And yes, there is a free plan!
While the free plan is not super robust, it still allows for two queues (which is a destination to publish posts), the ability to schedule five posts per queue at one time, link shortening, browser extensions, an integration with Zapier, as well as standard support. The free plan can also be used for a variety of social platforms like Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Pinterest and Instagram are supported as well, but you will need to upgrade. Plans range from $7.50 to $216 depending on if you decide to utilize monthly or annual billing.
Followerwonk is definitely not your tradition social media management tool when it comes to scheduling posts, but it is an effective tool when it comes to understanding your audience at a much deeper level. Followerwonk allows you to dig deep into Twitter bios and compare various accounts to find the most relevant influencers. With this tool, you can analyze your current followers – by location, bio, accounts they follow, and more – and contrast relationships with competitors. This will help you improve your social content by matching your activities with gains and losses of followers.
This tool is definitely worth exploring, because having a lot of followers is meaningless if these followers are not relevant and actually engaging with your brand. Luckily, Followerwonk offers a free account, as well! Like many of the others on this list, the free account does come with several limitations, but you will still be able to connect one profile, view authority rankings, see followers and their locations, see when followers are active, and access several other details to further analyze your social audience. If you are interested in more capabilities their plans are still decently affordable ranging from $29 to $79 per month.
#7: Zoho Social
Whether you’re a growing business or an agency, Zoho Social will help you manage multiple profiles, research relevant keywords, work with team members, and of course schedule posts from one dashboard.
Zoho Social has many of the same tools and features that the other platforms have, but they also have Facebook lead ads, advanced reporting features, a SocialShare browser plugin, and CRM integrations. Zoho Social caters to agencies as well so marketers have the choice of choosing between the business or agency plans. Pricing for the paid plans ranges from $8.33 to $125+ for larger agencies. Zoho Social’s free plan allows you to manage 1 brand, and includes the URL shortener and SocialShare browser plugin.
I know, I know there are a lot of options here! Luckily, they all have free plans so you can experiment and find the platform that works best for your social strategy. At the end of the day you can’t go wrong moving onto a social media management tool – it will likely save you time, grow your social presence, and possibly even make you some money!
Margot da Cunha
Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking.
I like to write things and stuff that I think people would like. Most of the time, I get it wrong though. But when I get right, it’s dynamite.