Social Media Tools: VIA’s Review of 4 Platforms With 6 Must-Haves
Summer 2023 Social Media Management Platform Review
From time to time, we do a deep dive and a comparison of social media platforms and tools, but it’s been a while and a lot has changed so we’re back!
We know that staying up-to-date with all the social media platforms and tools out there can feel overwhelming, but when it’s in your wheelhouse like it is ours, it’s simple. This blog offers an uncomplicated overview of our top social media management tools, their features and functionality, and more.
Even if you have no intention of switching up your tool, having an awareness of options helps keep your perspective open — especially if you need to make a change in the future.
Here’s our most recent review:
These requirements are focused on small-to-medium-sized businesses or brands that are seeking a robust, thoughtful, but economical way to manage their social media with one person or even a small team. Here are the basic requirements:
1. Reasonable price
2. Multiple social media platforms
3. Customer support / response management
4. Calendar scheduling
5. Approval process / system
6. Analytics and reporting
While these are the non-negotiables, we decided to cover some additional features that your team might find valuable within this review, too.
The use of social media for businesses is overflowing with opportunity — and the importance of having a tool that’s reliable, ever-evolving, and easy to use is paramount to the success of your workflow and social media presence.
We reviewed the following four well-known and trusted social media management tools. They fit our top six requirements, with varying levels of features and quality:
Sprout Social’s Standard Plan starts at $249/month and gets you all the basics in the list above plus a few handy features such as profiles, keywords, location monitoring, group, profile, and post-level reporting, paid social tools, CRM tools, and more. At VIA, we’ve used the Professional Plan with a few more features and have found that it’s reliable and easy to use, but the reporting isn’t advanced for the price — however, if you use it in tandem with other tools, you’ll find it more useful.
Sprout doesn’t have a “grid-view” feature for platforms like Instagram which has become increasingly important over the years for brands that want to curate an aesthetically pleasing feed, or have a specific order of content they need to stick to. This plan only includes one user and five profiles, so if your business has over five profiles and needs to set up a workflow, you’ll need to upgrade to a different plan or consider a different tool.
Standard Plan Recap:
✅ 5 profiles, 1 user, response management, TikTok, Google My Business, basic reporting features
❌ Team workflows, advanced reporting features, grid view
Explore additional Sprout Social plans here.
For just $79/month, Agorapulse’s Professional Plan offers quite a bit. We recently presented one of our long-time clients with several social media tools and this one fits their needs best for their budget and needs. They even added one additional user for an extra $10/month — allowing VIA to manage from one login, and their team to approve and comment on content with the other. We’ve set up a nice workflow with our client, have helped them save time monthly, and allow them to manage two brands for a good price.
Let’s get into the features of this plan! You get team workflows, calendar notes with the ability to “assign”, IG grid view, social listening, and posting to 10 profiles.
This platform isn’t as user-friendly as Sprout. There are a lot of buttons everywhere so if you aren’t tech-savvy or don’t have someone to teach you about all of these features and which are most important to your needs, it might not be the best option. They currently don’t include TikTok which is a big con for a lot of businesses.
Professional Plan Recap:
✅ 10 profiles, 1 user, response management, grid view, basic reporting, calendar notes
❌ TikTok, not the best UI / UX, advanced reporting
They have three more plans for your consideration here.
Hootsuite is highly esteemed for its social media management tool that boasts a robust set of features and plugins, at a pretty standard price. Their Team Plan at $249/month grants three users access to manage, schedule, post, and analyze data on up to 20 social profiles. Hootsuite's reporting features are a bit more advanced than some of the others mentioned in this blog — with the capability to measure against two competitors, create customizable reports, and more.
On the downside, Hootsuite has countless features and buttons that can be confusing to navigate, and even redundant for some social media marketers.
Team Plan Recap:
✅ 20 profiles, 3 users, response management, TikTok, team workflows, reporting features, grid view
❌ Lots of features and buttons that can be difficult to use
Find a plan that fits your business or brand needs here.
Loomly is similar to Agorapulse and even HeyOrca (which we aren’t covering in this blog), in many aspects. Our team at VIA hasn’t spent a ton of time on Loomly, but we’re no strangers to this tool. Their most basic plan starts at only $26/month, but we’re going to explore Loomly’s Advanced Plan since it meets the requirements we’ve outlined above. For $129/month, this plan gets 14 users access to 35 social accounts, team workflows, response management, and some pretty standard reporting for the price.
Loomly isn’t as competitive of an option as some of the others in our review, but it’s a decent option that meets the basic requirements.
Advanced Plan Recap:
✅ 5 profiles, 14 users, response management, TikTok, basic reporting
❌ Not the best UI/UX, advanced reporting
Compare their additional plans here.
Overall, Hootsuite offers the best mix of features for the requirements listed above, and the best set of optional plugins, all for the best price in the market.
Sprout Social is a close second, but its higher cost, lack of extensibility, and lower-quality reporting make it second best.
Agorapulse and Loomly are solid options if you or your team are looking to spend less money on a social media management tool and aren’t in need of a ton of features and reporting capabilities.
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