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Social Media & Audience Development

Spring 2020 Social Media Management Platform Review

By:

Ben Wilson
Ben Wilson

on 5/19/2020

Keeping up-to-date with the platforms and tools available for social media management is critically important. Even if we don’t necessarily end up changing the tool that we use or would recommend to a client, just knowing what other options or functionality is out there opens our perspective. From time to time we do a deep dive and a comparison, and share it with our clients.

Here’s our most recent review:

Spring 2020 Social Media Management Platform Review

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ product shootout? This quick review is intended for brands and organizations that need to be active on various social media platforms and need a one-stop platform that allows them to create, engage and report on these platforms.

Requirements:

These requirements are focused on small- to medium- businesses and brands that want to have a robust, thoughtful, nuanced, but economical way to manage their social media with a small team or even one person. This is NOT for super-large teams or organizations looking to hook into BIG DATA. Here’s the basic requirements:

  • Reasonable Cost
  • Multiple social media platforms managed in one tool (including LinkedIn!)
  • Analytics and reporting (Historical, Comparison, Overall / “Grouped” reports)
  • Response Management
  • Paid Social Reporting
  • Content Calendaring
  • Approval Process
  • Google My Business

Contenders:

The social media management game has largely stabilized over the years, but as those platforms mature, more social platforms appear and marketing becomes more sophisticated, there is plenty of room for new tools and approaches.

We reviewed the following five major players in the social media management realm. They largely fit most of the requirements above, to vary levels of detail and quality:

HootSuite

Hootsuite is the long-standing champ of social media management, and boasts a robust set of features and plugins, at a relatively low cost. It’s “feed view” is very helpful for those that need to keep an eye on multiple social feeds. It’s downside is that it has so many bells and whistles that it can be a little hard to use. It approaches a “super user” tool in that way.

Price: $29/mo, billed yearly Multiple Social Platforms: Yes, 10 Profiles, 1 User Analytics & Reporting: Yes Response Management: Yes Paid Social Reporting: Yes Content Calendaring: Yes Approval Process: No Google My Business: Maybe (plugin)

HootSuite Pricing & Plans: https://hootsuite.com/plans/professional

Sprout Social

Full disclosure: we use Sprout Social at VIA Studio. It is very similar to Hootsuite in its offerings, but doesn’t offer the “feed view” or as in-depth reporting, but it is very easy to use, and offers the ability to easily group profiles. One of its downsides is that once you go past the 10 Profile limit, you must pay $15/mo per profile.

Price: $149/mo (per user, "PRO" level) Multiple Social Platforms: Yes, 10 Profiles, 1 User Analytics & Reporting: Yes Response Management: Yes Paid Social Reporting: Yes Content Calendaring: Yes Approval Process: Yes (at PRO level) Google My Business: Yes

SproutSocial Pricing & Plans: https://sproutsocial.com/pricing/plan-details/

Hey Orca

HeyOrca is predominantly a Content Calendaring tool, and it is likely heads and tails above the others in this list in that regard. Content calendaring tools often fail to effectively visualize a calendar for all its users, but HeyOrca appears to shine in that regard. It does not, however, offer response management or any sort of paid social support, which make it’s appeal limited to the audience we are talking in this article. Finally – it’s reporting is limited.

Price: $99/mo Multiple Social Platforms: Yes, 10 Profiles, Unlimited Users Analytics & Reporting: Yes (Basic, Limited, No Group Reports) Response Management: NO Paid Social Reporting: NO Content Calendaring: Yes Approval Process: Yes Google My Business: Yes

HeyOrca Pricing & Plans: https://heyorca.com/about/pricing/

Loomly

Loomly … similar to but cheaper than HeyOrca, in all aspects. While they do offer Response Management, the overall functionality and user experience left me a bit wanting better out of this relatively new content calendaring-focused option. Granted, I have not spent a lot of time with Loomly – but I would say they need to up their game there to be competitive. That said – their lower monthly rate, higher number of profiles and users is VERY attractive for smaller teams and agencies.

Price: $57/mo ("Standard") Multiple Social Platforms: Yes, 20 Profiles, 6 User Analytics & Reporting: Yes Response Management: Yes Paid Social Reporting: NO Content Calendaring: Yes Approval Process: Yes Google My Business: Yes

Loomly Pricing & Plans: https://www.loomly.com/pricing

Mailchimp

Mailchimp has rolled out some interesting new features in the past year – customer relationship management (CRM) and now… social media publishing tools as well. But, in true Mailchimp fashion, they did it their own way and really folded it into the overall slightly off-kilter, “publishing-centric” world of Mailchimp. They don’t really draw a hard distinction between email and social in any of the features they offer – so from the perspective of a professional who’s used other “super user” tools in the past, Mailchimp’s social media tool and how it’s integrated is a bit confusing. BUT from the perspective of a long-time Mailchimp user this approach and the limited featureset makes perfect sense. It’s a natural growth of their unique approach to marketing.

That said – it’s a hard pass for us as an agency, because their reporting is terribly limited, and they don’t offer response management.

Price: $49/mo ("Standard" with 2,500 contacts) Multiple Social Platforms: Yes, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Analytics & Reporting: Yes (Limited) Response Management: NO Paid Social Reporting: Kind of (You can place ads through them) Content Calendaring: Yes Approval Process: No Google My Business: No

Mailchimp Pricing & Plans: https://mailchimp.com/pricing/calculator/standard/?currency=USD

SUMMARY

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 it’s higher cost, lack of extensibility and lower quality reporting make it a rung down.

Mailchimp does a lot of useful stuff, and does it alongside its wildly popular email tool – but there are some glaring omissions, like the ability to respond to comments all in one place, and lack of support for platforms like LinkedIn, etc. However, if you are a small business that doesn’t mind managing your engagements from platform-to-platform, Mailchimp might work for you.

Loomly and HeyOrca are distant third for these requirements, but if you are looking for “Content Calendar Management” they might be a great fit, as that appears to be their primary focus.

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