Social media has evolved into perhaps the most important customer touchpoint for any modern business. The channels themselves continue to evolve and, therefore, your brand must keep pace with its own social ecosystem.
The value of a social media management tool lies primarily in its ability to streamline and optimize the complex and time-consuming task of managing various social media channels. These platforms provide a centralized hub for scheduling posts, monitoring engagement, and analyzing the effectiveness of different content strategies across multiple networks.
Your social media team will receive invaluable insights through advanced analytics and social listening capabilities, helping businesses understand their audience's behavior, preferences, and response to various types of content like brand posts, user-generated content (UGC), influencer marketing, and ratings and reviews.
Today’s brands should create a seamless and authentic customer experience, regardless of channel, and that’s where a social media management platform can simplify engagement for both the marketer and the audience. So, do you need an all-in-one solution or a platform with specific offerings and strengths?
What are the top social media management platforms to consider?
We’ve pulled together a list of the top social media management tools for your brand to compare and consider, and provide a list of questions you can use to help you navigate the decision process.
Emplifi (Social Marketing Cloud)
Part of the Emplifi platform, the Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud is a comprehensive social media management solution developed for today’s modern marketing teams to streamline operations and amplify brand awareness across social and digital platforms.
The Emplifi platform is created to tackle the unique challenges and opportunities that medium to large brands and agencies face in today’s dynamic digital landscape, helping brands enhance customer experiences throughout the customer journey, integrating social media as a core component across all our products.
Integrating social media as a core component across all products, more than 20,000 brands use the Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud to plan, publish, engage, listen, analyze, and deliver care to their social followers and customers.
Streamlined social: Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud streamlines operations and amplifies brand awareness with an all-encompassing platform built for modern marketers who manage campaigns across multiple channels and content types — like UGC and influencer marketing— effectively in one place.
User-friendly environment: Its intuitive interface and workflows are designed for operational efficiency, ensuring onboarding happens in days — not months — along with effortless customization and collaboration from product to tool.
Powerful analytics: Part of the Emplifi platform, Emplifi Unified Analytics consolidates data from diverse sources, including earned, owned, paid, competitive intelligence, and voice of the customer to deliver informed, data-driven decisions.
AI-powered ecosystem: Harness the power of AI and automation across the Emplifi platform for everything from accelerated content creation to visual search, insightful reporting, efficient automated case routing, and optimal social posting times.
Customer engagement and care: Identify, manage, and resolve care cases from major social platforms. Automate escalation and routing, and collaborate seamlessly with Salesforce CRM. Create custom views, service-level agreements, and rules tailored to your brand's needs to provide a frictionless service experience. Track customer care performance and trends, monitor customer satisfaction score levels, and adapt your customer care strategy.
Localized support: Emplifi offers customer support managers at the local and regional levels to help users maximize their effectiveness with our social media management platform.
Buffer is a social media management platform known for its user-friendly interface and streamlined functionality. It’s especially popular among small businesses, startups, and digital marketers.
Content scheduling and publishing: Buffer allows users to schedule posts in advance for various social media platforms, including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. This helps to maintain a consistent online presence without needing to post in real-time.
Content curation and planning: The platform provides tools for planning and visualizing your social media content calendar, making it easier to manage and organize posts.
Analytics and reporting: Buffer offers analytics tools to track the performance of social media posts, providing insights into metrics like engagement, reach, and audience demographics.
Flexible pricing: Buffer offers flexible pricing plans, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes, including options for small teams or individual entrepreneurs.
Chatmeter is a local brand management platform that specializes in online reputation management, local SEO, and local listing management. Social media management is part of its multi-location customer experience offering.
Online reputation management: Chatmeter provides tools to monitor and manage online reviews from various platforms. This helps businesses stay informed about customer feedback and respond timely to both positive and negative reviews.
Local SEO optimization: The platform offers features to improve local search engine visibility, such as optimizing Google My Business listings, ensuring accuracy in local listings across the web, and keyword tracking.
Social media monitoring: Chatmeter also includes tools for tracking mentions and engagement on social media, allowing businesses to gauge their social presence and customer sentiment.
Local listings management: The tool enables efficient management of business listings across various directories and platforms, ensuring consistency and accuracy of information.
Cision (Falcon and Brandwatch)
Cision is a prominent global provider of earned media software and services, known for its comprehensive suite of tools that assist in media relations, media monitoring, and social media management. Cision's acquisition of platforms like Falcon, Brandwatch, and Paladin has expanded its capabilities to serve public relations and corporate communications teams.
Media database and distribution: Cision offers an extensive database for media contacts, helping businesses target and distribute their press releases effectively.
Media monitoring: It provides tools for monitoring news and social media, offering insights into brand mentions and industry trends.
Social listening and analytics: Through its Brandwatch acquisition, Cision offers social media listening, offering insights into conversations while sampling data across the web.
Paid social management: Through Falcon, Cision provides a tool for ad creation, publishing, and select CRM integrations.
Dash Hudson is a visual marketing software that’s primarily focused on providing solutions for brands to drive engagement and growth through their visual content. This tool allows businesses to publish and analyze the overall success of their different social media campaigns.
Visual intelligence: Dash Hudson uses AI technology to analyze the performance of images or videos — particularly UGC — across different platforms.
Social media management: The platform allows for scheduling, publishing, and managing content across various social channels, making it easier to maintain a consistent and engaging online presence. Dash Hudson does offer select reporting functionally, typically through the addition of another software provider.
eCommerce Integration: Dash Hudson also supports eCommerce integration, which is particularly useful for brands looking to directly link their social media content with product pages or online stores, though the platform doesn’t currently include email or customizable widgets on the web at time of publishing.
Facelift is a social media management tool that offers solutions for managing and optimizing social media activities for small social media teams. It focuses on simplifying and enhancing the management of social media channels.
Unified social media management: Facelift allows users to manage multiple social media channels from a single platform, streamlining the process of posting, scheduling, and monitoring content across various networks.
Content creation and scheduling: The platform provides tools for creating, scheduling, and publishing content, enabling efficient planning and a consistent online presence.
Social listening and monitoring: Facelift includes features for social listening and monitoring, allowing businesses to track brand mentions, analyze customer sentiment, and monitor competitor activities.
Hootsuite was one of the pioneers of social media management, and it has long been a good entry point for brands navigating their early days of their social media strategy, offering publishing and scheduling, customer engagement (social messaging), listening, paid social management, and analytics.
Publishing: Hootsuite’s scheduling and publishing tool offers features like a caption and hashtag generator, best times to post and bulk scheduling. The scheduler also includes integrations like from the platform’s partner ecosystem (e.g. Adobe).
Strong integrations: Hootsuite has an extensive external app ecosystem, including more than 150 different tools to cover gaps in their reach or service offering.
Paid social management: The ability to manage and offer attribution for paid social is helpful to social media teams willing to invest a bit more to handle that activity in one place.
Online support: The platform has a focused knowledge center for marketers new to social media strategy and tactics, offering basic and entry-level training for social media tactics, particularly for individuals and small teams.
Khoros is another prominent social media management platform, designed primarily for large businesses and enterprises — particularly those with call centers. It offers a wide range of features tailored to managing online communities, social media engagement, social listening, and customer service.
Social media management: Khoros provides tools for managing a variety of social media channels from a single platform. This includes scheduling posts, responding to comments, and analyzing social media performance.
Customer engagement and service: The platform helps brands manage customer interactions across social media, enabling businesses to efficiently handle customer inquiries, complaints, and feedback, helping to improve customer service and engagement.
Community management: Khoros stands out for its features that help in building and managing online communities. It provides tools for moderating discussions, engaging with community members, and analyzing community health and growth.
Meltwater is a comprehensive media monitoring and social media management tool traditionally for public relations or corporate communications teams. Its capabilities include monitoring media outlets and social channels, offering insights into the impact and reach of brand activity across various platforms.
Media monitoring: Meltwater excels in tracking a wide range of media sources, including news outlets, blogs, and social media platforms. This allows businesses to stay informed about what's being said about their brand and industry.
Journalist database: The platform offers a blend of traditional contact information and social media to connect with key media members and outlets. This includes the deployment of press releases to their database and lists.
Crisis management: Meltwater’s tools support crisis management, as they allow for real-time monitoring of media sentiment and public reaction.
Oktopost Technologies is a social media management platform that is primarily tailored to B2B companies. It focuses on enabling these organizations to manage, monitor, and measure their social media activities more effectively, particularly for lead generation and demonstrating social media ROI.
B2B social media management: Oktopost provides tools for managing corporate social media accounts and employee advocacy programs.
Employee advocacy: The platform includes an employee advocacy module, enabling businesses to leverage their employees' networks for amplifying content reach and engagement.
Social compliance: It ensures compliance with various industry regulations, an important aspect for B2B companies especially for those in regulated industries.
Reputation (formerly known as Reputation.com) is a platform that specializes in online reputation management and customer experience management. It's designed to help businesses understand and improve their online presence and customer perception, which includes a social suite to manage social media activity and listening.
Reputation management: The platform provides tools for monitoring and managing online reviews across various review sites and social media platforms. This helps businesses keep track of what customers are saying about them and respond appropriately.
Customer feedback and surveys: Reputation offers features for gathering and analyzing customer feedback, including surveys and feedback forms. This aids businesses in understanding customer needs and expectations.
Social media management: It includes tools for managing social media interactions, allowing businesses to track mentions, engage with customers, and publish content across different social channels.
Sprinklr is a unified customer experience platform that also includes social media management among its complex offerings, which can check the box for many large-scale enterprise requirements. The platform includes solutions for marketing, insights, and service that connect use cases for customer service, helpdesks, contact centers, and ticketing.
Social media management: Sprinklr offers traditional management, publishing, listening, and community management with enterprise-caliber features and functionality.
Paid advertising: Omnichannel planning for other non-social campaigns across a comprehensive timeline. Marketers can plan campaigns and access real-time data on all campaigns.
Customized implementation: The complexity of Sprinklr’s offering allows for custom implementations that are tailored — with investment — to a user’s specific needs, including building systems that could require new, dedicated roles to support and maintain.
Sprout Social is a well-known platform offering companies a simple way to manage publishing and community. Its core offerings include engagement, publishing, and analytics, with more premium features including social listening, employee advocacy, advanced analytics — which include paid social reporting for an added fee – and, with the acquisition of Tagger Media in August 2023, influencer marketing.
Social media publishing: For the basic requirements of brand social, including social post publishing and measurement, Sprout provides a simple setup and customizable platform to help brands with small social media teams get started quickly.
Community management: Sprout’s tools allow for effective management of social media communities, focusing on traditional channels like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, X, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Employee advocacy: Sprout offers a separate tool for employees to share brand content through its employee advocacy product. If the tool is connected, you’ll see insights from employee activity and share priority brand social through your internal network.
12 things to ask about when considering social media management tool providers
When evaluating social media management tool providers, asking the right questions is crucial to determine if their services align with your business needs. Most providers offer varying levels of complexity, expertise around key functions, and dedicated support that must be considered and evaluated to find the ideal fit for your needs.
Here are 12 factors to ask about to help you find the right social media management platform for you:
1. User interface and ease of use
How user-friendly is your platform?
Do you offer any training or support for new users?
How easy is it to onboard and offboard new users and employees?
2. Integration capabilities
How does your platform integrate with existing social media networks and other marketing tools (like CRM software, analytics tools, etc.)?
3. Content management features
Can you describe your tool's content scheduling and publishing features?
How does your platform support content planning and collaboration among team members?
Does your platform incorporate content types like UGC, influencers, and ratings and reviews?
4. Customer care
Does your platform streamline social channel inboxes, messaging, and mentions?
Do you offer advanced routing and integration with CRM platforms?
What self-service capabilities do you offer?
5. Analytics and reporting
What kind of analytics and reporting features do you offer?
Can these reports be customized to track specific KPIs relevant to our business in one view?
Does all customer data seamlessly integrate into one system, or does your platform require spreadsheet downloads or separate logins?
Do you cover insights across paid, earned, owned, and public data?
6. Cost and pricing structure
What is your pricing structure?
Are there different tiers or plans based on the size of the business or the features included?
7. Customer support and training
What level of customer support do you provide?
Do you offer onboarding assistance, continuous training, and technical support?
Is that support localized or in my native language?
8. Social listening and engagement tools
Does your platform include social listening and engagement tools?
How does it help in monitoring brand mentions and interacting with the audience?
Do you offer actionable crisis management solutions?
9. Compliance and security measures
What security and compliance measures are in place to protect our data and ensure our social media activities adhere to legal and industry standards?
Does your platform utilize AI or automation?
10. Scalability and flexibility
How scalable is your tool?
Can your tool easily adapt to our business's growing needs and changes?
11. Expanded social presence
What are some of your use cases beyond social media?
Do you offer ratings and reviews management, customer care, influencer management, or social commerce solutions?
Do have the ability to customize, feature, and easily deploy UGC beyond social channels?
12. Trial period and demonstrations
Do you offer a free trial or a live demonstration of your platform?
Can we test the full range of features before making a commitment?
Asking these types of questions will provide a comprehensive understanding of what each social media management tool offers, helping you make an informed decision that best fits your organization's requirements.
We understand those requirements at Emplifi, and it’s why we’ve built a platform that creates seamless experiences for social media teams and integrates with features needed to keep pace with the modern consumer.
Editor's Note: This is an update to a previously published article from March 2021. All items are current as of this update's publishing date.