As social media marketing has become ubiquitous (88% of marketers say social media is important for their businesses), hundreds of new tools have developed just in the past few years: tools for social media management, monitoring, measurement, automation, identifying influencers, creating graphical content, and more.
No one has time to put every one of those tools through its paces. Which are most worth investigating and investing in?
In the posts highlighted below, 20 (or so) social media marketing pros review more than 200 tools, ranging from popular, widely used tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Feedly to intriguing but lesser-known apps.
12 Tools to Help You Optimize Your Social Media Marketing Results by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
***** 5 STARS
Noting that 26% “of marketers spend 6-10 hours a week on social media,” Debbie Friez proceeds to “explore twelve possible problems and the tools that can help solve those problems and make you more productive,” among them Directr, which lets you “easily create videos” and “includes tons of storyboards to help you organize your video”; Nuzzle “for Facebook and Twitter, tells you when your friends are sharing a piece of content and emails you with the details of the latest posts”; and Uprise.io for competitive research.
7 Social Media Tools to Boost Your Effectiveness in a Noisy World by Seriously Social
Based on one of his conference presentations, Ian Anderson Gray showcases seven tools “that can help you be more effective and efficient” at managing your social media marketing activities, such as Friends+Me (which is “similar to Buffer but allows you to repost to your Google+ profiles, pages, communities and collections. You can also post to Tumblr. It converts Google+ into a social media management tool”) and Agorapulse, a social media management tool that integrates with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
6 Free Social Media Tools for Startups to Build a Strong Social Media Presence by Duct Tape Marketing
Jessica Davis provides compact reviews of half a dozen helpful free tools for building a presence on social media, including DrumUp (“a smart content discovery tool that scours the web for relevant content based on the keywords you input. The tool acts as a central dashboard for your Twitter and Facebook profiles, letting you manage multiple accounts simultaneously”) and Easel.ly, an infographic creation tool which “offers ready-to-use infographic templates that are categorized by subject.”
John Koetsier reports on research conducted with more than 1,100 social media managers to determine the most-used social media tools. Among the findings: “For enterprise, Oracle is surprisingly good, as are Sprinklr and Komfo. For smaller companies, Meshfire, Sendible, and Hootsuite lead the pack. And for the midsize company, Sendible, Meshfire (again), and Oktopost are leaders. Other tools you can’t ignore? TweetDeck, Buffer, SocialFlow, Spredfast, and Crowdbooster.” And the most widely used tool of all? Check out this post.
26 Social Media Monitoring Tools [Reference Guide] by Razor Social
***** 5 STARS
Frequent best-of honoree Ian Cleary lists five different areas you should be monitoring on social media (brand, competition, your prospects…) then serves up concise but useful reviews of more than two dozen free and fee-based tools (with pricing), including Talkwalker, Trendspottr, and Trackur (“a social media monitoring tool that provides executive reporting, sentiment analysis and influence scoring. It’s unusual to have sentiment analysis available for a monitoring tool with a relatively low starting price” of under $100 per month).
5 Essential Social Media Monitoring Tools for Beginners by Social Marketing Writing
Joe Cox lays out the advantages, features and pricing of a handful of popular social media monitoring tools including Hootsuite, Buffer, and Followerwonk: “Twitter’s own built-in search tools are incredibly limited, and Followerwonk aims to correct this, making it easier to find the right people to engage with. If you have been struggling with Twitter because you find that the signal to noise ratio on the network is so poor, then Followerwonk could revolutionize how you use the service.”
Karianne Stinson explains how social listening can provide benefits in areas well beyond marketing, including customer support, competitive analysis, product development, crisis management, and sales support (“Social listening can give your sales team great insights on potential customers pain points”); details ways social listening can help achieve corporate goals like reducing customer service calls (by helping the brand produce “content that proactively answers questions”); and then lists 11 helpful and free or low-cost social listening tools.
3 Tools that help you Understand and outreach to your Audience by State of Digital
Bas van den Beld provides in-depth looks at three tools “that help me get a better grip of who I am targeting” as he puts it, including Peerreach (“Peerreach gives you a nice one page overview of someone. It shows you the topics the person is ‘all about’ and it will show you the interest areas their followers have. It also has a Chrome plugin to show on your Twitterfeed how ‘important’ the Twitterers are. And one nice thing is that you can compare them to other Twitterers by adding up to four handles to compare and see who has reach on what topic and whether or not they ‘fit’ your needs”).
16 Social Media Tools The Experts Swear By by Social Fresh
16 social media marketing pros (and past Social Fresh Conference speakers) briefly highlight their favorite tools, from Matthew Knell on Buffer (“We’re big fans of Buffer because of its simplicity and it’s ability to plug into a bunch of other content aggregation / curation tools (Feedly, Pocket, Mention) to make content easier to find”) to Eric Boggs on LinkedIn (“I get more value out of LinkedIn than any other tool or platform. It is a fantastic prospecting / sales resource for B2B marketers”).
Top 28 Social Media Tools to Make Your Job Easier by SlideShare
Catherine Pham presents the basics about a range of helpful social media tools in this slide deck, from commonly used platforms like HubSpot, Buffer and Hootsuite to more specialized tools such as Tweepi and Twitonomy for Twitter, viralWoot and Piqora for Pinterest and Instagram, and Circloscope for Google+.
15 Best Social Media Tools by CodeGeekz
The English is a tad rough but the list is solid as Gavin Matteo reviews “a list of Best Social Media Tools for our audience,” from Mention (Google Alerts on steroids) and BuzzSumo to Rapportive (which displays LinkedIn profiles for your contacts from inside Gmail) and Tagboard, a “multi-platform, free and highly useful tool. It offers an easy way to monitor social interactions and act on them quickly. You can also search for specified hashtags on several social networking systems, including Google+ and Vine.”
10 Free Online Tools to Monitor Your Social Media Influence by NoPassiveIncome
Erik Emanuelli offers compact reviews of free social media monitoring tools ranging from Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics to Twitter-specific tools like Tweetstats and Twitter Counter, which “is a useful service to measure some parameters of Twitter, like the followers growth rate, the average number of tweets per day, and more. It also allows you to compare different accounts, which means you can get an instant overview of your relationship with your competition and your overall progress.”
6 Super Quick Social Media Productivity Tips + 23 Tools to Help! by Maximize Social Business
Frequent best-of honoree Neal Schaffer here shares six strategies for accomplishing more with social media in less time; working “smarter, rather than longer” as he puts it. Each tip links to related tools. For example, to help schedule your posts, he recommends WordPress JetPack Publicize, CoSchedule and SMQueue.
16 DIY Tools for Social Media Management by Business2Community
Jim Belosic shares an infographic highlighting “16 tools that can help businesses with their social efforts,” and which is “helpful for folks who are preparing to migrate away from Wildfire and North Social” (both of which were acquired in 2014). The tools are categorized into three groups: social media messaging & scheduling; analytics; and social landing page tools.
6 top social media management tools by iMedia Connection
Greg Kihlstrom “discusses six tools that help you manage your communication and content delivery across one or more platforms. Their capabilities vary from managing content, to analyzing and reporting on the best times to post, to determining the effectiveness of campaigns,” including SocialFlow, Sprout Social and IFTTT.
Ian Cleary (again) summarizes a presentation he delivered covering “a range of tools to optimize social media performance…really interesting and useful tools to help you target the right people, get better results with your content, convert more traffic and improve results,” such as Leadpages, a landing page creation tool that “provides you with a range of landing pages that are known to convert very well with existing customers.”
5 Top Brand Monitoring Tools for Marketers by 60 Second Marketer
Jamie Turner provides concise but helpful reviews of a handful of popular social media monitoring tools, from Social Mention (which is free) to Brandwatch  (which isn’t–but is very powerful: “check out how many mentions your brand has across the internet, where they are coming from, and how far the comments have reached. The tool gathers data from a staggering 70+ million sources that include social networking platforms, forums, blogs and news sites”).
Marketers Adopt Social Media Analytics Tools by eMarketer
More than 60% of U.S. marketing groups have adopted social media analytics tools. The top three uses for such tools are campaign tracking (60%), brand analysis (48%) and competitive intelligence (40%). Yet more than half of those marketers still cite staffing/resources and linking measurements to objectives as significant challenges.
10 Tools to Make Your Social Media Management Easier by SteamFeed
Andrew Jenkins reviews 10 of the tools he uses “to consume and curate content as well as manage and interact with (his) community,” including commun.it (specific to Twitter, commun.it gives gentle prompts and reminders regarding who to engage, follow, unfollow, get back in touch with or acknowledge for the level of interaction and engagement you have had”) and Nimble (“Nimble takes what commun.it does for Twitter and carries it across LinkedIn and Facebook”).
16 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use by Visually
To maximize the business benefits of social media, Stephanie Castillo writes “you should develop a strategy, based on as much knowledge as possible about your audience and their behavior,” then outlines 16 tools to help in that effort, ranging from Visually’s own (very cool and free) Google Analytics Report to Tailwind, a tool that ‘tracks activity across Pinterest about your company, products and competitors.”
9 Tools to Discover Influencers in Your Industry by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Noting that “people with a strong center of influence can provide valuable context and credibility to a company seeking to connect with an audience of buyers,” Lee Odden provides concise reviews of nine tools to help identify and engage with industry influencers. Among the tools: Traackr (a premium tool used by PR, communications and marketing pros), Buzzsumo, and Kred.
29 Social Media Tools Recommended by the Pros by Social Media Examiner
In this outstanding list of tools and star-studded post, Cindy King compiles reviews from 29 top social media marketing pros of their favorite tools. Among them: Mari Smith reviews Pocket, which “allows you to consume and save a wide variety of online articles, which you can then post to Twitter or Facebook, schedule via Buffer or review at a later time”; Ekaterina Walter covers ShareRoot (“an all-in-one solution for Pinterest”); and social media monitoring tool TalkWalker is reviewed by Gini Dietrich.