Choosing the best social media management tools for your business is critical
When it comes down to easing the pressure of staying visible, consistent and authentically engaging, you need to have a social media management tool in your corner.
Social media marketing and managing social media accounts can feel like a chore sometimes. There is always so much to do. Often entrepreneurs don’t link the actual task of posting content on social media directly with making sales. They often view it as the warm-up act, but fail to understand how important it is to warm up an audience first. It’s even worse if they view social media management as a basic must have.
Burn out for new coaches and consultants often comes because some misguided and incredibly foolish ‘coach’ has told them to post 6 or 7 times a day on all of their platforms. I’ve lost count of the amount of coaches who simply tell people to post other people’s groups just for the sake of visibility and consistency.
Now before this article goes down that rabbit hole…
let’s look at how we can avoid burnout with social media…
The smart answer is of course by deploying one of the best social media management tools into your business.
There is a reason why each of the tools we are recommending for 2019 made it onto the list of ‘Best Social Media Management Tools’. It’s not just because we admire their sassy marketing either. Each of these tools has been created to help take some of the pressure off you when it comes to how you manage your social media networks.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing a social media management tool
- What social media channels does your audience actively use?
- Do you need to be on all of the platforms or would you do better if you consolidated your efforts into just a few?
- Which platforms do you simply need and are non-negotiable?
- What types of posts do you want to schedule?
- How often do you intend to post?
- Is it important to you to be able to recycle your content?
- What size budget do you have?
- Who will be using the tool, you, a VA or an agency? (Agencies often have their own!)
Now that you have some clear ideas in your head about what you need, let’s look at the options for which social media management tool is going to work best for you and your needs.
You have to love this friendly and oh so helpful octopus, we have used Meet Edgar a few times over the years. They’ve really grown a lot since their launch way back in 2014 and we have recommended them to clients who we feel really would benefit from using them.
Meet Edgar Pro’s
Meet Edgar is a social media management tool/ It helps by scheduling and streamlining your social postings on networks such as Facebook (Pages + Groups), Twitter and LinkedIn (profiles & company pages).
You can login via the desktop or by means of a web plugin, which means it can be accessed from any mobile device. It works by allowing you to login to one overarching account that manages all of your associated social profiles.
Technically you can add up to 25 social media accounts to your one Meet Edgar account, but if you are wanting to use Pinterest you may be waiting a while. Meet Edgar, only just added the ability to manage Instagram in December 2018 and Pinterest has been marked as ‘coming soon’ for a while (we first started watching for Pinterest coming out way back in 2016!) and there is no actual date given yet for either.
Meet Edgar organisers your content
One of the pro’s for Meet Edgar is the fact that the tool organises your updates into a searchable and unlimited content library where you can store them in your own custom categories.
Meet Edgar can even create updates for you by pulling them directly from the RSS feeds of your favourite sites and this nifty feature helps to keep your channels populated with posts.
You can auto-expire posts as well. So, if you are posting seasonal content and recycling the posts over a few weeks, you can have it auto turn off as well. A great feature, if you are too busy dealing with seasonal sales or burnt out after the rush to be worrying about if you turned off that recurring post!
Meet Edgar has a scheduler system as well so you can schedule whole categories of posts to go out at the same time each week. For example, if you run a group with the theme of ‘Fizz Friday’ that is an engagement post, you can have Meet Edgar take care of the posts for you. If you are edgier with your marketing like us, don’t worry you can randomise the lot to avoid looking like you are in a content rut.
One single monthly fixed price
The single pricing format is also pretty cool, with $49 per month being good value for money. The annual plan simply gives you a month for free each year if you choose to pay that way which is a bit of a let down though.
The biggest way to see if Meet Edgar works for you is to give them a try. If you don’t like them, you can always activate their 30-day guarantee. They even offer a discount for military and non-profit users.
Meet Edgar Con’s
The downside to Meet Edgar is that if your social strategy includes Pinterest or Instagram. If this is you, then Meet Edgar is not the tool solution for you and for many this is a deal breaker. Why would you want to pay for two tools just because one isn’t capable of supporting one of your main social networks?
Google+ isn’t included either. Google announced in 2018 that they are shutting Google+ down at the end of August 2019 so this isn’t a major issue.
Another problem we found is that Meet Edgar does not have the ability to use multiple photos in one Facebook post. Plus, the photo resolution shrinks down to mobile-friendly size as well which can be a problem. Meet Edgar can sometimes have problems pulling the images in from articles as well and there is no way (that we’ve found) of fixing this.
The one problem we kept hitting… a lot
It is also super easy if you are planning on using a post across multiple platforms to end up posting the wrong size image on the wrong platform. For us, we accidentally kept ticking the Facebook box alongside Twitter. The result wasn’t pretty, we had a spurt of posts that pulled through into Facebook using the Twitter-sized image. This is not a good look and makes your channel look super clunky and makes it pretty obvious that you are using a social media management tool.
A fact, which while everyone uses them, we don’t want to publicise. Entrepreneurs are meant to be social goddesses and butterflies. In other words, the audience should perceive you as a multi-talented superwoman (supposedly!).
Scheduling is not as simple as it could be with Meet Edgar. Despite it being designed as a social media management tool.
Not great if you are doing affiliate launches
Another pain point is that you can’t schedule your posts and tag in pages, individuals or companies. Not great if you are doing a promo or affiliate launch.
It is also confusing at times to see what posts are coming up or see all the schedules at once. Meet Edgar doesn’t excel at ‘real-time’ engagements. For us, this is a huge issue as actually managing the content being put out with Meet Edgar became a huge time suck. Mainly due to the other issues below which compound the scheduling problem.
If you want to stop posts entirely you need to erase the entire calendar. Quite a complex task especially if you have a lot of posts scheduled! We were using a very Twitter heavy campaign when we spotted some major flaws (for us!) in the way content was being recycled and it took us hours to unpick the entire posting schedule.
The calendar feature isn’t drag and drop
Scheduling with Meet Edgar is a bit more tedious than it could or should be for a social media management tool. Not being able to undo the schedule in bulk means there is no easy way to drop low performing content. Even changing links on a batch of content became hard work. So, don’t schedule content that links to Leadpages for example if you plan on changing any time soon.
A simpler way would be to offer the option to remove an entire category from the posting schedule in bulk, but this is not within the Meet Edgar abilities at the moment.
MeetEdgar also has no social media engagement by category reporting. This means you can’t easily see what is engaging your audience and what isn’t.
You are also not able to interact through Meet Edgar either. If you want to respond to comments, retweet or manage online conversations then you need to login to the network directly. You could use another tool but really, do you want to? Again, for us was a deal breaker because of how our audience works and is definitely something to consider when looking at using Meet Edgar.
The stats/analytics at Meet Edgar do leave a bit to be desired and is certainly not as good as Buffer’s, who is their main competition. We wanted to filter by time slots, to see what times are working the best and that ability simply isn’t there.
Recycling content is deceptive and can cause you way more work when using Meet Edgar.
In order to avoid too much repetition in your posts, you will need a huge store of content/posts. You are going to need to add each of these in one by one. If you are looking to simplify your life later, you are going to need to find or create each piece of engaging content. Mainly because without dropping in conversation or engagement boosters, your recycled content will feel old, fast!
A social media management tool that was made for evergreen content
Meet Edgar thrives on evergreen content. If your posting schedule is designed to keep you visible then you are going to need a lot of content to keep yourself looking fresh. This is the reason we actually stopped using Meet Edgar as we found we were having to focus more on creating new content than just driving our funnel. You know what they say focus your time on what makes you money!
At times Meet Edgar will post the same content multiple times in a small time window and then you need to fix it and your timelines. You will need to move fast when this happens. If you don’t have a lot of content per category (50 – 100+ posts) then with a medium scale posting schedule you are going to start looking spammy pretty quickly.
<h6>The problems are really in lots of little UI issues</h6>
There are also a couple of small UI things that are irritatingly buggy and never seem to be truly fixed.
When you’re working through checking content, the photos don’t always pull through so there can be some manual work there. We’ve found this happens if you try to speed up the content upload process. You need to wait for each image to fully reload on your screen when you are uploading it. Wait for the preview to refresh with the image uploaded rather than just hitting ‘save’ when the upload completes.
Meet Edgar also reloads the first page of content whenever you save a change. This is super annoying when you’re working through multiple pages trying to clear old content and makes the tasks ever more laborious to do..
Hefty price tag for those who need to make every dime count
While the price is a nice single flat rate, it is a bit pricey for solopreneurs/ startups and those who need to make every dollar and dime count.
Overall, if you are a young or solo business Meet Edgar may not be for you. If you are well established with a lot of content and someone who you can dedicate to maintaining the tool on a weekly basis then it’s perfect.
If Meet Edgar is not for you because you are focusing on Pinterest and Instagram, then we recommend you look closely at Tailwind.
Previously, Tailwind was a close second to the market leader Board Booster. They have always deserved the crown though for being the number one social media management tool for Pinterest.
Tailwind play by Pinterest’s rules, which is sadly one of the reasons why Board Booster (who didn’t) was shut down in 2018.
Scheduling posts that engage with your audience at the right time is our favourite pro point when it comes to using Tailwind. You can schedule both Pinterest and Instagram posts for just the right time every time.
Tailwind has a browser extension that is perfect for batch working. The extension allows you to create multiple posts from any website or page on the web with just one click.
A firm favourite at GrowthVine is the Hashtag Finder, a tool within Tailwind that automatically suggests the best Instagram hashtags for your readers.
If your focus is on more visual marketing utilising Pinterest and Instagram you can certainly improve your efficiency by using Tailwind. It’s user-friendly workflow is excellent for posting all your visual marketing content.
The scheduling and publishing features in Tailwind make other tools look clunky and slow. Tailwind allows you to upload all of your content in bulk and then spread the posts out using the simple scheduler. You can also queue content inside of Tailwind and hook the queue up to your existing publishing schedule. It’s a great way to keep engagement up and your feed looking fresh.
Goes beyond basic reporting
Having the ability to measure and analyze how pins and posts are performing is also built into Tailwind. However, the tool goes beyond basic reports and can tell your followers, engagement trends, and virality by pin, board or category.
Tailwind allows you to track activity and trends. You can view when someone comments on your Instagram post or Pins from your site. Handy if you want one tool for all of your scheduling and management needs!
Plus, you can monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) by tracking your Instagram and Pinterest profiles and #hashtags. Try and combine this with the insights tool from your Instagram and Pinterest analytics. Tailwind will help you identify important metrics and tasks where you can focus on improving.
Overall, we love Tailwind’s analytics tool.
It helps you to monitor your Instagram and Pinterest followers, brand mentions, likes, repins, boards and just about everything else you want to track. We got excited when we noticed that Tailwind will also analyze content trends on Instagram and Pinterest. It allows us to learn what our readers are actually interested in.
Knowing what your audience wants and what type of content is effective means you can deliver more of what they want. Resulting in higher engagement and more traffic.to your Instagram and Pinterest audience.
Tailwind is built for small businesses and bloggers
Meaning pricing is at the lower end of the scale at only $15 per month. Tailwind offer a free trial with no time limit with up to 100 pins on Pinterest, and 30 posts on Instagram for free. I love this because it means that it really is up to you to decide when you want to sign up.
We love a smooth UI here at GrowthVine and the user interface is not as sharp as Tailwind’s functionality. It would certainly benefit from an update – maybe they might like to speak to our UI designers ?!
Tailwind doesn’t organize posts by boards, and only focuses on overall posts. This could be a problem depending on how you work.
Call us fussy but there is no option to dismiss the suggestion in the dashboard page on how to improve your Pinterest account, it gets irritating real quick.
Give us hashtags for Pinterest too
We want Tailwind to give us hashtags for Pinterest too. It isn’t available as a feature yet but when they do we also want more variety in hastags while we are talking about our wish list.
Tailwind can have a bit of a bug with the tutorial sometimes too, The tutorial sometimes starts again when you sign in, makes you think you are creating a real post, but then never lets you post it. We’ve had to start again a few times!
The Pinterest side of Tailwind could do with some UI work too. At times it can be clunky and slow and includes way too many clicks in order to reschedule things.
Lastly, our pet peeve which a few tools do, in order to view your previous data particularly for Pins, if you want to go back further than 30 days, you need to upgrade to a higher member package. Of course, the higher package is $799 per month which might put you off a bit, we know it did to us!
Price $15 pcm upwards
Hootsuite is a bit of a dinosaur in terms of social media management tools. They’ve been around, for what feels like forever. They were at one time the only option for most social media managers, but are they still good enough?
Hootsuite has a unique social media dashboard allowing teams to collaboratively schedule updates to various social networks. Networks included are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Plus, Hootsuite integrates with most major existing marketing tools to streamline workflow, using either native or 3rd party (Zapier) integrations. It allows you to track campaign results and industry trends to rapidly adjust tactics.
Hootsuite, like Meet Edgar, allows you to log in and view what’s happening with all of the accounts you have attached, meaning one login allows you to manage multiple accounts.
Hootsuite is very helpful for scheduling social media posts and keeping track of what works and what doesn’t.
While I am personally not a fan, Hootsuite is one of the most versatile tools out there in the market. Although, this often has more to do with how old Hootsuite is rather than it’s ongoing changes.
We love the fact that it offers a free package for startups.and those who are solopreneurs. It does cover all the essentials you need for your day to day operations when it comes to social media. As with any free plan though, it does have limits. Hootsuite’s free plan allows you to schedule up to 30 posts per month. If you need more, you need to upgrade to one of their paid plans.
Great for teams
One of the big benefits for Hootsuite though is when you bring in a team. Hootsuite has a columns/tabs interface that allows you to manage and list priorities and assign tasks.
Viewing scheduled content for single accounts or multiple accounts is possible and Hootsuite do have a
a content approval process that you can set up at their highest level which is pretty good but again it depends on what you need.
Hootsuite can’t spot bots and automatic tools which is a huge con in our book. It cannot detect if your traffic is originating from an actual human or an automated bot. This is a huge problem as it can corrupt your data. It makes it hard to decipher if the data you have access to giving you a true picture of what is going on.
<h6>It’s not just Buffer</h6>
Google Analytics has the same problem and the only real way around it is to use a third-party application for visitor tracking. Using tools like this may disconnect networks from your dashboard; but don’t worry, you simply just have to reconnect them.
The ability to post directly to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all at the same time, is promoted a lot with Hootsuite. To me, this is an old feature and you can do this with all of the tools on the market
In the same vain, Hootsuite says that they stay ahead of opportunities and have the first collaborations with the key social networks, like Instagram publishing, because they were there first. While this is true, I personally find that Hootsuite is cashing in on their age more than keeping it fresh. I would be more impressed if they included networks like Snapchat rather than cash in on their previous history.
One of the big problems with Hootsuite is that while it covers the essentials for your day to day social media, it lacks much in-depth analysis, listening and reporting features. This is one of the reasons so many other tools have been created over the years.
Consider how it works with Instagram
As platforms have updated, you now have to go directly to Instagram and Facebook for some things like checking private messages or for Instagram even commenting on others content is no longer available within Hootsuite.
It makes paying the higher fees for Hootsuite less desirable because now you are having to go back to managing the channels directly AND managing them via Hootsuite. This makes them expensive and more time consuming compared to others on the market.
Plus, the Android app can be very slow to load at times and across the board, the UI seems pretty outdated in terms of looks. If you want clean, modern aesthetics then Hootsuite might not be for you.
A great deal of the features that would have made it a complete and robust platform you have to buy additionally which is not so good. We found when using the Hootsuite paid version, that the analytics were lacklustre, to say the least and post previews are not always accurate, taking time to update.
A big recurring issue seems to be that features don’t always work as intended and may mess up a post that has been scheduled.
Lastly, Hootsuite does not seem to provide any data on how many people are viewing your posts and interacting with your content after it is published.
Price: For a basic account £25, but realistically most people will need to spend £99 + for custom reporting.
A favourite of mine for a long time, as much as I wanted to love Meet Edgar more, the truth is, Buffer does it better in my opinion.
The tool will automatically send out the posts added to your queue, according to the posting schedule you put in place. You can shuffle it to mix things up a little, which stops you getting a glut of related content like when you upload to Meet Edgar.
Overall, Buffer is very well integrated with all the social media platforms and has enough functionality to get the job done and do it well.
Buffer embraced Pinterest and was one of the first tools to do so which earns it some brownie points in my book. Yes, I know I just bashed Hootsuite for cashing in on historical integrations.
,Pinterest is a powerful tool and Buffer aced it
Trust me, I will be bashing Buffer hard in the con’s section as well, but Pinterest is a powerful tool. The internet spent a long time waiting for someone to integrate with it.
The interface with Buffer is easy and intuitive compared to the competitors and the analytics at first glance are incredibly useful.
We found posting to be quick, easy and the clean interface meant we didn’t waste too much time uploading content either.
The app is awesome
One thing that stands out with Buffer is just how awesome the app is for both iPhone and Android, it certainly makes working on the go a doddle.
There is a generous non-profit pricing structure too which runs alongside the free plan. Paid plan prices start for $15 per month.
One of the things we did want to talk about was just how much easier scheduling is from our experience on Buffer compared to Meet Edgar. With Buffer, you can log in and scroll down the previous content from the week or month and only re-buff content which has actually got some good data behind it.
This works for two reasons, first, you ditch the boring content. Two, it makes you look back over old content and only re-buff the content which is current and relevant to your audience.
I promised we would be slamming Buffer in this section about Pinterest and here we are. The downside to the free plan is that Pinterest is not included. You have to use a paid account for this feature, which really, really annoys me.
The capability of adding groups from LinkedIn has been removed a while back which weakens just how good the LinkedIn coverage actually. Plus, the app can be a little bit more complicated than the web version. But, it is still better than most apps out there.
For me, the Buffer small business plan doesn’t do enough for the monthly price. At that price, you are still not able to maintain more than 25 social accounts, which if you are a small agency means you can manage your own platforms and 3 other clients who use all networks.
Make it obvious!
Buffer doesn’t make things obvious sometimes either. For example, it’s not always obvious why a particular post fails to publish, or which platform is failed on which is frustrating.
It also isn’t the greatest for Instagram, if that is your primary concern. For integration with Instagram, they ask for a business profile. An individual Instagram profile doesn’t work.
A real problem when you switch to Buffer is that it doesn’t re-buffer old social media updates. It will only re-buff what is in it’s system, which is a shame. It would be handy if out of the box it could go back and pull up the last 30 or even 90 days of posts for you to look at re-buffing.
Buffer is more of a scheduler than a monitoring tool
It is more of a scheduler than a social monitoring tool which means more tools could be needed. While it gives us data to use when looking at posts, the data is often weak and doesn’t really help you understand your market a lot.
Lastly, the tool isn’t really seamless and does give errors out of the blue. Support try and Buffer’s hiring strategy is excellent but from our experience, Buffer still needs to work on it.
A lot of things could be improved regarding the robustness of the product but we are confident that the roadmap to develop Buffer will cover a lot of the issues.
Price $15 +
Choosing a social media management tool can be overwhelming and each has their own list of pro’s and con’s. There is no tool out there that we have found to be perfect (yet!). The trick is to look at each one and decide exactly what you think of as a priority for your business.
For GrowthVine, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are a priority this year but we have in the past focused on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Remember, you may need to use more than one tool to get everything that you need. It’s likely, as your strategy and focus changes that you will switch tools too.
Budget, features and network coverage will ultimately play a huge part in your decision. When it comes to choosing a tool, but we hope this article has helped make it a little bit simpler for you as well.