The Top Social Media Marketing Tools: 2021 Edition

Group of women on laptops pass around marketing graphics about social media

Social media marketing tools are essential for anyone in the digital marketing space. After all, a recent study by the Institute of PR found that a typical social media manager averages anywhere from 41-59 hours of work per week. With statistics like that, you take all the help you can get.

Social media marketing tools help streamline workflow and present new opportunities for creativity and unique content.

Tools can range from scheduling, management, and analytics to content creation—each tool earning its place in a social media manager’s metaphorical tool belt.

With the right tools, a digital marketer is able to save time, money, and more than a few over-aggressive mouse clicks.

The Social Media Marketing Tools We Recommend

Scheduling Tools

Buffer: Buffer is known for its ease-of-use and allows users to create and schedule content for all of your traditional social media platforms. Uniquely, the platform grants the option to schedule Story posts in addition to regular feed content.

Buffer offers a variety of plans ranging from a free option to a paid business plan. However, it does not include analytics in its publishing plan. Instead, it requires a second membership to its analytics tool.

Hootsuite: Hootsuite is one of the original scheduling tools. It offers integration with a robust number of platforms and a useful content library to aid with content creation. Its content approval feature makes it easy for teams to coordinate all their scheduling efforts.

Hootsuite does not have a free option, and its cost can be prohibitive to many small businesses. Additionally, the platform’s design can seem clunky and outdated.

AgoraPulse: AgoraPulse connects with most major social platforms and puts a heavy emphasis on its inbox management. The platform helps you sort through comments and messages from traditional posts and advertisements.

Similar to Hootsuite, AgoraPulse does not offer a free account option. The platform also does not provide an integrated feed, forcing users to toggle between several pages to monitor all feeds.

Staff Pick

Sprout Social: The Move Digital team currently uses Sprout Social for all of its scheduling needs. The platform provides useful suggestions for posting times and has incredibly robust visual analytics.

A screenshot of social media scheduled for a week on Sprout Social

Sprout Social’s scheduling calendar allows you to see your week’s posts all in one place.

Sprout is another pricier option as it tends to be geared toward teams and not individual managers. One downside of the platform is that it does not offer support for Facebook and LinkedIn Group publishing.

Content Production Tools

Adobe SparkAdobe Spark allows users to create eye-catching graphics and videos for social media. The platform hosts its own stock images and music along with useful templates to make the design process simple.

While there are limits on how much flexibility you have with your design, this is an excellent option for businesses already utilizing other Adobe tools. On its own, Adobe Spark has a limited free account and tops out at $20/month for team usage.

Animoto: Animoto is a popular video editor with an extensive stock image and music collection. Users praise the tool for its simplicity and ease-of-use. The platform allows paid users to implement their own branding elements and transparent, unlimited licensing.

While Animoto offers a free membership option, it comes with fewer stock options and places a watermark on content. The platform also provides professional and team memberships to account for every user’s needs.

Snappa: Snappa is a simple to use graphic creation platform. The platform offers over 6,000 design templates to help users keep content fresh. It even integrates directly with one of our scheduling tool recommendations – Buffer!

The free option is very limiting, only allowing three downloads a month, but the paid options allow for unlimited downloads and countless stock images.

Staff Picks

BiteableMove has enjoyed using Biteable for quick and easy video content, especially for its digital advertising videos. Biteable offers unlimited, high-resolution exports along with commercial usage rights on videos. In addition to the standard stock photos and videos, Biteable also has animation options.

Canva: For the rest of its graphic and video needs, the Move group uses Canva. It is by far the most comprehensive design platform as it offers templates for graphics, videos, and print materials. While the free version is useful for those on a budget, the paid version is only $10/month and takes the platform to a whole new level.

A screenshot of a blog image from social media marketing tool Canva

Canva is the team’s go-to source for social posts, board reports, and even finding images for blogs like this.

Analytics Tools

Ad Espresso: Ad Espresso is a platform created by Hootsuite to assist with ad creation and analytics. Ad Espresso allows you to centralize your Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads with one platform. Its more popular features include simplified A/B Testing, comprehensive analytics, and personalized ad tips. However, the platform is considered a costly luxury to many in the industry.

Keyhole: Keyhole functions as a one-stop-shop for analytics, research, and monitoring. The platform can analyze the performance of hashtags and influencer campaigns in addition to the typical social media analytics. It even has software to assist with tracking ROI.

Staff Pick

A screenshot of social media tool Sprout Social's profile performance chart

Sprout Social’s visual analytics allow us to assess our social performance at a glance.

For most of our social media analytics research, Move Digital Group relies on Sprout Social’s reporting tools. This feature offers visual data and streamlined viewing of all platforms. However, another platform Move uses is Bitly.

Bitly: Bitly is one of the more popular link shortening platforms. It integrates seamlessly with many scheduling tools and captures important analytics along the way. This tool will help you measure your social media’s effectiveness, especially when it comes to lead generation.

Monitoring Tools

Screenshot of Buzzsumo's front page displaying product examples

Buzzsumo offers tons of insights presented in a way that is both visually appealing and concise.

Buzzsumo: A comprehensive monitoring tool, Buzzsumo allows users to discover relevant content, conduct brand research, identify influencers to work with, and monitor social engagement. User’s favorite features include reporting the most-viewed content in a topic area of your choice and real-time monitoring.

Mention: Mention is a social listening tool that allows users to keep track of every mention of a brand online. It compiles its findings for daily reports and even crafts its own analytics based on your brand’s performance. Additionally, Mention offers a comprehensive inbox to help you respond and interact with your fans online.

TalkWalker: Another monitoring service, TalkWalker helps you never miss an opportunity or meaningful conversation about your business. The platform can monitor brand mentions in nearly 200 languages and even flag the use of a business’s logo. It also provides quick sentiment analysis to help marketers keep track of the top priority items.

Staff Pick

Once again, our team monitors primarily through our scheduling tool – Sprout Social. While not as comprehensive as these other monitoring tools, Sprout Social allows you to track relevant keywords and hashtags, brand mentions, and your competitors’ progress.

How to Choose Your Tools

While social media marketing tools are an essential resource for any social media manager, what tools are in each marketer’s tool belt will vary greatly.

As with most things, what works for big businesses will not work for medium or small businesses, and marketers who work alone may have to get creative with their budget.

We invite you to use this blog post as a guide to some of the most popular and useful tools but keep in mind that the list does not end here. There are a whole host of platforms out there that may be perfect for your business.

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