Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ready to Invest in Social Media Software? Comparing Social Media Tools

Ready to Invest in Social Media Software? Comparing Social Media Tools was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Is your company ready to invest in social media tools? Do you want something that monitors fans, followers, shares, mentions and more across every social network, tracked over time? Could you use a platform that tracks clicks to a site and conversion events?

Last year, that was the situation we found ourselves in — looking for social media software that could help us better track our key metrics.

As your business and social media activity grows, what could have once been accomplished manually becomes unmanageable.

Social Media Tools

At a certain point, it’s time to consider investing in social media software. But there are so many social media marketing tools out there. As our company’s social media editor, I was given the task of researching the marketplace and getting the answers to key questions, including:

After doing myriad trials with companies including Sprout Social, Quintly, Simply Measured, Datapine and Nuvi, I’ve rounded up the answers.

I want to share my research with other brands, businesses and agencies so that you’re ahead of the game when you start looking for the social media tools that are right for your company.

How Much Does Social Media Software Cost? (And What Features Are Included?)

Social media marketing tool platforms can range in price from $50 to $1,600 per month. Fifty dollars, however, is on the very low end, and such an account is very limited.

Along with the big variance in cost is a big variance in tool features.

Sprout Social, for example, offers a “deluxe package” for $59 per month that allows for one user with five accounts. Publishing from the platform is available, as is a limited number of reports. Google Analytics is not integrated and white labeling is not available. If you’re a small business or individual looking to track the most basic social media marketing KPIs of follower growth and mentions using a single dashboard, this could be the solution that works for you. No contract is required and you pay monthly.

One user and five accounts, however, is not going to be enough for an agency or larger business. For robust social media software the average price is $500 per month. At this level, the software is apt to include advanced social listening reports, competitive reports, hashtag tracking and research tools. Nuvi, for example, can algorithmically determine (with 82 percent accuracy) whether your brand is being mentioned in positive or negative way. Consider a brand like Coca Cola, for example, with thousands of tweets mentioning them daily. The advanced social listening report is a lifesaver. With Nuvi, the social media manager can set up an alert if the brand’s messages reach a certain threshold of negative mentions. She can set the threshold, and then she can set up a text alert so she’s immediately made aware when this happens.

Looking again at Sprout Social, moving up to the “team package” allows you to monitor 30 social media profiles and have three user logins. The team package also includes a message approval workflow (i.e. an associate could craft messages and later, a manager approve and push them out) and advanced reports. The team package is also integrated with Google Analytics and white labeling is available (a key feature for an agency).

Social Media Software Rates

  • Nuvi: $600, $900 or $1600 monthly
  • Sprout Social: $59, $99, or $500 monthly
  • Quintly: $129, $299 or $479 monthly
  • SimplyMeasured: $500, $1,000 or $2,000
  • DataPine: €219, €399, €699 or €799

If your business is a non-profit, you can usually get a discount on these rates.

Will I Have to Sign Up for a Contract?

Most likely. All social media software I researched necessitated a year-long contract, paid monthly, except for Sprout Social.

Is Google Analytics Integrated?

Sometimes. After testing the tools and looking at the reports they generated, the ones that were integrated with Google Analytics provided nothing that I couldn’t obtain in the Google Analytics Social Referrer Report — so the fact that I need to look in two separate data platforms isn’t really a deal breaker.elmo facebook

What Social Networks Are Included?

This varies by tool, but you should at minimum expect Twitter and Facebook. Simply Measured includes Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram and Vine. Sprout Social, on the other hand, only includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+.

How Many Users Can Access the Social Media Tools?

This also varies. At the low end of the price spectrum, there’s only one user allowed access. The more you’re spending, though, the more users you’re allowed.

Can I Access Historical Data, i.e. the Data that Existed before We Started Using the Software?

This isn’t something you should expect. The only social media software I found that offered this was Nuvi, and even then, Nuvi could only provide historical data for Twitter and it costs an extra $300 per month.

Is White Labeling Available?

Sometimes. Again, with accounts on the lower end of the price spectrum, it’s not included. Even at a mid-level account, such as Nuvi’s cheapest package at $600/month, white labeling does not come standard. It costs an extra $300 a month. Quintly and Simply Measured don’t offer white labeling at all.

What’s your preferred social media software? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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