Social media can make or break your business. It’s become a vital part of any business in the 21st century. It helps us build a tribe, share our content, serve our customers and ultimately, sell our products.
But it’s also increeeeeedibly time consuming. How on earth are we supposed to publish three times per day on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube AND Google+?
And then you’ve got to answer all comments, tweets, mentions and messages.
It makes me sweat just thinking about it.
We didn’t get into business to spend all day on social media.
No. We got into business to create things that people love. That’s the important thing.
But you know as well as I do, without social media you simply won’t be able to share your creations with as many people.
It’s a love/hate relationship.
Jump to Section:
Recently I’ve decided to dedicate a lot more of my time to content creation in order to build our organic traffic and get a bunch of ideas out of my head.
Every blog post I write usually takes me an entire day to write, sometimes split over two days. They’re long, 2000-3000 word articles and a lot of effort goes into making them. But what would all that be worth if I didn’t then take the time to promote them on social media.
Up until now, promoting Take Traction content has taken about as long as actually creating it in the first place.
But all that is changing today.
Right now, as I write this very article, I’m on the hunt for the best social media management tool.
But guess what… That takes time too!
So, to save YOU the hassle of going through the same process, I’m going to document the entire thing right here.
In a hurry? Download this social media management tool comparison cheatsheet to quickly compare the different tools from this post side by side.
Before we begin, I’m going to need to lay out some criteria.
It’s clear WHY I need a social media management tool, but now let’s look at WHAT I need it for.
Here are the main functions I need in order of priority:
1. Planning and scheduling posts
This has to be number one really because without this function it would be pretty useless to me.
I need to be able to create a content calendar and schedule all posts across all networks from one place.
I should also mention that Take Traction doesn’t really need be on all networks, so for the sake of this research we’re just going to be focusing on:
While you’re here, make sure to click on your favourite one from the list above and give us a follow!
2. Answering all messages, tweets, mentions and comments from one place
This is another super high priority for me in the best social media management tool debate.
I get hundred of notifications every day. I probably only see about 10% of them. That means that I miss half of the things I should be responding to on social media.
And if I decide to set aside some time to check for comments, likes, messages, tweets and the like, I have to log in to all of the separate accounts.
No. I refuse to run a business like this.
I need one place where I can answer EVERYTHING.
We also have a Facebook Messenger chat on the website so apart from email, our soon-to-be social media management tool should be able to take care of all communications with the outside world for us.
If there was a way to link up a support@ email address as well then that would just be the icing on the cake. But I don’t expect this to be possible with many (if any) of the social media management tools available so it’s not a priority.
Good business idea there for anyone looking 😉
3. Evergreen content
Disclaimer: A couple of years ago I had a big focus on social media with one of my ecommerce companies. At the time, social media management tools were a fairly new thing and there wasn’t that much competition out there.
This was right around the time that Edgar came out and I ended up using their tool because of their evergreen content feature.
Evergreen content means that you can schedule a post once and then it will go to the back of the queue to be published again once all your other content has run out.
In the last few years, organic reach has been on a downward spiral.
According to an article from Bonsey Jaden, organic reach on Facebook has now decreased to 1.2%.
So after I put in 8 hours of work to create an amazing article you’re telling me that I can only display it to 1% of my followers?!
… recycling content is clearly a must.
Since those early days of Edgar, many other tools have caught on to this idea of ‘content recycling’ and I believe it’s not a common feature with most.
Either way, I need it in my life.
Most social media networks provide pretty good reporting these days. They allow you to gain insights on your audience and see which posts are performing best.
While it’s not an absolute necessity, it would definitely be a good bonus to be able to see reporting directly within our new social media management tool.
5. Mobile App
I think having a mobile app is pretty important because I like to take advantage of those moments when I’m waiting in queue for something to check what’s going on with our social media accounts. While it’s not absolutely necessary, I still think it’s a massive bonus to be able to manage social media on the go.
6. Suggestions for content curation
Content curation can also be a kind of difficult process. After all, I don’t just spend my days browsing the internet looking for good content.
In order to be the best social media management tool, it would be ideal to be able to find some good content suggestions in there as well.
And I should stress the word ‘good’.
I don’t want to be sharing crappy content with my followers. No. I only want to share the best possible content that will give them the right information they need to help them grow their businesses.
This one will probably become incredibly less important for us as time moves on and we have more resources to share on social media. At this point we will probably be doing very little curation and focusing more on our own stuff.
Best Social Media Management Tool Candidates:
Prior to beginning this showdown, I’ve done a bit of research to shortlist some of the most popular tools.
There are quite a few out there now and testing all of them out would have been unnecessary. Besides, most of them give you a pretty good gut feeling by just looking around on their websites.
The ones I’ve decided to test and compare are the following:
- Agora Pulse
- Meet Edgar
- Content Studio
Wait Charlie, aren’t you missing something?
You might be wondering why Hubspot isn’t on the list.
From what I’ve heard, the Hubspot social media management tool is really powerful and would allow me to do most of the things I need from my criteria list. I just hate the way that Hubspot sucks you into their ecosystem. You’re either using all of their tools or nothing at all, and that really annoys me.
Besides, to get access to their social media management tool you need to be on the minimum paid plan which starts at a mere $800 / month. Bye bye Hubspot.
Alright. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article contain affiliate links, meaning that I’ll get a small commission if you use them to sign up to any of the products, at no extra cost to you! I promise that it has not influenced the content in any way. It just helps support the blog and is much appreciated.
After signing up for a free trial with Agora Pulse, I’m pleasantly surprised by the layout and design of the dashboard. Everything looks super easy to understand at a glance and I’m not left scratching my head trying to work out how to use this tool.
In the side menu you’ve got all of your different social media accounts. Once you select one, everything in the main section of the page becomes focused on that account.
You then have a new menu at the top of the page that allows you to select between all the available features.
Here you can see all your messages for that account. This was one of my top criteria and it makes it super simple to respond across all channels from one place.
This is where you will be notified every time someone mentions you on social media. For Twitter, you can also set this up to follow hashtags. Engaging with people is super important if you want to grow your social media accounts so being able to keep track of this stuff is pretty useful.
This is where the mojo happens. In here you’ve got a content calendar so that you can plan, prepare and schedule posts.
This gives you a good overview of what you’ve got coming up.
When you schedule a post you can choose between scheduling at a specific time or adding to the queue.
What does adding to the queue mean? Well, in Agora Pulse you can create a content schedule to plan out what days and times you want to publish posts.
You can also create categories of posts, such as blog posts, quotes, videos, podcasts, questions, etc..
Then, when you create a new post, you can add it to a category and then add it to the back of the queue and it will publish on one of your previously planned time slots once the rest of the queued content has run out.
To top all of this off, you can also choose to requeue either a set number of times or unlimited requeuing.
This is exactly what made Meet Edgar such a great tool when I was using it a few years ago and now it’s a native feature of Agora Pulse as well.
Fans & Followers:
This section allows you to keep track of all the people that have engaged with your profile. You can see how many followers they’ve got and you can also filter by ‘influencers’ to find people that may provide good opportunities for either promoting your content.
The reporting section is surprisingly good with Agora Pulse. Within reports, you have two sections, Global and Content.
Global shows you overall profile statistics such as:
- Engagement rate
It also gives you recommendations on the best days and times to publish content based on your profile, as well as a bunch of other audience insights that vary depending on the social media channel.
This is incredibly useful for you to be able to plan your content calendar efficiently.
All of this is available to view from within Agora Pulse but you can also export this report into a powerpoint (which actually looks really good), making it ideal for team meetings and presentations.
Content shows you statistics related to the content you’ve been publishing. This is a great place to see what types of content are giving you the most reach and generating the most engagement with your followers.
For Facebook, there’s another bonus section called Competitors in the reporting tab. This is a really cool feature that allows you to select who your competitors are on Facebook and it then shows you a direct comparison of your performance over the time period specified.
There a couple of extra bonuses that I think are worth mentioning with Agora Pulse.
- They have a Chrome extension so that you can easily curate content from the web as you browse around.
- They have a mobile app. I’m yet to test this out but I think it would be super useful to manage accounts while on the go.
The pricing tiers for Agora Pulse are pretty much based on how many social media profiles you have and how many users you need to have access to the account.
The basic plan for $49 per month will give you pretty much everything you need but you’ll be restricted to one user login and 3 social media profiles.
The next step up is $99 per month for 10 profiles and 3 users.
They’ve had a pretty cool idea with pricing though, allowing you to add profiles or users to any tier for a set price.
Let’s say you had 4 social media profiles but only one user. You could select the Small plan for $49 per month and add a profile for $15 per month. Now you’re still only paying $64 per month which is well under the Medium tier for $99.
There’s also a 14-day free trial available (no credit card required) so you don’t have to commit to anything before taking it for a test spin.
Agora Pulse has pleasantly surprised me with their combination of amazing features and easy to use back end.
The only thing missing from my criteria was content suggestions, but to be honest, this was at the bottom of my list and it’s not all that important to me anyway.
The dashboard was super easy to navigate, which is always important to me. I don’t like wasting time trying to work things out or potentially missing out on features because I didn’t know they were there.
All of the content planning and scheduling side of things was really intuitive and fulfilled every need I can think of.
The reporting was actually far better than what I was looking for. It’s presented in a really nice way and has already given me insights that I can start using right away.
Take Traction has 4 social media profiles that need managing so it would probably make sense for me to get the $49 plan and use the profile add-on for $15 per month.
All-in-all I’m really pleasantly surprised by Agora Pulse and it’s definitely a prime candidate for our social media management tool.
Who is it good for?
Someone who needs an all-inclusive social media management tool to manage posts, planning and communication from one place. Great for collaboration among bigger teams.
Meet Edgar was one of the first social media management tools I ever used. 3 years ago, when I was doing my last search for the best social media management tool, I came across Meet Edgar and was amazed by some of its features.
Most notably, at the time it was the only tool that allowed you to:
- create categories for posts
- recycle content.
These two features were incredibly powerful and were a real game-changer for me.
BUT. It’s been 3 years and most tools now include these features, so how will Meet Edgar fair against them now?
Let’s dive right in:
As soon as you create an account with Meet Edgar you’ll be asked to connect your social media profiles.
It gives you the option of connected Facebook (including groups), LinkedIn and Twitter. Unfortunately, there’s no YouTube for me which is a bit of a downside and no Instagram for those interested.
The dashboard looks really clean and easy to navigate.
Unlike most other tools, Edgar doesn’t really separate your accounts and blends them all together with everything you do within the tool. On some of the pages you DO have the choice to filter by account if you wish to, but if not you’ll just see a mix of everything you’ve got coming up across all accounts.
Across the top, we have various different menu options, including:
Library and Queue:
The library is where you can see all of the posts you’ve got available to be published in Meet Edgar and is a good way to get a quick overview of all of your content.
If you’re working in teams it’s also where you can go to see what content other users have submitted to approve it for publishing.
The queue is where you can go to see a chronological list of all the upcoming posts you have scheduled.
These two sections are great to get a good overview of all of your available content and everything that’s being published in the coming days.
I can imagine it being the kind of place that I would go to at the beginning of every week to check that everything is as it should be for the coming days.
Schedule is where all the magic happens. In here you get to decide what days and times you want to publish across all your different social media profiles.
You choose between having different time slots for each social network, or you can choose to just schedule a post for all networks at the same time. This gives you a bunch of flexibility when planning.
To add to this, you can also choose which content category (more on this below) you would like each scheduled post to pull from. For example, you might decide that the morning is best for inspirational quotes, the afternoon is best for blog content and the evening is best for product promotion.
Whatever you decide, Edgar leaves you in complete control over the what and when and just takes care of the rest.
Import (Great for content curation!):
The import section allows you to connect your account with either an RSS feed or a Google Docs CSV file.
This is super useful since not only does it allow you to import content directly from your blog, it also allows you to pull in content from your favourite websites, essentially working as a targeted content curation tool.
All content that it pulls in from the feed can either be added directly to the queue (a little risky I guess) or be sent to the Pending Content Queue for review before it is published.
I should also mention here that Meet Edgar also has a browser extension for Safari, Firefox and Chrome, allowing you to send content to your library as you browse the web.
This is another feature that makes Meet Edgar one of the best social media management tools out there.
Creating different categories for content is beneficial for a number of reasons. It helps you to:
- Come up with ideas
- Stay consistent
- Avoid publishing too much similar content
I think that Meet Edgar was one of the first tools to introduce this to social media planning and while most other tools now include this feature as well, these guys deserve some credit for showing everyone the way of the future.
At the top right of the dashboard, there’s a button that says “Add New Content”.
This is – unsurprisingly – where all the content creation happens.
Once you open this up you’ll see a box that looks like this:
Fundamentally it’s just a place where you can create a post, but there are some cool features here that make it super powerful to use:
- For each post you create, you can select which social media profiles you would like it to be posted to from the left.
- There’s a category dropdown at the top for you to assign a category to the post for queuing and scheduling.
- You can add multiple variations of the same post – great for recycling content.
- You can shorten links automatically with a native bit.ly type service, ed.gr.
From the Advanced Settings section, you have a few more scheduling options for total flexibility.
If you don’t select anything here, Edgar will simply add your post to the queue for that category and it will be published when all the other content in the queue has run out. It will then be put back to the back of the queue for republishing.
If you select the Use once option then the post will still be added to the back of the queue in the same way but it won’t be recycled.
If you select the Send at a specific time and date option then you will essentially be scheduling a post like normal, only with Edgar it will be added to the back of the queue once it’s been posted
If you select the Expire content at a specific date and time option, this will stop your content from being recycled at the date specified. This is a great option to stop content from being recycled once it might have become out of date and have lost its relevancy.
Meet Edgar comes in at $49 per month for an all-inclusive account with up to 25 social media profiles.
This pricing seems pretty reasonable to be honest when you consider just how powerful and user-friendly Meet Edgar really is.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a free trial with Meet Edgar, but they do offer a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
Meet Edgar is a difficult one for me. It’s missing some critical features from my criteria but it’s just so damn easy to use, and for what it DOES do, it’s incredibly powerful.
Here’s what it’s missing for me:
- YouTube account management
- Mobile app
- Community management to answer messages, tweets, comments, etc.
- Content curation
Damn, that’s a lot of things. But I can’t help but feel a little bit of love for this tool.
Content curation isn’t really an issue because it’s got some pretty cool features such as the browser extension and the RSS feed imports that allow you to curate content probably better than if they were to just recommend content to you.
The big one for me is the lack of a community management feature.
At the end of the day, Meet Edgar is a content creation, planning and scheduling tool and as far as that stuff is concerned, I think it’s the best tool available. I’m just not sure it’s going to cut it in this best social media management tool showdown.
Who is it for?
Meet Edgar is for anyone who really wants to focus on pushing out amazing, categorised content on a very specific schedule and needs a lot of features to customise the process. I truly believe it’s the best of it’s kind, but if community management is a necessity for you then you might want to look elsewhere.
Buffer has been around since the early days of social media and is definitely one of the most well-known names in the social media management tool space.
How is it going to fare up to the modern-day competition though?
Let’s find out…
As always, once you’ve set up an account with Buffer you’ll be asked to connect some of your social media profiles to get started.
It gives you the option to select from:
Unfortunately for me, YouTube isn’t an option, but Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ are social networks that aren’t always available with other social media management tools, so this could be a positive for you.
From the dashboard, we’ve got the usual sidebar menu on the left with our various social media accounts to select from.
Once you select one of the accounts, the main section of the page will then show you the available options for that account.
It’s kind of hidden away in the settings but I think the posting schedule is the first place anyone would want to go.
From here you can set up all of your posting days and times. What I’m not seeing straight off the bat is the ability to select post categories in order to specify what type of post you want to schedule at each designated slot.
This is a bit of a negative for me because I really liked this feature when I used to use Meet Edgar years ago and I found it beneficial for many reasons.
This where you can see all of your upcoming posts.
I think it’s important to note that you can only see the upcoming posts for whichever social network you have selected. This was the same with Agora Pulse but after seeing how Meet Edgar gives you the birds-eye view of everything that’s coming up across all social media networks, it suddenly seems a bit annoying not to have this option.
You can easily switch between List and Calendar views, whichever works best for you.
This page is also where you prepare your posts.
Clicking on the input bar at the top will open up an area where you can prepare your posts. Even though you’re in the area for one specific profile, when you create a new post you can decide which other accounts you want it posted to. This is a good feature that helps speed up the workflow.
It also gives you the option to customise the post for each network, so that you’re not just publishing the exact same thing everywhere.
Once you’ve finished creating your post, you’ve then got three scheduling options to choose from:
- Add to queue – This puts it to the back of the queue to be published at one of your previously selected time slots.
- Share next – This puts it to the front of your queue, filling the next time slot and pushing all of the other posts back.
- Share now – Do I need to explain?
- Schedule – Allows you to set the specific time and date you want to publish the post.
Rebuffer is a feature that allows you to select posts that have performed well and very quickly and easily add them back to the queue.
This is a great way to make sure you are always getting the most out of your best content, however the lack of a simple recycle option when scheduling the post is kind of annoying.
What if you just want a post to be continually added to the back of the queue and you know that when you publish it? Unfortunately, this isn’t possible with Buffer.
There are a few cool features that make Buffer one of the best tools out there for content curation.
Firstly, there’s a menu item called Content Inbox. This is where you can add RSS feeds (much like Meet Edgar) that will allow you to pull in new content from your favourite websites, where you can then review it before deciding which pieces of content to add to the queue.
Then you’ve got the Buffer Chrome extension. This allows you to send content straight to your Buffer account as you browse the internet and come across things that you think your audience will like.
Lastly, there’s a native integration with Quuu, which is primarily a content curation tool. If you have a Quuu account you can send all of Quuu’s content recommendations to Buffer so that you automatically see new content ideas in your Buffer account.
If you think content curation is going to be a big part of your social media content, this makes Buffer a seriously good option for you.
The analytics section is where you can get information on how well your content is performing. This feature is great but it’s still missing a couple of things in my opinion:
- You can’t see data for things unrelated to posts, such as followers and overall profile health.
- You can’t see data for posts that have been made directly from one of the social media profiles or another social media management tool you may be using.
Since I haven’t posted anything through my Buffer account yet, I don’t have any data in the Analytics section so it’s hard for me to comment more on this.
If you’re someone who loves to shorten a link (I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood the point in this), then you’ll love Buffer. They’ve got a built-in feature that allows you to automatically shorten all links.
What’s more, you can even select from various link shortening services, so if bit.ly’s your thing, there’s no need to switch to anything else.
This may perhaps be the best part of Buffer…
It’s completely free to use!
For up to 3 social media profiles and 1 user, Buffer doesn’t charge you a thing to use their service!
This really makes it an absolute no-brainer for any small business that doesn’t want to spend too much on tools yet.
Buffer is a great tool for anyone look to take control of their social media for the first time.
It has a lot of really powerful features, but unfortunately, for me, it’s still missing some really important aspects that I need from a social media management tool.
- You can’t use it for YouTube.
- It doesn’t have a community management feature for answering comments, messages, likes, etc.
- It doesn’t have a mobile app.
- It has great scheduling features but not being able to categorise content is a real bummer once you know how powerful it is as well.
- The rebuffer feature is great but I would much prefer to have evergreen content that just continues to post itself again and again.
With all that said… it’s free! And I think Buffer would be a massive asset to anyone getting started out trying to build their social media following.
Who is it for?
Buffer is the perfect social media management tool for anyone just getting started out and looking for a free way to take control of their social media. It will save you hours every week and definitely make your social media perform 10 x better.
Hootsuite looks like a very competitive tool after browsing through their website. The company has been around for 10 years now, making it one of the first social media management tools.
Since then those early days it’s come on a long way and it’s now got a plethora of features that seem to be fit for anyone’s needs.
Let’s jump in and see exactly what it can do.
Set up is fairly easy and only takes a few moments. They DO have a free trial for you to be able to test out the tool before committing, but you have to enter your credit card details in order to activate the account.
Once this is done it’s just a simple case of following the guide to quickly integrate all of your social media accounts.
My first thoughts are that the dashboard looks kind of intimidating. There’s a lot going on, but it gives me the impression that this is going to be a powerful tool.
Let’s just hope it’s easy and intuitive to navigate because I can’t stand tools that aren’t.
The default page on the dashboard is called Streams. This is kind of like a board and bears some resemblance to Trello.
As you can see in the image above, each board is a different widget with a stream of content.
You can customise these streams depending on the social network.
E.g. For Twitter you can display:
- your home feed
- your tweets
- scheduled tweets
- new followers
- people who have retweeted your content
- and a few other options
Okay, now that I understand what I’m looking at, this is seriously cool. I’ve basically got everything I need to know about my Twitter account in one space! This is looking good.
On the left, there’s a slim sidebar with various menu options including:
Inbox is a feature that allows you to see all your direct messages across all channels in the same place.
It makes it incredibly easy to reply to followers AND customers from the same inbox.
The main page here is the Planner. Here you can see a calendar view of all your upcoming posts.
Then you can find a Content section which shows you all of your posts in a list format. You can see scheduled posts, drafts, posts waiting for approval, etc..
Lastly, there’s a Promote tab. This is actually a pretty cool feature that allows you to create post boosts for Facebook directly from within your social media management tool.
From all of these different sections, you have a New Post button at the top of the screen. This seems to be the primary place to create new posts, although it CAN be done from the main dashboard as well.
The New Post button brings up a focused page where you can prepare your posts.
There nothing special to mention about the post editor except for the fact that it comes with a built-in URL shortener, which helps speed things up a bit if you’re a fan of short URLs.
Unfortunately, here’s where Hoosuite starts to let itself down a little.
When it comes to published options, all you’ve got is Post Now or Schedule. That’s right… no queueing feature!
And I’m sorry to break this to you, but there isn’t an automatic content recycling feature either!
Oh no, just when things were going so well.
The Analytics section kind of reminds me of Agora Pulse, where you’ve got the main overview section and then the post performance section. Unfortunately, while you can see the overview stats, Hootsuite requires you to upgrade to a plan higher than the basic $25 / month plan if you want to see the post performance analytics.
While I haven’t tested it out yet, Hootsuite DOES have a mobile app allowing you to manage your social media while on the move.
They also have a Chrome extension called Hootlet that allows you to publish pages straight to your social media profiles as you browse the internet.
Hootsuite’s pricing is fairly straightforward with the basic plan costing just £25 per month.
This is pretty reasonable considering all of the features that it comes with and you’ll be able to manage up to 10 social profiles on this plan.
Bear in mind that if you want to collaborate in larger teams and have access to post performance analytics, things can get pretty pricey, fast.
Once you get over 3 users you’ll be paying £520 per month! So make sure you consider what your requirements are before getting started with Hootsuite.
On the surface, Hootsuite feels somewhat confusing. It feels like a complex enterprise tool.
But while it DOES have some advanced features, it’s still missing some of the fundamentals, such as content categorizing, queueing and recycling.
If it wasn’t for these missing pieces of the puzzle then I would be tempted to say that Hoosuite is one of the best social media management tools I’ve seen so far… But it’s just not the case.
It IS, however, pretty reasonably priced at £25 per month and that, in my mind, makes it one of the most powerful tools available when considering value for money.
Who is it for?
Hootsuite is a powerful tool for anyone. Its cheap basic plan makes it accessible to almost anyone, but it holds all of the collaboration features required for larger teams to be able to do social on a larger scale.
Getting started with Content studio is nice and easy. After creating an account you’ll instantly be asked to connect it with your social media profiles. Available connections are:
No YouTube or Instagram unfortunately. But Content Studio holds a secret weapon up its sleeve…
While it DOES function primarily as a social media management tool, it also allows you to create and publish blog content as well!
We’ll hear more about this later but for now, you should know that Content Studio has native integrations with WordPress, Medium and Tumblr.
The dashboard is somewhat underwhelming, to be honest. Most of the screen is taken up by a couple of widgets that show you how many social media profiles and blogs you have contented with the tool.
The right side of the screen is a section for recent activity but I guess it only shows activity regarding posts that have been published from within Content Studio since there’s nothing showing up on my account.
On the left side of the screen there’s a slim sidebar menu with four main options:
I’ve found this section to be pleasantly surprising. In here you can see trending topics across various different media channels, including:
- Daily Motion
- … and many more
You can then type in keywords or domains into the search bar at the top of the page to filter the results.
It works very similarly to Buzz Sumo, making it great not only for curating content for publishing across your social media profiles, but also for researching content ideas for yourself.
While it’s not quite as feature rich as Buzz Sumo it would definitely suffice if you were looking to cut down on your monthly tool subscriptions.
Another section within discovery is Quotes. Not only can you find quotes in here but it also generates a stylish image containing the quote…. Exactly what social media loves!
Unfortunately, the search feature doesn’t work that well for this section because any keyword you type just brings back results for quotes that contain that keyword.
For example, searching “inspirational” won’t bring back inspirational quotes but rather quotes that have got the word “inspirational” in them.
The best way I managed to find good quotes was by searching for influencer names. This consistently pulled in some decent results, but you have to know who you’re looking for.
Nonetheless, I still managed to find a few gems in there and if you consider this a little bonus it’s a really cool feature.
This is another section that differs from most other social media management tools because we have the option to compose either a social media post or a blog post.
Since it’s new and exciting, let’s take a look at the blog post composer feature first.
The big question here is whether the composer is good enough to replace the WordPress editor.
The layout is nice with the content of the post taking up most of the page. I always think this is important because it helps to keep me focused on writing instead of allowing my eyes to drift off and look at shiny objects.
There’s a field for the title, the main content and a meta description.
The formatting options seem to be pretty much the same as those in WordPress.On the right there are a couple of really cool features that make this a pretty powerful editor:
Discovery – Remember what I said about the Discovery section? Well, they’ve basically added the entire discovery section to the right sidebar so you can browse trending content for ideas while you write.
This is an amazing feature really because it allows you to take notes as you browse. I normally use Buzz Sumo and then I take notes elsewhere. With Content Studio you can do it all in the same place.
Comments and Tasks – This section reminds me of Asana. Here you can leave comments and create tasks. This is fantastic in my mind because I always use Asana to assign the task of creating the content but then I often have smaller subtasks that need complete in order to actually produce the content.
It would also work brilliantly for teams collaboration. Imagine this:
- You finish writing a post and create a task for your editor to review it.
- Your editor reviews the draft and then leaves comments to notify you of any updates.
- Your editor publishes it and then sets a task for your social media manager to add it to the planner for posting across social media.
Honestly, I’m really impressed with the blog editor.
Social Media Posts
Inside the social media post composer, there are a bunch of cool features.
At the top we can select from the following publishing options: Post Now, Schedule, Queue, Evergreen Queue.
Post now and schedule don’t need much explaining.
Queue adds the post to the end of the queue and publishes in one of your pre-selected time/day slots.
Evergreen Queue opens up a drop-down where you can select the evergreen campaign that you want to add it to. Campaigns are set up in the Automations section of Content Studio, which we’ll come on to in just a moment.
For every evergreen campaign you create, you get to select which social media profiles are included in the campaign and which times/days you want posts to go out.
So, when you add a post to an evergreen queue for that category, it will be queued according to whatever you’ve set up here.
The way I see this is it’s kind of like categories. You can have a different campaign for each content category, such as quotes, blog content, curated content, questions, videos, etc., and each category has different time slots throughout any given day.
A couple of other cool features from the social post composer include:
Content suggestions– as we’ve seen with the Discovery section, you can also search for content suggestions from all over the place and drag and drop them straight into the composer.
UTM parameter tool – at the click of a button you can very quickly and easily create UTM parameters… doesn’t sound like much but this could save you a lot of time in the long run.
This section offers you either a list view or a calendar view to see all upcoming posts you’ve got scheduled. This is the kind of place you want to come to at the beginning of each week to make sure you know what’s coming up.
This is where Content Studio gets a bit snazzy.
I like where they’re going with this although I’m just not sure how useful it would be. It basically allows you to select from a variety of options that allow you to create campaigns that will automatically publish content to your social media profiles or even your blog.
You CAN actually set it to allow you to review content before it is published, which makes it more of a content curator, through which you can then filter out the best bits before publishing.
This could be incredibly powerful for someone looking to have a real focus on content curation, potentially saving you hours every week.
Considering just how many innovative features this social media management tool has got, their pricing is incredibly reasonable.
Plans, start at… well, nothing! It’s completely free to use with 2 social media accounts. This doesn’t necessarily work for me but if you’ve only got a couple of social media account to manage then I don’t know what you’re still doing here.
Go on… go!
If you need more accounts and you’d like to hook it up with your blog, no worries, they’ve got a free trial so you can always give it a test spin before committing to anything.
Wow. Really. I’m quite surprised by Content Studio.
Before beginning this research I hadn’t even heard of them. But they’re clearly a force to be reckoned with.
They’ve clearly got a big focus on content (duh, it’s in the name), making it more of a content management tool than a social media management tool.
Unfortunately, this means that they’re missing a few vital features from my list, such as having no way to manage messages, comments, tweets, etc., and no reporting or mobile app.
Update: Content Studio has just released a mobile app for Android.
But my oh my, part of me says fuck it! It’s such an amazing tool for content, the missing features don’t matter!
One thing’s for sure. If you’re looking for a tool that can help you write the best blog posts, curate the best content and plan and schedule the best social media posts for you, then this is hands down the tool for you.
Quuu originally started off as a content curation tool. It was a very simple tool at first that would generate content for you based on your interests.
A few years back it came up on an AppSumo deal and I managed to pick up lifetime access for a very reasonable price. I used it briefly in an old ecommerce business of mine but after selling the business my adventure with Quuu came to an end.
When creating my shortly for social media management tools Quuu popped up again. Only this time I noticed they’ve made quite a few changes to the tool since those early days.
On their website, it says that Quuu is now for “content scheduling, curation and recycling for your business on social media”.
Since I had previously enjoyed their tool and I liked what they were doing in the space, I thought this was enough to put them in the showdown for the best social media management tool.
Alright… let’s jump in!
When you first set up your account you will be asked to connect your social media profiles. Available sites are Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
Unfortunately, YouTube isn’t on there (nor Instagram for those interested) so that’s already a negative point for me.
This makes sense really since Quuu was originally created for content curation purposes and YouTube and Instagram are not platforms that really require or support content curation.
Once you connect an account you will then be asked to select some interest groups to help generate relevant content for your brand.
There’s quite a wide range of interests so you should be able to find something in there for your brand.
- Fashion blogging tips
- Paleo recipes
- Wearable Tech
- Health and Fitness
- … And many more.
Once you’re set up, you’ll have all your social media accounts in the side menu on the left. You can then switch between these to manage each of the accounts.
Once you click on an account you then have a new menu in the main section of the page that lets you switch between Quuu and My Schedule.
Inside the Quuu section, you can see all your upcoming posts for that account.
All of your scheduled slots will show up and automatically populate, pulling posts from your queue, or quuu as they call it. You can also schedule one-off posts that don’t pull from the queue at any time you want.
It’s great to see that they’ve also added an evergreen content feature, allowing you to create a post once and have it be pushed to the back of the queue once it’s been published. This is great for your own branded content so that you can make sure you’re beating those low 1% reach rates and get your content in front of more of your followers.
This is where you can set up your posting times. Just like we’ve seen with many other tools, this planning feature is very useful, but unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to determine different categories for posts and plan your schedule around those categories.
So far it seems that Quuu is a little lacking in features and it still maintains its original focus on content curation. While their new scheduling and post creation features DO allow for you to manage all of your content and posting schedule from directly within Quuu, for more advanced users the lack of features could be a little limiting.
HOWEVER. They still maintain their integrations with both Buffer and Hubspot, allowing you to use one of these social media management tools for scheduling and just use Quuu for content curation.
If you select this option from the settings menu, the scheduling feature in Quuu will actually disappear altogether. This is a good option for those who plan on depending heavily on content curation for their social media.
Pricing for Quuu is purely based on the number of social media profiles you want to use it for. Their Pro Plan for just $15 per month gives you 10 social media profiles, so unless your an agency or you have multiple businesses, this should suffice.
They DO have a 30-day free trial though, so you can always test it out before committing.
Before I draw up some conclusions on Quuu, I think it’s important to mention Quuu Promote.
Quuu Promote is a platform that allows you to submit your content to be used in other people’s content curation. It works kind of like a marketplace. People provide the content for people that need it.
But this doesn’t come cheap. $40 per month will get you one promoted post. I think this is probably good as it filters out people who aren’t serious about creating good content. Quuu also hand monitors all submissions and they still have the final word as to whether your content is good enough to be added to their marketplace, so there’s no need to worry about the quality of the content when you use Quuu.
Quuu is really a tool for content curation with some pretty good but somewhat limited scheduling and post creation features (in comparison to other social media management tools).
It is cheap to use, however, and their features may suffice for new business to get off the ground and start having some control over their social media. It will definitely save you a bunch of time by being able to plan and schedule posts and their content curation seems to be the best available. But then again, that said, Buffer is completely free so why wouldn’t you just go with that?
Since their real focus is on content curation I would recommend that you use their 30-day free trial to find out if there are enough relevant interest groups for your brand before making your decision.
There are two major negatives for my personal case:
- There doesn’t seem to be a way to categorise content when you add it to the queue. This is a big issue for me since I want different types of posts to go out at any time, not just any random post.
- There isn’t an inbox feature to answer tweets, messages, mentions, comments and the like (no pun intended).
While I DO think the tool has got a lot of great features to come, with them developing out their scheduling features, for now, Quuu just doesn’t seem to be up to the task of managing all of my social media accounts for me. The option to use it alongside Buffer is still very plausible though.
Quuu promote is also a fantastic way to get your content in front of other people and could be a great way to generate some more traffic so I would highly recommend you check it out.
Who is it for?
I would say that Quuu is for anyone who needs a basic social media management tool to get them off the ground. It’s also great for new brands that don’t yet have much content to share with the world. If this is your case, then their content curation tool will be priceless for you.
Here we are. 3 days and 9000 words later. And it’s time to make a decision.
Let me start by saying that all of these tools are pretty amazing in their own rights. I think all of them could be the best social media management tool for somebody, it just depends on what requirements you have.
I love Meet Edgar for it’s easy-to-use UI. It’s just so intuitive and it makes content planning a joy. Their concept of queueing and recycling content changed the way all social media management tools work today and they deserve credit for that.
But, the truth is, other apps have come a long way since Meet Edgar’s early days and while they may not be as pretty, some of them DO have better functionality for content planning and scheduling, and often at cheaper prices.
Quuu was one of the first companies to focus on content curation. Initially, they only wanted to offer up that side of social media management and partner with other companies that could handle the scheduling side of things, but now they’ve branched out into scheduling as well. Unfortunately, they’re still a bit lacking in features to compete with the big guys though.
Buffer is another beautiful app and it’s got some really powerful features, but it’s missing some things that most other tools have, such as evergreen content, community management and categorised posts, and that isn’t going to cut it for me. I want to like them more than I do.
I found my experimenting with Hootsuite to be an interesting experience. It really wasn’t what I expected and kind of broke a lot of the rules, doing things in a slightly different, quirky way.
I loooove the home dashboard where you can see all of your ‘streams’ in one place. For the plan I would need it was actually one of the cheapest as well.
All this said, it just didn’t have some fundamental features, making it a no-go for me.
So that leaves us with Content Studio and Agora Pulse.
Man… both of these tools are frickin’ amazing and they deserve some serious credit.
Content Studio seriously surprised me and in my mind is without a doubt the best content production tool available.
And Agora Pulse meets almost all of my criteria without becoming overwhelming. The tool looks clean and is super simple to use.
Damn it… I feel like I’m picking a favourite child here.
Ultimately, it’s going to have to be Agora Pulse for me.
Their content scheduling has absolutely everything you could possibly want. PLUS they have community management to take care of all messages from one place AND they have an app so that you can keep up with social while you’re waiting in line at the coffee shop.
The one thing their missing is content curation but they do have an RSS feed feature that pulls content from your favourite websites so I’ll look forward to giving that a try. I also have Buzz Sumo account so it’s pretty easy to find amazing content over there.
So there you have it… the ULTIMATE social media management tool showdown.
Still not sure which one’s right for you? Get this social media management tools comparison cheatsheet.
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