Social Media Marketing Tools: Cost versus Depth of Features

Social Media Marketing Tools Cost versus Depth of Features

When you pay more, you expect more.

But does that correlation always prove true?

Because the social media management tool market is still in its infancy, and the fact that the state of social media itself changes so quickly (with new sites quickly rising in popularity and old sites regularly implementing new features to stay relevant), it is clear that the market is yet to settle.

And with social’s fast-moving, fledging status, consumers are far from sharing the values they wish to see in a product. For example, some may absolutely need Instagram integration, others may be crying out for integration with Asian social networks, and others may still desire more automation.

Because the needs of consumers often change on a monthly, if not weekly, basis, no one product can be said to safely dominate the market. All of this uncertainty means that the price does not necessarily reflect quality.

For example, some tools may offer incredibly wide-ranging tools to manage many sites simultaneously. The cost of these tools may thus be high, since they required a lot of coding and development to create.

But if you only use a few of these networks, what’s the point of paying for the others?

Similarly, a tool may offer quality tools to solve all sorts of social media management problems. These tools require time and concentration to master so, whilst perhaps being ideal for agencies and freelancers (or for whom social media constitutes a large portion of their job), they may be of limited value to the small business owner who spends just an hour a day managing social media. Such a person would likely prefer to spend on time-saving and efficiency tools.

With such diverse needs, consumers are unable to use price as an indicator of quality. Instead, to get the best solution for them, they will have to do their own research.

Such research can be difficult.

Although no one tool can be said to dominate, there are market leaders. These tools which we’ve all heard about, and generally they offer a fairly comprehensive set of functionalities. For example Hootsuite, HubSpot, Buffer – all offer scheduling to multiple networks, tools to aid content creation, analytics and reporting functions, and CRM capabilities (or third-party integrations which enable them).

User Satisfaction

At the same time, more and more small tools are becoming available that seek to solve only one problem or to meet the needs of a relatively niche market. Edgar, which recycles social media content on your behalf; Twitter’s own Tweetdeck, which allows for real-time tracking, organization, and engagement; and Post Planner, viral content posting tool, can all be said to belong to this category.

The more comprehensive tools may come with a hefty price-tag. Whereas the more niche tools may be more cost-efficient. Most social media managers will need a comprehensive tool. That said, by combining a few niche tools, other social media managers may be able to build their own social media management system that best suits their needs.

With so many options, where do you begin?

Although very few studies have been done on social media management tools, recently iag.me partnered with business software review site G2Crowd.com in order to assess what users’ favourite social media management tools were.

Using reviews and ratings, the two companies produced this infographic, which details social media managers’ favorite tools – Hootsuite, AgoraPulse, Sprout Social, and Sendible – and rates them in terms of:

  • User Satisfaction
  • Product Direction
  • Easy-to-learn
  • Usability
  • Meet Requirements
  • Market Presence
  • And Base Price

It’s interesting that, when it comes to actual users’ favourite tools, only a few of the “big” names show up. The other spaces are occupied by lesser-known tools, which highlights an immediate difference between insider’s preferences and market leaders.

The other thing to note is that all of the tools rated offer a fairly comprehensive offering – i.e., no niche tools appear. This is likely because niche tools, by their very nature, appeal to smaller demographics, and so can’t be expected to make it onto lists such as these which depend on mass appeal.

That said, most social media managers will require at least one comprehensive tool which they can then supplement with other niche tools, and so this infographic is a good place to begin your research.

Depending on your requirements, one of these tools may match your general social media needs perfectly. What you need to make sure of is that you’re not paying for functionalities you don’t need.

Do you agree that price is not a good indicator of quality in the social media management tool market? And what tools couldn’t you live without? Let me know with a comment.

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Diana
Guest

Hi Lilach,

Great post! I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for mentioning Post Planner too! We all appreciate that very much.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Diana

Lilach Bullock
Guest

Thanks Diana 🙂 My pleasure, hope all is great with you!

Lilach Bullock
Guest

My pleasure, delighted you’ve found it and bookmarked 🙂

Hemant Kumar Arya
Guest

Hey Lilach,
Thank you a big big time !!
I was looking for something like this for so long. How came I have not seen this post yet?? You are in my bookmark now (y) Thank a million zillion trillion times!!

Thank You.. 🙂

Lilach Bullock
Guest

Yes it can be tricky when out and about. I make sure I have my social media app which helps! (currently using AgoraPulse)

Deynn
Guest

It’s really hard to monitor your social media accounts especially when you are not in the office. I’m using Nuzzel, it organizes stories by your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Lilach Bullock
Guest

Thanks, pleased you found it useful 🙂

shashu
Guest

I really appreciate all the hard work you’ve done to help us and it’s all thanks to you!

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[…] Social Media Marketing Tools: Cost versus Depth of Features – This article by Lilach Bullock explores the correlation between the amount of money you spend on social media marketing compared with what you actually get out of it. She argues that a higher price does not always equate to a higher quality. […]

Mandy Paul
Guest

This has been superb blog write-up… Very informative & replete with innovative thoughts… I really like the way you have dressed it up… keep sharing more & thanks a lot!!!

Lilach Bullock
Guest

Thank you Kitty, I’m delighted that you’ve found the time to comment 🙂

That is often true although in the case of social media tools it’s worth looking past that as sometimes you’re paying more just for the name!

Kitty Jellinek
Guest

Hi Lilach,
This is the first post I have read of yours – just not enough hours in the day for me to read let alone comment on other people’s posts. That being said, I am impressed – great post!
My experience over the last 16 years online is; That the old adage “you get what you pay for” does not generally apply when it comes to software/ tools.

Siddu Metri
Guest

Great post! a big thank for you sharing this great helpful information. I really like this please keep updating new updates.

appkodes
Guest

Thank you very much for sharing the details.it is amazing post.

Nepali Blogger
Guest

When I started out as an SEO Intern, the host company used Hootsuite fro managing company Social Media. But, I did not find Hootsuite that exciting and I happened to find Sprout Social. Till this day, I use Sprout Social and it is everything you want Hootsuite to be. However, I have not come across Agora Pulse. I will definitely give it a try. And, Thanks for the wonderful post Lilach.

Lilach Bullock
Guest

Thanks Nepali 🙂 Yes, Hootsuite was one of the first social media dashboards I used (started with Tweetdeck – remember them?!). Sprout Social is great too. I love Agorapulse and find it ticks all my boxes – it’s worth trying a few out to see which is the most effective one for you!

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