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The 5 best social media management tools in 2023

By Harry Guinness · November 7, 2022
A hero image with the logos of the best social media management tools

Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to modern businesses. You can use it to find new clients, drive traffic to your site, and keep in touch with existing customers so that they stay engaged with your business. But like many powerful tools, you have to be careful with how you use it.

While you won't accidentally cut over your thumb, you can waste huge amounts of valuable time trying to manage multiple inboxes across five different apps, post the same things on all the different platforms, and keep on top of everything else. It's next to impossible using regular consumer apps. To do it properly, you need a social media management app.

The best social media management tools allow you to control your full social media presence in a single app. You can automate, analyze, and manage social media accounts, so you can focus on creating the kind of content your audience loves. I put almost 50 social media management apps to the test, and here are the five best.

The best social media management tools

  • Buffer for straightforward social media scheduling

  • Hootsuite for all-in-one social media scheduling, monitoring, and analytics

  • MeetEdgar for automating your social media posts

  • SocialPilot for small teams

  • Loomly for automating any social media service

Once you've picked a social media management app, you can make it even more powerful and efficient by automating it. Take a look at how you can use automation to improve your social marketing. Or, if you're focused mostly on Instagram, here are 3 ways to automatically post to Instagram for Business.

What makes the best social media management tool?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

The problem with social media management software is that it all has the same limits: the features the various social networks give it access to. This means that not only do most social media scheduling tools offer very similar features, but those features vary between the social networks they support. Twitter, for example, gives a totally different set of analytics data than Facebook, while Instagram is different to post to than YouTube. 

When it comes to the best social media manager software, then, don't expect wild standout features related to particular social networks. There's no social media management platform that can post directly to a personal Instagram profile or reply to comments on someone else's Facebook Page posts. 

Still, there are some key features that the top social media managers have that set them apart. They generally make managing your business's social media presence easy and efficient. In particular, they offer:

  • Support for multiple social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok at the very least. The goal here is to manage all social networks in one app.

  • Powerful scheduling tools, so you could batch your social media posts at the start of the week or month, and then just let them run. (Access to your social media inboxes so you could reply to customers was a bonus, but not required.)

  • Detailed analytics on how your posts do. The more expensive the app, the more powerful the analytics I required—at least until they hit the limit of what the social media apps offer. For enterprise apps, I required social monitoring where they could watch Twitter for posts about your business, or even your competitors. 

  • Cost-effectiveness. With all social media software limited to offering the same kind of features, high prices need to be justified with additional features, stellar customer support, and team and collaboration tools. 

Every tool I tested has a free trial—and sometimes even a free plan—so don't be afraid to dive in and try them out. The best social media management app for you will be the one that best fits your needs and price point.

I've been covering tech for over a decade and updating this list for the past three years, so I've spent dozens of hours exploring social media marketing software. After putting them through their paces, comparing the features and user experience they offer against other similarly priced apps, and generally assessing how good (or bad) they are to use, these six social media planning tools are the ones I think will be the best fit for the majority of businesses. 

The best social media management tools at a glance

App name

Best for

Standout feature



Straightforward social media scheduling

"Link in bio" service called Start Page

Free plan available; from $6/month per channel


All-in-one scheduling, monitoring, and analytics

Intuitive analytics 

Free plan available; from $49/month


Small teams to schedule posts

Robust features at an affordable price

From $30/month


Automating posts

Suggest Variations generates alternative content to fit different platforms

From $29.99/month


Custom sites

Custom social network allows you to post to any channel via Zapier

From $35/month

Best social media management tool for straightforward social media scheduling

Buffer (Web, iOS, Android)

Buffer, our pick for the best social media management tool for straightforward social media scheduling

Buffer pros:

  • Dead simple scheduling for all your social media accounts 

  • Decent free tier and per-channel pricing keeps costs low for small businesses 

Buffer cons:

  • Buffer has a history of changing up its pricing and features quite drastically

Buffer is one of the longest-running social media tools aimed primarily at scheduling posts, although it's gone through multiple updates, shifts, and iterations to keep up with the times. It now supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, as well as Google My Business Pages. Free users can connect up to three social accounts, including Facebook Pages and groups, though you're limited to scheduling 10 posts for each channel.

While Buffer's free plan is good enough for small businesses to line up a week or so's worth of posts, if you want a more complete social media management solution or to control more than three social media accounts at once, you'll need to pay $6/month per social channel for the Essentials plan. This gives you access to detailed analytics and engagement features, which let you interact with your audience directly from Buffer. (Also, if you want to bring team members on board, Buffer goes up to $12/month per social channel.)

In addition to the core scheduling, analytics, and audience management features, Buffer also offers its own "link in bio" service called Start Page. This allows you to quickly create and update a small mobile-friendly website with your latest content or even products you want to sell. It's not a new idea, but it's handy having it included as part of your social media management app—especially as it allows you to get real-world results from your social media posts. 

With Zapier, it's easy to link any other service you use to Buffer. For example, you can automatically add new blog posts to your schedule, either directly from WordPress or through an RSS feed, or add new Instagram photos to Buffer.

Buffer new items in an RSS feed

Buffer new items in an RSS feed
  • RSS by Zapier logo
  • Buffer logo
RSS by Zapier + Buffer

Buffer price: Free plan includes 1 user, 3 accounts, and 10 queued posts per profile; from $6/month per social channel for the Essentials plan that offers 2,000 queued posts per profile; from $12/month per social channel for the Team plan that offers unlimited users.

Best social media management tool for all-in-one scheduling, monitoring, and analytics

Hootsuite (Web, iOS, Android, Chrome)

Hootsuite, our pick for the best social media management tool for all-in-one scheduling, monitoring, and analytics

Hootsuite pros:

  • A complete social media management platform that includes scheduling messages, inbox monitoring, and managing posts 

  • Good analytics and social media monitoring features on more expensive plans 

Hootsuite cons:

  • Expensive

If you're looking for a complete solution to all of your social media management needs, Hootsuite will cover all your bases. It's an all-in-one social media app: you can use it to schedule messages, create and manage potential posts, monitor your various inboxes, run boosted post advertising campaigns, and pretty much anything else you would want a social media management app to do (within the bounds offered by said social media companies). It supports Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest, and offers some of the most intuitive analytics of any of the apps I tested. 

While you need one of the more expensive plans to get the full suite of analytics tools, they can help you understand how your social media accounts are performing. Hootsuite also pulls in statistics from other businesses in similar industries, so you can see how you stack up to the competition. 

Hootsuite's "Streams" approach to viewing your social feeds (as well as any keywords or competitors you want to monitor) enables you to build a powerful social media dashboard exactly how you want it. You won't see anything you can't find elsewhere, but it's better laid out and—at least for marketers—potentially more actionable. 

Hootsuite is really aimed at businesses that can convert social engagement into revenue. It's one of the more expensive apps on this list—and it can get even pricier if you add any paid apps. Its standout features aren't so much what it does, but how it does them. It's fast and easy to work with, and it's one of the most widely used social media management apps for good reason.

Hootsuite also integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like automatically thank new Twitter followers or create new messages directly from a spreadsheet.

Hootsuite Price: Free plan includes 1 user, 3 social profiles, and 30 scheduled updates (though it's only available after a trial); from $49/month (billed annually) for the Professional plan that includes 1 user, 10 social profiles, and unlimited scheduling; team plans start at $249/month for three users (billed annually).

Hootsuite and Buffer are both robust platforms that offer some similar features. If you're trying to decide between the two, check out our social media management app showdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer. Or, for larger companies who don't mind paying more, Sprout Social is another great social media management app with one key feature Hootsuite doesn't offer: phone support. Plans start at $99/user/month.

Best social media management tool for small teams to schedule posts

SocialPilot (Web, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Edge)

SocialPilot, our pick for the best social media management tool for small teams to schedule posts

SocialPilot pros:

  • Offers team features for a significantly better price than most competitors 

  • Doesn't skimp on other features, like scheduling, inbox monitoring, and analytics 

SocialPilot cons:

  • Web app feels a bit basic

With many apps in this category, if you want to delegate social media management to someone else in your organization, you'll have to pay a serious premium for the privilege—Hootsuite, for example, charges almost $3,000 per year for a team of three and almost $9,000 per year if you want to have some kind of post approval workflow. (You could always give other people your Hootsuite login credentials to save money, but that comes with a whole host of security concerns.) With SocialPilot, though, the Small Team plan starts at $50/month and includes two other team members who can manage up to 20 social media accounts. That's 80% less than Hootsuite.

While SocialPilot's user interface is on the simple side of things, it's entirely functional and supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, and even Tumblr. The sidebar has tabs for managing your posts and accounts, accessing your inboxes or analytics, lining up content from RSS feeds, configuring your team and client setup, and even running ads. All the features you'd expect of a good social media management app are there—though it's the Team options that are most compelling.

Different team members can be assigned roles, based on what you want them to be able to do. For example, you can set things up so content creators have to submit all posts for approval, or allow managers to edit and schedule but still retain final approval for yourself (again, features Hootsuite charges thousands of dollars for). This allows you to delegate responsibilities to the people you work with, without having to give them free rein.

SocialPilot also integrates with Zapier, so you can automatically add content to your SocialPilot queue whenever something happens in the other apps you use most.

SocialPilot Price: From $30/month for the Professional plan; the Small Team plan with 3 users and 25 accounts starts at $50/month.

Best social media management tool for automating your posts

MeetEdgar (Web, iOS, Chrome)

MeetEdgar, our pick for the best social media management tool for automating your posts

MeetEdgar pros:

  • Suggest Variations feature can keep your content fresh, and automatically adjusts your posts to fit different social networks 

  • Can automatically schedule posts as needed 

MeetEdgar cons:

  • Doesn't do much beyond scheduling 

MeetEdgar is the ultimate autopilot for your social media accounts. It does a lot of the heavy lifting of adjusting and creating posts for different social networks for you, and is compatible with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram. But this isn't an analytics tool—just a scheduling one.

What makes MeetEdgar so different is how much it automates things. The app can pull (theoretically) quote-worthy text and images from any links you give it, and then compose updates to go along with them. After pasting your link, simply click Suggest Variations, and MeetEdgar will create four alternative updates based on the content. Better still, it can repurpose previously successful content by generating new variations on past updates that have performed well. That means you can repost content without it being identical.

There's little in the way of analytics tools in MeetEdgar, but the app does implement A/B testing to find what posts work best for your audience; plus, you can use the built-in ed.gr link shortener to track clicks. It's enough to see what content gets the most attention, but won't give you the same high-level overview that something like Hootsuite does.

MeetEdgar integrates with Zapier, so you can, for example, automatically add your and other folks' photos and videos to your Edgar library for social posting.

MeetEdgar Price: From $29.99/month for Eddie plan with 5 social media accounts, unlimited media library, 4 categories, and 20 team members.

There are a couple of other apps that also automate your social media in different ways. I think MeetEdgar's approach works best, but both ContentCal and SocialBee were firmly in contention for inclusion on this list.

Best social media management tool for custom sites

Loomly (Web)  

Loomly, our pick for the best social media management tool for custom sites

Loomly pros:

  • Custom social network feature allows you to post to any channel you can imagine using Zapier 

  • Each social network can have its own separate scheduling calendar 

Loomly cons:

  • Otherwise, it's not the most advanced or polished app on the list

Loomly is a decent social media tool with one ridiculous, standout feature: you can create a custom social network that allows you to post to almost any service as part of your social media management. It hits all the other bases around scheduling, having a multi-service inbox, and basic analytics, but it's this one feature that gets it on our list.

With Loomly, you can have multiple scheduling calendars for your different social media needs. And with each calendar, you can add a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok account—and, of course, a Custom Channel. 

The Custom Channel feature works using Zapier as the backend. This means you can use it to post to other services like Reddit, send an email to your boss, or near enough anything else you can imagine. I won't even pretend I'm clever enough to come up with all the ways this could be used. 

Obviously, there are other ways to automate posting to Reddit or sending emails to your boss. What's interesting about Loomly is how this can tie into your other social networks. It allows you to post the same content on Twitter, Instagram, and your custom network at the same time without having to manage multiple apps.  

Loomly Price: From $35/month for the Base plan with 2 users and 10 social accounts.

Which social media management tool is best for you?

As with most things, there's no one best way to manage social media—just the most appropriate for your business needs. These apps are all limited by the access the various social media networks offer to third parties, so most social media manager tools are capable of doing pretty similar things in much the same ways. I suggest you check out the free trials for any of the apps that look like they could work for you and go from there.

Ready to dive even further into marketing automation? Here are 4 ways to use marketing automation to grow your business.

Related reading:

This piece was originally published in September 2017 by Andrew Kunesh and has also had contributions from Tim Brookes. The most recent update was in November 2022.

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