The importance of social media for brands in this day and age cannot be overemphasized. It’s a tool for customer support, sharing content, and for a few lucky people – going viral.
More than that, it’s a way to understand the trends in your industry and create meaningful connections with your audience.
There’s never been anything like it before.
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The problem is that it can quickly become a full-time job – ask any social media influencer. Then, it can become the job for an entire team – ask any successful social media influencer.
If you’re not using social media management tools then you may be missing a lot of opportunities and losing time.
In this guide, I’ll run through multiple free social media management tools you can start using to get the most out of your time and energy.
The best free social media management tools
Some of the social media tools on this list are 100% free, some have free trials, and others have both free and paid plans. I recommend focusing on the ones that have the features you need. Don’t just focus on the ones that have a $0 price tag.
1. Social Pilot
Social Pilot is a social media scheduling and marketing tool designed for teams and agencies that have more complex needs. Just because it’s designed for multiple users, doesn’t mean it can’t work well for you too.
There’s a 14-day free trial that allows you to use most of the features without adding a credit card. It also has a direct integration with Facebook Ads which allows you to create multiple campaigns right from the dashboard.
- Social media analytics for all connected platforms
- Ability to identify influencers
- Content calendar
- RSS feed integration to automatically publish new blog posts
- Easy scheduling for weeks or months at a time
- Content curation platform
- A social inbox to handle customer service
- Ability to white label the platform for clients
- Approval management and workflow creation for multiple contributors
- The social recycling feature only has a limited number of times you can use the same post
- Some options are buried in the UI
After the free trial, Social Pilot has three paid pains which cost $30/m, $50/m, and $100/m respectively. It’s not the cheapest social media management tool but it is incredibly powerful. If you can afford it then I recommend going with Social Pilot or the next tool on this list – Agorapulse.
Agorapulse is possibly the closest you’ll get to an all-in-one social media marketing and management tool. It allows you to work on all the major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
It’s not completely free but it does have a generous free trial that’ll allow you to test out the platform for 28 days before upgrading. In addition to working with the major platforms (except Pinterest which is noticeably absent from most social management tools), it gives you deep insights into your activity so you can improve over time.
- Easily schedule posts individually or in bulk using the social calendar
- Social inbox that can be filtered so you can manage specific types of comments/messages
- Smart inbox assistant to get rid of the spam
- Deep reporting with pre-built templates
- Simple team collaboration that allows you to work more quickly
- Set different access and permission levels
- Has a CRM for follower/customer management
- Repost evergreen content multiple times
- Cannot reorder multi-image post if uploaded all at once
- Cannot edit the reports or customize them
After the free trial period is over, there are 4 plans which cost $79, $159, $239, and $399 each.
PromoRepublic bills itself as a distinct social media marketing solution and comes with a 14-day trial to test out the major features. It does live up to the claim of being distinct with features like location management.
It also has a few add-on services such as white labelling the software for clients and getting 20 designs made for your brand. These are fringe benefits that enhance the software as opposed to being the focus.
- Plan out content for months at a time using the calendar
- Recycle content as many times as you want
- Post library with 100,000 ideas and templates you can swipe
- Built-in graphic editor to further customize content
- Basic project management tools within areas known as workspaces
- Invite team members and manage user permission levels
- Basic reporting around engagement and page performance
- Create social media ad campaigns from the dashboard
- Inability to bulk upload posts to the tool
- Cannot add people as clients with relevant user permissions
After the 14-day trial, PromoRepublic costs $49 and $99 for the two plans.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management solutions in the world which is reflected in its billion-dollar valuation. It started out as a simple scheduler and has since involved into mission control for most social platforms. There’s a limited free plan that allows you to schedule a few posts and connect up to three social profiles.
- Integrates with the most popular social media platforms including Pinterest and YouTube
- A large number of apps and integrations to extend its functionality
- Social calendar that gives you insights into your scheduled content for better planning
- Social media streams that help you understand how people are interacting with your content
- A shared inbox for all your comments and messages
- Upload branded assets to your personal content library
- Simple team management
- Basic project management features
- Fully customizable analytics reports
- Forced to use Owly short links in your social posts
- Detailed analytics reports can cost up to $500/report
There are a number of upgrade options once you outgrow the free plan. It costs $29, $129, and $599/m respectively.
Buffer is an older player when it comes to social media marketing platforms. It acquired its first 100,000 users by posting 100 guest posts in a few months. Since then, it has evolved from a simple Twitter scheduling tool to one that provides detailed analytics and robust publishing features. It’s also free to use.
- Instagram Stories planner
- Shoppable page link in bio for Instagram
- Instagram hashtag planner
- Post analytics for all social platforms
- Team collaboration and permission management
- Simple content calendar
- The pricing separates different features so it can get pricey
- Doesn’t have a media library
When you want to upgrade to a premium account, there are two separate plan groups you can choose from. First is the publishing which costs $15, $65, and $99 a month. The analytics cost $35 and $50 a month.
SocialOomph isn’t much to look at but it is free to use. The website looks like a high schooler dabbling in design put it together.
It allows you to publish and manage social media content on a wide variety of platforms including Discord, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Mastodon, and more. It connects with many platforms but basic which can be a plus or minus depending on your perspective.
- Use a tagging feature to partition client data
- Add collaborators to your account
- Support for a wide range of social accounts
- Set a daily publishing limit on accounts
- Bulk uploads
- The UI is looks dated and though simplistic, it can get complicated
If the free tier doesn’t have enough power for you, it’s possible to upgrade to paid plans which cost $15/m, $25/m, and $55/m.
7. Zoho Social
Zoho Social is the obligatory entry from Zoho. I poke fun at the brand because it seems like it has a tool for everything. Zoho has a long history of delivering solid software and it has done the same with its social media manager tool.
It may not win any awards for innovation but it’s a workhorse you can depend on. It comes with a free plan for a single user and brand.
- Social calendar for scheduling posts
- Use a smart algorithm to publish when most of your audience is online
- Bulk uploading and scheduling
- Social monitoring dashboard to track brand mentions or specific keywords
- Reply to messages on Facebook and Twitter
- Team collaboration and permission levels
- Create custom reports and analysis
- Poor integration between other aspects of Zoho
- Cannot tag people or other businesses in posts
After you outgrow the free plan, the premium options cost $15 or $35 a month for businesses and $275 or $400 a month for agencies.
8. Follower Wonk
FollowerWonk is a limited social media tool. In fact, it’s more of a twitter management tool as opposed to a general social media management platform. It lets you dive deep into all that Twitter has to offer so you can grow your following. It’s free to use and has premium options when you’re ready to upgrade.
- Twitter bio search
- Compare accounts (to find influencers)
- Analyze your followers and target accounts based on criteria important to you
- Follow and unfollow accounts
- Simple twitter analytics
- Only works with Twitter
- Lack of third party integrations
It has two premium plans which cost $29 and $79 a month.
SmarterQueue combines many solid features together and has many social integrations like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and more. The emphasis is on saving time and improving the KPIs that matter to your business. It does this through curation, scheduling, and analytics features.
- Recycle your evergreen content
- Curate content from within the platform
- Social media analytics to gauge performance
- Comes with a visual Instagram planner
- Import content from an RSS feed of your choice
- Link tracking through UTM parameters or Bit.ly
- Visual calendar for social management
- No team management features (though it’s currently in development)
- The UI is often confusing for new users
It has a generous free trial then costs $19.99/m, $39.99/m and $79.99/m.
Later started life as a simple Instagram scheduler and has since evolved to serve Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter users. The features are built around helping you make the most of your Instagram engagement and driving revenue from the platform. It’s free to get started.
- Instagram scheduling
- Post engagement analytics
- Link in bio for shopping wall
- Schedule Instagram stories
- Visual content editor and calendar
- Find brand mentions and hashtags to curate UGC (user generated content)
- Find, curate, and save Instagram hashtags
- Limited social media integrations
- The app isn’t intuitive for many users
- It can get expensive fast
There’s a limited free plan then premium plans cost $9, $20, and $40 for a single social set. Each set costs exactly the same as the initial one so if you have 2 social sets then you’ll pay $18, $40, or $80.
Technically, Canva isn’t a social media tool but I think it’s just as essential (or even more essential) for those of us who aren’t designers. It’s a graphic design tool that was made for people who don’t have a natural eye for design or without formal training.
You can choose the exact image dimensions required for the platform you want to work with, select from countless templates, and tweak them to match your brand. It’s possible to create dozens of high-quality social media posts in less than an hour.
It moves even faster when you’ve created your brand color templates and saved it in Canva. The icing on the cake is that Canva is free to use and you’ll only pay for premium icons or images. They do have a paid subscription but I don’t think it’s needed for most people using the tool.
There should be no doubt in your mind that social media is here to stay. Not only is it part of our daily lives, it’s an important business tool.
The challenge with social media is that it’s designed to take up as much of your time as possible. You can either do it manually, hire a team member, or use one of the free social media management tools on this list.
If you’re like me then you’ll probably choose the free tools to make the most of your time and resources.
While there’s no perfect social media tool for everyone, Social Pilot and Agorapulse are solid pieces of software that cover most of the bases. If those aren’t a good fit then Hootsuite or SmarterQueue are great options as well.
Daniel Ndukwu is the CoFounder of Growth Boost and the Founder of KyLeads. He brings extensive digital marketing experience to the table and enjoys helping people on their entrepreneurial journey. When not creating internet-first brands, he spends as much time as he can with his family.