Discovering Which Social Media Management Platforms Work With Ease For My Small Business

As a small business owner, like you, I take on many various roles in my business. Admittedly, some I’m better at than others. Before you start telling me I could outsource processes I’m not good at, or don’t want to do, my business is getting to that stage. In the meantime, I’m trying to find out what works for me.

One thing I’m not good at for my own business is promotion. Or rather, I’m not consistent at it. I post on social media for a while and then I lose heart, lose interest or get too busy, so busy to do it so it drops off my never-ending to-do list.

Karen and social media-s

When I had an established company that was fine because I had been going for years and I was getting referrals for web design so I often had clients waiting for me.

When I started my new business it wasn’t quite the same. Web design is seen as sexy, whereas WordPress website maintenance isn’t even something that some business owners know that they need to do. This meant that I had to get what I do, why I do it and the impact it has on your business out there in the world.

What I was already doing was inconsistent, unplanned, and not surprisingly, not working either.

What do I actually want?

I decided that I needed a platform that would help me post consistently to social media channels and did not need me to sell a kidney to pay for it. My business is in Australia and a lot of the social media platforms charge in USD, so there is an exchange rate to factor in. I also realise that if my social media postings bring in clients then of course the fee would be worth it. To set my mind at ease though, I wanted something affordable.

I discovered that as I tried free trials on different social media manager platforms I became more aware of what I actually wanted. Initially, I thought I simply wanted a scheduler and then I realised that I needed a platform to show me analytics and then also engagement. It was too much bother for me to sign into different accounts to check things so I also wanted a social inbox. Different platforms can call this a social inbox or engagement so that was a little confusing at first.

When going through some of the platform's features, I decided that it would be good to post to a Facebook group that I had been neglecting. This wasn’t something I had considered initially.

When signing up for a free trial that required a credit card I made a note on my calendar to check whether I liked it or not the following week and if not to delete my account before the trial period ended. Some trials were 14 days and others longer. Any company that had less than 14 days I discounted any way since I knew I needed longer than that to test it, after all, I am running a business here.

There are some platforms that I judged as too expensive for me since I wanted something free or cheap initially. What I considered good value changed as I tested the platforms for myself.

I’ve noted the month-by-month price here since that’s how I tend to start until I know I will actually use the platform and then I tend to switch to annual pricing since that usually involves a discount.

Social Media Management Platforms I tested

Hootsuite - the free plan doesn’t offer enough value since it only allows 5 scheduled posts and the lowest paid plan is US$79 a month which is over A$100 a month.

Sproutsocial - too expensive at US $99 per month although that is with scheduling and an inbox.

Meet Edgar - I had this down as too pricey initially although my idea of what is too pricey has changed while I’ve been doing the testing. At $US49 that is an average price. I wasn’t sure whether I could do engagement through a social inbox. I didn’t do a trial to find out.

Sendible - I wanted a platform where I could reply to Instagram posts and this didn’t seem to be able to do that. I didn’t try the free trial although the monthly fee is US$29  a month.

Loomly - I checked out the website and for some reason didn’t do the free trial. I think it felt like it was more for a team, which could be useful in the future but not right now. I wasn’t sure what analytics were available on the base plan at US$34 a month.

ContentCal - I didn’t do the free trial. The Pro version seemed only to be available annually and I like monthly to begin with and then upgrade to annual once I’m sure a platform works for me, which usually takes longer than 14 days.

Friends+Me -   Although it says share to anywhere it didn’t seem to post to Instagram so I didn’t do a free trial.

eClincher - this was one I discarded early on since I decided it was too expensive at US$59 a month. I didn’t do a free trial. However, this is one I would now recommend doing a trial on if you’re looking since I’ve discovered that a lot of platforms don’t do scheduling and social inboxes so when I’m looking again this one will be on my list. This is one of the few platforms that posts to Tiktok. It’s not obvious whether it posts to Facebook groups but that would be discovered in the free trial.

Agorapulse - although I checked out the free trial I think I decided that I could get better value elsewhere.

Later - I couldn’t find a way to post immediately. Although I want consistency I also want the ability to be able to see something and decide to post it there and then. The free plan does give a lot of value as long as you only have 1 social profile on each platform such as you only want to post to a Facebook page and not a group as well.

Smarterqueue - unfortunately, I didn’t keep notes of why I cancelled during the trial. I wasn’t intending to write a post on this. It’s priced in pounds and is about A$30 a month so it’s certainly a good price. It may have been that I preferred another platform by the time I tested this one.

SocialBu - the support team was helpful when I hadn’t set up Instagram correctly (I had to set it up directly to see the comments). You receive 4 social accounts in the starter plan (you don’t receive Google My Business) and it’s US$8 so it’s good value. The platform has a basic look to it and I find I’m more of a visual person. I had already started Social Bee so I was already leaning toward that platform.

Buffer - this is one of the older platforms. Initially, I liked that you pay for the number of platforms that you use. Other platforms give more value with the number of social media channels if you are using more than 2. I like the engagement which is available on the paid plans since it shows you all the posts that have been posted whether there has been a comment or a like or not. The other platforms I tried only show posts that have had some kind of engagement. I dropped back to free and then upgraded and then dropped back to free again. The analytics is stated in terms of percentages which I prefer to simply just numbers. I want to know the percentage increase or decrease.

Woopsocial - if you are not posting into Facebook groups and you want a cheaper plan this is definitely worth checking out. For US $10 you get access to a lot of social profiles, analytics, and a social inbox for FB and Instagram (the LinkedIn stream was being worked on). The support team was very helpful.

SocialBee - initially I didn’t like this platform description because it didn’t have engagement. However, I decided to sign up for the trial for the scheduling since I saw other small businesses using it and I decided it would be useful for me to post into a Facebook group that was linked to my page. It is in the lower price range of US$19 a month for 5 social profiles (including Facebook groups), 10 categories, and 1000 posts per category. I love Social Bee and I’m using it at the moment. Why do I like it? It already set up a load of standard categories that can be used for posting. Some platforms don’t have that and once I’d seen it I couldn’t use a platform that didn’t have that category functionality. It helps me post with purpose since I know what I’m posting and how often. Like some other platforms (but not all) they have evergreen categories so that I can recycle my content such as blog posts. It’s also very visual and I could work out what to do easily. It is following the keep it simple sweetheart philosophy that I love and fits well with my business. The one downside with Social Bee is that they do not have any social inbox or engagement. The shocker for me is that I love this platform so much that I will keep it for now. The social inbox is on their roadmap and they are saying that they will start working on it in the last quarter of this year (2021).

Mavsocial - I found this one on a list in a blog post and I thought it sounded familiar. I think this was one that I had tried years ago. I’m in the trial period at the moment and there are a lot of things that annoy me about this platform. Everything has an icon so rather than the intuitive Social Bee I’ve had to go through the training videos to find out how to do even some simple things. It doesn’t have content categories although it does have campaigns. On the upside, it does have a social inbox that shows any posts that have some sort of engagement. I also like the simple layout of the analytics. It’s US$19 a month which is a very reasonable price.

In conclusion - what suits my business

For my business with the time that I have,  I have chosen Social Bee for the scheduling and I will probably stick with MavSocial for the analytics so that will be US$38 a month.

Tips: it helps if you are clear on what you want at the start. I thought I was and as I realised what was possible that changed. When thinking in terms of your budget think of your return on investment, which is what we should consider as businesses.

If you have no budget you can sign into individual social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., especially as Facebook and Instagram can be connected now. However, I find that Facebook changes frequently so I get confused about how to do things that I could do before, so it’s not a smooth process.

1 thought on “Discovering Which Social Media Management Platforms Work With Ease For My Small Business”

  1. Wow, Karen, I did not know much about those platforms.

    At the moment I just post directly to each Socials and in case I have tried Fb Business Suit for scheduling and other features.



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