Social media management software is a universal expense for social media agencies. After all, you can't manage multiple clients by manually loading each and every social network in Chrome.
However, picking a social media management app isn't easy. There are a ton of options on the market, and each has a different price-point, feature-set, and list of supported networks.
To help you find the best fit, we're starting a weekly series that covers considerations for picking a social media management app for your agency, broken down by popular social media apps.
In this edition, we'll answer the age-old question: how much does social media management software really cost?
Sure, all social media management apps have multiple plans with an advertised sticker price. But note that this isn't the actual cost of most social media management apps. For example, this price oftentimes doesn't include the cost of adding more team members.
In some cases, these add-ons can double or triple the cost of many social media management apps. Here's a list of things that can inflate the cost of social media management apps.
- Adding more team members.
- Connecting more social media accounts.
- Customizing reports and white labeling
- Other feature add-ons
But first, let's see what makes for a good social media management application.
What makes a good social media management app?
Social media agencies need more than just scheduling capabilities. Here's a list of popular features many agencies require for day-to-day operations, and features you should make sure your social media management app of choice offers.
- Powerful scheduling features. This is a core component of any social media marketing app. If you can't schedule content well, why use a social media management app at all? Make sure your app of choice has excellent scheduling features that fit with your agency's workflow.
- Analytics and reporting. This is key for any social media agency. Advanced analytics let you prove that you're providing real results to your clients. Some key analytics features to look out for include engagement analytics, network and account comparison, and daily reports.
- Multiple accounts for each network. This one's obvious: you need to be able to link multiple brands and social media accounts to your social media management app. In an ideal world, your social media management platform will allow for at least 5 accounts, but this isn't the case for all management apps.
- Support for all social networks. It's important that your social media management app supports all of the social networks where your brand is active. This means more than just Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Others include LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, Yelp, and others. If your app doesn't support this, you may find yourself scrambling to find an alternative when a client joins another social network.
- Social listening. Your social media management app should have a listening feature. You can use this to keep a constant search going for your brand's hashtags, keywords, and account names. If someone mentions your brand on social media, you're notified right away.
- A social inbox. Your social media app should have a great social media inbox where you can view @replies to your brand. Use this to respond to support requests, see feedback, and otherwise interact with your customers.
The apps in question
And now for the contenders! Here are the six social media management applications we're pricing for agencies:
- Social Report
- Sprout Social
We'll give each application a quick introduction and break down the real cost of each application for small, medium, and large agencies at the bottom of the piece.
Here's how we define small, medium, and large sized agencies for the purposes of this article.
|Small Firm||Medium Firm||Large Firm|
|2 Users||10 Users||25 Users|
|5 Clients||10 Clients||25 Clients|
|15 Linked Accounts||50 Linked Accounts||125 Linked Accounts|
With that in mind, let's dive in!
Social Report: the best bang for your buck
At Social Report, we try to keep our monthly pricing low while offering the most features possible. We keep it a priority to keep prices low and minimize the number of add-ons needed to get the most out of our software.
Social Report has all the features that a modern agency needs. We offer detailed analytics and reports, great posting and scheduling tools, and an automation platform that let's agencies automate rudimentary social media tasks. Further, we offer advanced white-labeling to large agencies at no additional cost.
Here's how Social Report's pricing breaks down for agencies of every size.
Small agencies are best suited for the Social Report Standard plan. This includes five user licenses, 5 brands, 25 linked social accounts, and all of our signature features (sans Competition Monitoring and white labeling). This is an all-in price, meaning that there's no additional charge for using all 5 licenses.
Medium-sized agencies will love our Advanced plan. In short, this is the same as the Standard plan, but with 10 user licenses and support for up to 10 brands and 50 accounts. This plan also bumps up your number of automations to 10 and automations to 50.
Further, it comes with our popular Competitor Monitoring feature. This lets agencies monitor and pull reports for accounts that it doesn't own, making it easy to find what your competitors do right (and apply it to your own brand).
Large agencies are best suited for our Pro plan. This plan includes unlimited users, 20 brands, and 200 linked social accounts. It includes all features listed in our other brands and—even better—free white labeling.
Sprout Social: awesome support features—at a price
Sprout Social is a big name in the social media management world—and for a good reason. The company has long-offered new and innovative features like an all-in-one social inbox, keyword monitoring, and more. But is Sprout Social worth its hefty price-tag? Let's see.
Small agencies will likely look for Sprout Social's Premium plan. This plan includes just 10 connected social accounts, and every 5 additional accounts costs another $25 per month.
A medium sized agency may find value in upgrading to Sprout Social's Corporate plan. This plan is the Premium plan, with some important feature additions. These include more complete reporting tools, unique employee productivity reports, and 15 linked social accounts.
Sprout Social's Corporate plan comes with a corporate price-tag too: each user is $149. With this in mind, the total monthly cost for a team of of 10 with 50 linked social accounts is quite costly.
Sprout Social's Enterprise plan is aimed at large agencies. This plan includes in-depth report customization, a shared asset library, and a chatbot builder, amongst other miscellaneous features. The Enterprise account also bumps up the number of included linked social accounts to 20, so you'll need to buy more.
Buffer: good price, limited agency features
Buffer has long been a household name in the social media scheduling world. The application is one of the original social media scheduling apps, linking in with most of the popular social networks (but not the more obscure ones). The app recently added analytics and reporting features as well, but they aren't compatible with Twitter.
Buffer has a number of personal and professional plans. In this article, we're focusing solely on its business plans: Small, Medium, and Large. Do note that none of these plans offer white labeling.
Small agencies are best fit for the service's appropriately named Small plan. This plan gives you access to Buffer's full set of tools, including scheduling, analytics, and the ability to schedule up to 2000 posts at once.
Buffer's Small business plan gives small agencies 5 user licenses and 25 linked social accounts, making it one of the more affordable apps out there. However, keep Buffer's limitations in mind when making a decision.
Medium sized agencies can use Buffer's Medium plan for exactly 10 team members and 50 connected accounts. Other than that, the rest of the features are the same as Buffer Small, so agencies are essentially paying $100 to double your number of accounts.
You guessed it: large agencies can use the Large plan. This plan is the same as Medium and Small, but includes 150 connected social accounts and 25 user licenses.
Agorapulse: top price, minimal agency features
Agorapulse is a basic social media management app with solid posting, collaboration, and analytics tools. It's limited in some ways though, for example, it doesn't support smaller social networks and its base plan includes just three social accounts.
However, Agorapulse has a clean interface and unique ad monitoring features, so it's worth your consideration. Let's see how much it costs for small, medium, and large sized agencies.
Ironically, a small agency with 15 connected social accounts will need to use Agorapulse's Large plan. This plan comes with 6 user licenses and 25 connected accounts, so Small agencies room to grow.
The Large plan gives you full access to Agorapulse's feature set, and an additional perk: Team Workflows. This feature lets agencies assign tasks, approve messages, and perform other administrative tasks, making it easier for social media to collaborate on client accounts.
Medium sized agencies can use Agorapulse's Enterprise plan. This plan is the same as the Large plan highlighted above, but includes 40 connected social profiles, 12 team members, and expanded access to Agorapulse's ad monitoring service.
As you can see, the Enterprise plan isn't enough for a team with 50 connected accounts. Additional social accounts cost $6 per user per month and the base plan's base price is $299 per month.
Enterprise is currently the largest plan that Agorapulse offers. This means that large agencies with 75 linked accounts will need to—like the medium sized agency—purchase additional social accounts.
Don't worry, we did the math.
MeetEdgar: great price, but lacks agency features
MeetEdgar is social media scheduling application for small teams. Currently, the application supports scheduling posts to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It has an interesting, self-scheduling content calendar that sorts posts by assigned category.
Beyond that, MeetEdgar is extremely limited. It doesn't offer analytics tools, scheduling to Instagram or Pinterest, or other features that are essential for agencies. Further, The app doesn't currently offer the ability to create team member accounts, and you cannot go beyond the 25 linked account limit.
With that in mind, it's tough to price MeetEdgar for agency use. However, it may still be a viable option for freelancers or small teams of two or three that can share a single MeetEdgar account.
HootSuite: expensive for small teams
HootSuite is one of the original social media management tools, and one of the best known in the industry. It has a full-suite of scheduling and analytics tools that agencies can use for all of their clients. However, HootSuite only supports scheduling to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Like Agorapulse, HootSuite has personal and team plans. In this article, we will only be comparing the team plans. Let's price it out for small, medium, and large sized teams.
Note: there's no white labeling information available for HootSuite.
HootSuite's Team plan is the best fit for small agencies. This app includes all of HootSuite's analytics and scheduling tools, one custom branded URL, three user accounts, and 20 connected social profiles.
HootSuite's Business plan is best for medium sized businesses. This plan includes all of HootSuite's analytics and scheduling features, 50 connected social accounts, and five user accounts. HootSuite notes that businesses can add up to 10 team members, but doesn't list how much the extra five cost.
The Business account noted above is the largest publicly listed teams plan. Teams needing more than 10 employee licenses and 50 connected accounts must contact HootSuite for a custom quote. There is no publicly available information on how much additional users or employee licenses costs.
The Cost of Social Media Management Apps: Concluded!
|App||Small agency||Medium agency||Large Agency|
|Social Report||$588||$1,188 per year||$2,388 per year|
|Sprout Social||$5,940 per year||$17,880 per year||$71,700 per year|
|Buffer||$1,188 per year||$2,388 per year||$4,788 per year|
|Agorapulse||$1,416 per year||$11,160 per year||$24,420 per year|
|MeetEdgar||$588 per year||n/a||n/a|
|HootSuite||$1,188 per year||$5,988 per year||Call (big bucks)|
As you can see, social media management apps can become pricey very quickly. Make sure to pay attention to all additional costs and consider how your team will grow over the next few years before making a purchasing decision. This will save you money and frustration in the long-run, and ensure you have the best experience possible.
Want the best bang for your buck? Start your free Social Report trial today!