The average brand spends almost 15% of its marketing budget on social media.

That’s a lot of time and money.

The problem is that it’s still barely scratching the surface for small social media teams.

You want to spend your precious resources on the tasks most likely to drive fantastic results — things like analysis and strategy — but labor-intensive drudge work bogs you down.

You need to get smart by investing in the right social media management tools.

In this article, we’ve rounded up our favorite social media tools across five key categories:

  • Scheduling
  • Graphic design
  • Tracking and reporting
  • Content curation
  • Collaboration

Let’s get into it!

Social Media Scheduling Tools

Small social media teams simply don’t have the time to post content several times a day across multiple platforms.

Scheduling is one of the most popular use cases for social media tools.

Here’s our pick of the best scheduling solutions:

1. Buffer

Priced from:

Buffer bills itself as the “all-you-need social media toolkit for small businesses.”

As you can probably guess, it does a lot more than just scheduling.

Still, it does post scheduling exceptionally well, so it’s on this list.

Buffer allows users to plan and publish content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, all from a single, easy-to-use dashboard.

And while it can’t schedule Instagram Stories and TikTok videos, you can set mobile notifications to remind your team when it’s time to share the next post.

2. Hootsuite

Priced from: $65 per month

Like Buffer, social media scheduling is only one element of Hootsuite’s toolkit, but (in our view, at least) it’s the platform’s best and most popular feature.

Hootsuite lets users schedule posts across Facebook, Insta, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter in just a few clicks, then review their posting schedule from the unified calendar view.

And if you need to react quickly to a crisis or a golden opportunity you didn’t expect to crop up, it’s easy to pause all your scheduled posts.

While Hootsuite is comparatively expensive, it does offer a free 30-day trial, so you can check out its features before committing.

3. CoSchedule

Priced from: $29 per user per month

Like Buffer and Hootsuite, CoSchedule lets marketers schedule social posts in advance across several platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter, to be precise).

But it has a few innovative features that help it stand out from the crowd.

For instance, its Best Time Scheduling tool helps you find the most optimal time to share posts on each social network.

It also offers a free-for-life marketing calendar to help you manage multiple social media projects from a central hub.

Social Media Tracking & Reporting Tools

Tracking and reporting are a big deal, and it’s the only way to determine if your social media campaigns are working, so you want a quality tracking and reporting tool.

First, it’s worth explaining that all the social media tools in the previous section have built-in tracking and reporting functionality.

To avoid repetition, we’re not going to list them twice. But if you choose one of those social media management tools for content scheduling, it makes sense to leverage their tracking and reporting functionality.

Beyond those names, here are a couple more tools you can use for tracking and reporting:

4. Zoho

Priced from: Free

Describing Zoho as a social analytics platform is like calling your iPhone a calculator.

Sure, it can do it. But it also does a million other things.

However, Zoho Social’s tracking and reporting functionality are strong enough to mention in this section, allowing you to understand and analyze:

  • The audience you’re reaching
  • Your top-performing posts (and when to post them)
  • How your content is contributing to your reach and impressions on social media
  • The proportion of positive vs. negative feedback from your audience
  • Your top sources of social media traffic

As you’d expect, it integrates with plenty of social platforms (namely Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube).

5. Google Analytics

Price: Free

Okay, so Google Analytics isn’t technically a social media tracking and reporting tool — instead, it’s about analyzing how people reach your website and what they do once they’ve found it.

However, it still has plenty of information to tell us about how our social campaigns are performing, such as:

  • How much of your traffic comes from social (and how traffic breaks down by platform)
  • How long social media visitors stick around on your site after landing
  • How many leads and sales you’re generating from social platforms

The only real “problem” with Google Analytics is that it contains so much information that it’s easy to get lost in the noise.

Graphic Design Tools

Social media feeds are busy spaces, so it stands to reason that if visuals accompany your words, you’ll have a better chance of cutting through the noise.

However, graphic design is tricky for non-specialists.

And if your social media team is small, there’s a good chance you won’t employ a full-time graphic designer (and you might not have the budget for a freelancer either).

That’s why you need one of these visual social media tools:

6. Canva

Priced from: Free

Canva has done for graphic design what Zoom did for video conferencing.

With more than 4.5 million users, including 200,000+ companies, it’s already one of the most popular social media tools available.

It offers social media marketers access to more than 100 free social media layouts to create stunning, thumb-stopping visual content for several platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Canva has a vast library of pre-designed graphics, illustrations, icons, shapes, and more, allowing you to craft eye-catching designs without requiring any technical skills.

Your creations can be downloaded in various formats — including JPGs and PNGs — and uploaded straight to your social profiles.

7. Adobe Express

Priced from: Free

Adobe Express (formerly known as Adobe Spark) is effectively a lightweight, low-cost version of the brand’s premium graphic design tool, Adobe Illustrator.

Unsurprisingly, it has far fewer features than Illustrator, but it’s also easier to use.

With many free templates, pre-built assets, and a simple drag-and-drop interface, it’s a hassle-free way to quickly knock up stylish, social-friendly graphics.

It’s also available for web and mobile, so you can even use it while away from your desk.

Group Collaboration Tools

You might be thinking: “My social media team is tiny. Why would I want to spend money on collaboration software?”

Even if there are only two people on your social media team, it’s still easy to lose track of shared files and emails or miss a big deadline through poor communication or transparency.

And remember, social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. At any time, your team might need to work closely with multiple other departments — sales, marketing, and HR, to name just a few.

In other words, collaboration tools are a good thing, even for small social media teams. Here are our favorites:

8. Asana

Priced from: Free

Asana is arguably the biggest name in project management, with a client base that includes the likes of Amazon, PayPal, and Spotify.

But with a free product tier and premium plans priced from $10.99 per user per month, it’s also an excellent choice for small social media teams.

Asana is all about visibility. It’s simple for team members to see what their colleagues are working on and track progress on dependent tasks, while the communication and search functions make it easy to comment on projects and track down key information.

9. Slack

Priced from: $6.67 per user per month

You’ve all heard of Slack.

With 10+ million active daily users, it’s arguably the best-known collaboration platform.

Unlike Asana, which predominantly tracks individual tasks, Slack is about communication.

Users can send direct messages and share files with individual colleagues or write team-level messages to multiple users.

You can arrange conversations however you like — such as by project, campaign, or department.

And it’s also compatible with a wealth of other valuable platforms, such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Content Curation Tools

Your team might be responsible for sharing several posts per day across multiple platforms.

You might not have time to create unique content for every post, so you rely on content curation.

Not sure how to find content ideas for social media? Here are two of the best tools:

10. BuzzSumo

Priced from: Free

If you’re looking for content ideas, BuzzSumo is your platform.

Its idea generator lets you explore evergreen and trending ideas, real forum questions, and high-demand keywords, giving you all the content insights you need in a single platform.

It helps you predict the next big viral sensation in your industry by analyzing trending stories by topic, domain, and location.

11. Pocket

Priced from: Free

What do you do when you’ve found an interesting piece of content that could be perfect for your audience?

It’s simple: save it to Pocket and read it later once you’ve finished skimming all your other content sources.

Whenever you ​​come across a report, a study, an interview, or any other type of content, just click a button in your browser to add it to your library.

What’s more, Pocket provides curated recommendations from across the web based on your content preferences.

Want to take your social media strategy to the next level? Sign up for our next virtual event or summit in your area!

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