Social media is the world’s largest database of marketing insights. It’s the place to be when measuring your market potential, shaping and managing your brand, building relationships with customers, improving your products and services, and then some.
Social media is also crowded, to say the least. Handling it means making sense of billions and billions of conversations happening online every day. Whether it’s maintaining your online presence or collecting intel on competitors and customers, social media management takes time and resources no human marketer possesses.
Thankfully, there are hundreds of social media monitoring and analytics tools. Better yet, a great deal of them come with the free trial option, which lets you test drive the software before investing your company’s money in it.
Let’s take a look at some of the best social media tools that offer free trials. The lineup has been handpicked by marketing pros and is grouped by major steps of social media workflow. Whatever step you’re on, there’s likely more than one option that could be your perfect fit.
Research and strategy
Whether you’re new in the business and laying out a social media strategy — or a well-established brand looking to re-shape its online presence, researching the market you’re operating in is a must. Before you set sail for getting the most out of social media, get to know your competitors and your customers. This is done via social media listening.
Social listening is the process of collecting and analyzing mentions of brands, hashtags, or any keywords, found on social media and the web using dedicated tools. Below come our top picks for market research and competitors & customers intel.
Awario is a social listening tool that offers the best of social media monitoring and analytics for a business of any size. Awario runs non-stop monitoring of social networks and the web to deliver every mention of a brand name, hashtag, or any industry-related keyword.
Use the tool to discover your competitors, customers, niche influencers, and get plenty of marketing insight. After finding all the mentions of your brand and your competition, Awario analyzes the sentiment behind them, the contexts people use the brand names in, as well as the locations and languages.
Use all of these insights to establish and measure your brand reputation, track social media campaigns over time, as well as find leads and influencers. Because Awario scans both social media and the rest of the web, you get a full picture of your online presence.
Free trial conditions: 7 days for the Starter plan.
As the name suggests, Mention is built to monitor social media and the web for mentions of your brand, competitors, or industry. Alongside mentions, you get brand intelligence and in-depth analytics to power every step of your decision-making.
By analyzing conversations around relevant topics, you can discover issues important to your audience and tailor your own content accordingly. Meanwhile, keeping tabs on the buzz around your competitors lets you get insights into their top-performing posts and improve your content strategy even more.
Free trial conditions: 14 days for Solo and Pro. Free version is also available.
Similar tools to check out:
- Hootsuite for thorough media monitoring;
- Keyhole for AI-powered market research;
- Agorapulse for one-inbox team collaboration;
- Sprout Social for advanced audience insights.
Once you have a picture of your competitive landscape and customer behaviors, go ahead and establish or re-define your online presence. Content curation tools let you combine all of your social accounts under one umbrella and plan, draft, schedule, review, and post engaging content on social media.
Below come some of the best content curation tools that offer effortless content management across platforms.
Social Pilot is a go-to content curation option for marketing teams and agencies. It lets you combine up to 100 social media accounts in a single dashboard to schedule up to 10,000 posts and publish content to multiple platforms.
Make use of Social Pilot’s many scheduling options to queue, repeat, or save social media posts for later. View your daily, weekly, or monthly content calendar to organize and manage your publishing. To ensure that you never miss an opportunity to post, Social Pilot offers a curated content list based on keywords, influencers, and categories.
You can also refine your content approval workflow by creating a virtual team. Depending on their roles (content scheduler, manager or owner), team members can view, create, edit, approve and delete posts.
Free trial conditions: 14 days for the Professional, Small Team, and Agency plans.
Crowdfire is a social media tool that helps you find content ideas and post to multiple platforms. Crowdfire’s Calendar View gives you easy navigation around past and future posts, with the ability to reschedule by drag-and-dropping.
Pick the topics your audience is interested in and get article recommendations. Connect your social media accounts to publish or schedule posts. Crowdfire can also automatically determine the best time to publish your post based on your audience’s activity.
Free trial conditions: the Free plan is available.
Similar tools to check out:
- master campaign scheduling with Sendible;
- optimize your content with CoSchedule,
- nail Pinterest and Instagram posting with Tailwind;
- auto-pilot content curation with Quuu.
Visuals and videos
When it comes to posting on social media, your content needs to be relevant and engaging. More often than not, what makes content engaging is its visual appeal. Creating stunning visuals is not necessarily the job of an in-house designer. A little dedication and a handy tool is everything you need to make sure your social media content stands out.
Canva is a freemium graphic design app that has you covered on everything from a logo to a mind map. The tool’s drag-and-drop functionality lets you create impressive visuals for all your social networks while wasting zero time fiddling with a hundred buttons and sliders.
Depending on how dedicated of a designer you are, browse professionally created templates and customize them to your liking — or create your visuals from scratch. To save you even more time, Canva offers a mobile app that allows for design collaborations on-the-go.
Free trial conditions: 30 days for Pro and Enterprise. Canva’s Free plan is forever free.
Similar tools to check out:
- Unsplash for an endless supply of free images;
- Animoto for drag-and-drop video making.
- Typito for masterful text videos.
Advanced social media management
Social media management comes with multiple side gains: digital PR, social data and analytics, link building, and so much more. In addition to effortless planning, posting, and collaboration features, social media management tools let you track your performance across social networks, collect in-depth analytics, and interact with your customers.
Let’s review some of the best social media management toolkits and see what you can achieve with them.
BuzzSumo is a versatile social media management tool. It can be used for media monitoring, content research, competitor intelligence, influencer marketing, and even backlink audit. BuzzSumo is a great option for anybody looking for a 360° social media solution.
BuzzSumo helps you discover popular topics, top-performing stories related to your niche, as well as get in touch with the key media outlets. You can also interact with your linking domains identified as part of backlink audit, or build new backlinks by reaching out to industry influencers brought to you via media monitoring.
By keeping tabs on your competition, you can learn from their wins and mistakes and build better social media profiles.
Free trial conditions: 7 days for Pro, Plus, and Large.
Buffer is a one-dashboard social media monitoring and management tool. It lets you bring together all of your social accounts and fine-tune planning and publishing workflow as a team. The tool boasts shared team inbox features that make collaboration as smooth as it gets.
An advanced social media management tool, Buffer offers social data analytics, customer support intel, and user feedback translated into actionable insights. Based on your performance metrics, the tool supplies you with tips on growing reach and sales.
Free trial conditions: 7 days for Pro, 14 days for the Premium and Business plans.
Similar tools to check out:
- grow engagement with eClincher;
- track your posts and campaigns with MavSocial;
- gather your ad and sales data with SumAll;
- generate leads with SocialBee.
In more ways than one, social media is huge. That said, social media management doesn’t have to be an all-consuming task. With so many tools available today, managing social media boils down to finding your perfect match and building an efficient workflow. So grab a free trial (or two) and see what’s working for you. Once you’ve invested in your perfect toolkit, it will actually save you both time and money for years to come.