Battlefield of the Social Media Management Tools: Hootsuite vs Agorapulse vs Sprout Social

Are you confused about all the options for Social Media Management Tools?  Missing comments, tweets, updates?  

In this post, I share the latest findings about the most popular social media management tools including user satisfaction, product direction, ease of set-up and maintenance, support, usability and pricing.  

And I share my favourite of the social media management tools, right now…

There are so many social media management tools out there that it can be hard to keep up!

Luckily for us, G2 Crowd (the world's largest business software review platform) teamed up (again) with Blogger Ian Anderson Gray to produce an awesome infographic to make it easy for us.

G2 conducted detailed customer reviews as reported in this post at Seriously Social.

And please note – these are social media management tools, not just sharing tools – they all allow you to engage as well as schedule and post.

So, Which tools lined up for the battle this year?

4 Social Media Management Tools:

  1. Hootsuite
  2. Sprout Social 
  3. Agorapulse
  4. Sendible
  5. Buffer

Ian explains in his article why he included Buffer this year, even though it's a tool that strictly doesn't include engagement.  Buffer's aquisition of Respondly means they are in transition to being in the same category as the fully-fledged social media management tools.

Before we jump into the results (and which tool or tools I am loving) I want to share a little of my Social Media Management Tool History – because I have used 4 out of 5 of these tools at one time or another.

My Search for a Social Media Management Tool:

I started out with Hootsuite early on and after a while realised that I wasn't keeping up with the multiple columns and needed a more linear approach. Price was fine, useability was fine, but I was forgetting to check all the columns and needed something more linear. That being said, for an all rounder Hootsuite definitely works for those of us managing multiple accounts.

I quickly moved on to Sprout Social – which I LOVED. But unlike a few friends of mine who were smart enough to get Grandfathered in from beta, the $59 per month was a little pricey at the time, even though I loved the features including their singular inbox, queue function for scheduling posts, publishing functionality, brand monitoring and GORGEOUS reports.

But the timing meant that pricing was a factor for me. So, when I stopped working with clients and focused on my own products and services, I was at a loss as to which tool to use. All I know is that I was tracking a LOT of mentions!

I should add here that I have also used and loved Buffer over the years, but as mentioned above, I have never used it as one of the social media management tools – only as a posting/scheduling tool, so it's not really fair to compare it yet.  I am looking forward to seeing what they do with their new direction though.  And so…

Enter Agorapulse.

Why do I currently use Agorapulse?

You can cut to the chase and see a full article on why I love Agorapulse for Social Media Management right here.

Because it's linear like Sprout Social, has great reporting and analytics, is super user-friendly (I love their mobile app) and allows me to keep track of tweets, comments and shares across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To me, Agorapulse IS Engagement.   Without it, I would miss the conversation, like I had been for years!  I had no idea how many hidden tweets I was missing that were not direct @mentions!  Now I can also quickly see who my advocates are, who is sharing my content and engage with them. And I get to inbox zero.

I still use other tools, but for engagement, you can't beat Agorapulse.  And you can use it to schedule posts to Facebook and Twitter too if you wish as well as Instagram so who knows I move more things over as the functions are there.

I also LOVE how you can set up filters to filter out spammy Direct Messages and auto-bot messages on Twitter… it means that I can get straight to the point and respond to the mentions that really matter.

Don't just believe ME, however. See what the crowd of reviewers at G2 Crowd said about the top Social Media Management Tools this year.

I think you might be pleasantly surprised about the pattern of results:

Battle Results:

Infographic brought to you by Seriously Social and G2 Crowd

The verdict?

On Agorapulse

Surprising to some (but not to me and those of us that use and love Agorapulse) this all-round soldier of a tool hit the top of the rankings for EVERY category scored this year.

Last year it was just about every category.  This year… every category.

Which pretty much sums up the sentiment I am hearing out in the trenches… social media marketers LOVE Agorapulse.

You can read the full article here and analysis by Ian Anderson Gray about each tool.

Agorapulse scored in the Number 1 Ranking for User satisfaction, Support, Product Direction,  and meeting Business Requirements for the tool last year.

This year it also scored at Number 1 in the Rankings for Usability and the G2 Crowd Ranking as well as how Easy-to-Learn the tool was (ie was it easy to set up and maintain).

All in all, I'd say this gives you great motivation to try Agorapulse!

On Sprout Social

Always a favourite for usability – Sprout Social is worth checking out if it is within your budget.

And it's great to see it soaring up the ranks to be No 2 across most of the review categories listed in the infographic above for social media management tools.

If you need a tool that schedules as well as for engagement then Sprout Social is worth trialing too.

There is no perfect tool so it's always best to see what the best fit is for your business needs.

But for me, while the exchange rate is low here in Australia, it's a stretch to pay more than $50 per month in USD.

Check it out but maybe explore more affordable options as well.

On Hootsuite

Hootsuite is still a clear winner for price, but when it comes to the parameters reviewed above, it has fallen behind Agorapulse and Sprout Social. I've noticed many social media managers making the switch to tools like Agorapulse.

Hootsuite may still continue to have a big share of the market, but with results like these, and tools like Sprout Social and Agorapulse in the field of battle, Hootsuite had better keep on its toes!

Note: I can't really comment on Sendible having not used it before and the number of ratings was lower in this sample, but it may be one to check out and watch based on the results. It's definitely moving up as a tool to watch.  

What about pricing?

Who fares best with pricing you may ask?  Well, when it comes to comparison, there's another handy tool for you to check out more about it here.

The tool is “live” so you can enter in your details/requirements and get immediate feedback! Check it out:

Brought to you by Seriously Social with Ian Anderson Gray

Handy, right?  Now, whenever you want to check what your costs will be to use one of these awesome tools, just swing by and use the tool!

My verdict?  Agorapulse is pretty good value for money given the results above.

But then again, I use it every day so I am a little biased …and no, this is not a sponsored post [wink].

Now, Go Find the Right Tool!

Are you stuck finding a social media management tool that suits your needs?  

What are you using now and is it doing the job?   Don't you just love you love the easy-to-follow infographic and pricing tool? 

Let me know what you think in the comments below! 

Battle of the Social Media Management Tools - HootSuite vs Agorapulse vs Sprout Social
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Battle of the Social Media Management Tools - HootSuite vs Agorapulse vs Sprout Social
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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