marketing tool stack logo dark

Marketing Tool Guide

March 16. 2022

The best social media marketing tools and tool stacks

The field of social media marketing tools is vast. For each application area, different tools are better suited. In this guide, we'll help you find the right tools for you and your budget.
Mockup created by syifa5610

The easiest and most efficient way to build a reach outside of your own website is by building a community on social media.

However, this involves a lot of operational tasks, and the platforms themselves often don't offer good functionalities to automate and optimize important processes.

Whether it's building followers, publishing posts across channels, increasing engagement rates, or analyzing your target audience or competitors, there are great tools to help you with your social media marketing.

But with all the tools out there, it's easy to get lost, and finding the right tools that really deliver what they promise can be a real time-suck.

But don't worry - we will help you!

Unlike the usual best of articles, we will take you through the different use cases in social media marketing and show you the best tools for each area and when which tool works best.

Social media marketing tools exist for the following areas:

  • Publishing - Manage channels and publish posts.
  • Listening & Monitoring - Keeping an eye on the target group, competitors, and trends
  • Analysis - Analyze your own actions and the competition
  • Content Creation & Design - Write posts and create creatives
  • Sweepstakes - Conducting, managing and evaluating sweepstakes
  • Advertising & Ads - You can find appropriate tools in our Performance Marketing Tool Guide

At the end of this guide, you will know which tools to use and combine and when it is worth choosing an all-in-one suite. For that, we have compiled useful tool stacks at the end for different use cases and company types, from SAAS and e-commerce startups to large corporations.

Social Media Publishing Tools

If you're relying on multiple channels for your social media strategy, it can quickly become overwhelming.

Publishing tools help you to plan all your posts for all channels in one tool and publish them automatically over the next weeks. This way, you can set up everything in advance at the beginning of the week and don’t need to login to multiple channels each day and publish your post manually.

A real timesaver!

In addition, these tools help you with the analyses of your target group and their engagement with your content.
later logo icon social media tool

Later

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Freemium
Publishing
Analytics
Later is easy to use and supports Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok. However, originally launched as an Instagram platform, it has a clear focus on Instagram and offers more options here than its competitors.

Posts can be easily pre-scheduled in a calendar view using drag & drop. Later also offers many options for creating the posts themselves. You can access various image databases from within the tool, or search for relevant posts from others in your niche and repost them.

The comparatively powerful free version is usually already sufficient for smaller projects. Only if you want to publish more than 30 posts per month per platform, or if you also want to manage your Instagram Stories via Later, you have to upgrade to the paid version. Starting at $12.50 per month.

This is what Later looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
buffer logo icon social media tool

Buffer

Web-based
Great Alternative
Freemium
Publishing
Analytics
Buffer is one of the most popular publishing tools and supports all popular social media platforms.

For Instagram, Buffer lacks some of the capabilities of Later. Also, the usability of the tool does not feel as modern and intuitive as Later.
However, Buffer has extensive integration possibilities with Zapier, one of the best and most used marketing automation tool.

So if you're a big fan of marketing automation, Buffer might be a better choice for you, because Later doesn't offer integration for Zapier yet.
The free version of Buffer can only be used with 3 channels and 10 posts per channel per month. The paid version comes at a cost of $5 per channel per month.

This is what Buffer looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
tailwind logo icon social media tool

Tailwind

Web-based
Great Alternative
Freemium
Publishing
Analytics
Does your social media strategy rely only on Pinterest and Instagram? Then Tailwind could also be an interesting alternative for you.

The tool only supports these two channels but offers more extensive functions for them than Buffer or Later.

The free version lets you schedule 20 posts per channel per month. This number can be increased to 100 at $9.99 per month.

This is what Tailwind looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE

Social Media Listening & Monitoring Tools

These tools show you what your competitors are doing on social media and what other users are saying about you and your brand, and allow you to respond to them directly.

This allows you to react quickly to criticism and identify sales opportunities early on. Also, this can be a great strategy to identify and get in contact with relevant influencers you can collaborate with for your brand.

Using a listening and monitoring tool is more worthwhile for companies whose presence already has a certain reach. That's also why these tools are priced a little higher.
However, the all-in-one management tools presented below also offer listening and monitoring functions for far less money.
awario logo icon social media tool

Awario

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Paid $$
Analytics
Monitoring
Listening
Awario monitors all popular social media platforms and also well-known blogs and news sites.
You can control your entire communication on social media, which can be helpful for community management and social selling. In addition, the fairly new tool already offers functions in the entry-level package that the competition only provides in their enterprise plans.

With the "Boolean Alerts" function, you can define combinations of terms and conditions for which Awario sends you a notification as soon as they apply. For example, as soon as someone on Twitter mentions your brand and the word "enthusiastic" together in a post that has at least 50 likes.

You can test Awario for free. The starter plan starts at 24€ and allows you to track and analyze 3 topics at the same time.

This is what Awario looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
awario logo icon social media tool

Mention

Web-based
Great Alternative
Freemium
Listening
Monitoring
Mention is a real classic among the monitoring tools. It has its strength, especially in the customizable reports and the extensive functions at finding and managing influencers.Unlike Awario, Mention also offers the possibility to schedule posts and can thus also replace a publishing tool.

Mention has a free Basic plan, but most of the important features are only available with the Pro (99€) or Pro Plus (199€) plan. For small companies and startups, the tool is therefore rather less suitable.

This is what Mention looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
keyhole logo icon social media tool

Keyhole

Web-based
Great Alternative
Paid $$$
Monitoring
Listening
Analytics
Another interesting alternative is Keyhole. Keyhole is the only tool presented here that also supports TikTok.

Another special feature is hashtag tracking, which scores particularly well when used with Twitter and Instagram.

The very comprehensive suite offers all the important functionalities (incl. publishing and analytics).

The tool is aimed at enterprise customers and agencies. Prices are only disclosed individually and on request.

This is what Keyhole looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE

Social Media Analytics Tools

To improve your social media presence and campaigns, you need to analyze your activities and adapt the results obtained.

Social media analytics tools help you analyze your strategy and campaigns across multiple platforms and compare them with the competition.

The publishing and monitoring tools presented in the last sections all have corresponding analysis functions. Especially Awario and Keyhole.

For big brands, however, the larger range of functions and the better visualization options are often worthwhile.
brandwatch logo icon social media tool

Brandwatch

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Paid $$$
Monitoring
Listening
Analytics
Brandwatch is a comprehensive digital consumer intelligence platform and one of the most powerful social analytics tools on the market.

After connecting your social media accounts, Brandwatch collects all relevant data about your brand and your target audience and provides you with comprehensive analysis and reporting capabilities.

Trend and competitor analysis can be performed in real-time and the access to their huge databases make Brandwatch an equally good research tool.

Besides the possibility to analyze your competitors in detail, Brandwatch also has listening and monitoring functions on board and so can completely replace corresponding tools.

Brandwatch does not have a free version and is aimed exclusively at agencies and enterprise customers. Prices for the tool are not public and have to be requested individually.

This is what Brandwatch looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
fanpage karma logo icon social media tool

Fanpage Karma

Web-based
Great Alternative
Freemium
Analytics
Fanpage Karma was originally developed purely for the analysis of Facebook pages. In the meantime, however, it also supports all other popular social networks.

The range of functions has also increased steadily in recent years. Fanpage Karma can also be used for publishing, monitoring, and community management. However, the great strength still lies in analyzing your social media channels and the competition.

Fanpage Karma even offers a free version, but it can only be used to analyze Facebook. For most the tool therefore only makes sense from the silver version onwards, which costs €149 per month.

This is what Fanpage Karma looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE

Social Media Competitor Analysis Tools

Do you just want to get a quick look at the competition without spending hundreds of dollars on a big social analytics suite?

Easily possible with these tools!

Especially if you are still at the start of your social media strategy, you can learn a lot about your niche and target audience by looking at the competition and thus skip one or two learning phases. Because what works well for your competitors might work well for you too.

If you want to monitor your competition in the long run or dive deeper into their strategies, it's best to also check out the monitoring tools suggested above.
social blade logo icon social media analytics tool

Social Blade

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Freemium
Analytics
Competitor Analysis
YouTube
Twitch
Twitter
With Social Blade, you can get quick stats on your competitors' channels.

With the exception of Pinterest and LinkedIn, Social Blade can analyze all accounts of relevant social media platforms.

However, the tool has a clear focus on video platforms and allows deeper analysis for YouTube and Twitch, and also shows estimated ad revenue for them.

For the analysis of YouTube and Twitch, there is also a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.

For other channels, only basic statistics can be viewed and their content cannot be analyzed in-depth.

Followers, engagement, and rankings can be analyzed for free over the last 30 days, beyond that a membership of just under $10 per month is required.

This is what Social Blade looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
not just analytics logo icon competitor intelligence tool

Not Just Analytics

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Freemium
Analytics
Cmpetitor Analysis
Instagram
TikTok
The tool formerly known as Ninjalytics enables simple profile analyses for Instagram and TikTok.

The tool not only provides statistics on the profile but also enables detailed analyses of content, hashtags used, and target groups.

Basic analyses can be performed directly on the page, even without an account.

For more insights, there is a paid plan for 7€ per month, which can also be tested free for 14 days.

This is what Not Just Analytics looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE

Social Media Content Creation & Design Tools

Most social media networks have a clear visual focus. So an image, graphic, or video should be part of almost every post.

Without question, Adobe and Affinity design tools are among the most powerful. However, for those who are not also designers or have been working with these programs for a while, lean and web-based tools like Canva and Lumen5 are usually the better choice.

These were made for easy and quick creation of graphics for social media and websites. They are easy to use, come with plenty of pre-made designs, and most importantly are usually cheaper.
canva logo icon social media tool

Canva

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Freemium
Design
Illustrations
Canva is a web-based design program that makes creating graphics and posts a breeze.

Simply choose one of over 420,000 templates, customize it alone or with your team and export it in the appropriate format for the respective social media channels.

In addition to the free templates, the paid version gives you access to a database of over 75 million photos, videos, graphics, and illustrations. You can also create your own templates to make sure that all the designs created in the team correspond to your CD.

Canva is free to use. If you want to use the team functionality, access the stock database, or want to post your designs directly to social media via Canva, you will only have to pay 9€ per month for up to 5 users.

This is what Canva looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
lumen5 logo icon design tool

Lumen 5

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Freemium
Design
Video
Lumen 5 is also a web-based design program, but for video creation.

Creating videos for social media, content marketing, and your advertisement is very easy even for inexperienced users. With the large library of templates and assets, you can create high-quality videos in just a few minutes.

In the free version, videos can only be exported with a watermark and a maximum of 720p. You can remove the watermark from all your videos for $11 per month.

Starting at 59$, you can also access Lumen 5's huge stock database and export videos in full HD.

This is what Lumen5 looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
inshot logo icon design tool

InShot

Mobile App
Great Addition
Freemium
Design
Video
Social Media Stories
With the mobile app InShot, videos filmed on the go can be edited quickly and easily.

Perfectly suited for Stories on Instagram and TikTok.

The app itself is free but includes advertising and additional filters must be purchased. If you use the app regularly, the premium subscription is definitely worth it and only costs a few euros per month.

This is what InShot looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE

Social Media Sweepstake Tools

Sweepstakes are a great way to generate attention, gain new followers, and grow your email list.

However, implementation and execution are usually associated with high effort.

The following tools relieve you of this manual work and also include ready-made materials such as quizzes and entry forms that you can use for your sweepstakes. In addition, many of these tools have powerful features to make your sweepstakes a greater success.
gleam logo icon social media tool

Gleam

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Freemium
Sweepstakes
Contests
Gleam is designed to achieve maximum growth and distribution for your sweepstakes. With just one click, participants can perform certain actions to increase their chances of winning. For example, sharing the contest or following your other channels.

Gleam has a large template library that includes everything from Instagram photo contests to e-commerce referral programs.

Thanks to the wide range of integration options, the tool easily connects with all of our recommended email marketing tools.

There is a limited free version, but in most cases, Gleam only really makes sense in the paid variant. The basic package costs $10 a month. Additional features like sharing and email lead generation can be unlocked for an additional $29 a month each.

This is what Gleam looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
shortstack logo icon social media tool

Shortstack

Web-based
Great Alternative
Paid $$
Sweepstakes
Contests
With Shortstack, you can not only run social media sweepstakes and contests but also create landing pages and lead forms, interact with your winners afterward and further qualify them with automated email cycles.

But the larger feature set, compared to other sweepstakes tools, comes with higher costs. Shortstack starts at $99 a month. However, some features, like hashtag and retweet contests, are only available at $249 a month.

Shortstack does not offer a free plan but can be tested for free on a limited basis.

This is what Shortstack looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE

Social Media Management Tools

You want to do more than just schedule posts in advance and the monitoring and analysis features of publishing tools, like Buffer or Later, aren't enough for you?

Before you think about using multiple tools, it usually pays to use an all-in-one social media management tool.

From planning your content and monitoring relevant channels to community management and comprehensive analytics. These tools have all important functions combined.
sprout social logo icon social media tool

Sprout Social

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Paid $$
Publishing
Analytics
Listening
Monitoring
All-in-one
The interface of Sprout Social is divided into "Publishing", "Listening", "Engagement" and "Analytics". Thus, the all-in-one social media management platform covers all relevant areas of social media marketing.

Social Sprout also comes with a mobile app, an integrated link shortener, and a Smart Inbox. All direct messages from the connected channels flow into this and can be managed and answered in one place.

In addition, the detailed and powerful reporting functions are incredibly helpful and time-saving, especially for larger companies.

At $89 for the standard version and $149 for the professional version, Sprout Social is comparatively inexpensive for the range of functions offered. But the respective price needs to be paid per user. For larger teams, it can therefore quickly become pretty expensive.

This is what Sprout Social looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
agorapulse logo icon social media tool

Agorapulse

Web-based
Our Recommendation
Freemium
Publishing
Analytics
Listening
Monitoring
All-in-one
Agorapulse is still a fairly young social media management tool, but it has been gaining popularity in recent years.

From the planning of posts to monitoring and listening functions to extensive analysis and reporting functions, Agorapulse leaves hardly any wish unfulfilled.

The clear strength of the tool lies in interaction management. In addition to the smart inbox, which receives messages from all social media channels, with Agorapulse you can also respond directly to Google MyBusiness reviews.

The only drawback is the current lack of Pinterest support.

If you only use 3 social media channels and do not need extensive monitoring and listening functions, you can use Agorapulse for free. For all others, the paid version starts at 79€ per month.

This is what Agorapulse looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE
hootsuite logo icon social media tool

Hootsuite

Web-based
Great Alternative
Freemium
Publishing
Analytics
Listening
Monitoring
All-in-one
From Instagram to Pinterest to LinkedIn. With Hootsuite, all relevant channels can be connected and their content centrally pre-planned and controlled.

WordPress users can also schedule their blog posts here.

It is easy to keep an eye on your competitors and compare your content and profile with theirs.

The simple and intuitive usability and the strengths in community management make Hootsuite especially interesting for small to medium-sized companies that want more than just a publishing tool, but do not need an expensive enterprise solution.

Hootsuite has a free plan and the professional version can be used for as little as €39, making it significantly cheaper than most competitors' solutions.

This is what Hootsuite looks like:

VISIT TOOL PAGE

We expand and update our database every week

Sign up now to be the first to know as soon as there is a new tool that fits in your tool stack and is worth a try