Social media apps are an essential part of any digital marketing agency—and also an essential cost. As you grow and hire more marketers, many social media marketing applications will charge you per license or make you upgrade to a more expensive plan to add more employees to your account.
And these licenses aren't cheap. In fact, some cost over $200 per month per user license. It's almost like social media management firms are punishing you for growing your company—not cool.
But luckily for us marketers, not all social media management applications follow this outdated pricing structure. In this article, we'll compare how all of the major social media management applications price their software.
We'll give each application an overview and discuss its pricing structure so you can get a clear picture of how much each application will cost as you scale and grow your agency.
Additionally, we also included an easy-to-digest table with all of this information at the end of the article that shows what features each application includes, its pricing sctucture, and how much each costs per license, brand, or linked social media app for small, medium, and large sized agencies.
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|
But first, what makes a good social media management app?
The only thing more important than pricing? Features.
Here's a list of popular features that most agencies require for day-to-day operations. Make surte to look for these when shopping for a social media management app, otherwise you may find yourself scrambling to find a better app at the last minute.
- Powerful scheduling features. This is a core component of any social media marketing app. If you can't schedule content then 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 clients are active. This means more than just Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Others networks include LinkedIn, Reddit, Yelp, and more. 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
Without further ado, here's the apps in comparison. We'll look at how each of these applications prices its apps and give you an overview of their published plans.
- Social Report
- Sprout Social
With that in mind, let's dive in!
At Social Report, we make it a point to add new and innovative features to our platform on a regular basis. Offer excellent smart scheduling tools, in-depth analytics and reporting, and a social inbox that brings all of your brand's mentions into one easy-to-digest inbox.
We have three different plans and price them based on how many brands you manage. Our Standard plan is $49 per month and includes five connected brands and 25 connected social media accounts. If your agency grows, you can upgrade to one of our Advanced plans that doubles the amount of users and connected accounts.
Finally, our Professional plan is perfect for large teams. For $200 per month, we give you unlimited users, 20 managed brands, and unlimited connected social media accounts. Adding more managed brands costs just $10 per brand per month. This is unheard of in the social media management world.
Loomly is a new player to the social media management game. It has everything you'd expect from a full-fledged social media app (scheduling, posting, analytics) and number of interesting features, like a content calendar creator, post idea generator, and post previews.
But Loomly isn't cheap. Like most social media management apps, it prices by connected social account and team member, broken down by plan. Its base plan only includes 15 connected accounts and three team members. If you need more than this, you have to upgrade to the Small Team plan that costs $90 per month and includes 30 accounts and five team members. And the pricing only goes up from there.
Currently Loomly doesn't offer a way to just add more team members or connected accounts, so you're required to upgrade your plan if your team grows.
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 Sprout Social app isn't perfect. It's the most expensive social media management tool in our price comparison article, and lacks support for smaller social networks and business review platforms. As of the time of publishing this piece, Sprout Social only integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram.
You're charged $25 per five connected accounts when you go beyond the included number of connected social accounts (10-20, depending on your plan). This will add up quickly as you sign more clients.
Buffer is one of the original social media scheduling apps that integrates with most of the popular social networks (but not the more obscure ones). The application recently added analytics and repoting features this year, so it's officially a full-fledged social media management app.
The application is limited when it comes to features, though. It lacks any kind of automation features and only works with the "big five" social networks. So while it may be good for running in-house social media for a small business, we don't recommend Buffer for agency use.
Like Loomly, Buffer has different plans that are based on the number of connected accounts and team members. It Small plan includes 5 users and 25 connected social accounts for $99 per month, Medium includes 10 users and 50 social accounrts for $199 per month, and Large includes 25 users and 50 social accounts for $399 per month.
Agorapulse is a basic social media management app with solid posting, collaboration, and analytics tools. However, it doesn't support smaller social networks, its base plan includes just three social accounts, and it doesn't offer any type of white labeling or other customization features.
Agorapulse prices its software by user, number of conected social accounts, and features. The company recommends its Large plan to agencies. This plan includes 25 connected accounts and six team members. Additional team members cost $39 per month and additional connected accounts cost $9 per month.
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 though, MeetEdgar's feature set is 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 can't link more than 25 social media accounts. The app costs $49 per month at the time of publishing this article.
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. HootSuite supports 35 different social networks too, so no need to sign-in to accounts manually.
However, HootSuite is still a hard sell for some agencies. It doesn't offer any sort of white-labeling features, lacks the ability to re-schedule old content, and has lackluster analytic features.
HootSuite's pricing is leaves much to be desired too. It only has two business plans that are based on—you guessed it—the number of team members and connected accounts. Its smallest business plan—Team—includes just 20 connected profiles and three team members. Beyond that, its Business plan includes 50 social profiles and up to 10 social profiles for $499 per month (!!!).
Need more users? You'll need to contact Hootsuite for enterprise pricing—yikes.
Social media management features: concluded!
|Social Report||Loomly||Buffer||Sprout Social||Agorapulse||MeetEdgar||Hootsuite|
|Pricing Model||Per brand||Per user and connected social accounts||Per user and connected social accounts||Per user and connected social accounts||Per user and connected social accounts||Per user and connected social accounts||Per user and connected social accounts|
|Monthly Cost for Small Agency||$49||$45||$99||$495||$199||$49||$99|
|Monthly Cost for Medium Agency||$99||$160||$199||$1,490||$580||n/a||$499|
|Monthly Cost for Large Agency||$199||$400||$399||$5,975||$1,316||n/a||Call (expensive!)|
|Obscure Social Networks||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||Yes|
And there you have it: how to choose a social media application that will scale with your company. Make sure to assess your agency's needs and look at how your agency will grow before settling on an application. This will save your agency money and frustration in the long-run, and ensure you have the best experience possible for the lowest price.
Need a new social media management app under $50 per month? Check out our tools under $50 roundup.