If you're looking for a management tool to help you schedule posts, measure your effectiveness or just keep all your feeds together in one place, then there are plenty of them to choose from. But how do you choose? How do you know which is going to be right for you or do everything it promises? The simple answer is that you don't. Fortunately there are a multitude of online reviews to help you decide and if you're prepared to read them all, you may get a balanced view of what each has to offer. If you follow any of the social media experts out there on Facebook or Twitter, then you'll no doubt see posts from them promoting their favourites and telling you what they use. But for the majority of customers and small businesses we work with, budget is the main consideration when choosing any new tools.
You might already know from our work with the PopUp Business School that the team at Socially-M are big fans of free and low cost tools that are available to everyone. So we'd always suggest trying free tools, or free trials of tools until you're comfortable that you've found something that does everything you need and/or can grow as the needs of your business grow. We've dabbled with many ourselves, both free and paid platforms and can honestly say that we've never paid for something when there's been a free alternative available to us or our customers. In our opinion, many of the free or low cost tools out there perform just as well, or in some cases, better than their higher-charging, glossier-looking, all-singing and all-dancing competitors.
When it comes to social media it's no longer a case of 'you get what you pay for', it's more a question of trust, which lies at the heart of all social selling. So when someone emailed us the infographic below, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was based purely on the reviews of people who had used the platforms. In fact G2Crowd who put it together (in partnership with Ian Anderson Gray), review software, tools and vendors solely based upon user reviews. What we were also impressed with was that it covered some of the issues that we see affect new business owners and those new to social media the most, things like usability or how easy it is to learn to use the platform. Or how good the vendor is at providing online support for the product. What's also refreshing is to see newcomers like Agora pulse proving to be extremely competitive when rated against more establised vendors like Hootsuite and Sprout social.
As ever, our advice would be to try free platforms first and when you're ready to make that next step, seriously consider one of these low-cost platforms based on what's most important to you. We'd be interested to hear your comments on these user-generated statistics and what's most important to you when choosing software or technology for your business.