RESOURCES, TOOLS AND BOOKS
We want to help you run your social media and content marketing like a pro! The below list of software services, apps, tools, and books can help you with your social media and content creation, management and measurement. Knowing and using the right tools not only saves you time, but it can help effectively build your brand awareness, grow your tribe and bring in new business.
Please note that BentoBox Media is not responsible for any price differences that are listed below. All prices listed below are from each vendor’s website as of January 30, 2017.
*DISCLOSURE: Please note that an asterisk next to a link indicates that it’s an affiliate link. If you click on any of these links, and then sign up for any of the paid services or purchase any of these books on Amazon, BentoBox Media will receive a small commission in the form a cash payment, or in the case of MeetEdgar, we’ll receive a $10 credit off our next MeetEdgar invoice.
Social Media Management
The following social media management services offer a robust set of features for managing your social media accounts in a central location. They provide a dashboard to manage your engagement, publishing, and analytics. Each service has differences, but all are excellent platforms to manage most of your social media needs.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
Other integrations: Facebook contest builder and CRM capabilities are built into the product.
AgoraPulse offers a free 30-day trial on all its plans. The most affordable plan is its Small plan, which allows up to 3 social media accounts ($15 for extra profiles). Features include a unified inbox for replying to customers and followers; monitoring of social media profiles, competitors or other social accounts, hashtags and keywords; scheduling and publishing to your social media profiles; evergreen content management and publishing; analytics‡ and unlimited reports; user profiling for finding brand ambassadors and influencers; competitor analysis and more.
The paid plans start at $39.00 a month (billed annually) or $49.00 a month (billed monthly). To see all plans and features, visit AgoraPulse Plans.
‡AgoraPulse provides historical data that ranges from 2 to 24 months. For Facebook, it will track and retain two years of data; and the day you sign up, it can backdate 30 days for Facebook. For Twitter and Instagram there’s no backdating data at sign up. For Twitter and Instagram, it starts tracking data from the day you sign up and will retain up to two years of back data.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube
Other integrations: Many, see them all here.
Hootsuite offers a free plan that allows up to three social media accounts, a dashboard to manage each, which allows you to monitor and reply to customers and others, schedule and publish posts and see basic analytics. Hootsuite is not as robust as AgoraPulse and SproutSocial, but you can’t beat the price of free, or even $9.99. However, you can make it more robust by integrating the many apps available in the Hootsuite App Directory; but there’s an additional cost for some of the apps.
The paid plans start at $9.99 a month (billed annually) or $14.99 a month (billed monthly). To see all plans and features, visit Hootsuite Plans.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
Other integrations: Bit.ly, Feedly, Google Analytics, UserVoice and Zendesk
SproutSocial offers a free 30-day trial on all its plans, except for the Enterprise version (it may, but you have schedule a demo first). The most affordable plan is its Deluxe version, which allows up to 5 social media accounts ($25 a month for 5 additional profiles). The Deluxe version features a unified inbox for replying to customers and others; monitoring capabilities for improved engagement; publishing capabilities that let you plan, schedule and post to your social media profiles; and analytics‡ and reports.
The paid plans start at $59.00 a month (billed monthly). It offers a 10% discount for annual payments on all plans. To see all plans and features, visit SproutSocial Plans.
‡SproutSocial provides up to two years of historical data for Facebook and LinkedIn company pages. Due to API limitations, it cannot provide historical data for Instagram and Twitter. This applies to all the plans that it offers.
Social Media Content Management – Content Library Automation
The below services are recommended in addition to the social media management services listed above. Although, you can manage, schedule and publish your content through the social media management services listed above; however, they all lack the automation capabilities.
The main reason to use a content automation service is it’s a HUGE time saver by automating the repurposing of evergreen, seasonal and other content.
The key features to look for are: Content Library; Content Curation so you can easily add new content to your library; Content Categories so you can segment content, such as your blog posts, promotions, seasonal content, curated content separated by topic, and so on; Calendar/Queue; Schedule so you can set the days and times that you want the content to publish (some services will show you the optimal times to publish); and Analytics.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook (pages, profiles & groups), Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles & company pages)
Other integrations: Zappier, Chrome Plugin (for curating content), and URL shorteners & in-app click tracking: Bit.ly, Rebrandly or Edgar’s own custom shortener
MeetEdgar offers one plan for $49 a month for up to 25 social profiles with no limits on the amount of content/status updates in your library or queue. It allows you to queue and post text posts, link posts and image posts (GIF, JPEG, and PNG files, up to 3 MB in size), and video posts (MPEG-4 a .mp4 or .m4v file).
It also allows you to have unlimited RSS feeds for curating content for your social channels/accounts. Your feeds are searchable and you can sort them by feed source, category, platform, and account. It offers bulk import, but no bulk export.
As of January 1, 2017, there are no analytics and reporting features. It does have a History page where you can view the last 30 days of posts. However, to see the actual engagement statistics, you must click “More info,” which then takes you to the actual post on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
To see all features, visit MeetEdgar* 👈 If you sign up using our affiliate link, you’ll get $10 off instantly.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook (Profile, Business Page, Group); Twitter and LinkedIn (Profile and Business Page) and more coming soon
Other integrations: Chrome Plugin (for curating content); URL shortener and Hashtag plug-ins
Recurpost offers a free Standard plan, which allows up to three social media accounts with 100 recurring updates each month and two RSS feeds. The Medium plan is $25 a month or $250 annually (two months free), which allows up to ten social media accounts with 1,000 recurring updates each month and ten RSS feeds. The Large plan is $50 a month or $500 annually (two months free), which gives you unlimited social media accounts, unlimited recurring updates, and unlimited RSS feeds.
You can post four types of content: text posts, link posts, image posts (GIF, JPEG, and PNG files, up to 3 MB in size) and video posts (video uploads must follow Twitter’s and Facebook’s video requirements). Recurpost offers bulk import, but no bulk export. All plans come with analytics and reporting.
To see all features, visit Recurpost Plans.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn (Pinterest and Google+ coming soon)
Other integrations: Bit.ly; Feedly; web browser extension (for curating content)
SmarterQueue has not officially launched and is still in beta. However, it’s a paid beta that’s open to the public. Beta plans start at $19.99 for four social media accounts, with plans covering up to 25 social media accounts. All plans come with a 14-day free trial.
SmarterQueue features include categories for easy management of content, plus custom categories for each social account; scheduling for automated publishing; separate schedules and queues for a balanced ratio of content; many content curation methods beyond RSS feeds and bulk import (no bulk export); flexible, drag and drop visual calendar; analytics and reports; publishing to multiple accounts with same content but different status updates, plus drafts and templates for easy publishing of regular or similar-type posts; competitor analysis (for Twitter only); social media monitoring of keywords and hashtags.
SmarterQueue offers the most features compared to its competitors. One feature it has over its competitors is the ability to set when the post should expire, either by date or after a certain number of times that the post has been published. This is a key feature because some content is more evergreen than others. This way, you can retire content that’s old, say from two or three years ago, or whenever you decide it’s no longer fresh or relevant. To purge old content on MeetEdgar and Recurpost, it must be done manually, which can be time-consuming and tedious.
To see all features, visit SmarterQueue Plans.
Social Media Content Management & Curation
These services are focused on content, from finding and scheduling content to publishing and analytics. Some of the features are offered in the above social media management platforms (i.e. AgoraPulse, Hootsuite, SproutSocial), but not all. If your budget allows for extra services, any of the below social media content management services are a great addition to your social media marketing arsenal.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+
Other integrations: Bit.ly (it also has its own link shortener, buff.ly); Pablo image creator, RSS feeds, web browser extension (for curating content); Mobile Apps for iOS and Android
Buffer offers five plans. The first two are the Individual plan, which is free for 1 social account (Pinterest is not offered on the free plan), and the Awesome plan, which is $10 per month for 10 social accounts. The Awesome plan has a 7-day free trial. Both the Individual and Awesome plans are great for solopreneurs and small business owners.
The next three plans are great for teams and agencies: The Small plan is $99 per month for 25 social accounts; Medium plan is $199 per month for 50 social accounts; and Large plan is $399 per month for 150 social accounts. The team and agency plans have a 14-day free trial.
Some of the features include: curate and schedule content as you discover it via its browser extension and iOS and Android mobile apps and through RSS feeds. You can also schedule videos and GIFs. The scheduler that lets you manually pick the publish times or you can use the Optimal Timing Tool that will tell you the best times to publish. It has a flexible and easy to view content calendar/queue. It also offers analytics.
Additionally, it has content recycling, which lets you repurpose already published posts with the one-click “re-buffer” button. Re-buffer puts the post back in the queue for re-publishing. The downside is there’s no way to automate this, you must manually re-queue each post that you want republished.
To see all features, visit Buffer.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook (Pages, Profiles and Groups) and Twitter with LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ coming soon
Other integrations: Canva, RSS feeds
Post Planner is a content discovery and curation service that helps you find, plan and post curated content that has already proven to be popular on social media, which increases your chances of it performing well on your social media channels. You can also add RSS feeds, including your own blog.
Post Planner offers many plans. The Love plan is perfect for solopreneurs and small business owners. It’s $9 per month (billed annually) or $11 per month (billed monthly) for 10 social profiles/accounts, 100 posts per day, 1,000 posts planned. One person can use it (no teams).
The next plan up is the Guru plan at $19 per month (billed annually) or $24 per month (billed monthly) for 25 social profiles/accounts, 250 posts per day, unlimited posts planned and four team members. The Master plan is $49 per month (billed annually) or $59 per month (billed monthly) for 50 social profiles/accounts, 500 posts per day, unlimited posts planned and seven team members.
They offer two other plans, Agency and Venture, designed for larger organizations, and they also offer custom plans for companies needing unlimited profiles, posts and team members.
To see all features and plans, visit Post Planner.
Social Networks Supported: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr
Other integrations: Built-in URL Shortener, Dropbox, Mobile Apps for iOS and Android
Everypost offers content curation; customization for tailoring status updates/messages when cross-posting to multiple social channels/accounts; team collaboration and permissions; scheduling and publishing and analytics and reports.
Everypost offers five plans. The first two: Personal is free for 1 social account and Pro at $9.99 per month for 10 social accounts. Both are great for solopreneurs and small business owners.
The next three plans are great for teams and agencies: Plus at $29.99 per month for 25 social accounts; Advanced at $49.99 per month for 50 social accounts; and Teams at $99.99 per month for 120 social accounts.
All plans offer a 14-day free trial and an annual plan, which gives you two free months.
To see all features, visit Everypost .
Social Networks Supported: Pinterest and Instagram
Other integrations: Canva, Dropbox, Google Drive, web browser extension (for curating content), Instagram and Facebook (third-party tool to curate content from Instagram and Facebook)
If you have an Instagram and Pinterest accounts, then you must have Tailwind. It’s a huge time saver with many features including content discovery and curation; smart scheduling; a master calendar with easy drag and drop to move posts around; monitoring conversations about your brand, top keywords, trending topics and more; social media contests; and analytics and reports.
Tailwind has three plans. The first one is the Plus plan designed for bloggers/solopreneurs and small businesses. The Plus plan starts at $9.99 per month (paid annually) or $15 per month when paid monthly for one social media account (Pinterest or Instagram). If you want two social accounts covered, say Pinterest and Instagram, then you would pay for two separate Plus plans.
The Pro plan is for large brands and agencies and it’s $799.99 per month for one social media account (Pinterest or Instagram), but it comes with many more features and unlimited scheduling and deeper analytics. For multi-account support on the Pro plan and the Enterprise plan, Tailwind offers custom plans and pricing.
To see all features, visit Tailwind.
Social Media Follower Management
These services are focused on helping you manage and grow your followers with targeted, real people and week out the fake accounts and bots. The services listed below differ from those pay-for-followers services.
When you use a pay-for-followers service and buy followers, you end up paying for mostly fake accounts following you, which leads to skewed numbers and a poor engagement rate. Don’t do it! Never buy followers because it will only hurt you.
Instead, manage and grow your followers the smart way by either doing it the old fashion way (the way we did it before any tools existed) by spending a few minutes each day following and engaging with people on each social network either natively on each network, or via your main social media management platform/service (i.e. AgoraPulse, Hootsuite or SproutSocial).
However, if you don’t have the time to do it the old fashion way and your budget allows for extra services, the following tools can complement your main social media management platform and give you extra features for follower management.
Whether you use or don’t use any of these services and tools for managing and growing followers, keep in mind that the best way to grow an active community is through engagement and building real relationships. The following tools can help you save time so you have more time for engagement.
Social Networks Supported: Twitter
Commun.it is a Twitter tool to manage and grow your followers through active and automated engagement, plus it will suggest who to follow and who to unfollow. It helps you build a community and manage the relationships through engagement and connecting with influencers and customers.
Commun.it offers five plans. Its free plan is limited and only gives you 20 actions/engagements every week and they all include Commun.it ads in the form this: (insight by http://commun.it ) tacked onto all tweets/engagements. If you use it, don’t do them all in a row because it looks spammy and unattractive.
All plans provide suggested tweets/engagements from “thanks for following” to general things like #Happy Monday or #HappyFriday type tweets. It also provides suggested tweets to reply to or tweets to retweet. You can also automate these engagement tweets to go out daily or weekly.
BentoBox doesn’t recommend that you do this en masse. It’s better to do these type of engagement tweets to individual people and not a group people in one tweet. When you group them, it’s not genuine and feels automated. It’s better to talk one-on-one because that’s more personal and genuine. Crowdfire and Manageflitter are better options for managing and growing followers. However, Commun.it is a tool that works if used correctly and not abused.
Commun.it’s Pro plan is $9.99 per month for one Twitter account, 4 monitored items, a 3-day limit on reports and 100 engagements WITH ads. The Business plan is $29.99 per month for eight Twitter account, 40 monitored items, 60-days access to reports and unlimited engagements WITHOUT ads. The Business plan at $34.99 per month and Corporate plan at $117.99 per month come with additional profiles and features.
To see all features, visit Commun.it.
Crowdfire (formerly JustUnfollow)
Social Networks Supported: Twitter and Instagram
Crowdfire helps you effectively manage your Twitter and Instagram follower by identifying inactive users and your unfollowers – unfollow them if you wish; finding relevant users to follow using an insightful “Copy Followers” feature (Twitter only); check the relationship between any two Twitter/Instagram accounts; auto Direct Messages (DMs) and more.
DMs are controversial, some people say they get traffic from using auto DMs, but others argue it’s bad practice to use auto DMs. Here at BentoBox Media, we fall into the latter and believe you should develop a relationship first before sending any DMs.
Crowdfire offers five plans. Its Free plan allows for one Twitter or Instagram account and has limited features, but a great starter plan for individuals. The Pluto plan is $9.99 per month for 2 social accounts, which is good for a solopreneur or small business owner who only has one Twitter account and one Instagram account. The Earth plan is $49 per month for 5 social accounts, which is also good for soloprenuers, small businesses or startups.
The Neptune plan is $59.99 for 20 social accounts, which is good for businesses with multiple social accounts. Its Jupiter plan is $199.99 for 100 social accounts and is ideal for agencies.
To see all features and compare plans, visit Crowdfire.
Social Networks Supported: Twitter
ManageFlitter is a Twitter tool to manage and grow your Twitter followers in a smart and fast way. It has a range of features to track followers and unfollowers, such as finding new people to follow with its comprehensive search so you can find and follow quality people with like interests and potential customers; unfollow people who are not following back, or bot accounts, or people you no longer want to follow; and see when most of your Twitter followers are online to schedule tweets at those times.
It also lets you manage multiple Twitter accounts, and has content management and publishing features as well as an inbox to manage replies and engagement.
A unique feature it offers on the Pro and Business plans is the RAM (Remote Account Management), which is an outsourcing of your following and unfollowing actions to one of Manageflitter’s Account Managers. There are limits to how many actions you get per billing cycle.
ManageFlitter offers three plans. Its free plan is limited in features, number of daily unfollows and doesn’t offer RAM. The next plan up is the Pro plan starting at $12 per month for one Twitter account (you can additional Twitter accounts for an extra cost). The Business plan starts at $49 per month for one Twitter account (you can additional Twitter accounts for an extra cost). The Business plan offers a 14-day trial.
To see all features, visit ManageFlitter.
Hashtag Research and Management
These services help you find the best hashtags to use for your social media.
Hashtagify is a hashtag search engine that helps you find the best hashtags to use. It offers four plans: Free plan; the Personal plan is $9.99 per month; Business plan is $59 per month, and Enterprise plan is $299 per month. On all plans, you can save money by paying annually and you’ll get two months free.
To see all features and try it out for free, visit: Hashtagify
RiteTag by RiteKit
RiteTag is a free and paid service that lets you search by keyword or topic to find the best hashtags to use. It color codes them by three colors: green means it’s a good hashtag to use and will get seen right away; blue means it’s an okay hashtag to use and it will get seen over time; and grey means it’s a hashtag that should not be used because it will most likely not get seen.
RiteTag has a free version with limited features and a paid version for $49 per year.
To try it out, visit: RiteTag
RiteKit has three other paid services: RiteForge, RitePush and Rite.ly. All its products are designed to increase views, engagement and link click-throughs on and from your social media content/posts. For features and pricing of each service, visit: RiteKit
Analytics & Social Media ROI
Cyfe is an all-in-one business dashboard app that helps you easily monitor all your business data from one place. It has a lot of features and is a great service for solopreneurs and small businesses, or anyone without a big budget.
Cyfe is a great alternative to Simply Measured, which is an excellent analytics service, but too expensive if you have a small marketing budget. If you don’t need historical data past 30 days, you can use the free version of Cyfe. The paid version provides historical data past 30 days and is only $19 per month ($14 per month if paid annually).
For features and pricing, visit Cyfe
SumAll is a paid tool for creating social media reports showing metrics that cover most of your social media channels/accounts and presents data in easy-to-read charts and graphs. It covers Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google Analytics.
For features and pricing, visit SumAll
Social Search for Content Curation, Finding Influencers, and Relevant Conversations
Buzzsumo is an excellent website that helps you analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor, and to find key influencers. It’s a paid service that lets you do free searches with limited results. The paid plans offer unrestricted searches, content analysis, reports, a Facebook Analyzer that analyzes top performing content on Facebook to find engaging content to share, and much more.
The Pro plan is $99 per month, Agency plan is $299 a month and Enterprise plan is $699 a month. You can save 20% off all plans if you select annual billing.
To see all features, plans and try out the search tool for free, visit: Buzzsumo
Right Relevance is a free tool/site for searching and discovering relevant articles to curate for your social channels, new influencers to follow and relevant conversations to join.
Try it now: Right Relevance
Social Mention is a free search and analysis tool/site that searches and tracks the social web. You can search your own brand, competitors, keywords and more. It will show you strength, sentiment, reach, top keywords, top users and top hashtags.
Try it now: Social Mention
BigStock is a paid, easy-to-use marketplace for quality stock images and videos with over 44 million royalty-free photographs, illustrations and videos. It’s great for solopreneurs and small business owners because it has quality images and is affordable.
BigStock’s plans start at $79 per month. The $79 plan allows you to download 5 images every day, which comes to 150 images each month. That’s more than enough for a solopreneur or small business owner who uses it for social media and other marketing needs. For those who need more than five images or videos a day, it has more plans.
To learn more and try it free for 14 days, visit BigStock.*
Canva is a free and paid DIY graphic design website and mobile app. No experience needed. It has editable templates for print projects, websites, social media and more. You can also create your own graphics from scratch using drag and drop elements from photos, backgrounds, and icons to fonts and other graphic elements. You can also upload your own photos. It’s simple and powerful.
For features and pricing, visit Canva.
PicMonkey is another free and paid DIY graphic design website and mobile app. It’s similar to Canva in that no experience is needed and you can create your own graphics from scratch using drag and drop elements from photos, backgrounds, and icons to fonts and other graphic elements. You can also upload your own photos and there are lots of filters and enhancements to make your own photos look stunning.
PicMonkey recently introduced editable templates (still in beta but available to all).
For features and pricing, visit PicMonkey.*
MavSocial is a free and paid visual social media marketing service that lets you create, manage, store, publish, track and report on all your visual marketing content and campaigns.
For features and pricing, visit MavSocial.
Unsplash is a FREE, easy to use site full of quality photos from an awesome and generous community of photographers and creatives. Simply sign up and start downloading photos for free for both personal and commercial use. You read that right. Commercial use. Photographers do appreciate it if you give them photo credit. However, you don’t have to give credit but it is nice if you do. Giving photo credit is as simple as a click of the button, which is provided by Unsplash in an easy copy and paste popup that pops up with every downloaded photo.
To learn more and sign up, visit Unsplash.
BeLive is a popular tool for broadcasting Facebook Live videos. It’s feature-rich with tools such as on-screen graphics during live broadcasts that show viewer comments. It lets you select which comments to show on screen during your broadcast, which is a great way to feature and engage with your viewers. It lets you seamlessly transition between video of you on camera and your computer screen, so you can show your viewers what you’re talking about when referencing something on your computer. And if you have guests speakers on, you can do split screen to with your guests. Prices start at $15 per month. There’s also a 14-day free trial.
For features and pricing, visit: BeLive.
Other Recommended Tools, Apps and Books
IFTTT is a free service that “helps you do more with services you love” by bringing the apps and devices (services) you use daily together through recipes created by you and others. Through applets, recipes instruct the services to take automated actions that save you time.
For example, one applet recipe will tweet your Instagram posts as native photos on Twitter instead of a link. It isn’t just for social media. It has a wide range of uses.
To learn more and sign up, visit IFTTT
The following recommended books are all available on and linked* to Amazon.