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3 Low-Cost Tools for Managing Social Media

This story originally appeared on PR Daily

A while back I wrote a post on the best social media management tools for small-business owners. I researched and reviewed a handful of the least expensive, most versatile options, but the comments included some lesser-known alternatives that seemed worth investigating.

I checked them out, using the same parameters I used to gauge the initial set of tools. Any tool I considered must enable you to:

  • Schedule posts.
  • Connect numerous social media accounts.
  • Provide analytics.
  • Shorten URLs.

Here are some additional options for small-business owners in need of a cost-effective social media management tool:

1. Sendible

Price: Sendible starts at $9.99 a month for eight accounts and offers plans up to $99.99 for 120 accounts.

Platforms: Sendible offers a web application, mobile apps for iPhone and Android, and a mobile Web version.

In addition to offering low-cost plans, Sendible enables you to manage your Google+ pages, which is still a rare feature among social media management tools. (Note that this is limited to Google+pages, as opposed to your individual profile or stream.)

The service also supports Facebook (profiles and pages), Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Tumblr, Ning, Bebo and a number of other options. The full array of services you can connect to Sendible is impressive, so most business owners should be able to manage their social media efforts quite easily. Sendible does not offer a free plan, however, which is a drawback.

2. Viralheat

Price: Viralheat is free for seven social accounts, and offers plans up to $499 a month for 50 accounts.

Platforms: Viralheat has a Web application (Chrome extension available).

Viralheat also connects a robust assortment of networks (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+), offers robust analytics (including sentiment analysis for paid accounts; basic account analytics are free), has URL shortening via integration, and enables scheduled posts. My favorite feature is that it enables geo-targeted sharing to Facebook.

In short, Viralheat is a versatile social media management tool, and well worth considering.

3. Jugnoo

Price: Jugnoo is free for up to three team members managing 20 accounts, and $20 a month for five team members and unlimited accounts. Custom pricing is available for larger teams.

Platforms: There is a web application and mobile Web version.

What you get for free with Jugnoo is impressive. You can link up to 20 social media accounts managed by up to three team members. You also get access to web, Google and social media analytics, which makes Jugnoo highly appealing. And if you need to connect additional accounts or give access to more team members, it costs just $20 per month. Jugnoo has a custom pricing model as well.

Fresh out of beta, this lesser-known option added some new features recently, including link previews and rich media embeds.

Scheduled posts are enabled through BufferApp, which is also a good way for business owners to manage their social networks.

Among free and low-cost scheduling options, HootSuite is still the reigning champion. This is in part because its widespread use means there are many plugins and informational resources available. There are some other viable contenders for small-business owners to consider, however.

What social media management tools do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.