Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Sprout Social are the three social media management solutions that appear atop the G2Crowd list of solutions for the spring of 2015. These three tools fall into the category of “Leader” according to the upstart review site. The newest rankings and report are based on over 600 user reviews of 14 different SMMS products.
As part of the report, I was asked to comment and did. I said this about the landscape of the social media management solution space:
“The software providers are consolidating, bringing together suites of products. This is good for larger businesses in that they can start to realize a one-stop-shop effect for social management, marketing, analytics and more. But it is a horrible series of events for 95% of the businesses out there. Small business is being left behind having to choose from freemium platforms that aren’t enough or having to spend far too much money to get access to what they need.”
The good news for the smaller businesses is the three leaders in the rankings are all cost-effective solutions. The bad news is that the category still remains fractured and incomplete, even in these rankings. Buffer is listed. It’s not a full suite of SMMS services, but rather just a content sharing mechanism. Sure, you can post to multiple networks with it, but it is a tool for sharing content, not managing social media (which includes engagement, campaigns, etc.)
The report is useful, however, for two main reasons. First, it is based on reviews of actual users. G2Crowd requires registration through a LinkedIn connection so the reviews are tied to a real person’s profile. This offers a higher level of trust than other review methodologies. Second, only tools that have 10 or more reviews appear on the list. While this means many SMMS providers are not represented, the ones that are have some meat to their data.
As with any report or ranking like this, you should only use it as a starting point for finding the solution that works for you. In my opinion, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are really best use for an individual wishing to manage a handful of accounts and channels. Sprout Social is better for a company that needs multiple people managing multiple channels for the brand. But none of the three leaders do as good a job as some of the others represented for certain things.
For instance, Expion, a former client, is really built for franchise and multiple location businesses. A tool like Hootsuite is completely inadequate for that setup. And because Expion has no user reviews on G2Crowd yet, it’s not even on the list. Facebook Pages Manager is ranked and represented well, but only manages Facebook Pages, not a wide breadth of social channels.
So keep in mind while you consume the report and learn more about some interesting tools – I’m using Sendible right now and rather enjoy it, though I don’t have to manage multiple client accounts on my own so can’t speak to that usefulness – this report is limited in scope based on G2Crowd’s youth. The more the Expions of the world realize this is an important place to be represented, the better these reports are going to be.
Check the report and explanations of the grid, as well as company profiles at https://www.g2crowd.com/categories/social-media-mgmt.