The best social media management platforms for charities – Charity Digital News

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We share the best cost-effective social media management platforms that charities need to know about.
Launching into a full-on social media strategy is an important way to transform fundraising and connect with a wider audience.
 
Social media giants like Instagram have already proven valuable to small and large charities alike, connecting with communities through stories, posts and likes across the social media platform’s vast network of users.
 
Social media guru Zoe Amar, one of the charity sector’s leading experts in digital communications and marketing advises that social media can be managed in under 30 minutes a day. Important considerations to crafting a social media strategy include scheduling posts, responding to any comments, and measuring success.
 
Really understanding how social media content is performing helps craft and refine digital strategies and drive their success. Sometimes, charities are reluctant to join the crowd – for those with limited resources or experience, managing multiple platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can be overwhelming despite the willingness to engage.
 
Underscoring the difficulty in using social media, a recent survey by Social Misfit Media found that despite frequently posting on social media accounts, charities are slow to integrate social media in their overall digital strategies. There are social media management platforms which help charities hone their craft in social media posts, scheduling and analytics. For this reason, we’ve listed some of the most cost-effective, influential social media management platforms for charities.

 
Lightful helps deal with posts, scheduling, access rights, and tone across an entire organisation. Designed specifically for social good, Lightful works with charities to drive maximum impact from their social media, and already works with charities like The Big Give, London’s Air Ambulance, Guy’s St Thomas, and many others.

For charities looking to grow their presence, Lightful offers performance measurement for social media posts.

To help navigate the minefield of social media faux pas, Lightful recently held a webinar teaching the ‘tricks of the trade’ and social media best practices.

Inspirational messages and positivity can also help drive social media campaigns. For the second year running, the hashtag #ReclaimSocial on social media campaign, led by Lightful, includes the World Wildlife Fund, Samaritans, Macmillan Cancer, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Big Give and Giving Tuesday positive impact stories.
 
Pricing: Free trials are available for 30 days; for grassroots movements, use is free of charge. Otherwise, packages range from £35 to £100 for the management of between 10 to 50 social media accounts.
 
Analytics: Lightful’s platform includes built-in analytics that allow you to get weekly and monthly overviews of your social media performance – either across all platforms or by taking a deeper dive into each social channel.
 
This gives you the ability to measure engagement, growth and clicks, and get suggestions for the best time to post.
 
If you’re creatively-minded, there’s a strong visual design element that allows you to see your performance in graphs and other data visualisations within the dashboard.
 
Lightful provides some helpful blog content on getting the most out of their analytics capabilities.
 
It’s worth noting that all analytics displayed are only for posts created through Lightful – they can’t see any posts you make natively.
 

SocialPilot is a platform designed to help streamline social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoogleBusiness, Pinterest and Instagram.
 
Helping to make the best use out of analytics, the SocialPilot can extract data from specific social media pages, identify ‘influencers’ who can help with increasing visibility, and advise on audience statistics.
 
Charities interested in maximising their social media tools may find this platform useful as it helps companies track audience growth and change over time.
 
Pricing: Pricing is marked up by the number of accounts the platform manages, with packages available from around $25 per month, with a 30% discount for charities.
 
Analytics: SocialPilot gives you the ability to easily create and download detailed PDF reports. This allows you to generate crucial insights on all the main social media metrics and the performance of your content.
 
You can download reports directly and share them via email with clients and colleagues straight from the Analytics tab.
 
Discover the best times to post, get to know your audience demographics in detail, and get suggestions on top influencers in your area of work who could help advocate for your cause.
 
There are separate metrics dashboards for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google My Business.
 
SocialPilot shows analytics for all posts irrespective of whether it is posted from SocialPilot or not.
 
Buffer helps organisations save time and resources by aggregating social media platforms together into one view. Buffer has an easy to use dashboard that enables users to extract data analytics.
 
Buffer also offers free expertise when it comes to maximising reach – top five tips for tweets include using images, short, snappy messages, refraining from links, and use of hashtags.
 
Pricing: Packages vary across the number of social media accounts, users, posts, and reporting. The flexibility in pricing means that charities can select the metrics that matter most. Monthly rates range from $15 to $220 or so per month, depending on the chosen functionality.
 
Analytics: Buffer provides a single dashboard for all your social media analytics and reporting, where you can measure and analyse the performance of your content.

You can create reports to export as a PDF. This gives you a broad understanding of your performance across multiple accounts, and in-depth insights into specific social channels.

You can get recommendations on how to grow your reach and engagement, including the best times to post and advice on frequency. You can also see detailed audience demographics and compare metrics such as your paid vs. organic efforts.
 
Buffer supports detailed analysis by measuring the performance of individual posts and hashtags. The reports the platform creates are highly customisable and can even include your own branding or logo.

Part of the Twitter family, TweetDeck is a social media dashboard enabling users to manage multiple accounts. The platform is easily accessible via an internet browser or a client desktop application. Tweet Deck also allows users to collect statistics on their Tweets. The social media platform management tool is also free of charge for non-profits.
 
Pricing: Free of charge.
 
Analytics: TweetDeck focuses on being a tool for scheduling and monitoring, so it doesn’t offer extensive help with performance metrics and reporting. For that, you’ll need to look at the analytics dashboard within Twitter itself or use another tool.
 
TweetDeck does excel when it comes to advanced tools for social media monitoring, however, letting you set alerts and keep an eye on competitors, allowing you to conduct research into social media sentiment and what’s being talked about.
 
Take a look at some of its advanced features here.
 
Targeted at larger, more sophisticated charities, Hootsuite offers comprehensive social media management services across 35 social media platforms. Hootsuite enables users to schedule content, post across multiple accounts, derive analytics, monitor performance, and control individual user access rights.
 
Hootsuite can also allow more sophisticated users to build customisable reports based on over 200 social media metrics, allowing organisations to do their own data crunching and interpretation. Offering a total package, Hootsuite can also allow users to upload video content to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 
Pricing: 30-day trials are available; for individuals managing only a few accounts the platform offers packages free of charge. Other pricing plans start at £25 per month and upwards.
 
Analytics: Hootsuite provides a level up from TweetDeck in terms of analytics.
 
You can use the Analytics dashboard to measure the overall performance of your social media activity across multiple social networks, and measure organic, owned and earned metrics on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
 
Enterprise plan members can also measure customer support metrics, such as average response times and interaction volume. Depending on your subscription type, Hootsuite’s analytics allows you to generate customisable and shareable reports geared to the needs of your organisation.
 
Launched in 2016, Planable’s big selling point is the ability to build and preview social media posts, so teams can share exactly how a post would look before publishing. Having this visual preview feature means that everyone can see what a post will look like and ensure they’re on the same page, which saves time changing things after publication.
 
The platform markets itself as a ’central hub’ for content, people and feedback. So even if marketing teams are working remotely they can quickly edit and share feedback on posts before they go live, making it easy to share creative ideas and get approval from all the right people before hitting the publish button.
 
It’s particularly useful for organisations working with volunteers, freelancers or outside agencies to do their social media posts for them.
 
Pricing: Planable’s pricing gives you the option of starting completely for free with your first 50 posts, after which you’ll pay $33 a month for the most basic plan. This includes unlimited posts for three users, which works out as great value for smaller teams. The $83 a month Premium plan gives you access for seven users and unlimited posts.

Analytics: According to Planable’s website: “Analytics & reports are not available at this moment. However, we consider implementing this in the future and you can upvote this idea on our Public Roadmap.”

They do provide a lot of useful walkthroughs and advice on how to track and analyse metrics within Instagram’s native analytics dashboard, and how to drive better performance from your social media marketing efforts using the Planable platform.
 
Take a look at their blog for more.

 
 
Billed as the best choice for Instagram, Later is a social media calendar and automation tool. You can visually plan, manage and analyse your social content all in one calendar across different accounts – posting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It gives you a library to centrally manage all your videos and images, so you can quickly find and reuse your content.
 
Later is especially good for Instagram because you can see what your Instagram feed will look like before you post with a visual Instagram planner, and store hundreds of saved hashtags under different categories for conveniently putting together the best Insta post.
 
Charities who want to break into the world of Instagram but aren’t sure what it’s all about could get a bit of help from Later. It also helps organisations plan their calendars week by week and even gives you hints as to the best times to post, and teams can access it on desktop and mobile to schedule posts from anywhere.
 
Pricing: Later offers a free plan for individuals posting 30 posts per social profile, to just one brand across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Its plans go up to $25 a month for unlimited posts for 6 or more users. You can save some money by paying yearly instead of monthly.
 
Analytics: Later’s focus is more on the management, planning and collation of content for social media, and less about advanced reporting capabilities. However, they do allow you to access Instagram analytics directly within their platform.
 
This lets you track likes, followers and clicks, figure out what’s working (and what isn’t) and find the best times to post, so you can improve your Instagram marketing strategy.
 

 
Loomly is another platform that aims to eliminate clunky editorial spreadsheets, file storage systems and email approval chains by introducing a collaborative and easy to use content management tool and calendar for social media.
 
It’s an approach that’s seeing increased popularity because it brings together all you need for planning, asset management, scheduling/automation and data analytics into one central hub.
 
As well as automated publishing you can polish your posts as you create them with post ideas, live optimisation tips and previews with auto-generated mock-ups, and there’s a collaborative approval process for teams to share ideas and swap feedback before a post goes live.
 
It also helps you schedule and plan paid social ads. For larger teams, Loomly is a great option because it’s feature-rich and promises to simplify life for teams working in lots of different systems. It also claims to have advanced analytics and can suggest trending topics, themes and best practice ideas for improving your social media strategy.
 
Pricing: There’s a free 15-day trial, after which it’s $25 a month for two users and ten social accounts, with an ad budget of up to $500 a month. For larger teams, you can get access for up to 26 users on its Premium plan for $249 a month, which includes 50 social accounts.
 
Analytics: The analytics side of Loomly is still in its early days, with more features yet to come. Within Loomly, you can track your post performances for all six social media platforms that the platform supports, with month by month metrics on everything you’d wish to track within Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ (now defunct) and LinkedIn.
 
You can compare performance by different time periods and attach your own labels. Analytics are collected automatically for all platforms except Instagram, which requires you to paste the URL of your posts to link them to Loomly. You can export reports as PDFs or CSV. Loomly’s analytics allows you to view data for all your posts, not only those published via Loomly.
 
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