If you’re like most U.S. business owners, you already have at least one social media account for your brand. But when you’re running a small business—in which time is precious and marketing budgets can be tight—taking the leap from having to using your accounts wisely can feel like an enormous task. Luckily, there’s no shortage of free social media management tools to help you plan, build, schedule, and track all your posts with ease.
We’ll introduce you to seven high-quality social media management platforms that offer free plans—not just free trials—to help you streamline your digital marketing.
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Best Free Social Media Management Tools
The best things in life are often free, even in the case of social media management software. Many platforms give small business owners high-quality features—some of which include all the basic tools you need to get more from your social media efforts.
Perfect for: Social media novices and solopreneurs
Minimum price to upgrade: $15 per month
Buffer‘s free plan is a comprehensive starter kit that provides all you need to begin launching effective social media campaigns. It lets you connect and schedule content for up to three social media profiles—any combination of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts.
Though the free account offers limited analytics tools and only allows one user, Buffer is super helpful for streamlining your content scheduling process. You can create a custom posting schedule for each platform, which basically means you can set how often you’ll post. Then, when you add new social media posts to your queue, they’ll automatically go in the next available time slot, so you don’t need to constantly set publishing dates and times.
Buffer is easy for even first-time social media managers to navigate. And if you ever get stuck, the brand has a wealth of online resources and support channels available for you.
Perfect for: Influencers, fashion brands, and lifestyle brands
Minimum price to upgrade: $7 per month
Planoly markets itself as a visual planner. It excels at helping users curate beautiful, on-brand feeds by focusing your dashboard on your visual content. You can even map out your entire Instagram grid by dragging around your photos and graphic designs before you start to schedule posts. Your profile visitors will love seeing every post complement the others, so your visual brand alone could inspire a follow!
The free version does have some limitations. First, only one user can access the account. In addition, you can only connect two social profiles—one Instagram account and one Pinterest account—and make 30 posts per month (no videos or GIFs) on each.
However, you do uniquely get free access to Planoly’s gorgeous gallery-style link in bio tool and can respond to comments on your latest five Instagram posts right on the platform. You also get a very basic Pinterest and Instagram analytics feature that gives a snapshot of your performance.
Perfect for: Video creators and streamers
Minimum price to upgrade: No paid plans
Did you know Facebook offers a free social media management tool of its own? Facebook Creator Studio is built especially for video creators on Facebook.
Using Creator Studio, you can manage your videos, playlists, series, and even live video for all your Facebook pages. This is also where you can set up monetization for your videos and publish and schedule content of all formats. Need some free-to-use sound effects for your Facebook or Instagram videos? You can download some here, too.
Of all the free platforms, Creator Studio provides some of the most in-depth social media analytics. You can get detailed information about your audience, watch times, and more for both Facebook and Instagram Stories and posts.
Any existing admin on your Facebook page can utilize this dashboard for both the page and its linked Instagram account, so you don’t have to be a lone social media manager. Your team members can easily help out for no cost.
Perfect for: Millennial-facing brands
Minimum price to upgrade: No paid plans
If Twitter is a central part of your social media marketing strategy, TweetDeck may become your best friend. This is Twitter’s built-in social media management tool with a fully customizable dashboard for managing your tweets and social inbox, as well as helping you engage with other users. Multiple Twitter accounts are supported by this platform.
You can create columns to track your notifications or messages, see what’s trending, follow hashtags, or simply view your timeline. If you’re using TweetDeck for posting or scheduling content, you can also add columns to track what’s currently on your timeline and what you have scheduled. Everything’s updated in real time.
TweetDeck is the only social media scheduling tool on our list without a mobile app, but it’s still an excellent resource for serious tweeters.
Perfect for: Local businesses
Minimum price to upgrade: $10 per month
Zoho Social offers a pretty bare-bones free plan, but it does allow you to connect up to five social channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and—very uniquely—Google My Business. It’s a great tool for publishing and tracking posts across a wide variety of social media platforms without hopping back and forth. But there’s one caveat: The free plan doesn’t allow you to schedule posts ahead of time.
One redeeming factor is that Zoho Social comes with a built-in link shortening tool, so you’ll never clog up your posts with a massive link again. You’ll also get some basic analytics for your posts.
Perfect for: Community managers
Minimum price to upgrade: $49 per month
Hootsuite is one of the best-known social media management tools around. While its free plan may have a lot of limitations—you can only connect three profiles and schedule 30 posts per month—the platform offers a number of tools that can help you maximize engagement with your audience.
Upon first glance, Hootsuite looks a lot like TweetDeck. You can similarly add custom columns to track hashtags, messages, and more. The difference is, Hootsuite can help you post, schedule, and track trends and interactions on far more apps—from LinkedIn and Instagram to Twitter and Pinterest. You can even post directly to Facebook groups and your own profile, not just your Facebook page.
Hootsuite also uniquely supports YouTube, so you can moderate comments and schedule videos without jumping on a different website or app.
Perfect for: Bloggers and content curators
Minimum price to upgrade: $12.50 per month
Last but not least is Later, a modern and user-friendly platform that’s popular among many small business owners.
Later is the perfect in-between for Buffer and Planoly. Like Buffer, it offers one of the more comprehensive free plans out there—allowing you to connect to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter—while also offering a link in bio tool and visual planner like Planoly, both specifically for Instagram.
Perhaps the best free feature on Later’s free plan is its Chrome extension, which allows you to pull in images to post from anywhere on the web. This can be helpful for bloggers, who already have visuals published elsewhere before promoting their content on social, as well as for any brand that frequently publishes user-generated content.
Once you find the perfect free social media management tool for you, pair it with a free content creation tool that helps you create beautiful, on-brand graphics—no design experience needed. Create and schedule visuals your audience will love and you may see your brand’s growth skyrocket!