Battlefield of the Social Media Management Tools: Hootsuite vs Agorapulse vs Sprout Social

Are you confused about all the options for Social Media Management Tools?  Missing comments, tweets, updates?  

In this post, I share the latest findings about the most popular social media management tools including user satisfaction, product direction, ease of set-up and maintenance, support, usability and pricing.  

And I share my favourite of the social media management tools, right now…

Archer by Shutterstock

There are so many social media management tools out there that it can be hard to keep up!

Luckily for us, G2 Crowd (the world’s largest business software review platform) teamed up (again) with Blogger Ian Anderson Gray to produce an awesome infographic to make it easy for us.

G2 conducted detailed customer reviews as reported in this post at Seriously Social.

And please note – these are social media management tools, not just sharing tools – they all allow you to engage as well as schedule and post.

So, Which tools lined up for the battle this year?

4 Social Media Management Tools:

  1. Hootsuite
  2. Sprout Social 
  3. Agorapulse
  4. Sendible
  5. Buffer

Ian explains in his article why he included Buffer this year, even though it’s a tool that strictly doesn’t include engagement.  Buffer’s aquisition of Respondly means they are in transition to being in the same category as the fully-fledged social media management tools.

Before we jump into the results (and which tool or tools I am loving) I want to share a little of my Social Media Management Tool History – because I have used 4 out of 5 of these tools at one time or another.

My Search for a Social Media Management Tool:

I started out with Hootsuite early on and after a while realised that I wasn’t keeping up with the multiple columns and needed a more linear approach. Price was fine, useability was fine, but I was forgetting to check all the columns and needed something more linear. That being said, for an all rounder Hootsuite definitely works for those of us managing multiple accounts.

I quickly moved on to Sprout Social – which I LOVED. But unlike a few friends of mine who were smart enough to get Grandfathered in from beta, the $59 per month was a little pricey at the time, even though I loved the features including their singular inbox, queue function for scheduling posts, publishing functionality, brand monitoring and GORGEOUS reports.

But the timing meant that pricing was a factor for me. So, when I stopped working with clients and focused on my own products and services, I was at a loss as to which tool to use. All I know is that I was tracking a LOT of mentions!

I should add here that I have also used and loved Buffer over the years, but as mentioned above, I have never used it as one of the social media management tools – only as a posting/scheduling tool, so it’s not really fair to compare it yet.  I am looking forward to seeing what they do with their new direction though.  And so…

Enter Agorapulse.

Why do I currently use Agorapulse?

You can cut to the chase and see a full article on why I love Agorapulse for Social Media Management right here.

Because it’s linear like Sprout Social, has great reporting and analytics, is super user-friendly (I love their mobile app) and allows me to keep track of tweets, comments and shares across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To me, Agorapulse IS Engagement.   Without it, I would miss the conversation, like I had been for years!  I had no idea how many hidden tweets I was missing that were not direct @mentions!  Now I can also quickly see who my advocates are, who is sharing my content and engage with them. And I get to inbox zero.

I still use other tools, but for engagement, you can’t beat Agorapulse.  And you can use it to schedule posts to Facebook and Twitter too if you wish as well as Instagram so who knows I move more things over as the functions are there.

I also LOVE how you can set up filters to filter out spammy Direct Messages and auto-bot messages on Twitter… it means that I can get straight to the point and respond to the mentions that really matter.

Don’t just believe ME, however. See what the crowd of reviewers at G2 Crowd said about the top Social Media Management Tools this year.

I think you might be pleasantly surprised about the pattern of results:

Battle Results:

The Best 5 Rated Social Media Management Tools Infographic brought to you by Seriously Social and G2 Crowd

The verdict?

On Agorapulse

Surprising to some (but not to me and those of us that use and love Agorapulse) this all-round soldier of a tool hit the top of the rankings for EVERY category scored this year.

Last year it was just about every category.  This year… every category.

Which pretty much sums up the sentiment I am hearing out in the trenches… social media marketers LOVE Agorapulse.

You can read the full article here and analysis by Ian Anderson Gray about each tool.

Agorapulse scored in the Number 1 Ranking for User satisfaction, Support, Product Direction,  and meeting Business Requirements for the tool last year.

This year it also scored at Number 1 in the Rankings for Usability and the G2 Crowd Ranking as well as how Easy-to-Learn the tool was (ie was it easy to set up and maintain).

All in all, I’d say this gives you great motivation to try Agorapulse!


On Sprout Social

Always a favourite for usability – Sprout Social is worth checking out if it is within your budget.

And it’s great to see it soaring up the ranks to be No 2 across most of the review categories listed in the infographic above for social media management tools.

If you need a tool that schedules as well as for engagement then Sprout Social is worth trialing too.

There is no perfect tool so it’s always best to see what the best fit is for your business needs.

But for me, while the exchange rate is low here in Australia, it’s a stretch to pay more than $50 per month in USD.

Check it out but maybe explore more affordable options as well.


On Hootsuite

Hootsuite is still a clear winner for price, but when it comes to the parameters reviewed above, it has fallen behind Agorapulse and Sprout Social. I’ve noticed many social media managers making the switch to tools like Agorapulse.

Hootsuite may still continue to have a big share of the market, but with results like these, and tools like Sprout Social and Agorapulse in the field of battle, Hootsuite had better keep on its toes!

Note: I can’t really comment on Sendible having not used it before and the number of ratings was lower in this sample, but it may be one to check out and watch based on the results. It’s definitely moving up as a tool to watch.  

What about pricing?

Who fares best with pricing you may ask?  Well, when it comes to comparison, there’s another handy tool for you to check out more about it here.

The tool is “live” so you can enter in your details/requirements and get immediate feedback! Check it out:

Brought to you by Seriously Social with Ian Anderson Gray

Handy, right?  Now, whenever you want to check what your costs will be to use one of these awesome tools, just swing by and use the tool!

My verdict?  Agorapulse is pretty good value for money given the results above.

But then again, I use it every day so I am a little biased …and no, this is not a sponsored post [wink].

Now, Go Find the Right Tool!

Are you stuck finding a social media management tool that suits your needs?  

What are you using now and is it doing the job?   Don’t you just love you love the easy-to-follow infographic and pricing tool? 

Let me know what you think in the comments below! 


Battle of the Social Media Management Tools - HootSuite vs Agorapulse vs Sprout Social
Archer by Shutterstock
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, winner of Best Business Blog in Australia 2014 and a Top 10 Social Media Blog for Social Media Examiner, 2015-2017. She helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
  • I love Hootsuite. I’m a little suprised at the low scores, but you have to keep in mind stats can be skewed based on various of elements. Still, I agree concerning Hootsuite and Instagram. Hootsuite really needs to go back to the drawing board with that and come 100% better.

    • Yes I have no issue with Hootsuite – it was a personal preference for me to love linear type tools, but I know a lot of people that love it. However, I know that Sprout and Agorapulse’s results here seem on the money to me, so it’s good to have some other great options!

  • Ernesta

    Amazing review of social media tools. I’ll keep it as a guide in using this kind of tools.

    • Thanks – it was a great overview for sure and glad to see Agorapulse do so well against the big guns!

  • Asja Svilans

    That infographic is awesome – I am heading over to check out Agorapulse now! Great post!

    • I think you’ll like it – and they have a lot more in the pipeline too this year – I’ll have to do an update!

  • Andrés Reitze

    I’m using Sprout right now. But was between Agora and Sprout before. I found that agora des not help completing @ user names for Twitter. Does not have LinkedIn. Spout does both. But the app does not have apps for contests nore push notifications with sounds on the mobile app(what’s up with that. Push notifications with no sound, like a car with no wheels). And it’s reports are very limited. To get real info that analyze you have to get it through the screen, not the pdf it exports. Agora, on the other hand has push notifications with sound on its mobile app, reports very detailed and editable with a Ppt download and a lot of apps for contests. But then again it’s schedule section is kind of clumsy. I still can’t see its CRM features for this are closed for trial. Sprout’s CRM is a joke.

    Anybody here have any opinions on these issues as to help me on making the change to Agora?
    Thanks. Andres.

    • Yes Andrés, it’s a challenge! I think all of them have benefits vs drawbacks – I love Sprout and Agorapulse – I am just liking Agorapulse at the moment mainly for engagement (I actually use a different tool to schedule but I have used Agorapulse too) … I would highly recommend you send an email to their support, outlining the things you love and those you would love to see on Agorapulse. I know Emeric the owner and his team are always listening and trying to add features that help their customers. Even if you are not currently using it I am sure they would appreciate the feedback. I know they are working on a couple of things at the moment that I have asked for so you never know!

    • Hi there Andres,

      I know it’s a year later — wanted to let you know that Agorapulse now autofills Twitter names and Facebook pages. AND we support publishing to LinkedIn (and Google+ if that floats your boat).

      If you’re interested in giving us a whirl again, let folks know I sent you 🙂


  • Sendible

    Great article Donna! These results are a bit old now, but you are right, Sendible is one to look out for. Developed with Businesses in mind, Sendible gives more than just social media management – it is a listening tool, a content marketing tool and has the ability to publish to the most amount of publishing sites out there, with an agile approach that allows it to quickly adapt to changes in the market. We would be happy to give you a short demo – 15 minutes is all we need to prove its value to businesses :-). Let us know!

  • Emma Wilson

    Out of from the above 3 tools there is one more tool named Blog2Social. I personally believe that Blog2Social is one of the great social media cross-posting plugin as there are no server side installation process to be done. It allows the post author to advance directly to the posting dashboard of Blog2Social Word-press, in which pre filled posting texts are provided. After customizing the texts the author schedules the posts or publishes them without delay.

    • Hi Emma – I gather you work for Blog2Social? I had a hunch from the way your message was posted, but when I clicked through on your profile you seem to be posting the same message everywhere (ie on about a dozen blog posts that talk about tools). It’s great to love your company, but kind of uncool to keep posting about it on everyone’s blog comments. There are better ways to get your tool noticed, but thanks for stopping by. Here’s the updated version of Ian’s post in case you want to check it out:

  • Loving this article, and it’s a subject close to my heart. It’s too easy to just plump for one tool, thinking it’s a panacea for all things social media.

    Reality is, we all want different things and different times, and if you’re anything like me, sometimes you don’t even know what you don’t know you need. I trialled a few apps like Agora, Audiense and Sprout and all worked well for different business aspects, but there’s never going to be one ACME social media tool.

    Have you tried Social Report? Just haven’t got around to it testing it myself, but it’s on the list, but at this stage it’s looking like will go for either Sprout Social or Agora. Although functionality is a little similar, just felt more at ease with SS for some reason so that’s perhaps the driver.

    keep up the great work 🙂

    • Hi! No I haven’t tried it but I always encourage people to try a few and see what fits. Most of the tools above I have used at some stage, but businesses evolve and so do tools so like you say it’s never easy to find an ACME social media tool (love that term). And I agree – sometimes it’s the functionality and user interface. I loved Sprout Social and how lovely it looked and easy to use, but it was just a bit more expensive and I liked a few of Agorapulse’s features more so that’s what I use daily. However, Sprout Social is one of the tools I recommend people test out in their journey to find a good fit!