What Is Social CRM? 10 Best Social Media CRM Tools & Software Platforms
Social media is no longer just the place to connect with friends and share photos. It's where businesses and brands connect with the public. Nowadays, there are social media management tools that slide into larger CRM platforms. When it comes to the best social media CRM software, your choices are getting more numerous all the time. Luckily, we’ve laid out the top 10 CRMs with social media management tools.
What is social CRM and how is it being used?
Before delving into the top social CRM tools and platforms, let's offer a quick social CRM definition. After we get a solid grasp of the social CRM meaning, we’ll go through exactly how social CRM is being used.
Social customer relationship management is part of the greater CRM family. With its unique position as the interface to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more, social CRM is a multipurpose tool helping your business with marketing, sales, and service.
When it comes to marketing, most social CRM lets you plan and schedule all your social posts, plus get reports on how each post is doing. Anyone engaging with your content gets streamlined into your growing network, which feeds back to sales.
Social CRM is also a sophisticated address book, gathering profile data on all your social contacts, and keeping every single conversation ready at hand for the next time you connect, further boosting service and support.
It’s about managing a plethora of social media accounts across every channel for the purpose of deepening contact relationships and delivering customer experience.
What are the two types of social CRM?
There are two main types of tools that combine CRM and social media management. Nowadays, many of the best social CRM platforms include elements of both. What’s more, through integrations and extensions, there’s no limit to what one social media CRM tool can do that a social media CRM software cannot, and vice versa.
1. Social media CRM tools
Common social CRM tools are usually understood to be a set of social features inside a CRM software. That means the platform is first and foremost about customer relationship management, but will include a suite of functionality to help with social CRM strategy, as well as other tools like marketing strategies and sales lead generation.
2. Social media CRM software
Sometimes you don’t need the whole CRM package. That’s why there are social media management platforms that aren’t full-on CRMs, but they are tools whose main purpose is to plan, post, schedule and manage branding and marketing content on social media, as well as to unify all social engagement. Most will integrate with your favorite CRM to streamline any social CRM strategy.
What is social customer relationship management meant to measure?
Social media drives traffic from their platforms toward brand pages and eCommerce sites. Social CRM lets you monitor traffic and click-throughs in real-time to assess how much ends up as successful sales conversions.
Going beyond basic traffic and clicks, you can break down all engagements based on likes, shares, reposts, comments and incoming communications; all for a more complex understanding of how people react to your content.
Level of followers
In addition to simply tallying up the number of followers on a list, social CRM gives you an idea of who they are, who they’re connected with, and how active they are online.
Staying on top of the online buzz around your brand is paramount, but you need to be listening not only to your own connections, but outside your network too. No mention goes unnoticed with the right social CRM.
Benefits of social CRM software
Faster customer service
Using social CRM doesn’t just allow service reps to speak directly with people, it enables them to listen to what people are saying among each other. With social listening, you never miss the chance to reach out and respond to anyone who’s got a question or issue. Plus, customers prefer to communicate through their social media profiles, so it’s best to have a presence there.
Build new relationships
When any online profile engages with your content or uses keywords you’re monitoring with social CRM, that’s an opportunity to expand your network. Some great social CRM tools also help you find the right target audiences to reach out to. And since you can easily stay up-to-date with their info and activity, you can offer them more personalized experiences.
Better understand customer needs & issues
There’s a lot of data that builds up in the social sphere every moment. A social CRM helps navigate this info by giving you a broad-metric analytical overview of all the latest hot topics coming from around the globe on every social channel. It also lets you zero in on demographics, or pick up on specific categories of content that might be super relevant to your potential customers.
Build & improve brand reputation
When people complain about crummy products or lousy service through a post or a tweet, chances are they want to be heard. What better way to signal to the greater community your brand’s willingness to listen than not shying away from criticism? Instead, show gratitude for the feedback. Social CRMs also let you publicly reward loyal customers, as well as re-share their praises, so that even more people get wind of your unsolicited awesomeness.
Improved control over social presence
Social media channels are proliferating. Beyond the basics of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there are platforms for image sharing, video posting, texting and messaging, news curation, and content creation. A social CRM can translate to fewer man-hours because it unifies multiple accounts across every channel, helps you plan and post content at one time for many outlets, gives you a single inbox for all communication, and offers across-the-board analytics and reporting.
Bring social media closer to marketing, sales & service
Once upon a time, a social media department was hardly significant enough to warrant more than an intern working in isolation. Those days are over. Social media insights are valuable for planning new products and services. Social channels are key avenues for marketing campaigns. Social contacts and connections are all potential leads on the way to successful conversions. Finally, social media is the preferred communication medium for customers seeking assistance.
Social CRM features
Get a complete picture of everyone you’re connected with across all your social media accounts, including age, location, demographics, engagement history, and links to their other social profiles. A good social CRM can scan your networks and auto-update anyone’s profile when they make changes. The more you know about your fans and followers, the better you’ll be able to offer them improved personalized content.
Social CRMs have tools that allow you to monitor the online conversation in real-time with certain keywords that are relevant to learning about potential leads and mastering your industry. It’s also crucial that you never miss a mention of your brand or product no matter when or where it’s typed up. Social listening features mean your eyes and ears are ever stalwart in the digital content universe.
With sentiment analysis tools, you get a more nuanced picture of how people feel about what’s going on, whether in the world at large, or within the intimate spaces created by your brand experience.
While we’re all on social media for a variety of reasons—professional and personal—a company’s presence on social media should never lose sight of its ultimate goal of converting leads into customers and boosting ROI. A lot of social CRM platforms streamline customer interest directly to your sales staff or to an online shop, especially through Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Social media management
A single social CRM platform syncs numerous profiles from many social media platforms. A single post can find its way to every relevant channel at the ideal post time via simple scheduling operations. The unified inbox collects all engagements and messages, showing fuller social profiles for each conversation. Finally, it gives you thorough comparative analytics for all posts, posters, profiles, and platforms.
Social CRM software comparison chart (top 10 highest rated platforms)
Here’s a summary breakdown of the top 10 social CRM platforms. For quick info purposes, you see which each tool is best for, where the pricing starts at, and if there’s a free plan available. This list covers both the best social CRM tools as well as social media CRM Software.
Pricing starts at
Salesforce Social Studio
Best CRM for social media overall
$1,000 per month, billed annually
HubSpot Marketing Hub
Top social customer relationship management tool
$45 per month
Great free CRM for social media management
$10 per month, billed annually
Best CRM for social media marketing
$89 per user/month, billed annually
Good social media CRM software for startups and small business
$19 per user/month billed annually
Good social CRM tool for sales teams
$59 per month for 1 user
Top social media marketing tool for large business
$79 for 2 users per month billed annually
Great free social media tool for customer engagement
$5 per social channel, billed annually
Top social networking platform for customer communication
$49 per month, billed annually
Great social media marketing tool with CRM integrations
$12.50 per month, billed annually
What are the best social CRM tools? Here’s our top 10 list:
The list of great software for social media contact management goes on and on. It’s dizzying to go through a Google search. So we’ve done the leg work. If you’re ready to boost your business through better social media practices, it’s time to check out the best social CRM tools.
Salesforce Social Studio (Best CRM for social media overall)
Possibly the most massive planet in the CRM solar system, Salesforce is a pioneer in CRM and other workplace SaaS services. The Salesforce Social Studio is part of the CRM mammoth’s Marketing Cloud arm, which helps with everything from community engagement, marketing intelligence, customer sentiment, and more.
They’ve got most of the traditional CRM features for social, like “listening” for mentions, responding to engagement, organizing social media posts and analytics. Salesforce’s smart “Einstein Image Classification” AI tool, recognizes logos, objects, food, and other scenes in social images to show where certain products are being used. Machine learning helps you streamline your entire process by identifying brand sentiment and automatically routing customer activity to the appropriate department.
The price is one of the biggest drawbacks here. That’s why even as the best CRM systems, Salesforce is limited to larger businesses with ready-made budgets.
Basic plan is $1,000 per month, billed annually.
Pro plan is $4,000 per month, billed annually.
Corporate plan is $12,000 per month, billed annually.
Enterprise plan is $40,000 per month, billed annually.
HubSpot Marketing Hub (Top social customer relationship management tool)
HubSpot originally made its name as a pioneer of inbound marketing. Now they have a slew of tools across the board. This includes a social media management tool as part of their greater marketing platform, which works in tandem with their free CRM platform, and their service platform for support teams.
The social media manager lets you publish directly to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as manage a blog or landing page. You can schedule posts for later and get best post-time recommendations. HubSpot lets you monitor mentions and comments in a unified inbox. The reporting compares engagements across platforms and even includes YouTube. For people contacting the help desk, the ticketing tool keeps track of contact requests and customer data.
The free plan makes HubSpot a top contender. Sadly, however, there’s quite the jump between the free version and the top premium plans where the better features are at.
HubSpot offers a free version.
Starter Marketing Hub plan starts at $45 per month.
Professional Marketing Hub plan starts at $800 per month.
Enterprise Marketing Hub plan starts at $3,200 per month.
Zoho Social (Great free CRM for social media management)
Zoho CRM sticks mainly to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and some Instagram, but its basic CRM has integrations with other workplace platforms like Slack, Zapier, and Zendesk. With this app, users sift through social media venues to manually pluck out potential customers and bring their contacts into the main platform.
For focusing on new lead acquisition, there’s an automated function to add new leads based on custom-defined triggers. It identifies high-quality leads that exhibit specific characteristics, such as demographics, ‘likes’ or shopping habits. You can monitor customer feedback, keep track of engagement and conversation history, get notifications, and sync leads between your social media accounts and the CRM.
The Instagram features are newer to this platform and are still a bit limited, especially for things like Instagram Stories. Some of the Instagram features are for Instagram Business accounts only.
Zoho offers a free version.
Standard plan is $10 per month, billed annually.
Professional plan is $30 per month, billed annually.
Premium plan is $40 per month, billed annually.
Sprout Social (Best CRM for social media marketing)
Sprout puts the social media aspect front and center of its CRM platform, incorporating accounts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. It’s a big brand for composing, backlogging and scheduling social media posts across multiple channels and for many accounts, and following customer engagement.
This is a massive stack, covering virtually all the main features of a social CRM system. There’s a smart inbox to collect all social interactions and full conversation history with each contact. There’s brand monitoring with keyword, hashtag and location searches. You get rule-based workflow automation and a bot builder. Team collaboration features include assigning and prioritizing tasks. Then, there’s reporting for both your posts, ads, as well as your team's performance.
Sprout is a powerhouse, truly. But this is reserved for bigger players with bigger budgets, but also more time to learn all the features, as there is a learning curve.
Standard plan is $89 per user/month, billed annually.
Pro plan is $149 per user/month, billed annually.
Advanced plan is $249 per user/month, billed annually.
Nimble (Good social media CRM software for startups and small business)
Touted as a game-changing CRM by mogul Mark Cuban, Nimble social CRM is designed to work in tandem with the Microsoft family of programs. It integrates Twitter, Facebook, AngelList, Instagram, Foursquare and Google+. As the name goes, Nimble has the kind of light and flexible feel beloved by the 21st-century business class.
Nimble keeps tabs of social media mentions. It automatically finds and links the social accounts of leads and customers, and uses that social data to enrich their contact details within the CRM. Nimble also has several “smart” search functions whereby contacts can be sorted by connectivity status, or using following/followers stats. There’s a good agenda manager, and they have detailed analytics with a broad range of metrics.
This is a nice and light platform. But, because of this, one gets the feeling that the sky is not the limit with everything Nimble can do. Scaling up is not its strong point.
Business plan is $19 per user/month billed annually.
eClincher (Good social CRM tool for sales teams)
eClincher is the kind of social media kit with a decent CRM tool that puts sales and ROI at the front of their pitch. Perhaps it covers the largest number of channels: Facebook pages and groups, Twitter, Instagram Business and personal, LinkedIn company pages and personal, YouTube, Pinterest, Google My Business, Yelp and Blogger.
The social inbox and CRM let you manage all customer interactions, mentions, likes, comments and even live conversations. There’s a monitoring tool for keywords and hashtags which can also translate to new conversations and engagements. eClincher can connect you with influencers, or suggest content when planning your own posts. They offer analytics, media management, and collaboration features.
Quite a lot of tools and features here, which means you and your team need to put in some long hours to master everything. Is it worth it after all? For sales teams? Yes. For everyone else? Maybe.
Basic plan is $59 per month for 1 user.
Premier plan is $119 per month for 3 users.
Agency plan is $219 per month for 6 users.
Agorapulse (Top social media marketing tool for large business)
As the name suggests, Agorapulse keeps you up-to-date with what’s happening in the online marketplace of trends, hot topics, and the latest ideas. They aren’t afraid to invite comparisons with bigger names like Sprout Social, HootSuite or Buffer.
The built-in social CRM tool is a major feature of Agorapulse. It combines public profiles with private notes for rich “fans and followers” contact cards and the platform auto-labels who might be important or influential. There are also tools to publish posts, engage with all comments in a single inbox, and get quick analytics. Finally, you can use an automated inbox assistant.
As this one is a social media management platform first and foremost, the customer relationship management angle is light, and you’ll probably need to integrate it with other CRMs.
Agorapulse offers a free version.
Medium plan is $79 for 2 users per month billed annually.
Large plan is $159 for 4 users per month billed annually.
X-Large plan is $239 for 8 users per month billed annually.
Enterprise plan is $399 for 20 users per month billed annually.
Buffer (Great free social media tool for customer engagement)
Buffer’s Reply tool is the contact and customer relationship management arm of the three-tiered social media platform, also composed of publishing and analytics tools. With Buffer Reply you get to respond to social comments and streamline customer support. While not a CRM in itself, it does integrate with CRM platforms through Zapier and IFTTT.
All incoming messages from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter go into a collaborative team inbox, where you assign conversations, avoid rep collisions on single conversations, and write notes. There is easy task automation, reusable replies, and custom tags and folders. Reply also has reporting. Buffer Publish, meanwhile, lets you plan and post across all social channels.
Again, this is not a CRM in itself, although integrating it is no big deal. And while Buffer works with Instagram, it does not automatically post Instagram Stories for you.
Buffer offers a free version.
Essentials plan is $5 per social channel, billed annually.
Hootsuite (Top social networking platform for customer communication)
Hootsuite is first and foremost a social network management software and not primarily for customer relationship management—imagine Sprout’s social functions minus the sales pipeline features. Hootsuite integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest.
The Hootsuite dashboard can be customized to be more CRM-ready with a range of app extensions, like Nimble, Salesforce, Batchbook and others—all available right on the Hootsuite app directory. You can plan and schedule posts, and use social media monitoring to follow trends or keywords. It’s easy to save and share user content, and promote your own. Hootsuite also has analytics and custom reporting.
Hootsuite also needs to integrate with a dedicated CDRM for all the customer management aspects you’d expect. Also, the best features are only in the premium plans.
Hootsuite offers a free plan.
Professional plan starts at $49 per month, billed annually.
Team plan starts at $129 per month, billed annually.
Business plan starts at $599 per month, billed annually.
For Enterprise plan pricing contact Hootsuite.
Later (Great social media marketing tool with CRM integrations)
Later first and foremost marks its territory on Instagram, with an emphasis on marketing and marketing automation. However, the platform also aims to boost the number of your connections by getting more followers and expanding your network.
Aside from Instagram, Later also functions with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Features include the planning and scheduling of posts using an intuitive calendar tool. There’s an organized media library that lets you group, label, and bulk-upload files. Later has tools to connect with customers who’ve uploaded their own content, streamlining your ability to re-post great user-generated content. There’s analytics for Instagram too.
Later is hyper specific in its task. So the drawback is clearly when you need a more versatile and robust platform that combines social media management and CRM.
Later offers a free version.
Starter plan starts at $12.50 per month, billed annually.
Growth plan starts at $20.83 per month, billed annually.
Advanced plan starts at $33.33 per month, billed annually.
What is the best social CRM system for me? Our conclusion
If your business has got the dough, then Salesforce Social Studio is probably the best social CRM system out there. If keeping the cost down is the name of the game, then HubSpot is likely right for you.
Whatever platform you choose, you’ll immediately see the advantage of being able to merge your customer relationship and social media management in one system.