Providing social media marketing services seems like a glamorous job. Agencies have unlimited resources at their disposal such as a team of writers, graphic designers, social media managers and campaign planners plus unlimited budget and an expensive coffee machine … Right?

In truth, social media agencies often consist of a small team with a limited budget to spend on marketing tools and no spare change for expensive coffee. In this article, I’m going to tell you about nine essential social media management tools for agencies which are both awesome and cost-effective.

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#1 Pocket

Pocket | 9 Essential Social Media Management Tools For Agencies

Best for Agencies in Fast Moving Industries
Pricing: $44.99 per year

If like me, you are providing social media management in fast moving industries such as finance or tech then you will know how limited your reading time can be. You also know that if you don’t keep up with the latest developments then you will not be able to stay ahead of the competition… it’s a vicious circle! This is why Pocket is an essential tool for social media agencies. Pocket is integrated into 500+ applications across many social and browser-based platforms allowing users to save content to read later when they are offline. Perfect for public transport commutes or “dead” air traveling time.  Pocket Premium offers a permanent library which keeps a backup of all the articles and web pages you save even if the original page changes online – pretty handy for logging PR mentions to show your clients.

#2 Buffer

Best for Agencies Needing To Curate Content
Pricing: $10 for 10 profiles

We all know how important curating content is for managing social accounts. Buffer allows you to share your own and third party content across your networks directly from social or the web. This takes the heat off agencies with fewer content writers who need to populate numerous social media accounts on a daily basis.  Buffer now offers you Pablo where you can search over 60,000 images and add them to your posts. For me, this makes Buffer an essential and great value tool for social media agencies.

#3 TweetDeck

Best for Agencies Handling Multiple Twitter Accounts
Pricing: Free

I couldn’t do my job as a social media manager without TweetDeck. Yes, there are plenty of alternatives on the market but TweetDeck from Twitter is free and makes it easy for you to add multiple Twitter accounts without logging in and out of each one. TweetDeck allows you to schedule tweets, track hashtags, reply, send direct messages and create multiple lists all from one easy dashboard. Plus if you need a little added engagement you can use one of your accounts to retweet another (you didn’t hear that from me!)

#4 Canva

Best for Agencies Without A Graphic Designer
Pricing: Free or $1 for each image

Research shows that visuals increase content engagement by 80 percent. So what do you do if you’re a small agency and can’t afford a full-time graphic designer? Try Canva, the graphic design program which allows you to create social media covers, jpegs, web banners, invitations and ad imagery. Using Canva you can create visuals to tweet or share alongside your social media message making it so much more effective. Before I get inundated with hate mail from graphic designers, let’s be clear… having a graphic designer in your team is the desirable outcome but if you cannot afford that or you work alone, Canva is a great interim solution.

#5 Visme

Visme | 9 Essential Social Media Management Tools For Agencies

Best for Agencies Presenting To Clients
Pricing: From $7 per month for 15 projects

If you’re an agency who needs to present to clients on a regular basis then you will know the importance of beautiful infographics.This is why I like Visme. While I find Canva great for accompanying social graphics, I find Visme to be stronger in generating more in-depth infographics, product demos, wireframes, presentations and design mockups. Of course, you can also use Visme to create impressive graphics to accompany your social media posts and, with a vast range of templates and colors to choose from, it’s super easy for busy agencies.

#6 Brand 24

Best for Agencies Needing To Provide Media Monitoring Reports
Pricing: From $49 per month

Media monitoring is an essential for any social media marketing agency but it can be super expensive. That said, your clients want to know if they’re being talked about and what’s being said so you need to be able to provide them with the specifics. Enter Brand24 which offers agencies real-time information. From $49 per month, you can receive a daily report on five keywords of your choice. This could be your brand, your product, and even your competitors. Present your findings to your clients and look like a real pro and increase your chances of some real time interaction.

#7 Cyfe

Cyfe | 9 Essential Social Media Management Tools For Agencies

Best for Agencies Needing Easy Access To Business Data
Pricing: From $14 per month if paid annually

Cyfe is the ultimate analytics weapon for your social media arsenal. Cyfe delivers detailed reports related to SEO, Google Analytics, AdWords, and brand mentions, yet comes with a price tag that even a small social media agency can afford. Cyfe can help agencies with business and competitor research and offers you branded reports, data exports, and unlimited dashboard widgets. The best thing about Cyfe is that you don’t need to be an SEO specialist to understand how to use it… PHEW!

#8 MavSocial

Best for agencies using Chinese networks
Pricing: Free for small users or $59 up to 10 users

There are plenty of tools that allow you to publish content across your social networks but how about the Great Firewall of China? MavSocial lets you reach 1.3 billion users on Chinese networks like RenRen and YouKu plus it offers multiple language posting including Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Russian, Greek and Arabic! MavSocial is partnered with Getty Images and BigStock so you can schedule content, easily add images and export customizable reports with graphics. If you’re a truly global agency and have clients in China, you will be interested in trying this out.

#9 Agorapulse

Agorapulse | 9 Essential Social Media Management Tools For Agencies

Best for Complete Social Media Management
Pricing: From $49 per month for 5 profiles

When you need to manage publishing, monitoring, and reporting on multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, you’ll want to check out Agorapulse. AgoraPulse is totally set up for social media agencies who need to adapt in size: all its plans include a set amount of team members and adding additional teammates is incredibly easy.  Add to this its handy team workflow, content calendar, competitor analysis, social CRM tool, and free Facebook contest app, and you really do have the ultimate social media management tool.

So there you go, 9 Essential Social Media Marketing Tools for Agencies that are actually affordable. My recommendation is that you give them a try and – with the money you saved – buy that expensive coffee machine. You know you need it.