If you’re wondering whether Crowdfire is the tool you need to manage your social media accounts, this detailed Crowdfire review will tell you everything you need to know.
I’ve been using Crowdfire for several years now, and the product has evolved considerably in that time. Features have been added and – perhaps more importantly – features have been taken away. I decided it was high time I updated my Crowdfire review to show exactly what the product has to offer NOW. (Please take note that a lot of the other reviews online are NOT up to date on this).
Let’s begin with some basics:
What is Crowdfire?
Crowdfire is a social media management application, with features to manage and schedule posts for a wide range of social networks. These include Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. The solution also offers functionality to link to YouTube, WordPress, Twitch, and several other platforms.
What is Crowdfire Used For?
Crowdfire is primarily used to keep social media feeds active and current – both with your own posts, and with relevant curated posts from other sources, intended to help you keep your audience engaged.
There are various different ways to use Crowdfire: scheduling posts in advance, sharing posts across multiple networks, and studying reports and analytics to see what activities are working and which content is gaining momentum.
Some History and Background
If you’re keen to get straight to the main details of what Crowdfire is capable of NOW, you may want to skip this section, but it does set an interesting scene that explains the history of Crowdfire, and similar tools like it.
Before we get into the “nuts and bolts” of this Crowdfire review, I should explain that – generally speaking – social media companies don’t really like people using automation tools with their platforms. They’d rather people interacted with them in a natural, “organic” way.
Obviously this isn’t how things happen in the real world. Crowdfire is one of many social media management tools out there. Thousands of people – from individual bloggers to social media VAs and agencies – make extensive use of them.
From time to time, these tools fall foul of the social media giants’ rules. In early 2019, Crowdfire was one of several tools subject to a big clampdown by Twitter. Before being renamed Crowdfire, the product was called JustUnfollow. One of the key features was the ability to follow lots of accounts at once (in the hope they would follow you back). You could then monitor who hadn’t followed back and stop following them.
Social networks like Twitter and Instagram HATE these automated follow / unfollow tactics (and in fairness, they are quite annoying when they’re being used on you by other people). In order to put a stop to it, Twitter removed Crowdfire’s API access, and stopped these features working.
When this happened, I was a paid Crowdfire subscriber, and I was disappointed to lose the features. However, the reality is that sites now actively work to prevent tools being used in this way.
I mention this for two main reasons:
- To emphasise that Crowdfire has essentially had to reimagine the product so that it only does things that the social networks “approve” of.
- To warn you that older reviews are probably still out there that imply you can use Crowdfire for bulk follow/unfollow tactics – you can’t.
Is Crowdfire Safe to Use?
While it’s impossible to say if things will change, it appears that Crowdfire is a safe tool to use with your social networks, especially since automated bulk follow / unfollow features were removed in early 2019.
With the background all out of the way, let’s have a look at the key features of Crowdfire:
- The ability to link and centrally manage multiple social media accounts.
- Functionality to queue posts for future automated posting.
- Features to help you discover third-party content that your audience will be interested in.
- Advanced analytics and reporting to see how your networks are performing.
- Multi-user support for teams and agencies.
- The ability to monitor how competitors are performing in comparison to you.
- Direct access to mentions and private messages, all in one place.
- iOS and Android apps to manage your social media on the move.
It’s worth noting that not all features are available across all pricing tiers, so be sure to check the pricing table in detail.
Crowdfire Pricing: What Does Crowdfire Cost?
Crowdfire Free Version
The good news is that Crowdfire works on a “freemium” pricing model.This means there’s a completely free version available. It doesn’t include all the features, and some areas have limitations. However, it’s a great way to get a feel for the product, and can still be a useful way to queue up posts and share things across multiple networks.
To use Crowdfire in a truly professional capacity, you’ll need a paid subscription. For example, as you will see from the pricing table above, you can only schedule 10 posts per account on the free tier, which is enough to try things out, but not really enough for a prolonged social campaign.
As with most software of this nature, you make a considerable saving by opting to pay annually. On an annual basis, Crowdfire costs $7.48 per month for the “Plus” package. This is pretty keen pricing and includes the main things an individual blogger would need to be seriously active across multiple social networks. The price for this increases to $9.99 per month if you opt to pay monthly.
On a less positive note, you need to move up to the “Premium” or “VIP” tiers to access quite a few of the more advanced features. These include mention tracking, competitor analysis and bulk posting. The price jumps quite considerably for these tiers, costing $37.48/month for “Premium” and $74.98/month for “VIP.” (These are based on an annual subscription, with the prices rising for those paying monthly).
In reality, these tiered pricing models never end up pleasing everybody. However, in this particular case, it does seem a bit of a shame that “Plus” subscribers don’t get at least some limited use of the more advanced features. It is, however, worth noting, that you can have a 14-day free TRIAL of these features if you’re on a lower tier – including the free one.
Crowdfire Review: Our Experiences
There’s a lot to squeeze into the Crowdfire interface and, in truth, it’s a bit confusing until you get used to it. It doesn’t help that you can see features that may not be available to you depending on your subscription level.
It’s all pretty easy to understand once you get the hang of it, however, and there are useful tooltips and on-boarding tutorials to help you get to that point.
Content Creation and Scheduling
Post scheduling, one of the key features, is easy to understand, and you can choose from your own posts (automatically detected as they’re published), as well as relevant posts and images from related sites. If you’re keen to keep all of your timelines busy and populated, Crowdfire makes this very easy.
A big plus point of Crowdfire is the wide-ranging support for lots of different networks. It’s easy to forgive the software for its slightly cluttered interface once you’ve connected all of your accounts and begin to realise how much time you can save by not logging on to all of them.
Within the “Scheduling” and “Content Curation” sections, you also have the more advanced features, such as the calendar view, and the ability to bulk upload future posts as a CSV file. (This only comes with the more expensive subscriptions, but could work well if you ever employ a virtual assistant to pre-prepare social posts for you).
Stats fans will like the analytics available, and the detailed reports you can generate from within Crowdfire. This includes competitor analysis IF you’re paying for one of the higher tiers.
Here, more than anywhere, it’s clear that you don’t get that much with the free version of Crowdfire. Really, you could gain the same intelligence from the social media sites’ own analytics sections, but it’s still handy to have it all in one place.
If you are very active on lots of networks, mention tracking is a very valuable feature. It allows you to reply to all of your @-messages from one place. If you’re an agency or VA managing multiple accounts, it’s even more useful.
The important thing with any software like this is whether it actually works. The good news is that it is all pretty reliable. I consistently see a desktop notification when I post something new, reminding me to share it on social media. The integration with the social networks all seems to work smoothly too. One small issue I’ve seen sometimes, however, is a failure to pull down the featured image for a new post – a glitch I’ve not seen a pattern to.
Looking at the way the features all join up together now certainly nudges me towards an interesting conclusion to my Crowdfire review. As you’ll read in a moment, whether or not Crowdfire is a good buy is as much about what you plan to do with it, as what it can actually do.
Crowdfire has had an interesting (and tough) year. Ultimately the original product was all about following and unfollowing accounts to build your social audience. This functionality had to be unexpectedly removed, leaving the company with the need to put something together with the features that remained. Since then, they seem to have steadily added new bells and whistles to create a compelling package.
Has it worked? Well, kind of. In the interests of full disclosure, I’m no longer a paid subscriber, but I do still use the free features. This is primarily because I already pay for alternative tools (namely Tailwind and Buffer) to do my post scheduling.
If you’ve yet to choose a social media management tool, then Crowdfire is worth a look, and because there’s a free version, you needn’t spend any money doing so. I would specifically recommend Crowdfire if you’re keen to embrace every possible social network and stay busy and active across all of them. Similarly, the product could be a good fit for agencies and social media VAs.
For the individual blogger, like me, it’s more of a judgement call. Without the lost follow / unfollow stuff, there’s simply not enough here that I can’t do with other tools I already pay for. As such, I think a lot will depend on what tools you already use, and exactly what aspirations you have for your social following.
Pros and Cons
I shall end this Crowdfire review with some key pros and cons:
- Free version to get a feel for the software.
- Low entry-level cost for “plus” version.
- Good content curation.
- Huge range of supported social networks.
- Best features reserved for more expensive versions.
- Slightly confused user interface.
- Removed features are a real loss.
There are SO many tools to help you work on your social media following. Here are a couple that I’ve tried out recently: