Last night, I (along with some colleagues) had the privilege of speaking about social media with a group of PR students at the University of Tennessee. In one part of our talk, we shared a list of helpful tools we use to manage social media, monitor brands, spread information, discover opportunities and track results.
Of course, there are tons of tools out there, and more popping up each day. But I’ve found a few good ones that I would call my favorites. So here’s my list of the 7 tools I can’t live without:
Tweetdeck is easily the social media tool I use most often. The leading browser for the real-time and social web, it allows users to connect with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. I use it mostly to keep track of the multiple Twitter accounts I handle (including @ replies and DMs for each), to keep track of the Twitter lists I’m most interested in, and to monitor what others are saying about my search terms. I also use it to post to Facebook pages. It’s easy to use and columns are completely customizable. Simply put, it’s my social media dashboard, and I couldn’t live without it!
The only thing missing from Tweetdeck (and my guess is that this might not be the case for long) is the ability to schedule tweets and posts. For this, I use Hootsuite. To be clear, however, some people use Hootsuite in place of Tweetdeck, but it all comes down to preferences. I just prefer Tweetdeck. Hootsuite is nice if you don’t want to download a client like Tweetdeck, as Hootsuite is web-based. But if you’re like me and use Tweetdeck as your #1 client, Hootsuite still comes in handy when it comes to scheduling tweets and Facebook posts!
Bit.ly is (IMO) the best link shortener around. Not only does it make your links nice and small and tweetable, but it tracks how many people click each link! This is useful information to help you figure out what links are most popular and what your followers want to see more of. You can create an account to have a nice dashboard of all your links (and this account integrates nicely with Tweetdeck), OR you can add a “+” to the end of a bit.ly link to check out that particular link’s statistics. You can also see who else tweeted about the link and what time of day people went to it. It’s just really great information to have.
I really love this tool! Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google, etc. It also allows you to set up alerts — think Google Alerts only more social!
With PitchEngine, users can easily create and share social media releases. You can incorporate embedded video, images, powerpoints and more into a hosted “microsite” that can easily be shared via the social web using apps like Facebook, Twitter and more. A dynamic blend of traditional PR and a more progressive, conversational method, PitchEngine opens doors and engages readers. Those readers include not just media, but investors and consumers (friends, fans and followers) alike. This is an awesome tool to supplement your press release initiatives.
HARO is an email digest that comes out 2-3 times daily, and is an amazing tool for every PR pro! Every day, HARO brings nearly 30,000 reporters and bloggers, over 100,000 news sources and thousands of businesses together to tell their stories, promote their brands and sell their products and services. HARO is entirely free to both sources and reporters. Basically, a PR pro can take a quick look at each digest and if an opportunity seems like something a client might be interested in, you send information over to the reporter, and you might just chosen as a source! Last week, Pyxl was mentioned in Inc. Magazine. How did we find the opportunity? HARO of course!
It’s important to stay up to date on what’s going on in the industry and in the world, so I follow a lot of blogs and news outlets — A LOT! And it can be hard to keep track of them all. However, Google Reader is a great way to manage this and cut down on daily reading time. It’s a one stop shop where all of the outlets you follow are aggregated into one place.
So there you have it — the 7 tools I can’t live without. Which tools are on your list?