January 21, 2014

29 essential tools for social media marketers

Infographic on how to make your marketing more productive

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

John HaydonIan Cleary of RazorSocial recently published an infographic highlighting the daily tasks of a social media marketer. But what’s really useful about this infographic isn’t a rundown of daily tasks. It’s the 29 tools.

Some of these tools you may already know about, but here’s a quick rundown of the highlights: Continue reading

July 24, 2012

4 tools to make your social media life easier


Image by Sean MacEntee

Facebook scheduling, Twitter Lists, HootSuite & more

Guest post by Carrie Romanazzi Chwierut

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, Facebook users.

Every day there are new online tools being touted as the newest, greatest thing sure to make your social media life easy. To help, I’ve summarized a few that make my social media life easier – and hopefully yours, too!

Facebook scheduling: Pick your time to shine

1If you use Facebook as your primary social media outlet, then you should take advantage of the scheduling feature Facebook recently introduced. It’s very simple to use. Enter your post, then click on the little clock icon. Select the day and time you’d like your text to post and hit schedule. So far, this is one of my favorite tools – I’ve used it quite a bit and have not run into any issues with it working properly.

Tip: The scheduling feature only works on pages, not personal profiles, and does not work with sharing someone else’s post. I hope this is something Facebook will implement in the near future.

Twitter lists: Focus on those who matter

2When you click to view a Twitter list, you’ll see a stream of tweets from only the users included in that group. The nice thing is that you don’t have to be following a Twitter user to add them to your list. This is a great way to cut through the hundreds of tweets in your stream and narrow it down to just those you really want to see. Continue reading

July 9, 2012

3 key tools for managing social media

HootSuite, Post Planner, Buffer can provide productivity boost

Guest post by Shonali Burke
VP Digital, MSL, Washington, DC

When it comes to staying on top of social media, one of the big challenges we have is to find the social media tools that will help us achieve a happy medium between curating, listening, engaging and producing content.

Frankly, I think that sweet spot is tough to find, and when we do find it, it stays with us for a while before it goes dancing off into the sunset, leaving us to figure it out all over again.

What to do? There are a ton of tools — and new ones coming out nearly every day — that purport to help us do this. I haven’t tested all of them, of course, but of those I have tested, here is what I currently think is the holy trinity of managing social media.

HootSuite: Scheduling updates made easy

1I’ve been a HootSuite fan for a long time. It’s a terrific way to post to a number of social networks, schedule posts and listen in on what’s going on, either by creating dedicated searches or creating streams of Twitter lists you’ve set up.

While I don’t use this tool to post to LinkedIn, etc., as much as I could, what I do find very useful, in addition to the publishing/scheduling dashboard, is the ability to monitor and post to Facebook Groups directly from HootSuite:

Typically I like to do my Facebook work “in” Facebook, but I know plenty of people who’d rather do all their Facebook management from a third-party app. And this fits the bill.

And just to go back to the scheduling feature, when people ask me to help them promote specific events, fundraisers, etc. I find the easiest way to do so is to schedule a ton of posts in HootSuite. (Assuming, that is, that those are things I want to help promote.) I find this feature very useful; I can simply copy a post and bung it in at various points in the “publisher” view, making minor edits if I want.

So if you are really pressed for time, then I honestly don’t know of a better one-stop management shop for the primary social networks than HootSuite.

Post Planner: The easiest way to schedule Facebook updates

2I’ve also been a fan of Post Planner for a long time. I find the team extremely responsive and the app just superb. Sure, you can post to Facebook from a number of different apps (including HootSuite), but PP rules, in my book, because:

  • There’s nothing like having your own branded footer, as I wrote about a while back.
  • Even though Facebook has recently introduced the ability to schedule posts, the feature is extremely clunky, and Post Planner makes it a breeze.

Continue reading

October 17, 2011

Best Twitter dashboards for nonprofits

Twitter clients
Image by Joe Pemberton on Flickr

Choose one of these 7 tools to improve your Twitter workflow

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, brands, bloggers, social media managers, individuals.

Summary: As Twitter becomes part of your routine — and especially if you manage multiple accounts — it’s easy to feel as if you’re floundering in the incessant flood of information. But a good Twitter dashboard (sometimes called an application or client) gives you access to your accounts in one place and can help you stay afloat by making it easier to monitor, plan and track updates and conversations.

Here we compare our top seven Twitter dashboards, as well as list others that may work best for you and your organization. Compare these to our earlier roundup of Top 10 social media dashboard tools.

This is the part of our ongoing series on how organizations can get the most out of Twitter. Please check back weekly for the next installment. Also see:

twitter-essentials

8 nonprofit Twitter superstars
12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event
24 best practices for nonprofits using Twitter
7 top tools to measure performance & influence on Twitter

By Lindsay Oberst
Socialbrite staff

Lindsay OberstTwitter dashboards come in two types: desktop and Web-based. Which one best fits your organization depends on your preferences. While some people prefer to separate their Twitter and Internet experiences, other people find it easier to keep everything within the Web browser.

One downside of running a separate desktop client is that it can slow down your computer. However, even though Web-based solutions don’t require updates as do desktop ones, they also occasionally don’t work properly. Many of these clients also work on other platforms, including iPhones, Androids, iPads and others. All of these tools can be a bit daunting at first, so expect to spend some time getting familiar with them.

 

tweetdeck

TweetDeck: An all-in-one desktop dashboard

1TweetDeck allows you to schedule tweets, to follow and unfollow accounts, and to create separate columns to track hashtags, keywords and Twitter lists. It also supports Geo-tagged tweets. You can track links using the url shortener bit.ly, and if you feel limited by 140 characters, a service called deck.ly allows you to tweet longer. The pop-up notifications can be helpful if you need to stay updated on a certain topic or keyword throughout the day. Unfortunately, you can’t filter the pop-ups but you can turn them off. On the negative side, this desktop tool has been known to slow some computers down since it uses Adobe AIR.

Twitter acquired Tweetdeck in May 2011, and although they have not done so yet, and haven’t shown any signs that they will, some people have concerns that Twitter might shut down Tweetdeck to protect itself. For now, this dashboard also simplifies Facebook, Myspace and Foursquare account management. Plus, its Android app gets the best reviews.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Platforms: Desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android

Hootsuite: Web-based productivity dashboard

2Like TweetDeck, Hootsuite can also schedule tweets, follow and unfollow people, and create separate tabs for monitoring. This intuitive dashboard has several useful features. First, it is designed to make collaborating and organization easy. Second, it offers free analytics, including a built-in url shortener, which tracks your tweeted links. Other useful features include displaying a user’s Klout score, which measures online influence, and a bookmarklet that allows you to tweet about a page without leaving your current tab. It also supports Facebook, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress.com, MySpace, Foursquare and mixi. Plus, real-time searches can be embedded on your website. On the downside, this client can fall asleep with inactivity, which disrupts any monitored streams.

The free version of this tool provides you with free social analytics, five social profiles and it’s ad-supported. Or you can opt for the $5.99 per month Pro version that allows you to have one team member, plus unlimited social profiles, enhanced analytics, no ads and more. The iPhone app is excellent for tweeting on the go. Hootsuite also continues to improve its service. Three updates announced this month provide geo-analytic technology, deeper integration with LinkedIn and crowd-sourced explanations of trending topics.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Platforms: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Keitai

January 12, 2011

10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits


Twitter data galore: A screen grab from ReSearch.ly.

 

Trackur, Sprout Social, Thrive & other monitoring tools worth paying for

Target audience: Mid-size nonprofits, cause organizations, agencies, brands, NGOs, Web publishers, individuals. This is part of our series on social media monitoring:
Guide to monitoring social media conversations
20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools
How to create & manage a monitoring dashboard

JD LasicaSearch engines and free monitoring tools can help you find mentions of your brand easily, but if you want to take your social media efforts to the next level, you may want to consider using a social media monitoring vendor.

Download flyer: some new ones here

Once your nonprofit or business reaches a certain size — with, say, hundreds of daily mentions — a paid social media monitoring vendor or service can help you smartly assess the conversations taking place about your brand. In many cases, they offer tools for you to respond and forge deeper levels of engagement. A good paid service will offer not just data but ways for you to draw insight and develop strategy by tapping into actionable intelligence.

Paid subscription services for social media monitoring can save staff time and provide insight into influence, authority, sentiment and reach. But remember: For your social media program to work, you’ll need to designate someone on your staff to own this. The person or team should analyze the results, act on time-sensitive issues and make recommendations about how to integrate the learnings from the community into your operation. (Socialbrite can help you get your program up and running.)

Social media vendors come in all shapes and flavors. Some cater to small organizations with modest budgets that want to handle monitoring internally. Others service large nonprofits and corporations that want a robust suite of tools and access to expert analysts. So we’ve broken this package into two parts:

• 10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits (below)
Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business (on our sister site, Sociamedia.biz), which includes Radian6, Lithium and 18 other vendors that work with nonprofits

Please note that we’ve already covered a number of monitoring services in our roundups Top 10 social media dashboard tools and 14 free tools to measure your social influence — including TweetDeck, CoTweet, Seesmic, Spredfast, MediaFunnel, Bit.ly and others  — so think of this as a package of monitoring resources.

Commercial social media monitoring services

Here is our guide to 10 subscription-based social media monitoring services for nonprofits and organizations, with the most affordable ones listed first. Have your own favorites? Please add them in the comments below.

 

trackur

Trackur: Affordable tracking & engagement

1An online reputation management and social media monitoring tool created by reputation expert Andy Beal and team, Trackur is sort of a Google Alerts on steroids. Trackur provides all the monitoring tools you need. It is brandable, will rate the sway power of your influencers for prioritized responses and will deliver results to your inbox, RSS feed or Web-based dashboard. Quickly monitor your reputation, check on trends and analyze media mentions for your company, brands, sector, cause or clients. Cost: Four plans range from $18 to $377/month and vary depending on number of searches and features used. Free 10-day money-back guarantee. Clients: 27,000+ users. Affordability makes it popular among small businesses. Owner: Independent.

sprout-social

Sprout Social: Track & grow your social footprint

2We’ve heard good things about Chicago-based Sprout Social, which lets you target and discover new customers or supporters, monitor your brand across the social Web, organize your social networks and manage up to five identities with the basic plan. The service offers an easy-to-digest summary of what’s happening online around your social presence. Cost: Pro Plan at $9/month is geared to small, independent businesses, nonprofits and organizations. Business Plan at $49/month is tailored to larger companies. Free trial. Clients: Chiefly small businesses, independent service providers such as attorneys and real estate agents, bloggers. Owner: Independent.

ubervu

uberVU: Affordable for smaller operations

3A social media monitoring tool that combines powerful features (e.g., historical and real-time data, sentiment analysis, platform filtering) and ease of use, uberVU offers a monthly price that should be more attractive to nonprofits and small and mid-size brands. Cost: Four packages:$49.99/month for individuals, $180/month for popular Plus program, $400/month for big companies, contact team for PR agencies. 14-day free trial. Clients: OMD, Edelman, Sharp. Clients generally consist of small businesses and startups, PR & marketing agencies, bloggers. Owner: Independent.

Thrive: Convert fans into donors

4Thrive, from the consultancy Small Act of McLean, Va., is an all-in-one social media tool that lets you listen, publish, report and engage with donors and supporters. Features like contact tagging and sorting, automated keyword searching and automated conversation archiving help you cultivate relationships over time, turning fans into donors. Import your existing email lists and convert them into detailed social profiles so you can jump-start your social media program. Small Act is also launching a service that takes an organization’s donor database to help them build social communities from that data. Cost: Recommended plan for most nonprofits is $1,188/year per user ($99/month per user). Small Act offers a one-month free trial as part of the contract if requested. See the demo, too. Clients: AARP, KaBoom, Global Giving, Ashoka, Office Depot, National Geographic. Owner: Independent. Continue reading

November 9, 2010

Top 10 social media dashboard tools

HootSuite
Hootsuite: Among the best of breed.

How to manage the torrent of social media conversations — and increase your productivity!

By Kim Bale
Socialbrite staff

One of the things we often hear from nonprofits and social enterprises is: How do I manage the torrent of social media conversations coming at me?

The answer used to be: Painstakingly and one conversation at a time. But a new crop of social media tools aims to tamp down the social media gusher by letting you update, monitor, manage and maintain several communication outlets at once. (While it’s sometimes hard to know what counts as a social media dashboard, we’re not including a wide range of customer relationship management (CRM) or social media monitoring tools here.)

When selecting a dashboard for personal or professional use, you should consider such items as cost, analytics and which social networks they support, among other things. Our list is meant to feature some of the breakout social media dashboards in the space and highlight their distinguishing features to make the selection process a bit easier.

Here are 10 of our favorite social media dashboard tools:

 

Threadsy

Threadsy: Unify your email, social networks

1Threadsy is an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard that allows organizations to connect through multiple email accounts as well as Facebook and Twitter. Free to use, Threadsy is great for managing your nonprofit or business’s brand from one clean dashboard across the big names in social media platforms. With no fees and no downloads, this service should make a splash in the space for both personal use and use by your organization.

myweboo

Myweboo: Organize your information streams

2Haven’t heard of Myweboo? That’s OK. This upstart startup invites users to discover, browse and read popular streams and share them with friends and followers. You or your organization can choose from a wide variety of “applications” to connect to and stream to a dashboard from categories like news, social, fashion, photo and video. These streams can be viewed together of filtered from “My Dashboard” and then easily shared via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Delicious and other networks. You’re in complete control of which sites will make up your dashboard. Free to use, Myweboo is run by an appealing brother-and-sister pair of young tech stars.

hootsuite

Hootsuite: Integrate all your platforms

3Our personal favorite is Hootsuite because of the depth of its products and services. Nonprofits and cause organizations can update multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and more) from a computer or iPhone, Android or BlackBerry device. A team of users can track results of their interactions and create a dashboard that will work efficiently with their preferred social streams. Hootsuite offers two versions. One is free and aggregates up to five social network and two RSS feeds; it stores stat history for 30 days and is ad supported. For $5.99 a month, your organization can enjoy unlimited capabilities for a single user, with each additional user costing $10 per month. Continue reading