July 31, 2012

5 free tools for social media listening

Get grounded before you jump into the fire & start responding

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, educators.

Guest post by Carie Lewis
Humane Society of the United States

Listening is the first step in social media. You have to listen to what others are saying about you before you jump into the fire. Listening will tell you what people are saying, and where they are saying it, so you know where to get started.

Many of these tools are Twitter-focused, because Twitter is the easiest place to get started in listening.

Here are five free tools I recommend to get started.

Tweetbeep: Twitter alerts via email

1Tweetbeep is essentially Google Alerts for Twitter. Whenever you’re mentioned on Twitter, you’ll get sent an email with details of that mention. You  can specify any search term you want. This is great for people who are not ready for the power of Tweetdeck of HootSuite with all their bells and whistles. Twitter is the most real-time account you have of what people are saying about you, so it’s really important to have a Twitter listening tool that matches your comfort level.

Tweetdeck: Your command center

2Tweetdeck is great because it runs in the background and gives you desktop alerts for mentions, similar to Microsoft Outlook when you get a new email. You can customize the different columns and have an array of search terms for people talking about you on Twitter. For example, mine has the following columns: @ replies of my personal Twitter account, @ replies of my organizational account, mentions of “humane society,” mentions of “hsus” and direct messages. When you’re ready to get real serious, ask your IT department for a second monitor that you can put just Tweetdeck on. (See photo at top.)

Kurrently: Check your public persona

3It is amazing, and scary, how many people still do not lock down the privacy on their Facebook profiles. That’s what makes Kurrently so useful: It’s a search engine for public Facebook updates. It actually now pulls in a lot more than Facebook updates, but that’s what I find it most useful for. 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

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

October 1, 2009

6 Twitter tips for journalists

6twitter tips screenshot

JD LasicaI‘ve produced two new printable handouts for the annual conference of the Online News Association this weekend: 6 Twitter tools for journalists (PDF, also at http://bit.ly/6twittertips) and 8 ways to use social media in the newsroom (PDF) — see the accompanying post.

While the PDFs are spiffy-looking, they’re less than optimal for search engines and for the disabled, so I’ll mirror the handouts here in html.

6 Twitter tips for journalists

Create a Twitter dashboard

tweetdeck21Organize and manage your Twitterverse by selecting an app to work with throughout the day. Your top choices are two downloadable desktop apps — Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop — or Hootsuite, a configurable Web-based app. All allow you to customize your Twitterstream into groups (or, if you prefer, beats).

Find local tweeps

twitter-local2Twitter’s a great way to connect to the local community. A handful of tools let you suss out who’s in your area. First try Twitter’s advanced search feature. Go to search.twitter.com/advanced, enter a city or zip code into the “Near this place” field and choose a search radius. The results are based on the location people enter in their Twitter bios. Other tools worth a try: TwitterLocal.net, NearbyTweets, Localtweeps and various iPhone apps, such as Twinkle, TwitterFon, Tweetie and Twittelator Pro. Happn.in is a new local Twitter app that lets you track trends and conversations in specific metro areas. We also like Twellow (and a href=”http://www.twellow.com/twellowhood”>Twellowhood) — the Twitter Yellow Pages — MrTweet and Justtweetit, three tools to help you discover folks relevant to your interests.

Follow breaking news

Waterfall on flickr by tokyogoat3Use Twitterfall to follow the real-time Web. Create a custom search to follow topics you specify — and save them for later retrieval. Type in an address into the geolocation panel to see what people are discussing in that area. Use this app to follow breaking news stories. You may also want to follow hashtags on topics of interest, like #health, #obama, etc. BreakingTweets is a site where reporters curate and organize news stories around Twitter. TweetBeep lets you receive hourly
email alerts of topics you specify. (Image: Waterfall by tokyogoat) Continue reading