A Google search for “social media tools” will bring back over 600,000,000 results. We are quite literally surrounded by different applications for managing, growing, and tracking our social media networks—some free, some premium.
Though I use close to a dozen social media tools each day, the ones on this list are a necessity for the social media leg of my business: Buffer, JustUnfollow, TweetDeck, Feedly, and Pocket.
Buffer (also known as Bufferapp) is truly the best thing since sliced bread, and it’s the primary reason so many people are able to keep up with their social media profiles. (Though, misused, it’s also one of the primary sources of noise.)
Buffer allows users to schedule tweets for Twitter, and posts for LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook pages, and Google+ Company pages—allowing users to control the channel, the day, and the time of all of their social media content. The tool also provides real-time analytics of how effective each post was, which allos savvy social media managers to optimize their posting schedules.
With a premium account, you can queue a seemingly unlimited number of posts across a dozen different accounts; however, if you’re strapped for cash, the free version is sufficient, but is limited in how many posts you can schedule.
The application also has a mobile version for those of you forever on-the-go.
CrowdFire (formerly JustUnfollow) is an application that allows users to grow and maintain their Twitter and Instagram following. It’s really a great tool for targeting relevant Twitter users to start an initial network on a new handle. At the same time, it’s a useful way to manage the integrity of your followers, providing a list of non-followers, inactive followers, and recent “unfollowers,” or people who have recently stopped following you.
One of the coolest features of the tool is the “Copy followers” function. Insert either an influential industry leader (or a competitor) and receive a list of users following them who seem to have a willingness to follow back—seemingly based on their following-to-follower ratio. It may make you feel icky, but it really streamlines the process of starting up an account.
Similar to Buffer, CrowdFire has a limited free version and a robust, affordable premium package.
Certainly if you haven’t heard of the other ones, you’ve heard of TweetDeck. Purchased by Twitter soon after development, TweetDeck has revolutionized how Twitter is used.
Though it accommodates post scheduling in a similar way to Buffer, the usefulness of TweetDeck is in the interface: TweetDeck allows users to organize and build custom timelines, based on topics, hashtags, and all of the primary Twitter streams (notifications, mentions, and the like).
Essentially, the application supports all of the functionality of Twitter, with the added benefits of real-time monitoring and the capability of tracking topics, which allows you (as a savvy social media manager) to reach out and engage with people who have a need for your content, product, or service.
Feedly seemed to take much of the user-base of Google Reader after Google announced the commencement of its popular content aggregator tool (well, I guess it wasn’t too popular).
Feedly is the near equivalent of Google Reader, allowing users to congregate RSS feeds from selected websites into a single dashboard. Read and share blog posts from your favorite sights in a single location, as well as discover new sights to follow based on popular topics.
It’s easy to set-up and supports sign-in using your Google account. Want to know the best part? It’s completely free!
Pocket is the most recent social media tool I’ve added to my social media toolbox, and I haven’t been disappointed yet! Pocket allows you to catalog and organize the stuff you’d like to read, but just can’t quite get to at the moment.
Pocket has a snazzy interface and solid performance, plus it’s one of those tools you don’t realize is useful until you start using it. In other words, you wouldn’t believe how many articles I used to pass over for lack of motivation or time.
(Besides, it’s a great source of worthwhile content to feed into your Buffer for social sharing.)
Both a blessing and a curse, I’m a sucker for a sophisticated new social media tool. If you have a few tools that you use day-to-day, leave a comment with a link and description so we can all check them out!