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Social Media Tool Recommendations

April 10, 2012 | Written by Amber Sawaya

We were recently received this email:

I’m evaluating a bunch of tools to help us manage our social media message/campaigns/presence.  I’m down to using desk.com and/or HubSpot but neither of them feel comprehensive or quite right.

I’m wondering if you could just rattle off the top of your heads the top 10 tools or so you’ve used so that I can broaden my horizon.

Thanks guys, hope all is well.  From what I hear business at Sawaya Consulting is keeping you plenty busy.

We used to focus more extensively on social media a few years ago, but honestly beyond some of the basics we’re leaving that up to the marketing people. We’re focusing mostly on responsive design and mobile work now.

That said, we do still still present our social media workshop and have recently revised our own social media strategy. So we do  have a decent base to give some recommendations.

#1 – Hootsuite

This is *THE* program we recommend using. We use it religiously after trying and tossing a bunch of others, these are the features I like:

  • Ability to manage a slew of accounts (multiple twitter feeds [ours + clients], Facebook pages, LinkedIn Accounts, Blog posts, all of it) from one interface.
  • You can easily read twitter conversations.
  • With multiple team members you can see who responded — or assign items for them to work on.
  • You can schedule posts (so you don’t send out a long block of tweets). You can view this schedule as a calendar.
  • You can set up searches to watch for tweets that match.

Setting up searches has been a huge help for us in the past. When our partnership with the other founders of our first startup crashed and burned we had no clients, no projects and no money. One of the things we did to scrap our business back together was to create a search for anyone within 50 miles that used the phrase “looking for” (we also watched for geolocated ‘web design’, ‘web developer’, etc, but the ‘looking for’ story is more interesting). We read through this stream a couple times a day, and yeah, it was full of “looking for a babysitter” and “looking for my lost dog” but then we hit pay dirt when someone was “looking for a web designer for an iPad app”. We reached out to that person and it’s turned into a friendship and a bunch of work — and a big project when we needed it most.

Hootsuite has some analytics, I’ve not done much with them, so I don’t know how good they are. They’ve seemed clunky when I’ve looked at them, but I haven’t had reason to really dig into them.

#2 – WordPress

For blog posts, it’s easier to manage from there than Hootsuite.

#3 – Cross the streams

This isn’t a tool, just a practice. We try to cross post things where it makes sense. Like our blog posts to LinkedIn.

Hootsuite doesn’t do a great job of posting blog posts to Facebook on a schedule. The WordPress plugins we’ve tried don’t do a great job posting to Facebook, but they are ok.

I put this more in to remind you to look at your strategy of what posts where and how it trickles down.

And Also

Those are my solid recommendations. I would also look at:

  • Twilert – we use this a little bit, you can set an email alert for when someone says something you are watching — similar to the stream searches in Hootsuite, but works better if you aren’t actively checking.
  • Buffer – we don’t use this because we schedule tweets in Hootsuite, but we wish other people would use this. Load up what you want to say and this will send it out in intervals.
  • Social Mention – it’s social analytics, we started to get into it with a client but then the project changed course.
  • Google Analytics – I have heard they are doing more social analytics.
I can also recommend some people to help you out if you are looking to outsource.

And one final piece of advice. I saw that on your twitter feed you respond to a lot of people — which is awesome to get your engagement up. However if people aren’t mutually following you and the person you respond to they won’t see those tweets. You may want to preface them with a period “.@sawayaconsult have you looked at…” so that everyone sees them if they contain valuable information for other people to see as well.

This work includes the photo “Soviet printed stationery 1962,” available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, © sludgegulper.

Author 

Amber Sawaya is a creative director, best-selling author and business owner located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She designs and oversees projects for web, mobile and internal corporate tools and writes business books to help clients work better with designs and developers.

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