Social Media

The 5 Essential Social Media Tools

Brad Smith
September 13, 2011

Social media presents an incredible opportunity.

Never before have you had such access to customers in real-time. The possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, that’s also the problem. How are you supposed to keep up with this mess?

Smarter people than myself have solved that problem.

There are a variety of social media tools that help solve a specific problem.

They do the heavy lifting, freeing you up to focus on what’s really important (like actual work!).

It’s time to set up the 5 essential social media tools to help do the work for you.

1. Hootsuite

You’re going to use Hootsuite for listening, monitoring and responding.

That’s a start, but you need to cut through the noise. We’ll do that by creating streams.

  • Create searches for brands, keywords, company and competition.
  • Now create lists of specific people or influencers you want to follow, interact and connect with.

This helps you keep up with what people are saying. It provides competitive intelligence, but also set you up to interact with other important people.

2. Google Alerts

Google Alerts gives you the ability to monitor the entire web.

Everytime a new story comes out or blog post is written, you’ll know about it.

You’re going to create the same keyword searches as before (brands, keywords, company and competition).

Make sure you set the results to RSS and that they update in real-time.

3. Google Reader

Your keyphrase search results will update automatically in Google Reader as new information is found.

Monitoring these keyphrases gives you incredible insight. You’ll be able to keep track of current industry news, but also stay abreast of future developments.

It will also set you up for curating content and sharing interesting information to others.

This is a large part of social media, and will help estbalish you as an industry expert.

4. Timely

Timely allows you to easily schedule posts to update your networks.

The best part is that it does the work for you. It will figure out the time of day your posts perform best, and automatically send them.

Another great alternative for scheduling updates is Buffer.

5. Bit.ly

Create a Bit.ly Pro account (it’s free), and use a branded URL shortener.

Try to find a short URL that either abbreviates or splits up your brand name. (For example, this site’s is FixCour.se.

You can also connect the Bit.ly account to Timely, so everything you share will be properly branded.

Bit.ly tracks click data. So it will tell you how many times a link was clicked, and give you more background information on the source and users.

This “top of funnel” data is critical to social media optimization.

Another alternative (for more advanced users) is Awe.sm, which provides more analyics and detailed information.

These 5 social media tools will help you finally take control of social media.