I was really humbled that I was asked to speak on a panel about social media tools at yesterday’s Social Media Club of Boston Event, Evaluating Social Technologies: From Chaos to Strategy. I was joined by Kathy O’ Reilly, Director of Social Media Relations for Monster.com, Ben Boardman of Marketwire and Sysomos and Zach Hofer-Shall, an analyst for Forrester Research that specializing in social intelligence.
(Here we are chatting. Don’t mind my sweet accent. I’m from Buffalo. 🙂 )
We chatted about a variety of social media tools and primarily discussed them within the context of these four categories: Discovery, Measurement, Publishing and Social CRM.
I threw out a bunch of recommendations for tools and I know we were moving pretty fast so I wanted to give a quick breakdown and recap/elaborate on some of my recommendations. Most of these will link to their oneforty item pages where you can see reviews and screenshots of the tools for a little more information.
Discovery – Listening & monitoring tools
Twitter Advanced Search
This is a free way to set up searches for hashtags, keywords or your own brand name. You can even specify per location, sentiment or just search for questions regarding that phrase. You can even hack together a free monitoring dashboard in iGoogle with an RSS of these searches.
MarketMeSuite* – This is an affordable way for small businesses to take the geo-targeting aspect of Twitter searches and view them in an organized interface.
Measurement – Analytics Tools
Tweetreach – I love Tweetreach’s analytics. They break down reach, impression and volume of Tweets as well as show you your most influential community members who ReTweet you and generate the most reach for you. Variety of price ranges as well and great graphs.
Tap 11 – This is a client with FourSquare, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn integration. I love the email digest of metrics that they compile for you, specifically the attention they pay to ReTweets. Tap 11 shows what is being ReTweeted the most and by whom. There’s lots of talk about how ReTweets are indexed by Google and help with SEO, so I think these metrics are increasingly important for brands looking to boost blog (and therefore, site) traffic.
I mentioned a few times that a lot of times people think the price point for tools is at $500/month and up. Tools like Radian6 and Alterian SM2 do start around there and they are appropriate for some companies. However I wanted to re-iterate that there are a lot of lower-cost analytics options. Viralheat* is $99/month and Ubervu is $50/month to $400/month. We gave a round-up of seven low-cost social monitoring options in this blog post.
To the question of social media ROI, I mentioned the availability of tools that let you apply in-page analytics and track conversions (Did this person fill out a form? Register for an event? Make a purchase?) from Twitter and Facebook. Three tools that do this include Performable, HubSpot and Argyle Social*.
Publishing – Content management and Scheduling Tools
Buffer – This helps you load Tweets into your “Buffer” at ideal times for you to Tweet and sends them out for you throughout the day. Instead of individually having to schedule each Tweet, write the Tweets and Buffer will send them out at the pre-selected times. It gives you some basic analytics as well like reach, ReTweets (including who ReTweeted it) and number of clicks.)
Timely – This is similar to Buffer only it doesn’t let you control the times or schedule Tweets days ahead of time. You can load up your Tweets and then Timely sends them out throughout the day at times selected based on performance of past Tweets. Timely also offers some basic analytics like number of clicks and reach.
Garious – another content publishing tool that pushes your content out throughout the day for you and helps you be more efficient.
Crowdbooster and Socialflow are two more tools I mentioned that help you identify the best times to Tweet by analyzing your previous Tweets and when your audience has been most responsive with @replies, ReTweets and click-throughs. I wrote more about this is a guest post for SocialFresh.
Raven Tools – Raven Tools is a great way to compile your SEO and social media efforts by being able to monitor your Twitter and Facebook activity plus view your Google Analytics and do keyword research all from one clean and simple interface. It’s affordable, the team there is super nice, and it pushes you to take a full 360-view of your online marketing efforts. My friend Kristin Dziadul uses this for her marketing efforts at Backupify and chose this over other tools.
A few more content publishing tools to check out: Dlvr.it, Sprinklr and Hootsuite.
Social CRM – (WTF?)
I loved this chat that we had because I think we called into question whether or not social CRM even exists yet. It’s something I’ve wondered about as well.
The space is getting a ton of traction though. All within the past month or so, Sprout Social just raised a $10 million Series B, JitterJam got acquired, as well as Bantam Live. All three are fantastic social CRM options that attempt to collaborate a customer contact database with Twitter and Facebook interactions. Other options to look at are Blue Camroo (specifically check out their Social Network Scout feature) and Nimble.
To just get started in integrating social CRM tactics into your work, using a tool like Gmail plugin Rapportive will help you connect your email contacts to their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Gist does this too, in a prettier way. 🙂
So there you have it! All the tools I mentioned. I love talking about this stuff as you can tell so feel free to shoot me questions any time.
*oneforty affiliate. (But still a badass tool!)