Manage Social Media Like the Pros – 12 Management Tools

A version of this article orginally appeared on BlackEnterprise.com.

For many business owners, becoming more active on social media was a business resolution you made for 2012. You know how to approach your social media content and how to use social media to attract new customers. But once you are active on different social media sites, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the online mentions of your brand, and managing your online presence can become overwhelming. Worse yet, you may be missing opportunities if you’re not measuring social media effectively.

I reached out to four social media professionals who manage social media for clients around the world. Here are some of their favorite tools to manage, monitor and streamline social media.

James S. Walker (@JayWalk1)

Manager, APCO Online and Founder The Social Diverse Project http://sociallydiverse.posterous.com

Hootsuite is a Twitter based solution I love. Its capabilities have expanded over the last few years, but I have been able to manage personal and client Twitter accounts from this platform without issue. A big plus is the ability to schedule tweets. When I’m on the go and working across timezones, the ability to share information  (when I want to share it) regardless of my location is priceless,” Walker says.

Manage Flitter can be an important tool for those of you who know exactly who you are targeting, Once you start to build a base of users, it takes work to maintain a connection with everyone, and you might lose a few followers along the way. Manage Flitter will help you get a sense of light and heavy users (in terms of Twitter activity) and it will also let you know who among the group of people you are following is not following you in return. You may have provided great value to a follower at one point, but now, they’ve lost interest. Using this too, you can see who you might need to reach out and touch directly to build their interest again.

TweetStats is an oldie but a goodie. This Twitter analytics site pulls up several charts to help you understand the network of any given user. The section most interesting to me from a business perspective is when a user tweets during the day. If you have a few targets on Twitter and are able to view their data via TweetStats, you can see when it’s the best time to get your message on their screen. ”

Meredith Leigh Moore (@Meredith_MCD)

Director, External Relations and Brand Outreach for McDonalds Corporation

“I’ve used Cotweet and Radian 6 as part of our official McDonald’s Twitter team,” says Moore. “There are pros and cons to both, but the ability to analyze a user’s influence on the public and history with your organization is a crucial benefit for both. The feeds for both are easy to understand and are good for a business with multiple administrators behind the scenes to make it seamless for the audience.”

Michael Street (@StreetForce1)

Account Supervisor, MS&L Group

Bit.ly is for measuring clicks and various other analytics from your social media campaigns,” says Street. “This is a free tool that I use on a regular basis for my clients. More recently I used this for tracking clicks, top referring sites, and other metrics for live streaming a concert in New Orleans.

EdgeRank Checker
helps you learn when is the best time to post content to your Facebook page and what content is working the best for you and what’s not. The cost is free for limited stats and $15 for more robust metrics and analysis. I use this tool to monitor engagement across all the accounts that I manage for various clients.

Hashtracking allows you to measure the impact of your twitter campaign my measuring the activity, retweets, and impressions related to your campaign’s hashtag. This is a free tool to use and I’ve used this for various clients/campaigns such as Belvedere Vodka’s World Aids Day campaign.”

Lesly Simmons (@LeslySimmons)

Founder & Strategist, Digital District Group http://www.digitaldistrictgroup.com

Google Analytics is the way to go for those needing more advanced tracking over their social content,” says Simmons.  ”Most people only know how to use it for website monitoring, but there are really rich social monitoring tools built in that can tell you how your content is spreading across the web via social media. It takes more time to understand how they work, but if you’re looking for robust reporting, this is the way to go. And it’s free!

Google Alerts is the easiest way I’ve found to get regular updates without constant searching if you’re tracking a specific topic. Enter your keywords and the results come to via email, either in daily digest form or as they appear. This is perfect for events with a specific name to see the conversation

Google Reader is still the easiest and best way to find, follow and engage with blogs (which are not going away any time soon). Google Reader now integrates with Google+, so shared posts appear there, which may require additional monitoring for people not already active in the space. For keeping up with blogs I still haven’t found an eaiser solution.I’m clearly big on Google! I’ve been testing a lot of newer tools in recent months, and haven’t found anything that tops these at an affordable price point. I’ve actually recommended getting rid of some of the pricier tools for larger clients, and really harnessing the power of these, with some success. All of these are available on mobile as well as desktop formats, which is huge for me if I’m on the road and need to access or update something quickly.

Evernote is a general productivity tool, but its a perfect repository for ideas related to blog posts. I create notes with any kind of content, from a photo to a URL on any computer or device and have them sync seamlessly. When I am ready to use the information, I just fire up Evernote wherever I’m working and all the information I’ve shared appears without me needing to track it down or remember where I saved something.”

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