24 Must-Have Social Media Marketing Tools
By Cindy King
Published November 13, 2012
Are you looking for ways to enhance your social media marketing?
Do you want new tools to simplify your job?
We asked a group of social media pros for the hottest social media tools they use today.
Check them out to see if these social media tools are a good fit for you!
#1: Unlock to Share Plugin
My favorite social marketing tool of all time is the unlock to share plugin. What is it? It’s a simple plugin that “unlocks” additional content when your web visitors share your stuff on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
Why is this so valuable? Well, today everyone has a Like button on their site. But if you want your audience to share your stuff, you need to give them a little incentive! That’s exactly what this plugin does.
In my most recent experiment, I had 452 people land on a page where they hadaccess to royalty-free music they could use in their videos. If you shared the post, I gave you an additional five music tracks. Out of those 452 visitors, 379 shared to unlock those five extra songs! That’s 84%!
These unlock to share plugins are everywhere. The one I used was found over onCodeCanyon.
James Wedmore, co-founder of Video Traffic Academy and founder of Video Sales Magic and Video Copy Pro.
This isn’t a “new” tool, but I’m amazed by the number of marketers who still don’t useSlideShare as a main staple in their social media distribution. According to the latest research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, just 23% of B2B marketers and only 7% of B2C marketers leverage SlideShare (which now sees approximately 60 million users per month).
We continue to integrate SlideShare into our visual storytelling, and it’s now a key part of our lead generation process. It’s a true sleeping giant.
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of Managing Content Marketing and co-author of Get Content, Get Customers.
I use Commun.it to help build and nurture relationships with supporters, influencers and potential customers on Twitter.
The basic service, which is free, keeps track of your most valuable followers and interactions, rolling up the data into an action-driven dashboard. One glance and you’ll know whom to follow, whom to thank and to whom you need to respond—all of which you can do directly within the tool.
Another big plus: You can quickly spot your most active conversation buddies. Commun.it tallies up the number of exchanges between you and other Tweeters, indicating whether or not you’re following each other.
In addition to the dashboard, Commun.it has reporting functionality. I love the way it lists hard-to-find stats in one handy place, including new followers, the handles of who stopped following you, RTs of your content, direct messages and total reach.
Commun.it also records this social activity for your Twitter handle, so you can keep tabs on your own contributions and connections in the Twitterverse.
Shelly Lucas, senior marketing manager and leader of social media at Dun & Bradstreet.
#4: YouTube’s Audience Retention Report
You’ve probably read that YouTube search is now optimized for time watched. Effective YouTube marketing demands that we understand (and create better videos based on) how our videos are watched, at least as much as we “optimize” them for SEO, etc. Those “gurus” who tell you to buy thousands of 5-second views to bump up your view count … yes, that does the search damage you always knew it would.
This is why audience retention is the new view count.
The new Audience Retention Report in YouTube is, without a doubt, the most important social media marketing tool to come around in a long time. You can now see what kind of retention you’re getting from your videos and how it compares to everyone else’s. Want to get to the top of the results? Study this Audience Retention Report like a hawk and update your video making strategies accordingly.
The following video walks you through a couple of reports and offers some insights on how to respond.
Paul Colligan, education czar for Traffic Geyser Inc. and CEO of Colligan.com.
While there are a number of enterprise-level listening and monitoring tools available to assist brands, a new tool that I’ve been a fan of is Cyfe. It provides visibility into social channel and search metrics that typically only admins of those channels/tools have access to.
For example, we’re able to set up a visual real-time dashboard forGoToMeeting, which provides brand-specific Facebook Insights data, YouTube Analytics, Twitter and Twitter Search information, SEOMoz, Google Trends, Google Analytics and a number of other social or search data points.
As a social media team, we’re often asked for such information from team members who are curious about the community, channel interactions and other related questions. Cyfe has enabled to us to make that data easily accessible to our team members.
Going one step beyond social and search, Cyfe also enables you to bring in your CRM, email marketing and blog data, with new integrations shipping on a regular basis.
Justin Levy, strategic advisor on all social media activities at Citrix Online and editor-in-chief of Workshifting.com.
Imagine an aggregation and curation system for your social network and that’s what Cloze provides. I’m able to view the activity of people by date in my network and then check them off, respond to them, like them or retweet them directly from the Cloze interface.
It’s absolutely genius and is already saving me tons of time, increasing my interaction with those most important to me and reducing the clutter and wasted time of having five channels open that I’m constantly trying to stay abreast of. This is the inbox of the future! Cloze is currently in beta.
Douglas Karr, founder and chief blogger at the Marketing Technology Blog, founder of DK New Media (an inbound marketing agency) and author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.
There is no shortage of social media marketing tools these days, that’s for sure. But despite the overwhelming number of tools out there, it’s still very difficult to find the ones that will really deliver while remaining accessible for a small-business budget.
When it comes to managing our Facebook Page, I’ve been very impressed withAgoraPulse. It focuses on Facebook (at least for now), but provides everything your Facebook Page will ever need.
In addition to contest and promotion applications that are a “must-have” for every Facebook Page, AgoraPulse offers unique features that really make a difference, such as:
- Detailed benchmark with competitors
AgoraPulse shows you a detailed benchmark with your competitors.
- Fan ranking and qualification
The fan management feature shows you fan ranking and qualification.
- Advanced statistics and personalized content recommendations
You can also track average users reached by day of week.
They also offer a ton of other great features such as advanced statistics, automated moderation and even admin rights and workflow management. These are the kind of features that used to be only available in expensive enterprise-level solutions. Getting access to such advanced and useful features for a price that every small businesses can afford does make a big difference.
Aaron Kahlow, CEO of Online Marketing Connect and chairman and founder of the Online Marketing Summit and its related educational arm, the Online Marketing Institute.
One application that I’ve recently been exposed to and am excited about isGaggleAMP. I talk to many marketers who say, “If only our sales and business development team would share our social media postings, it would help us reach a greater—and more relevant—audience in social media.”
This is especially relevant in B2B companies where you traditionally have a large sales force compared to a small number of people in marketing. That sales force represents a potential army of internal brand advocates who can help make a company’s social media marketing efforts much more effective.
With the emergence of GaggleAMP, social media and marketing directors can now utilize the reach of their internal staff to help spread their message in social media, and internal employees have complete control in deciding exactly which messages they would like to share on which platforms and how frequently.
Companies simply sign up to GaggleAMP, create a “Gaggle” (a group revolving around their content), and then request that interested employees join the Gaggle. Employees then authorize their social networks and decide which content they would like to share with their network.
GaggleAMP can send notifications when new content is available to be posted, and there is even a “point” system to gamify social sharing and reward those internal employees who are good sharers.
B2B companies are sitting on a goldmine of brand advocates who work at their company. By using GaggleAMP, they can organize and leverage their internal tribe while ensuring control over social media messages that are sent out externally.
For employees, it’s internal content curation served up on a platter to give them more timely and relevant content to share with their networks and maintain mindshare on whichever social networks the company’s customers or clients are on.
I expect to hear about more companies adopting GaggleAMP in the months to come!
Neal Schaffer, founder of Windmills Marketing, is a leading social media strategist and teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University.
I’ve been enjoying the statistics and tools available on SproutSocial, and am using it to get good Twitter and Facebook overviews of my accounts and for some of my clients’ statistics.
You can also do some Twitter account comparisons, schedule content, bring in yourGoogle Reader to watch for content and share accounts with others.
If you manage many accounts, you can easily create nice-looking reports that give a good overview of activity and growth and SproutSocial is reasonably priced.
Andrea Vahl, social media coach, speaker and strategist and Facebook community manager for Social Media Examiner.
Reachli (formerly known as Pinerly) is the hottest new Pinterest analytics tool. Similar to Facebook and Twitter apps such as Buffer and HootSuite, Reachli allows users to pre-schedule pins and view feedback data such as click-through rates and number of repins. Creating social campaigns on Reachli is easy with its clean and simplified design.
Although the site is optimal for Pinterest analytics, it also allows users to post on any social platform and benefit from similar analyses. Boasting comprehensive capabilities, Reachli is an ideal page-management tool for any brand or community manager.
Social media analytics are essential in providing users with optimal content, as well as discovering hard data to support social initiatives. Offering real-time analytics and best practices data, Reachli helps you optimize your Pinterest content based on the analysis of click-through rates and repin feedback. This beneficial information can result in more effective scheduling and more engaging content.
For a low cost, brands can also employ Reachli advertising, a service that uses a unique algorithm to match content with its most relevant online audience across the social sphere. As Pinterest grows in popularity, brands will find the capabilities of Reachli to be extremely beneficial in most effectively leveraging the social platform.
Dave Kerpen, cofounder and CEO of Likeable, author of Likeable Social Media and the forthcoming Likeable Business.
For the team here at Sony, one of the new platforms we are most excited about isInstagram. When we launched our brand channel (@sony) 4 months ago, we couldn’t have imagined the wealth of beautiful, funny and creative content we would find. We’ve seen everything from the cutest pups and kitties with Sony products to gorgeous, artistic shots taken by professional Sony photographers.
But the best thing about all of this content is that the community has been more than willing to let us share their work (crediting them, of course).
We’ve asked hundreds of Instagrammers if we could share one of their Sony-related photos and have never once been declined. The result is that we get access to authentic and cool content while honoring this community of artists.
We’re also exploring holding contests on the platform and have just recently launched our very first #SonyX contest. Although we’re only two days in, we’ve already received a lot of enthusiasm from the community and are building awareness for our new X headphones via the photo entries and the use of the hashtag.
Callan Green, senior social media specialist for Sony Electronics.
Buffer is to social media marketers like what a wand is to Harry Potter—it’s one of the coolest and most useful social media tools I’ve ever used.
As you know, in order to benefit from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn, you have to actively be posting things—an account with no life is not going to be very interesting to those who follow it. With Buffer, you can schedule your tweets and posts ahead of time and create a consistent social media presence on your accounts.
Often, I’ll schedule a week’s worth of tweets, which will automatically drive traffic back to my site or keep my audience engaged throughout the week, without lifting a finger.
Of course, it’s best practice to follow up with those who reply and you may have specific time-sensitive tweets to share in between your scheduled posts, but anything that allows me to be more efficient in my business and ensure that I am posting stuff when I might not have the time otherwise is gold in my opinion.
In addition, the team behind Buffer is always friendly, responsive and looking to improve, which speaks highly about the tool and what kind of company created it, and where it’s headed in the future.
Pat Flynn, founder of the Smart Passive Income Blog.
I’m excited to see some of the advancements in using social media to increase brand advocacy. SocialToaster is making great strides in combining gamification for sharing brand-related content with superfans to drive reach and engagement.
Brands like QuickenLoans, JustFab and the Baltimore Ravens are leveraging these tools to connect with fans in an authentic and mutually beneficial way to increase brand loyalty and advocacy. It’s exciting to see social media used in a way that drives and enhances brand passion.
Nichole Kelly, president of SME Digital, a division of Social Media Explorer and author of How to Measure Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI.
In the past, pop-ups were hated by many marketers, and rightfully so due to their unprofessional look and feel, plus the fact they were so disruptive to readers each time they came onto the site.
The main reason for this shift and “acceptance” is as follows:
- Pop-ups today can be set on delays and scheduled. In other words, you can set a pop-up so that once a viewer closes it out, it does not reappear on their screen again for whatever amount of time you’d like—be it a week, a month or forever.
- Now pop-ups look much more professional than in the past. Great visuals can be added, they can fade in and fade out depending on how long someone has been on the site, and their custom options are plentiful.
I added a pop-up feature to The Sales Lion a few months ago and the results have been exceptional. Instead of getting 15-25 signups a day for people downloading my eBook and subscribing to the newsletter, I’m now getting 25-40 a day, which is a huge increase.
At the same time, I haven’t had any long-time readers complain that they had to see a pop-up one time, which was a fear I initially had.
Marcus Sheridan, co-owner of River Pools and Spas, founder of PoolSchool.us and founder of the popular sales/marketing blog The Sales Lion.
#15: LinkedIn’s Skills and Expertise Page
What if there was a social media tool that could tell you:
- The best keywords to use in your social profiles?
- Who the key influencers are and how to get in touch with them?
- The exact companies you should be targeting with your particular skill set? What kinds of groups you should join for optimal relationship-building?
- What companies you should work for and who you know at those companies?
Of course by now you’ve probably guessed that I’m talking about LinkedIn. But the tool I’m talking about in particular is LinkedIn’s Skills and Expertise page. After entering “Facebook Marketing” in the search box there, this is what came up:
Keywords: “Related Skills” show up on the left-hand side of the Skills page when you search for a skill to add to your LinkedIn profile. Think of them as relevant keywords. LinkedIn will also show you the popularity of those particular keywords (the higher the number, the more people are using that skill) Hint: Use the less popular skills too!
Influencers: LinkedIn will show you the influencers in your particular skill set by name, picture and title. It will show you how you’re connected to them. If they are a first-degree connection, send them a message. For a second-degree connection, ask for an introduction. Outside of your immediate network? You can still reach them through InMail or a shared group. What a powerful way to build your network and find mentors or advisers!
Companies, Groups and Jobs: The Skills page will also highlight the companies, jobs and groups that are recognized by LinkedIn as being relevant to your skill set. This can save you an enormous amount of time when you’re looking for companies to offer your services to, for groups to engage with to build your strategic relationships or jobs that will suit you. And of course, because this is LinkedIn, you’ll see who is already in your network and can give you access to that company, group or job!
Skills is truly a doorway into stronger connections and better business.
Viveka von Rosen, known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert” and author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day.
I originally thought Scoop.it was just another curation tool, a platform that allows users to gather together great content that they’ve discovered online. A Scoop.it button on the browser window can now rest besides those for List.ly and Pinterest, so that as you go around the Internet and find great content, you can simply click and share.
When you “scoop” a tweet, a blog post, or any other content, you’re creating a post that is added to a category, or a “topic.” You can easily create new topics that others can follow. In turn, you can follow the topics of others.
At any point, a post can be re-shared through a number of other social platforms. People can add comments to a post, or give it a thumbs-up. Combined, these features make for a robust content curation tool that allow you to build community around topics, and to nurture relationships with influencers by sharing and discussing their content.
When you create topics, Scoop.it suggests content for you to add. You can manage how Scoop.it recommends content based on keywords or the feeds of particular users. Those feeds can include their blogs, Twitter feeds, Twitter lists, hashtags, and Facebook.
In this way, Scoop.it becomes a powerful social discovery tool and if focused on an individual, can even act as an influencer outreach management tool.
If you’re a HootSuite user, you can now integrate your topics right into HootSuite. With or without HootSuite, though, Scoop.it can act as a central hub to discover great content, build community around that content, and nurture relationships with influencers.
Ric Dragon, CEO and co-founder of the digital marketing agency DragonSearch and author of Social Marketology.
The hottest social media marketing tool I’ve discovered in the last 6 months is Pocket(formerly known as Read it Later). At first glance you may think that Pocket is simply a private online bookmarking tool, but it’s actually much more than that. Pocket is acentralized mobile content curation and social media sharing control center!
You can save and tag content from anywhere (your smartphone, tablet or computer) to your Pocket account. You can even save content to Pocket from Google Reader and Twitter using the browser extensions.
The real power of Pocket, however, is that it integrates with over 300 web and mobile apps. This means that you can collect the best content you discover on any device and share it whenever and wherever you wish through Pocket.
Pocket drives my entire social and mobile content curation and social sharing system, whether I’m sitting at my desk or on the go.
Here are three tips for using Pocket:
- Download the Pocket app to your mobile device and/or tablet and install the bookmarklet to your web browser. If you have a Mac, be sure to install the Mac application. (You can now share content to your social networks directly from the new Pocket Mac Application.)
- Save the content that you want to share with your social networks to Pocket from your computer, mobile phone or tablet. Be sure to add the tag “Share” to the particular articles you save that you later want to share with your social connections (you can add as many tags as you like).
- Each day, login to Pocket on your smartphone or tablet and push the articles tagged with “Share” to Buffer (my personal favorite), or literally to almost any social network of your choice. Don’t forget to insert your own insights or comments when you share!
Note: Typically I share from Pocket to Buffer because it integrates with Bit.ly and enables me to track the links I’ve shared. Buffer also distributes my social shares at optimal times so that they can be more visible with my network connections.
Pocket is a smart content collection and distribution tool that allows you to become a master social curator!
Stephanie Sammons, founder and CEO of Wired Advisor, a digital strategy and marketing agency for financial advisers, business professionals and professional services firms.
What if you had a system that informed you exactly when your best times to tweet are in order to reach the maximum audience, based on how your followers respond? And what if the system showed you the Klout scores of new influential followers so you can follow up? And how about spotlighting @mentions that you hadn’t responded to yet?
Look no further than Crowdbooster!
But this awesome tool doesn’t just analyze Twitter. You can also dig into your Facebook Fan Page metrics to analyze your top posts, number of impressions, fan growth, top fans and more. You can even schedule posts via Crowdbooster for both Twitter and Facebook.
You get one Twitter account and one Facebook Page for free. Upgrade levels include up to 10 or 30 total social accounts (currently only Twitter and Facebook Pages) for a reasonable fee. Give it a try and see what you think.
The nice thing about Crowdbooster is the team is super helpful, friendly and approachable… and they’re always iterating, so stay tuned for even more awesome features in the pipeline!
Mari Smith, leading social media strategist and premier Facebook marketing expert. Co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day and author of The New Relationship Marketing.
We use Lithium for our new community platform. Its phenomenal capabilities allow for a lean team to rally users, influencers and our own associates to participate. From an organic growing knowledge base through the ability to reward frequent contribution, it is state of the art with WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) functionality and a truly object-oriented environment that makes it easy for a layman to customize.
Lithium also has the capability to do private moderation areas so we can all learn what FAQs need answers, solution creation both by us and by users to populate the knowledge base with good content and the ability to co-create content with guest bloggers.
Kat Smith, director of social media and commerce at Petco.
Tweetbot is a Twitter app that allows you to do everything you can do on any other Twitter app with an extra killer feature: the ability to filter out tweets.
This app allows you to focus on the tweets that matter in your Twitter stream. It’s available at the Apple App Store.
Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner.
Facebook is one of our brand’s primary social channels. Our goal with that channel is to deliver content that begs to be engaged with. We’ve had tools to measure how well our own content performs, but we also wanted to know how well we performed relative to the competition.
Thanks to a brand-new tool called PostAcumen, developed by the same folks who made EdgeRank, we’re now able to perform extensive competitive analysis on Facebook posts. We can see how our content resonates with our fans and how those metrics stack up against our competitors for Likes, Comments, Shares, etc.
There is a nominal cost for the service, but so far it’s provided great insights, is easy to use and understand and helps us get better at delivering engaging content to fans.
Liz Phillips, social media manager at TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, where she manages social media for TaylorMade, Adidas Golf, and Ashworth brands.
#22: Facebook Pages Manager App
My favorite social media tool is the Facebook Pages Manager App. This tool allows me to manage multiple pages while on the go. Not only can I post, comment and engage with my fans on multiple pages, but this app does so much more. I’m also able to create Facebook Offers directly from the app, which allows me to promote my programs and services anytime, anywhere.
In addition, I can instantly get a greater reach for my most important posts by buyingPromoted Posts on-the-go directly from my mobile phone.
With these features, I can make real-time decisions for my pages based on my fans activity and my current marketing goals. If you’re like me and often on the move, this app is one you don’t want to go without!
Amy Porterfield, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and a social media strategist.
One of my favorite social media tools is Vocus. Vocus is a suite that helps manage your social media profiles, monitor what is happening in real time and other key functions.
One of the key elements that makes it different than other services is that it incorporates the very popular Help A Reporter Out (HARO) website. HARO is a site where reporters can post their requests for information and interviews anonymously, and where you can respond. If it’s a good fit, the reporter contacts you. It’s a great way to get additional free PR. Combined with the rest of Vocus’s platform capabilities, this provides a powerful one-two punch.
Michael Crosson, founder and publisher of SocialMediopolis.com and founder of the fourth-largest LinkedIn group, “The Social Media Marketing Group.”
Can’t find an image to pin on Pinterest? No problem! I recently came across a simple, slick tool that allows you to take some text, like an inspirational quote or a particularly helpful blurb from a blog post, and turn it into a beautiful, pinnable image. The tool is called Quozio.
You can use Quozio to create cool quotation pins for Pinterest, but it also solves a common problem.
When you find a great article, or blog post, you want to pin it to one of your pinboards. But sometimes when you use your Pin It bookmarklet to try to pin it, the bookmarklet can’t find a pinnable image on the page. This is where Quozio can come to the rescue.
All you need to do is highlight a snippet of text from the blog post you want to pin, copy it, then use Quozio to create a pinnable image from that text. You can pin your new image directly from the Quozio interface.
To make sure your new Quozio pin links back to the original blog post you want to share, you just need to edit your pin after you’ve posted it. You can click on the “edit” button in the corner of any of your pins to edit that pin’s settings and add the URL of the original blog post.
Then just click on “Save Pin” and viola! You’ve got a beautiful pin that links back to an awesome blog post.
Beth Hayden, author of Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest.