10 Digital & Social Media Tools I’m Loving Right Now

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 | 0 comments

10 Digital & Social Media Tools

What do you get when you put 25 social media pros in a room and ask them to take a few minutes and write down their favorite digital tools?

A whole bunch of amazing ideas, that’s what.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I attended a Social Media Roundtable last week in Chicago, hosted by Ragan Communications. It was perfect timing because I’ve felt lately as if my relationships with my steady collection of digital tools and resources has hit a rut. Well, after getting more than a few ideas for spicing things up through picking the brains of some of the best in the business, I’m now feeling much more optimistic about the future.

So, for anyone who’s also feeling in a bit of a relationship slump, let the following 10 tools help you break free, too.

To kick things off, here are five of my most-adored resources that I won’t be breaking up with anytime soon, which I also shared with the group in Chicago:

1. Feedly. Guys. I could compose an epic love note to Feedly. It stepped into my life and things just changed. Now, I start every morning with it, and it’s on all my devices. Okay, but seriously: I was one of those people who clung to Google News, holding out hope until it smacked me with a break-up notification. I was forced to play the field. I reluctantly gave Feedly a chance, and now realize that what I had before- it was nothing. Feedly allows me to embrace my passion for organization. I can create folders for various topics (such as Food Blogs, PR, Social Media, etc.) and then add content to them, so everything is easily accessible. And, my inner magazine journalism major digs the clean “magazine” view, which displays large images with articles. Feedly, yup, it’s my No. 1 app crush.

2. Offerpop. I’ve planned dozens of social media promotions for clients, so I’ve tried out quite a few different apps. I started with Wildfire Application back in the day, but, when Google stole them away (as of this month, they’ve actually parted ways again) and upped the price to play, I was out. As of this month, I’m totally crushing on Offerpop. It offers a wide range of products across social platforms- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, even Tumblr and Vine!- and it’s not lacking on options for promotions, from Pinterest contests to Facebook and Twitter sweepstakes. Maybe most importantly: It’s so easy to get along with! We can draft customized content for each promotion, and the text instructions and image dimensions are out there for everyone to see. So, our graphic designer can easily come up with visuals and drop them in- no coding needed (although, there are CSS options for those who want to get real fancy and add greater customization).

3. PromoJam. Speaking of third-party promotional apps, PromoJam has earned a spot on my favs list. While it doesn’t have quite the number of promotion options as Offerpop, it is significantly more affordable (about $30 each month for a basic account), so it works well for one-off Facebook promotions and for clients with limited budgets. The interface is very user-friendly and easy to work with, and it, too, requires no coding, so promotions can be set up quickly and are customizable. I’ll also give them kudos for good ol’ customer service- I had an issue a couple of weeks ago setting up a promotion on a client’s Facebook page, and they (meaning real, live people on the phone!) were all over helping to fix it. I’ll be signing up for another date, PromoJam.

4. GroupHigh. Disclaimer: I was not a fan of GroupHigh a couple of years ago, but it is growing on me again now that it’s gotten a makeover and made a few life changes. I work closely with food bloggers on behalf of clients pretty much every day, so a database of bloggers sounds like it’d be a stellar fit for me, right? And, it is- to a point. One thing I want to tattoo into the brains of all PR people who work  with bloggers: It’s all about building relationships, stupid. GroupHigh is a useful tool for identifying bloggers in various locations and who focus on certain topics. It is also very helpful for quickly finding bloggers’ social media stats and information, which I often include in proposals and in reports for clients. What it ISN’T is a substitute for creating genuine, strong relationships with bloggers and for really getting to know them. A food blogger does not want to know that you found them through a search on GroupHigh and noticed they make vegetarian food recipes. They want you to read their blog, connect on social media (and listen first!) and get to know them before shooting off a blind invitation to get together. I mean, really, would you consider investing time in a relationship and going out of your way to help out if someone clearly wasn’t interested in reciprocating? Case and point.

5. Followerwonk. So, just who is among your Twitter followers? Scrolling through to find information about followers- and search for new users to follow- gets exhausting extremely quickly. Followerwonk lets you get real wonky with it- see where Twitter followers are located, analyze Twitter profiles and search for keywords in  Twitter bios. It also has a simple display that organizes data into basic graphs and charts that even non-numbers people, like me, can understand and use. One other useful function I find useful for clients (and potential clients): Comparing the social graph of one Twitter account up to two others, such as those of competitors, friends, or industry leaders. Gotta keep tabs on the competition…

The final half are ideas I heard from others in Chicago that I will most definitely be looking into ASAP- as in, I already have:

6. Sprout Social. I have come across the Sprout Social Management system, but I haven’t had the chance to try it yet. However, multiple people at the roundtable were raving about it. I like that it focuses on a team approach, as there are usually multiple people managing social media within an agency. Also, all of the functions to manage and monitor engagement across platforms is pretty attractive. I’ll give it a go.

7. Canva. Yes, looks really do matter. Visual social media content has been on the rise since 2012, when Pinterest and Instagram saw a huge surge in popularity. Some predicted 2014 as the year that visual content truly takes over in social, and, so far, that claim doesn’t seem far off. This visual trend means marketers are having to get more creative than ever in putting together attractive and eye-catching content. So, think of Canva as an affordable personal stylist to help you stand out at the over-crowded social media party. The app enables users to create basic design pieces in a snap, such as graphics for blogs and social media. It clearly makes the (appropriate) distinction between itself and pro tools such as Photoshop or InDesign. Instead, Canva simply helps with content layout, and it may be helpful to those who don’t always have access to a graphic designer and just need to create simple, attractive graphic content. Oh, and it’s free, so what do you have to lose?

8. Pulse. Integrated with LinkedIn, this app aims to once again simplify our news experience by delivering news direct from influencers (identified through LinkedIn) that interests us most, all in one place. Basically, it’s a newsfeed personalized just for you. Sounds like a thoughtful gift for any PR pro, right?

9. Camtasia. A professional video production tool for non-pro video producers? Yes, please, sign me up. Shorter is better when it comes to video these days- think the rise of Vine and Instagram and Snapchat video. I’d like to try this out for projects that don’t require, or have the budget for, professional video but that still need to look somewhat polished and a step above a quick iPhone video.

10. LinkedIn tags. Did you know you could tag your LinkedIn contacts? Yeah, me either- until last week, that is. Like with Twitter lists (another one of my go-to tools!), you can assign tags to your LinkedIn connections, such as “Clients” or “Social Media Roundtable Participants,” for easy access. Also, you can send messages to only contacts in a specific category. Making note of this for future event-planning!

So there you have it. Of course, I’d love to know about some of YOUR favorite tools and resources, too, as I know there are far more than what’s on this list. Please, share your relationship advice!

Leave a Reply