Social media is undoubtedly becoming more important in search terms. And while Stacey Cavanagh accepts that in terms of a direct influence on rankings social signals are still almost negligible, she believes that search is headed this way, so now’s the time to prepare ...
Even right now, social is a great help in outreach.
If your client has a readymade and engaged audience for the content it publishes, that content has a far better chance of being seen, being shared and being linked to.
Whatever you are using social media for and whichever niche you’re working in, a great toolset will help you supercharge your social and make the whole thing a lot less laborious. Here are some free and paid for tools that I absolutely LOVE.
Audience building and analyzing
So, you’ve set up your Facebook Page, Twitter profile or Google Plus page. Now what?
"Build it and they will come," is utter bull in the context of the internet, unless you’re Coca-Cola, McDonalds or another huge brand. But in the real world, you and your clients will probably have to work pretty hard to build up an audience.
There are some tools to help!
1) Paid Facebook ads and Twitter promotion
2) Facebook Ad Creator: Getting some value without spending a penny
Even if you don’t have the budget to spend on Facebook ads, you can use the ad creator to analyze demographics and other audiences out there. Simply go to the Facebook ad creator and follow the process through until you’re at the point of setting demographics.
By using the ‘Precise Interests’ section to put in your competitor’s brand pages, you can identify information about their audience. So, if I had a shoe shop in the UK, I might be interested to know how many women between 18 and 40 in the country already ‘like’ my competitor, Barratts.
This is a cost-free way to gather data about your competitors’ activity and audience on Facebook.
3) Simply Measured
For more social audience related insights, check out Simply Measured which has premium and free offerings.
4) Social Crawlytics
This is a free tool and it’s really insightful. Social Crawlytics lets you put in any URL and find out which social networks account for most of their mentions and content shares. This is a great way to find out which social networks your potential new audience are spending most of their time on. You can also find out which pieces of content on certain sites get the most social traction.
Unfortunately, not everyone who talks about you online tags you, @ mentions you or in any way attempts to notify you. And sometimes, someone mentioning you could lead to a linking opportunity. Whether good or bad, you simply have to know who is talking about your brand on social and there are some great tools to help.
5) Google Alerts
Good old Google Alerts! Still free. Still excellent.
6) Social Mention
Another free tool. Social Mention lets you enter your brand and see some figures about mentions and even sentiment. Approach ‘sentiment’ with caution. Words that my Nan (and this tool) would consider negative (like ‘sick,’ or ‘wicked’) can have positive connotations with people far younger and far cooler than me. But nonetheless, an excellent tool.
7) Who’s Talkin’?
Similar to Social Mention, Who’s Talkin’ is another freebie that helps you discover mentions of your brand (or your competitors’ brands).
Updating can be tedious, particularly when you have a lot of accounts and a number of different clients. Now, I always advise people to approach automation with caution. Check out this summary of a panel about automation at SMX London 2013 for more about that. But nonetheless, scheduling (rather than outright automation) is definitely useful and there are some legitimate reasons to automate. These tools might help!
8) Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a premium tool (pricing from $39 per user per month and up). It lets you schedule posts for a number of accounts across the major social platforms. It also pulls in Insights data from Facebook and makes it easier to digest. You can get great looking and informative reports from this too.
Buffer is free for up to two social profiles and then $10/month for 3 – 12. This is a really great tool for scheduling future updates across multiple profiles. Combine it with IFTTT for more intelligent schedule updating, as brilliantly outlined in this post
Cyfe is a dashboard reporting tool that integrates with a host of other third party tools. On the social front, it integrates with Facebook to pull out insights data. But you can also add Google Alerts widgets and widgets to display data from Google Analytics, AdWords, PayPal, Salesforce, iTunes, Moz, Twitter, Wordpress, Pinterest and a host of others. You can create a dashboard that shows the data important to you and your clients and schedule this to be emailed as a report. There’s a free and paid version and this is one of the best tools I’ve started using in recent months.
Viralheat is a tool with free and paid options. It lets you publish to your various social media streams from within the platform, has some excellent Analytics tools and a particularly nifty sentiment trend tool.
12) Dash This
DashThis helps you integrate Facebook data with Google Analytics and get all your website and social metrics in one place. This is an excellent solution with pricing from $19/month.
The best of the rest
You should also check out:
http://trendsmap.com: Keep a close eye on trending topics all over the world.
http://www.ubervu.com: Social analytics and insights.
http://woobox.com: Loads of different handy Facebook apps.
http://tagboard.com: Keep an eye on different hashtags.
http://www.livetweetapp.com: A tool to facilitate live tweeting (eg, from conferences).
http://www.tweriod.com - insight to help you work out the best time for tweeting.
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About Stacey Cavanagh
Stacey Cavanagh is Head of Search for UK digital marketing agency, Tecmark She also runs a couple of her own blogs and guest posts on many others. She lives and works in Manchester, UK.