Social Media Tools

Tools to help you have better conversations with your community.
  1. Where To Start
  2. Social Search
  3. Twitter
  4. Facebook
  5. LinkedIn
  6. YouTube
  7. Google+
  8. Pinning
  9. Instagram
  10. Tumblr
  11. Email
  12. Converse With Your Community
  13. Tell Stories With Social Media
  14. Sharing Your Stories

Where to Start

  • NameChk , which searches dozens of social networking sites to see if the username you want is already taken.
  • KnowEm also checks domain names and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for availability of that name.
  • , which -- for $189 -- will secure your username on 300 social media sites and add your logo to each profile.

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Tools for searching across multiple social media platforms.
  • SocialMention -- Real-time search across social media platforms, get daily emails with updates about keywords or brands.
  • -- Find tweets, Instagram photos and Foursquare tips near a certain location
  • Topsy -- Search the social web
  • Ice Rocket -- Search the social web and blogs
  • Row Feeder -- Track keywords, hashtags and usernames from both Twitter and Facebook. Export data to Excel.
  • Think Up -- Tool to capture your updates on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ into a searchable and sortable database


The simplest way to use Twitter is via . But there are many alternative apps and services that make posting to Twitter easy -- and also make it easier for multiple team members to post from a single account.
  • TweetDeck
    • What It Does: A full-service Twitter tool. On one screen, read tweets from those you follow, see who's tweeting at you and retweeting you, and add columns to see tweets about certain phrases or users. Tweets stream in real time. Allows functionality to schedule tweets. Available as either a desktop app or as a plugin for Chrome.
    • What It Doesn't Do: It's designed to be used by a single user per account.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Other perks: Has filtering features built in. Easy to post photos directly from the app. Can also be used to post links to Facebook.
  • HootSuite
    • What It Does: A full-service Twitter tool. Easy to schedule tweets, and statistics about the click-through rates for your tweets is built in. Great for teams that share accounts. The Twitter account of choice for many newsrooms.
    • What It Doesn't Do: In order to get full access to all of its tools, you'll have to upgrade to the paid version. The free version is ad-supported.
    • Cost: $6 per month
    • Other perks: Can post links directly to Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Seesmic
    • What It Does: A full-service Twitter tool. Best for users who want to customize Seesmic via its massive library of plug-ins. Comes in desktop, web or mobile (for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone).
    • What It Doesn't Do: Does not allow for the scheduling of tweets.
    • Cost: Free for some tools. Some apps are ad-supported, but can be ad-free for a monthly fee.
    • Other perks: Works with third parties like Yammer, Salesforce Chatter and Zendesk. Also allows for Twitter search via Topsy add on.
  • Echofon
    • What It Does: A full-service Twitter tool. If you use Echofon on multiple platforms, the service automatically syncs among devices so that you don't read previously-seen tweets. Best for individual accounts. Available on desktop, iPhone and iPad.
    • What It Doesn't Do: Does not allow for the scheduling of tweets.
    • Cost: Free but ad supported, or $5 to $10 to download ad-free, depending on version.
    • Other perks: Built-in tool to mute users or topics.
  • GroupTweet
    • What It Does: Specifically designed for unlimited contributors to post to a single account. Can work with any Twitter client or app. Also allows you to customize how tweets appear (i.e. whether or not an individual tweet is tagged with the username or initials of the person who sent the tweet.)
    • What It Doesn't Do: Only the premium version comes with message moderation, which holds tweets for review before they can be posted.
    • Cost: Free, or $5 for full-featured version.
  • Buffer
    • What It Does: It's a Twitter scheduling service. Write a tweet, and schedule it to post at a specific time. It's excellent for keeping your followers from being overwhelmed by tweets. They've also got plug-ins to allow you to tweet and retweet directly from
    • What It Doesn't Do: Buffer only posts tweets. In order to read other tweets or see what others are tweeting at you, you'll have to go to a different service.
    • Cost: Free for small accounts (keeping 10 posts in your queue at once), $10/month to allow two team members to post from up to five accounts (plus 50 posts in your queue), $99/month to allow five team members to post from unlimited accounts (plus unlimited posts in your queue)
    • Other perks: Can also be used to post links to Facebook.
  • SproutSocial
    • What It Does: Specifically designed for multiple contributors to post to a single account. The accounts can be for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social tools. Allows you to publish, get analytics and monitor discussion about a topic or brand. Works on desktop or mobile.
    • Cost: It's pricey. Most businesses with be interested in their small or medium sized packages. The small package costs $39/month to manage up to 20 profiles, with a cost of $19/month to give additional users access to the accounts. The medium package is $59/month for up to 40 profiles, and $29/month to add additional users. It also comes with additional features for posting to Facebook.
  • SocialBro
    • What it does: Powerful social tools for Twitter. Send tweets, get insights about your community, find when your audience is checking Twitter, search by name, topic or other filter. It's capable of breaking down statistics about your Twitter presence just about any way you want it. For desktop or Chrome.
    • What It Doesn't Do: It won't show you the stream of tweets or @replies.
    • Cost: Free.
  • Tweetbot
    • What It Does: A Twitter app for the iPhone. Designed to help you follow lists and keep track of specific conversations.
    • What It Doesn't Do: Best for individual accounts.
    • Cost: $2.99.
  • Ubersocial
    • What It Does: App for Android, Blackberry and iPhone. Offers built-in themes. Allows for muting of individual users.
    • What It Doesn't Do: Best for individual accounts.
    • Cost: Free but ad supported, or $5 download ad-free version.
    • Other perks: Allows you to post directly to Facebook.
  • Janetter
    • What It Does: Web app for Mac or Windows. Supports multiple accounts. Offers built-in themes and skins. Allows for muting of individual users.
    • What It Doesn't Do: Support other social media tools.
    • Cost: Free.

To Consider Before Tweeting
There is no right way to tweet. The style, tone and content of an account depends on a variety of factors. While crafting a Twitter account, consider:
  • Who does the account represent?
    • Is it the brand as a whole? Is it an individual within the larger brand?
      • Consider the Washington Post. Their main Twitter account -- @washingtonpost -- is serious, with links and breaking news.
      • But individual reporters at the Post are allowed to share their own personality. @ezraklein uses his Twitter feed as an extension of his blog, and as a way to interact with readers.
  • How does the tone of the account reflect upon the brand?
    • Is it serious? Funny? Casual?
    • Do you tweet mostly links? Do you comment on news of the day? Do you post photos/video from your account?
  • How many members of your team contribute to the account?
    • If it's multiple members, do you identify which member sends out an individual tweet?
  • Do you interact with readers?
    • If so, how often?
  • Do you break news on Twitter?
    • News organizations like AP and ESPN have asked reporters not to tweet breaking news until a story is first published.
    • Others post to Twitter as soon as news is verified.
  • How do you use hashtags?
  • What is the editorial process for tweets?
  • What about retweets?
    • Does a retweet equal approval/endorsement of that tweet?
    • Are retweets subject to the same fact-checking process that all stories in the newsroom typically pass through?
    • How do you attribute/cite other sources on Twitter?

Getting the most out of Twitter
  • Twitter for Newsrooms -- Twitter's guide for media
  • Searching On Twitter
  • Measure Influence/Understanding Your Networks
    • Klout -- Measure your social media influence
    • PeerIndex -- Measures your social media influence
    • Kred -- Measure your Twitter influence
    • FollowerWonk -- Analyze your Twitter followers and find influential people to connect with
    • TweetLevel -- Identify key members of the community engaged in discussion about a specific topic
    • ReFollow -- Manage and better understand your Twitter relationships
    • Traackr ($399 per month) -- Find authoritative voices in your market, see what influencers are saying about your brand, and engage those voices in conversation
    • SocMetrics (Prices vary) -- Find and engage influencers, measure ROI on campaigns
    • Friend or Follow -- Find who's not following you or is unfollowing you
    • Timely -- Like SocialFlow, it schedules tweets to give your content maximum impact
    • Tweriod -- Analyzes your tweets and tells you when your users are listening and engaged
    • Pluggio -- Tool for managing your Twitter account and increasing traffic to your site
    • -- Find popular hashtags and measure the conversation around that hashtag
    • TweetCharts -- Generate charts with data about any word, phrase, URL, hashtag or username on Twitter.
  • Engaging With Your Networks
    • SocialFlow -- Times your tweets to match the times in which your users are most like to engage with your content
    • Polly.IM -- Tool for small businesses to monitor and respond to customers
    • Muuter -- Temporarily remove friends, topics or hashtags from your Twitter feed
    • TweetReach -- See how far your tweets travel
    • (Prices vary) -- Tool for brands to connect with their fans
    • Who Gives a Tweet? -- Tool to get ratings/reviews from other users about the content and quality of your tweets
    • Roost (Prices vary) -- Tool for brands to connect with fans on Twitter or Facebook
    • Poptip -- Create real-time Twitter polls and measure response from your audience
    • TweetAdder ($55+) -- Tools to find conversation and engage with users

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  • OpenBook -- Searching for public information on Facebook
  • Kurrently -- Searching for public information on Facebook or Twitter
  • - Search status updates
  • Involver -- Helps build unique Facebook pages
  • SocialAppsHQ -- Apps to create unique content on your Facebook page
  • Facebook Debugger -- See how your content will show up on Facebook when users share it with friends
  • EdgeRank Checker -- Monitor the effectiveness of your page, get advice on when to post and how to improve engagement
  • Lujure (Free, or $30+) -- Create custom tabs on your Facebook fan page.
  • PostRocket -- Tool to help you monitor engagement on your page and make your content more viral

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There are many new tools that allow someone to "pin" something from the web to an electronic board. These tools have become increasingly popular ways to curate things on the web.

Among the tools for pinning are:

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Instagram is the current leader in the field of mobile sharing. It's also a powerful social network for connecting with others and finding photos.
  • Web.stagram -- Search for photos posted to Instagram
  • Webbygram -- Search for photos posted to Instagram
  • GramFeed -- Search for photos posted to Instagram
  • Hashgram -- Search for photos posted to Instagram based on hashtag or username
  • Statigram -- Search Instagram, direct message other users, find metrics about when to post photos and which filters are most popular
  • Instagrid -- Create a web gallery of your Instagram photos
  • Followgram -- Create a web gallery or RSS feed for your Instagram photos

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Simple ways to send out email blasts/newsletters to consumers of your site. Whether or not you opt for a free or paid version depends on the number of subscribers you're sending emails out to and whether or not you want your emails to be free of outside branding. (Many email services, like MailChimp, will add their logo to the bottom of each email sent out via their free service.)

Like a Twitter account, there isn't one right way to produce an email newsletter. The best offer original commentary and an original voice.

Many of the most successful newsletters come from individual voices or bloggers, and are used to further strengthen the ties among that community.

Other news organizations use newsletters to distribute deals or offers.

Among the popular email tools are:

Other email tools:
  • ToutApp -- Helps streamline the process of sending repetitive emails
  • Postmark -- Helps ensure that your emails end up in inboxes, not spam folders
  • Rapleaf -- Get data about the users on your email listserv
  • Goooal -- Segment your MailChimp listservs based on what pages your readers visit on your site
  • Airtime ($10) -- Market your products via your email signature

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Converse With Your Community

  • Disqus -- A commenting platform that works with any CMS
  • Intense Debate -- A commenting platform originally built by the team behind WordPress. It works with any CMS
  • LiveFyre -- A commenting platform for WordPress or Tumblr
  • Cover It Live -- Embeddable tool to engage users in live discussions, Q&As, etc.
  • ScribbleLive -- Real-time CMS platform for user engagement
  • Postling ($3 per month) -- Publish to all your social media platforms and respond to comments from one place
  • NewsCloud -- An open source application to host a Facebook-powered, interactive community home on your site.
  • GetSatisfaction -- Start and manage conversations with consumers about your brand
  • ReportAnError -- Tool to get feedback from readers on reporting errors
  • NewsTrust -- Promote discussion about your content
  • Urtak -- A question and answer tool to promote discussion about your content
  • IdeaScale -- Solicit ideas and discussion from customers
  • Knodes -- Share content with the part of your community that's interested in it, and find experts from across your existing networks
  • Boxcar -- Get instant notifications from all your social networks in one place
  • Nutshell Mail -- Send you an daily email with updates on what people have been posting online about your brand
  • Engagio -- A Gmail-like productivity tool to manage your conversations in social networks and commenting systems. Tracks conversations across Facebook, Twitter, Disqus, Tumblr, and more.
  • Vanilla Forums ($49+ per month) -- Create forums for discussion among your users
  • Mention -- Track mentions of your bran
  • FanMix -- Manage all your social media conversations -- from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, comment threads, etc -- from one inbox
  • NeedTagger ($99+) -- Find people discussing issues that matter to you and connect with them
  • Chute -- Capture, manage and display user-generated content
  • GoChime -- Connect with social media users with questions that you or your brand can answer

Tell Stories With Social Media

Tools to create, curate and share stories told via social media.
  • Storify -- Create stories using social media elements from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and others. Add in your own commentary. Update stories as they happen. Embed and share your stories easily. Allows for other users to collaborate on your Storify. Free.
  • Bundlr -- Similar to Bundlr, it's a tool to create stories using multiple social media channels, and it's easy to embed and share these stories. Bundlr also has privacy features built on. Bundles can be kept private with premium accounts. $5/month for teams to use, $10/month to keep your bundles private.
  • Amplify -- Clip stories, photos or video and share them with others.

Sharing Your Stories

Tools to help your readers share your stories with friends.
  • AddThis -- Plugin to allow sharing to dozens of social networking sites. Buttons can be customized, as can the message shown when the content is shared.
  • Shareaholic -- Plugin to allow sharing to dozens of social networking sites.
  • ClickToTweet -- Tool to make it easy for readers to retweet a specific message right from your content.
  • Tweet Link Generator -- Like Click To Tweet, a tool to make it easy for readers to retweet a specific message right from your content.
  • Sociable (WordPress only) -- Plugin to allow sharing to dozens of social networking sites.
  • Digg Digg (WordPress only) -- Floating sidebar to allow users to share stories on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Buffer,
  • -- Button to help users share your stories. Users can set their account to automatically share stories about certain topics.
  • -- Tool to help fans share your content on their social media platforms
  • Viral Gate -- Tool that asks users to share your content before they can view the whole of a story.
  • Socialize -- Add social sharing to your iPhone, iPad or Android app
  • ShareKit -- Add social sharing to your iPhone or iPad app
  • Thunderclap -- Empower your users to simultaneously share a message/link with all of their Facebook fans