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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Social media is becoming an increasingly important component in the plans of many organizations. The social web has plenty to offer, but making the most of it is much more than setting up a profile on a few popular sites. It’s about creating an active presence and having the tools that allow you to manage it effectively. These six tools will help you tune your social marketing efforts to peak-level performance.

1. HootSuite
HootSuite is a very popular choice among small businesses. This tool is essentially a web-based platform that lets you manage your presence across the social web. So you can manage profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other networks from a single interface. In addition, the streamlined goodness of the HootSuite allows you to schedule posts, monitor brand mentions, and even analyze social traffic.

HootSuite is free to use, but you can upgrade to the paid Pro version, which of course, frees you of the limitations that accompany the free version.

2. Traackr
At one time, social analytics tools were scare. Now they’re all over the place. Traackr is a little known tool slowly but surely proving to be one of the best of its kind. With Traackr, you can easily identify the influencers who are the most valuable to your brand. It lets you see how these authority figures are responding to your content by viewing who is contributing the most to your social marketing campaigns. From there, you can build new strategies around the data, and then view the results of your efforts.

Traackr is available at a fixed monthly rate, but plans can be scaled to fit individual needs.
3. TwitterSearch
If Twitter is one of your preferred social networking channels, then TwitterSearch should be one of your favorite tools. This tool can help you find just about whatever you need on the popular microblogging site. For example, you can use it to find out what people are saying about your brand, or what they are saying about your competition. It’s also great for researching trending topics that would fit into your content marketing strategy.

Freely available, TwitterSearch is an underrated social discovery gem you don’t want to sleep on.

4. Wildfire
Wildfire is a powerful platform that lets you monitor and manage your social media presence. An integrated suite of solutions, it offers advertising, messaging, analytics, and various other features for brands looking to maximize their efforts. With Wildfire, you can create engaging experiences that captivate your audience, and then have a comprehensive view into deep insights that enable you to do it again, this time, even better.

Wildfire, now owned by Google, is a in Pro and Enterprise pricing plans for social marketers with slightly different needs.

5. Postano
Postano provides a convenient way to stay active across all your social spots. It lets you aggregate content from each of the top social networks, and even those that are not directly supported can be connected via RSS feeds. Furthermore, you can designate specific times to post your updates, make edits before publishing, and prevent specific users from seeing specific content. With Postano, sharing your content is a breeze as it allows you to easily embed posts into web pages, sidebar widgets, and various management interfaces.

Postano plans come in three pricing tiers, but you can also give it a test drive with a free trial.

6. VenueSeen
Last on the list is VenueSeen, definitely one of the most interesting social tools around. VenueSeen is unique in how it tracks the activity of photos taken within your place of business. This app collects data related to the pictures you post on Foursquare and Instagram, and serves it up in a way that makes it easy to see what type of buzz you’re generating. The platform offers additional tools for connecting with your audience through marketing campaigns, and even developing custom experiences with API integration.

VenueSeen is available on a monthly subscription at a price that you may find surprisingly affordable considering what’s included in the package.

Load Up the Toolbox
Ignoring social media is starting to become a bigger risk than taking the actual plunge. This space is filling up with competition and while there is still plenty of room, you want to have your feet firmly rooted in a comfortable position. Stock your toolbox with options that will take your social media marketing efforts to the next plateau. It’s the only way to fly.

Guest post written by Francis Santos who is a writer for Benchmark Email, a best practices event marketing company.


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