Manage your social brand on a budget

Aug 21, 2011 12:26:33 PM

5 tools to maximize your social influence.

Maximizing your social influence doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. In fact, spending 20 minutes a day Tweeting, Facebooking and general stalking is all you need to keep the conversation going. Here’s a quick rundown of a few popular social media management tools that can help you build more buzz in minimal time and for less buck.

TweetDeck: TweetDeck allows users to monitor and manage what’s happening across multiple social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and foursquare all in one powerful and flexible custom-based dashboard. Free to use, the tool is (as the name indicates) best for viewing and managing multiple Twitter feeds, searches and mentions.

HootSuite: HootSuite is another social media dashboard for managing Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wordpress and many of the other popular social networking sites. HootSuite’s feature to fame is its ability to schedule future posts and display statistics for your Tweets. For the agent on-the-go having your tweets go out at peak times of the day and being able to monitor analytics to tweak your strategy is an excellent asset to your overall Social Media plan. HootSuite also lets you manage multiple contributors and share data access without sharing passwords which is an added benefit for individuals who might have many team members posting.

SproutSocial: SproutSocial allows businesses to effieciently and effectively manage and grow their social presence across channels and turn social connections into loyal customers. The online application integrates well with Twitter, Facebook Pages, Yelp, LinkedIn, Foursquare and other networks where potential clients are engaging with your brand. While SproutSocial does come with a monthly fee (See Pricing Breakdown), its slick interface and integration features, including Google Analytics on one single dashboard make it a great option.

Actionly: Actionly’s claim is that it will help you with actionable insights from social media monitoring and Twitter analytics to help your grow your social media program. With Actionly you can monitor searches on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Google Buzz, Blogs and news. The social media management tool, like TweetDeck, HootSuite and SproutSocial, has a Dashboard that lets you manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts and you can invite users and assign posts to manage your workflow. As for ROI, Actionly measures social media campaigns, post-click conversions and is also integrated with Google Analytics. Actionly has a free plan, however, they limit you to One Search. Prices go up from there.

NutshelllMail: Nutshell Mail, which is from ConstantContact is a free service that helps busy professionals keep track of critical conversations about their company and the competition, and keeps them informed about what their customers are talking about -- all from the place where they spend most of their online time: email. Users can customize the content they want to track, add search terms, and choose how frequently they want to receive email updates. Users can keep track of Likes, Posts, Comments and Insights on Facebook and see new mentions, new followers, quitters, search results and tweets from favorite lists on the Twitter summary. The best part is being able to Tweet, Reply and DM without leaving your email inbox.

Choosing the right social media management tool will be based on which tool has the most robust features for the Social Media site you rely on for staying in touch with potential business. Finding more success on Facebook, Actionly’s analytics might be a better option, than say TweetDeck or NutshellMail which are super social tools for Twitter.

What’s your take? Which of the above tools has worked for you? Are there any social media management tools that you could recommend for personal use? Business?