For businesses large and small, social media has provided exciting and revolutionary new ways to interact with today's consumers. With the help of social media marketing, businesses can not only learn what their customers are thinking about their products and services, but also respond and interact with a wide online audience of potential buyers.
As consumers, we've found both Facebook and Twitter to be excellent ways to interact with companies, the interconnectedness of people on these social networks is unparalleled anywhere else on the web. However, besides Facebook and Twitter, one can use many other different social mediums to constantly put out information and maintain an engagement to keep the company fresh in the minds of existing and potential customers. Utilizing the power of social media provides companies with opportunity to create a public face and allows them to take the reins on how their brand is perceived.
Upon wanting to move forward and join the social media movement, there are some useful tools that companies can use to execute online strategies and track invaluable statistics that provide insights on a company's web and social media footprint. Here's a rundown of top the 20 social media marketing sites that can bring your business to a new level:
Tracking & Measuring Tools
In the business world, we naturally track and measure everything we do, it's how we know if we are successful, or if we have a little more work to do. In the social media realm, it's a little different; it's all about measuring your level of engagement on your end and on the consumer's end. Below are some useful tracking and measuring tools:
1. Twitter Counter
This is rather simple: Twitter Counter provides statistics of Twitter usage. At what rate are you gaining new followers and how many? What days are you tweeting most on?
2. Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights provides Facebook Page owners with metrics around their content. Facebook Insights specifically analyzes trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content.
3. YouTube Insight
YouTube Insight provides analytics that enables account holders to view detailed statistics about the audience for the videos that they upload to the site in five distinct areas: views and popularity, discovery (how are people discovering your videos), demographics, community engagement and audience attention (bounce and rewind rates).
Bit.ly is a URL shortening service mostly used on Twitter that also provides statistics related to users that click on generated links. In addition, due to Twitter's restriction on the number of characters that can be used in a tweet, the URL shortening has proven to be a very handy tool.
BackType is a marketing intelligence platform that helps brands and agencies understand the business impact of social media.
Clicky provides web analytics that help monitor, analyze, and react to a blog or web site's traffic in real time.
RowFeeder is another social media monitoring and analysis tool that can generate beautiful reports in Excel.
Auto-scheduling & Profile Management Tools
For many of us, time is rare in our lives. We are always eager to find automated solutions that can get the job done quickly. For social media purposes, we've selected two applications that can help you save time executing your online marketing campaigns:
HootSuite allows you to monitor, manage and post to multiple social networks including: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and WordPress. In addition, the service allows you to auto schedule your posts and keep your customers engaged with your social profiles even when you are in a meeting or asleep.
Tweetdeck is another universal auto scheduling service that allows you to keep all of your main social media profiles on one dashboard and post to multiple networks from one place with a click of a button.
Social Media Search Engines
With so many social media channels available for businesses to utilize, it can be hard to keep up! The following tools provide easy ways to find the right niches for your social media engagement as well as build up your social media network:
Topsy is a real-time search engine that indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain queried.
Followerwonk allows users to easily find Twitter users who may be of interest to their company based on bios or keywords. Because Twitter can serve as an excellent tool for you to share news and build a list of influential followers, using Followerwonk to build up a Twitter presence in advance is the key to spreading the word at the right time.
12. Social Mention
Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from across the web into a single stream of information. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media channels directly including: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Google, etc. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web's social media landscape in real-time.
13. Board Reader
Board Reader is a great tool that can be used to find relevant discussion forums that allow companies to engage with the readers and leave comments.
Trunk.ly is a surprisingly simple tool that collects all of the links that you share online and allows you to find them whenever they're needed.
We all have questions, right? But sometimes we don't know who to ask or if we will be provided the best answer. The following sites are great resources to peruse questions of every day people answered by experts and, of course, every day people who also know best:
Quora is a collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. It is primarily used by tech savvies and professionals who are the first adapters of new technologies.
16. LinkedIn Answers
LinkedIn Answers provides business advice from hundreds of thousands of experts who likely have a presence on their site. If you have a question for a specific industry, here is where you want to go.
17. Facebook Questions
Facebook Questions allows users to get answers to their questions from the entire Facebook community.
StackOverflow is a great Q&A site created for web designers and programmers. It is a truly valuable resource that allows you to find answers to pretty much all technical questions.
Emerging Social Media Reputation Measurement Tools
It's hard to imagine what's the next big thing in social media. Right now, Facebook and Twitter reign supreme, but here are two sites worth keeping your eye on:
Klout provides social media analytics and measures the strength (on a scale from 1 to 100) of a person's social media engagement based on the level of participation, popularity and reputation. The higher your Klout score, the more important you are in the realm of social media. Some companies begin to reward individuals with high Klout scores.
About.me allows to build simple splash pages that point visitors to your content around the web and your social media sites.
With the popularity of independent creators rising to astronomical proportions, Grin gives marketers a better way to reach out, build relationships and ultimately create more love for their brands through influencers. The Grin platform does just that by helping users automate, scale and track their influencer campaigns on one beautiful, easy-to-use dashboard. The main difference between Grin and Hootsuite for example is that Grin is geared more towards influencer marketing and finding influencers instead of social media management.
You can also read about 38 free online SEO tools. We'd love to hear your thoughts, comments or links to other social media marketing tools. Please use the comments area below.