What's the difference between a social media noob and a social scientist? Research. When developing a social media campaign, marketers need to answer three major questions:
1. What do I need to say?
2. Who needs to read it?
3. When should I tell them?
Anyone can guess when to publish something, but with analytics you can be certain your message is receiving the largest audience. The next time you build your next social strategy, try these six social media tools to see if your gut feeling is the next viral campaign, or just a case of indigestion.
6 Freemium Social Media Tools
HootSuite is the Sizzler of social media because it breaks down Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare into an assortment of delectable bite-size pieces. With the ability to schedule posts (one-off or in bulk) and analyze reports, this is a great building block for any social campaign.
Tip Takeaway: Use HootSuite custom applications. Apps like InboxQ sync beautifully with HootSuite and will help you increase social media interactions by locating questions for you to answer.
Count how many people click the links you share with bit.ly. It's one of the most popular URL shortening services that allow you to view real-time click stats as they happen for free!Tip Takeaway: If you're looking to increase branding and awareness, invest in bit.ly branded URLs, which allow you to insert your company name into the URL.
Similar Tools: goo.gl, Owl.ly, Deck.ly, Su.pr
There's a plethora of tools that will help you schedule a message. However, no one does it as well as Timely.is. Not only will it schedule your updates throughout the day, Timely.is analyzes messaging habits and will publish tweets or Facebook posts during your highest interaction periods of the day. For instance, if you receive more interactions (clicks, comments, mentions) at noon compared 3:00 p.m., Timely.is will schedule accordingly.
Takeaway Tip: Sync your Timely.is account with bit.ly and add the widget to your browser. If you ever read a neat story or ever want to share a link, this is a perfect tool to do it.Similar Tools: Buffer
If you search @SocialDoug on TweetCharts, you'll see that 82% of my tweets contain a link, 90% of my tweets mention someone else and only 14% of my tweets are replies to someone else. Using this data, you can assume that I am more likely to share content like news links than to reply to someone in my newsfeed.TweetCharts provides an absolutely mindboggling amount of data about any word, phrase, URL, hashtag or username on Twitter. It's data you should be willing to pay for, but you don't have to because it's free.
Takeaway Tip: Use this tool while brainstorming a campaign. I've had many arguments with clients about when's the right time to use a hashtag. This tool solves all those problems.Similar tools: The Archivist
Everyone knows Pinterest is hot, but how do you know what's hot on Pinterest? Repinly tracks the most popular boards, people and pins to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest content.Takeaway Tip: Just because it's popular on Pinterest doesn't mean it has to stay on Pinterest. If you find an applicable image or video through Repinly, share it on other channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
#6: All My Plus
Google+ doesn't get a ton of help in the tools department, but All My Plus is a handy API reader that you can learn to love. Insert any profile ID into the tool (that long stretch of numbers on the end of your Google+ account URL) and All My Plus will list the history and interactions for every update on that profile or page.
Takeaway Tip: If you need a Google+ report, download the raw data file. Use this information to find correlations between length updates and publish dates and times with interactions. The possibilities are endless.
Doug Antkowiak is a social media specialist and writer of short sentences at Portent, Inc., a full-service marketing agency in Seattle, WA. Feel free to bug him with social media questions at @SocialDoug.