Check out SOCi, GappleAMP, SocialOomph, Buffer & Hootsuite
Target audience: Marketing professionals, brand managers, SEO specialists, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.
Iam surprised how much of a one-man band I have become through social media thanks to a little help from my friends: free and low-cost tools.
Here are the top social media applications I use in order to help lead my clients and my own brand through all the background noise and into the spotlight.
1It’s no longer OK to just drop links into your social media stream from Mashable or the Huffington Post. In a world in which everyone is dropping the same generalist links into their feed, curation needs to change its focus from social sharing (I’m smart because what I read is smart) to social engagement (I’m smart because I know what you wants to read and can provide it). Social sharing is no longer just about dropping links in the same way that being a DJ is no longer just about dropping tracks, it’s about feeling the crowd and stoking them up into a dance frenzy. What is it called when you stoke your followers into a dance frenzy? Engagement!
That is where SOCi comes in.
SOCi is a platform that allows you and your team to sort through piles and piles of content from across the social mediaphere, including content on Facebook using keywords and categories with the goal of collecting the best, most relevant news and content short of writing it all yourself. The SOCi platform is an enterprise platform, best suited to agencies and medium and large companies, allowing property management companies, for example, to harvest all the online content best suited to the needs of both the residents and prospective residents over some or all of the rental properties.
So, with SOCi, you can separate the content discernment process, collecting all the best evergreen and time-sensitive content into libraries that can can be stored and then used as content for one or all of the properties, depending on whether they have a pool or not, whether they’re in a particular city or region or not. You can break what can be an unwieldy world for each individual building manager into something that one or two people can manage for dozens of properties — at least in part.
There can always be a hybrid in which a SOCi team can take care of the general and location news (there’s a block party coming to Pentagon City, for example) while the building’s office team can take care of things like the time, date, and location of the next pool party or ice cream social. SOCi is really a very interesting and powerful tool that thinks differently and thinks better about what social needs to be for businesses in order to show a return on investment while minimizing the overhead of a huge social media team.
2Why aren’t you using GaggleAMP? Like building an email newsletter list, building your GaggleAMP can take time, so start now. I currently have about 635 members in my Chris Abraham gaggle, and it’s my secret weapon — and also the secret weapon of many of my colleagues and clients, too.
What is GaggleAMP?
To me, it’s an email list turned upside down. When people join my Gaggle, they’re signing up to retweet and share some or all of what I share and post to GaggleAMP onto one or all of their social media platforms, either automatically via AutoAMP through Twitter and LinkedIn or moderated in a queue to Facebook and Google+. So, every time I share something onto my GaggleAMP, an average of 69 tweets and retweets go out on my behalf within a few hours.
Why do you need it? Well, if you’re a church, you can create a gaggle for all your members and congregants. If you’re a business, you can make it required that all your employees join your company gaggle and turn on their AutoAMP so that your company message automatically streams through all of your company’s employees social media profiles. If you’re a store or a brand or a band or an author, you can ask your friends, family, fans, and customers to help you get the word out on their behalf.
After all, you’ve probably been through the whole internal group email in which you try to beg your staff to share your latest blog post or latest public event or even the newest video or press release. You try to make it as easy as possible, even pre-writing, pre-linking, and pre-hashtagging the posts so that all they have to do is copy, paste, and post. Nope. Well, with GaggleAMP, all you need to do is harass them once, in order to get them joined up and AutoAMPed.
Once they’re on, there’s a gamification aspect, through which you can allow all the members of your gaggle to compete over points, rewarding the top earners with prizes. In addition to points, you can reward them on reach as well, which might encourage them to link your gaggle to their actual real Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn account instead of creating new accounts just to appease you and your new GaggleAMP craze.
Makes sense, right?
Sharing your gaggle’s content to your employee’s 5,423 Twitter followers would be more powerful a social signal than to their 23 followers they have on the account they created for you.
3The reason why I can never quit SocialOomph and always resubscribe is because it solves a problem for me that I can’t solve with anything else: endlessly distributing evergreen content that my clients and I want and need to share all the time, over the course of forever, with no end, across at least a few social media platforms.
I use it personally to make sure I never forget #followfriday every Friday, my clients use it to make sure that their Facebook Pages and Twitter profiles periodically have “about us” and “hire us” and “what we do” and “sponsored by” content to their social streams while they just focus on adding content, driving engagement, and informing their friends, followers, and Likers about timely, now-now-now content instead of needing to spend much time with the “commercials.”
What I like about this tool is that the queue is never empty, you can recycle the evergreen content. Also, you can just create tweets or posts, add the hashtags you want, and then just collect them into a text file, one complete tweet per line, and then upload that. You don’t have to deal with the elaborate, insufferable upload templates that Hootsuite, GaggleAMP, and others make you fill out, with post dates and all that stuff.
All I need to do is upload the tweets and the Facebook posts and tell SocialOomph at what frequency I want the posts to trickle out and on which profiles and platforms I want them to post. SocialOomph takes care of the rest. And, there’s a checkbox that allows me to make the queue bottomless so that each tweet or post gets put back to the bottom of the queue after it’s used, meaning you can set it up once and then forget about it and as long as you keep paying SocialOomph, it’ll work.
Better yet, if you stop paying SocialOomph, they won’t kill your projects or data, they’ll just put them on hold. The moment you resubscribe, you’ll be able to start everything up again. I like SocialOomph for that because I did exactly that — I guess I unsubscribed for some reason — and I freaked out only to realize everything was fine, I just needed to get back onto the paid bandwagon and everything returned back to normal (to the chagrin of some of the folks I always endlessly automatically #followfriday every Friday without fail).
4Everyone loves Buffer and you probably already use it. What I love about Buffer (and I am a loyal paying member): suggested content (I use it), RSS sharing (I use this all the time, to recycle these articles deep into the future), and because Buffer is smart and, unlike Hootsuite, it tries to tailor your shares to become as platform native as possible.
Buffer tries to follow the link on the tweet that you cross-post to Facebook to find a good photo to display, then it tried to convert the Twitter-native @chrisabraham to Chris Abraham and then it removed the link from displaying inline on Google+ and Facebook, turning content that while optimized for Twitter looks fugly on Facebook and G+ into content that generally looks as good on Facebook and Google+ as it does on Twitter.
This means that you can finally create Twitter-optimized content only, along with references and @references and have it not look bad on other platforms. I don’t know if they tout that very much but it’s a game-changer, though there are sometimes some rendering snafus.
5I pay for Hootsuite but I really only use it for one thing: queueing up posts to post automatically on Google+ because SocialOomph doesn’t work with G+ as far as I know, so I keep on using Hootsuite and paying the fee if only for that feature, though it’s not nearly as durable, infinite, and awesome, to me, as is SocialOomph (if you have any other solutions, please let me know).
That’s it for now. Please let me know what your favorite tools are (and why) in the comments because I really love to discover new tools and, after doing a cursory search, there are a metric bazillion of them.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.