Tools (by S. Svadilfari)
There seem to be lots and lots of tools for social media professionals, but as community managers what kind of tools are essential? We need different kinds of tools, or maybe we do need tools in different way. What tools do you use every day? Do you make use of some special features not many people know?
By no means is this list complete, but it works for me! I greatly appreciate new suggestions.
There’s just no way you can do your job without one.
You need to stay in touch what’s happing on many sites about the subject of your community. Google Reader
is perfect to read hundreds of sites, get recommendations about articles of friends or community members and just one click away from sharing nice articles via twitter and your website (you need to add a clip to your site (via shared items, sharing settings). You can see my shared items here
You do need to know what your members and readers (potential new members) are looking at on your website or forum. It is very cool to see how people formulate what they are looking for at Google and thus via what kinds of keywords people find you. Google Analytics
is, to my knowledge, one of the most easy and advanced tools for webanalytics.
Google keyword tool
Especially when your new to the subject of your community, the Google Keyworld Tool
is easy way to learn about words that are used by people like the people in your community.
Who’s talking about the topics your community is about? Use the Advanced Twitter Search
feature if your community is local or in a language other than english. Search only for tweets in an area, for example if you’re looking for people in The Netherlands: search within 130 miles of Utrecht. You can adjust the distance to your exact wishes in the url after your first search with a distance.
you when the name of your community is mentioned anywhere on the internet, so you can act upon it. You might use this for competing communities as well, just to know where people are who you might want in your community.
Datumprikker (‘pick a date’)
‘Pick a date’ or Datumprikker
, you can use this dutch tool with english settings. It does exactly what you think it does, it makes it easy to find a pick a date if you’re going to meet up with several people. Something which no community can do without.
You might want to create small groups of experts of a different topics. It’s very important for teambuilding that a group can easily reach one another without sending a message to someone specific. I’m slowly starting to get annoyed by too much strange behaviour, chaotic UI and requirements of Google Groups
. What do you use for mailinglists?
Sure, everybody uses Twitter, but keeping a good view on what’s happening in your community and in the rest of the world on the subject of you community is something else. Tweetdeck
is constantly improving and has a lot of advanced features (ie. filter Foursquare out of your timeline) and You can use Tweetdeck with multiple Twitter-accounts, which is nice if you have a personal and a community-account. Also, having specific twitter searches in a column allows you to monitor discussions and topics.
Google docs (and forms)
If you want to create a quick poll or form and have it online in one click, this is the easiest way to do it. Open Google Docs
and click on ‘create new’ -> form. Easy as that. When you copy the layout and questions from a previous poll, remember to not only clear the answers in the spreadsheet but also to delete the rows entirely. Otherwise Google doesn’t see the spreadsheet as empty and will use previous answers to the summery of a new form.
You probably know twitterfeed.com
as a service for automatically sharing new blogposts or articles posted in your community via twitter. dlvr.it
is much more reliable and shares new posts much faster.
You want to know how many people share your links on twitter and how many people click in those links. This is the tool for it. The best part of it, it is highly automated: To automatically shorten links and link them to your bit.ly
account to get a nice overview of the click statistics copy the bit.ly API Key from the settings to Tweetdeck (settings -> services). To shorten everything you share via dlvr.it copy the same bit.ly API Key to dlvr.it (settings -> short links -> add shortener -> bit.ly -> make default)
The jury is not out on whether Yammer
is the next big thing for communities or just another platform you need to monitor and manage. It basically is Facebook for communities or companies
I’m sure I forgot a whole bunch of tools that I use on a less regular basis. What kind of tools do you use?