Facebook, blogging, and even the internet -- it cannot be denied the digital era has certainly provided a robust ecosystem for it to flourish. After all, the internet doesn't just connect computers, it connects people, right? Regardless, the web will never be the same.
As a devout media technologist, I love following the new tools of emerging platforms -- and nowhere can you get a better sense of this game-changing social ecosystem than in its tools.
There are tools to monitor your social buzz, schedule your tweets, share your photos, build your Facebook tabs, and so forth. It's absolutely amazing just how many platforms, apps, and sites are dedicated to this medium. While researching this article, I literally uncovered hundreds (if not thousands) of tools available ranging from free to highly expensive, from tools that help you tap into dozens of social networks, to tools that perform the most specialized, niche task on a single feature of Facebook. Crazy!
So, the following list of social media tools is just a fraction of what's really out there. Rather than trying to tackle the unwinnable task of cataloging every social media tool available, this article will highlight the types of tools being developed out there, so you know what exists and what might be useful to you. That being said, there's almost two hundred tools for your perusal.
Fifteen interesting social tools you should know about
- Friend or Follow tells users whom they're not following on Twitter.
- Conversocial.com helps users manage customer service at scale on Facebook and Twitter. Conversocial enables workflow for multi-person teams to tackle the consumer communication for large brands.
- NutshellMail users social network updates so they don't have to login and check. Nice!
- UserVoice creates engaging survey forms on Facebook and other sites to solicit feedback from fans and visitors.
- MemoLane is a "virtual scrapbook" generated by a user's social media history. It also allows users to search their social history across multiple networks.
- PinBoard is a really smart, user-centric, privacy-focused social bookmarking platform.
- Inside View gives users an aggregate view of the social presence and activity of a company.
- bufferapp is tiny little tool that lets users schedule time-released tweets.
- CloudFlood gives away freebies in exchange for social media actions.
- Disqus is a better, real-time comments system for users' site or blog with fully integrated social network elements.
- Tweriod helps users figure out the best times to tweet based on the activity of their followers' streams. (Note that it may take some time for Tweriod to gather enough data for analysis.)
- Slideshare is a home for sharing presentations and white papers online.
- Polldaddy enables users to add quick and easy polls to blog posts.
- Twylah allows users to create a branded page for their Twitter stream.
- EveryStockPhoto bills themselves as "the largest search engine for free photos." It is a great way to find images for social media content.
Social networking sites
Use these sites to connect with friends, family, and even strangers instantly and at scale.
Social bookmarking and recommendation
Community users submit links to content and resources around the web to share with their peers.
- squidoo.com allows users to build full pages of content on any topic.
- stumbleupon is a great site to find interesting content.
Manage multiple social networks
These tools allow users to connect various different social networks and remotely control the sites (at least the status updates) from a single location.
- SproutSocial markets itself as "complete social media management" able to manage, track, gather insights, etc.
- FriendFeed Yumeo
Third party Twitter tools (called "Twitter clients") can provide more features and higher functionality than Twitter. These tools are generally used by power users with multiple accounts.
Use these tools to get important information and stats on users various social network accounts.
Search the social networks
These tools help users tap into real-time, keyword driven results on various social network platforms.
- Twellow.com is billed as the "yellow pages" for Twitter.
- TweetMeme is a Twitter retweet directory.
- Spokeo Search
Research and data monitoring tools
These tools help tap into the social media universe to build insights mainly used for media planning
Check the buzz and monitor reputations
These tools allow users to set up alerts to see what is being said about themselves and others in the social sphere.
- Klout simplifies the ability to understand who the most important social influencers are with a simple scoring system.
- Social Mention
- Meltwater Buzz
- Google Alerts
- Infegy Social Radar
- Boardtracker allows users to track forums, comments, discussion boards, etc.
- Social Report
These tools can help users to measure their impact in the social sphere with unique metrics and data -- thereby revealing the elusive ROI.
- PostRank Analytics
- The Echo System
- Social Mention
- BlogPulse Conversation Tracker
Facebook tab creation
These tools allow users to build professional, engaging Facebook tabs from easy templates with such features as contests, photo galleries, surveys and polls, coupon servers, etc.
- Wildfire Interactive is very easy to use and offers inexpensive options for adding really cool features to users' Facebook tabs.
- Buddy Media
- Context Optional
- Fan Appz
- Direct Message Lab
Facebook ad management
Facebook advertising is now the No. 1 banner distribution source, with almost one third of all banner ads on the web! Use these tools to plug in to the FB self-service platform with increased functionality and optimization capability. Here is the big list officially approved by Facebook.
Social advertising platforms
Social advertising is not just Twitter and Facebook. Find advertising opportunities on other relevant sites
- LinkedIn DirectAds is the leader in social B2B has done a very good job putting together a solid, self-service platform with stellar targeting.
- YouTube Video Targeting Tool
- StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
- Digg Ads
Work with these vendors to buy online display media impressions that are targeted to the social connections of your best customers.
Social advertising ad units
Embed deep social network integration into your digital advertising creative such as like buttons, polls, surveys, etc. Research has shown that in some cases, social context in advertising can give boosts to engagement metrics.
Social sharing widgets
We've all seen the small widgets next to content all around the web that allows visitors to immediately share to dozens of social networks and bookmarking sites. This is a no-brainer for publishers -- studies have shown that pages with this functionality get shared many more times than ones that don't.
Find and build relationships with influential bloggers and other social content creators to help get the word out about your brand (with full transparency to the users).
These (mostly) free platforms enable users to create their own blog in minutes.
- WordPress.com is one of the foundation pillars of bloggers around the world. There are literally thousands of plugins and themes built by the community that users can utilize to build in many engaging features and functionalities to their blog.
- Zooshia.com enables users to create widgets.
- TwitterFeed allows users to feed their blog to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- OnlyWire let users auto-submit blogs to multiple social bookmark sites simultaneously.
- Feedcompare allows users to compare blogs.
Nowadays, discovering a blog is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. These blog search engines can help to uncover interesting content that might otherwise be missed.
These tools help uncover the most important media folks engaged in social.
Twitter is the most well-known micro-blogging tool by far. These platforms offer one-to-one or many-to-one communication in tiny bursts.
RSS stands for "really simple syndication." RSS allows content creators to publish their blogs or other media in an "always on" stream.
Use these directories to discover and download interesting podcasts.
URL shorteners are simple tools useful for Twitter users who need all the character space they can get (or for users who want a simplified URL). Some of these tools also track clicks so users can see how often others actually visit the content that's been shared with them.
- Argyle Social is a very powerful social analytics from your shared links.
- Adf.ly is a URL shortener with advertising
Content aggregators aid users in crafting seemingly new content instantly using automation tools. These tools curate content from various social sources and repurpose it into new, aggregated streams.
Photo sharing platforms often include handy tools to manage image files -- including permission based systems for making sure only certain folks have access to specific groups of photos.
- Instagram lets users instantly take and share photos via the iPhone. Great app!
- Google's Picasa
- Yfrog works for Twitter and does video.
- TubeMogul allows users to share videos to multiple sharing sites from one spot. Plus, deep analytics for all of your video uploads.
Username checking tools
These tools help users identify usernames that have already been taken.
I'll apologize know as I've most assuredly left out a good number of very promising social media tools from this list. I've also probably miscategorized some of these as well because many of these tools solve multiple solutions and could appear under five or more categories. Feel free to highlight my ignorance in the comments section below.
Editor's note: The sole intent of this article is to inform users of their options -- neither the author nor iMedia Connection endorses these products. Please take caution with any site that requires users to share personal information, logins, or payment information.