Welcome to part 1 of our guide to Free Social Media Tools.
At Domainmonster.com we love Social Media. We use it as a means of contacting all of you and as a way of listening to others! Whether that’s a customer that needs support, or a blogger covering domain name news. It’s something that everyone can use to become more connected, build better relationships and share resources. You can use it for a variety of applications and with a variety of people. You might want to post pictures of friends and family to your personal Facebook profile, network with other businesses on LinkedIn, or take pictures of your dinner using Instagram.
There’s a whole world of social media out there that everyone has access to! What we see too often though is people becoming overwhelmed with all the different channels on offer. If you’re a business, this means a dilution of the great stuff you’re doing socially, because you’re trying to cover too many bases at once. Luckily for us the internet community, as always, is willing to work hard to produce hundreds of free tools, tips and resources that can help us use social media more effectively.
Social Media Monitoring tools:
The first step to enjoying social media is working out how to try and sift through the ridiculous amount of content that’s on offer.
How do you find the right content for you? How do you know where the people you’re trying to reach are?
There are loads of questions like this which can be answered using a set of free social media monitoring tools:
HootSuite is a really great program / app.
You can get an overview of all of your social channels in one place. Add your Facebook profile, Facebook page, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn accounts and more. You’ll be able to see what your followers or fans are discussing, comment on your own content and share content all from one dashboard.
It’s a fantastic way to keep up to date with all of your social media channels on one page.
Not only that, but it allows you to share your content across a number of different social networks incredibly easily. Personally, I believe HootSuite is the best product of its kind on the market.
Social mention is a “Real-time social media search and analysis” tool that aims to help you search for any given term or terms across social media.
Not only does it show you blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts that relate to your query, but also gives you a huge range of data about the content that’s being produced in your industry. See which sources the mentions are coming from, the sentiment towards the search term and how far these pieces of content are likely to reach.
All useful data! You can also set up RSS feeds for different searches, which is incredibly important for staying on top of all the latest content.
They also offer a browser search plugin. Very handy!
3. Boardreader.com I’m a big, big fan of online forums. There are so many great communities out there that it’s a joy to be a part of.
There’s also a huge amount of brilliant content being produced on these forums. Boardreader.com is a search engine for forums. There are so many different ways for you to take advantage of this unique search engine. You can find new users to follow, give your expertise, find what content is popular and much more. The possibilities are almost endless!
Please don’t use this tool for spam! If you’re doing social media right you’ll be adding value to the conversations taking place in these forums, not just dropping a link back to your website then sneaking off. You will get a much better response from users and create a much more engaged following if you add value when you can!
Want to know how your content or website is performing in the social world?
Using SharedCount you can see a wide range of metrics for any given URL. This is great for finding out what content has performed well and what hasn’t. You can also see if you’re losing out on +1’s but getting lots of Tweets, which would suggest you need to try and build your Google+ following a little.
There’s also the option to check multiple URLs at the same time, and access to an API so you can integrate the count with your own website in some way shape or form.
Social Content Tools
We all know that the Open Graph Protocol is going to be incredibly important.
Facebook have created a protocol that allows any online object to become an object in the social graph. It’s an amazing concept that should help integrate social media with the wider web even more than is currently possible. In-line with these changes there are a number of new Meta tags (called OG tags) which describe the content of a web object to the open graph.
Luckily for us, GinzaMetrics have created this interactive open graph cheat sheet which makes creating OG tags for your content incredibly easy. It will generate HTML tags and OG tags for you based on the simple fields you enter at the top of the page!
This is a huge time saver and will give you a great start to socially optimising your content.
The monster that is Facebook continues to be an all-encompassing social network.
Asking to add someone on Facebook has become such a part of networking that this online social network has now well and truly become a part of offline marketing. There are literally hundreds of different tools available for Facebook users to help them get the best of their Facebook account.
Here’s just a selection of free resources that we feel are a great way to help better your Facebook experience.
Facebook’s Debugger is invaluable when testing the share-friendliness of your pages. You can use this to see what information Facebook is going to use when displaying your site. It does exactly what it says on the tin:
“Enter a URL to see some helpful feedback about your page markup. Enter an access token to see its expiry and user.”
From the website:
“EdgeRank is an algorithm that ranks objects in the Facebook News Feed. Pages with high EdgeRank Scores will be more likely to show up in the news feed, than Pages with low EdgeRank Scores.”
Basically, it’s incredibly important.
Your success on Facebook depends on what your Edgerank is. The higher your Edgerank, the further your content will reach. Now most people hope that their social media efforts will help them spread the word about their content or their business. Your Edgerank is integral to that reach.
Edgerank checker can give you a full report on your Facebook page. It will tell you about the virality of your content, your engagement with your fans and compare your page with your competitors.
A really useful tool and a metric that you shouldn’t ignore!
Facebook’s own analytics are brilliant.
If you want the definitive dataset on your Facebook pages you’ll need more than 30 likes. Then you’ll be able to get a huge range of data from how many people saw your posts, to how many likes you received, to how fast your page is growing. Anybody involved in social media should be interested in these kinds of metrics.
All of this data that you can produce will help you hone your social strategy and make your content more effective.
PageModo is a Facebook app that lets you create cover photos, custom tabs and scheduled posts.
These are a fantastic way of increasing your engagement metrics. You can create cross network tabs, integrating your Twitter feed or Instagram account with your Facebook page. You could run a small competition on a custom time to give away some free stuff.
You could like-gate some free content, which should help grow your Facebook following. The contact form custom tab is a great way to provide a direct point of contact to your Facebook fans.
There’s loads of ways to use custom tabs to your advantage. Get out there and start creating!
So that’s the end of part 1.
We’ve covered a load of free tools that I’m sure many of you will be able to take advantage of straight away!
However, there’s plenty more where they came from!
We’ll post part 2 next week which includes our list of Twitter tools, a couple of tools for the brilliant Google+ and some other general things we think you’ll really love.
Leave a comment if you’ve put some of these tools to use! If you think we’ve missed something out, please do let us know!