There are a number of tools out there that help us to build out and execute highly targeted and influential campaigns, create detailed measurement reports, and stay in the know about industry news across multiple verticals.
After seeing countless vendor demos, trying various applications, and learning about new tools from my co-workers and friends, here are some that rose to the top for me:
Aggregators: Some people think RSS is dead, but I find that having an RSS reader with news and alerts that matter to me is the easiest and most efficient way to stay in know about my clients and their industries, news, events, and new technologies. My favorite RSS readers are Netvibes and Google Reader, both of which are easy to set up and use regularly.
Publishing suites: In the early days of Twitter, there were a couple of tools that allowed us to schedule tweets and save our searches, but today's publishing suites do that and much more. Tools like CoTweet or TweetDeck allow us to easily manage social media engagement, personally and for clients, and also offer detailed reporting options. Other paid services like Vitrue and Context Optional provide a more in-depth look at social media engagement and publishing options.
Social media measurement: The debate goes on as to what tools we should use to measure conversation, share of voice, mentions, and sentiment. Most of the time this will depend on what a client needs and wants out of a measurement program as well as benchmarks identified by agencies and clients at the outset of a campaign. My favorite is an up-and-comer on the social media measurement and reporting scene, RowFeeder. The graphing and exporting options can go up against the big measurement companies, but they are easier to understand, reasonably priced, and working with the company is a pleasure.
Connecting with journalists via Twitter: Social media gives us an inside look into people's lives and personalities and that is no different for journalists. MuckRack aggregates the tweets of journalists and organizes them by beat, geographic location, and source. Now instead of just going to a media database to learn about a reporter, we can actually see what is on his or her mind.
Finding bloggers: We love media databases, and have always wanted one that accurately pulls in the names and contact info of bloggers. BlogDash is in the process of building out a solution for just that.
Social bookmarking: About a month or so ago there were reports that Delicious, Yahoo!'s popular social bookmarking tool was shutting down, and I was devastated. Thankfully that news fizzled out. Social bookmarking is the equivalent of having your list of favorite websites in your browser, except you can access them from any computer or mobile device and sort them by tags. Your links are also easily shareable and can be published in one click to Twitter and other social networks.
Are there other social media tools that you find helpful as a PR pro? Do share!
Rob Longert is a digital media strategist at M Booth & Associates.