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10 Must Have Social Media Tools for Small Businesses


Social Media Tools for Small Businesses

Do You Have the Time to Manage Your Social Media Empire?

Clock
If you run a small business, one thing that you probably don’t have a lot of– is time.

You don’t want to spend a huge amount of time learning how to find and learn how to use the best tools to achieve your goals. Since my business is social media and web development I actually enjoy researching the best tools and have developed a portfolio of great tools and a workflow that works well for me.

In this article I list the main tools I would recommend to most small businesses. Of course every situation is unique so I do recommend tailoring a system that works for you.


Social Media Plan

Firstly, I have a question… What are you trying to achieve? You need to ask that question before you start looking for the social media tools that are going to suit you. There is no point having a presence on all the social networks if you don’t know what you want to achieve or which audience you want to reach.

What I am not going to cover…

I am not going to cover how to build a social media plan in this article– I am going to assume that you already have a presence on your social networks of choice– perhaps Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google+. I am also going to assume that you have a website with a blog. One of the big advantages in posting to social networks is in driving traffic back to your website and showing that you are an expert in your field.

Also, I’m not going to include any of the main social media management tools such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Sendible or SproutSocial. That’s a more complex decision, since you’ll need to decide depending on which social networks you want to manage from one central place, how many people are going to be managing your social channels and what budget you can justify. However don’t worry, I do cover two tools that will help you manage your social channels very effectively– so much so that you may even be able to cope without the social media management tools I mentioned above!

So, without further ado, here are my 10 must have tools…

Marketing Areas

  • Web Analytics
  • Social Media Posting
  • Content Discovery
  • Security & Password Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Lead Generation
  • Content Marketing

View The Infographic

10 Must Have Social Media Tools for Small Businesses

1. Google Analytics

google analytics

If you have a website or a blog then it’s highly likely that you already have Google Analytics installed, and if not– you should!

Google Analytics was launched back in November 2005 and is a completely free enterprise analytics product. That means it doesn’t just tell you how many hits you have to your website– it tells you how many actual visitors you have, where they’re from, how long they stay on the website, where they come from and much more!

GA was radically overhauled back in 2011 to include custom dashboards and real time statistics and it also has a very powerful social media analytics report built in. If you don’t track your visits and visitors on your website then how can you tell if your social media presence is actually making a difference? Whatever business you are in, Google Analytics is a must. Sure there are other analytics tools that you can add in addition that can do some cool things like Crazy Egg, but I think for the majority of websites GA is the tool to use.

 

(Visit Google Analytics)

 


2. bit.ly

bitly

You may or may not think it odd that I include bit.ly in this list. You may not even have heard of the service. bit.ly is a URL shortener– that means it takes a long web address such as

http://iag.me/socialmedia/how-to-build-and-manage-your-twitter-community-with-commun-it/?utm_content=buffer65493&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

and turn it into something much shorter–

http://bit.ly/112fSQu.

One of the big advantages in this historically, was its use on a social network that has a limited number of characters such as Twitter (which only as a maximum of 140 characters). Using a full URL like the example I gave would be a huge waste of space.

These days Twitter does this for you with its own URL shortener– t.co, so why would you want to use another URL shortener? Surely this one is just for geeks?! Well, the answer is tracking. Most URL shorteners don’t just shorten your URLs– they offer an analytics and tracking service. Also if you shorten all your URLs across all your social networks with the same URL shortener you can track all of your social networks from one dashboard.

The beauty of bit.ly is that it is very widely used and has fantastic analytics. This means you can easily see how many times a link in a tweet has been clicked as well as what network they were using. If you want to be really posh you can even customise the look of your short url by adding a custom URL shortener with bit.ly. It is actually very easy to do. Assuming you own a shortish url you need to point the domain to bit.ly and it will take care of the rest. I use my own URL shortener– to.iag.me. Every time I use a service that uses bit.ly, my custom URL shortner is used. For example instead of http://bit.ly/112fSQu, bit.ly will use my custom one– http://to.iag.me/112fSQu

(Visit bit.ly)


3. Buffer

bufferapp

If you know me, you’ll already know that I am a huge Buffer fan. Buffer is a tool that allows you to easily post or share to all your social networks. I know I mentioned I wouldn’t be mentioning any standard social media management tools, but Buffer is different in that it is mainly for scheduling your posts. The advantage of this is that you can post to Twitter or Facebook when your followers or fans are more likely to be there. Your followers might be using Twitter or Facebook in the evening once you’ve gone home from work– Buffer posts automatically at times you choose throughout the week.

Buffer allows you to post to Twitter, Facebook profiles and pages, LinkedIn profiles and groups (currently not company pages) and the niche social network app.net. The only big omission is Google+ but I’ll come on to that later. Whenever you add a post to Buffer you choose which network or networks you want to post it to (for example you might want to post to your Facebook Page, your LinkedIn profile and a LinkedIn group) and it gets added to each network’s queue. When it comes to the next time to post for your Facebook page, Buffer will post the first post in that queue and the same for each other network. You don’t have to wait for your Buffer queue either, if you want to post something straight away, then you can do.

Sharing articles is easy to do by using a button in your browser. If I find an article that I know my Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections will find interesting then I just need to click my Buffer button in my browser and I can instantly add the link and title to those social networks either straight away or add it to their queues. As well as that Buffer have great mobile apps for iPhone and Android smartphones and you can even link it to other apps using another great tool called IFTTT (If This Then That).

(Visit Buffer)


4. Do Share

doshare

Google+It is a shame that Buffer doesn’t allow you to share to Google+. But DoShare allows you to do exactly that.

Firstly, you may ask what the point is in sharing to Google+ at all? Well, according to a recent report, Google+ is actually the 2nd biggest social network after Facebook! As well as that, Google is taking into account who you are (i.e. authorship) much more seriously in search results and will be using AuthorRank as one of the factors in ranking your web pages. It might still be early days for Google+, but my advice is to start now– even if you only share one or two posts a week.

With so many social networks out there, how do small businesses get the time to invest in all of these networks?

The only way is by using a social media management tool and I’ve already recommended Buffer which will help you share easily to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and app.net. For Google+ you’ll need DoShare. As I write this article many social media management tools don’t integrate with Google+- and none allow you to post to your Google+ profile– only your Google+ pages. The reason for that is that Google still haven’t released an API for Google+ profiles.

DoShare allows you to post to your Google+ profile and pages through an extension in your browser (currently Google Chrome). It works in a similar way to Buffer in that you can schedule your posts throughout the day and week. The only difference (and disadvantage) is that you’ll need to keep your browser open at the time you want to post. That is because DoShare doesn’t use the Google+ API– but that has the advantage in being able to post to your Google+ page AND profile. If your business has a server or a computer that is switched on all the time then this is unlikely to be a problem. I’ve been impressed with DoShare and although it still has the occasional glitch and a lack of mobile apps, it is definitely a must in your social strategy.

 

(Visit the Do Share Chrome Extension)

 


5. Feedly

feedly

One of the most important lessons for businesses when it comes to using a social network is not to be all about “me, me, me!”. I was reading about this just the other day in a post by Sourav Das on the All Stuff Codes blog called “6 Reason Why I Unfollow People on Twitter”. If you are only posting about yourself then you’re missing the point of social network– it’s about sharing other peoples’ content too. People are more likely to invest in you if you invest in others– especially if you are sharing their content. But, how do you find and keep an eye on that content? I’ve been building up a list of websites and blogs that I want to keep on top of. There are some websites that consistently produce great content– interesting articles that I learn from and want to share with others.

Once you have more than about 10 websites it starts to become difficult to keep on visiting each website to read their recent articles and to share them. That’s where a feed reader comes in. A Feed reader app takes the RSS feeds from all the websites and blogs you want to keep on top of, and lists them for you in an easy to read way. Up until recently I used Google Reader, but since that is being shut down I searched for an alternative. My favourite is Feedly which you can use in your browser or on your mobile. You can save an article for later or instantly share to Buffer or another social network. As well as keeping on top of all the latest news, it allows me to easily share to all my social networks throughout the week.

(Visit Feedly)


6. MailChimp

mailchimp

MailChimp is an email marketing and newsletter service with a long and proven track record. When doing research for this article, I couldn’t quite believe that they have been going since 2001– that’s not long after I first started building my own websites!

Each month, MailChimp send out around 4 billion emails and takes care of all the issues that can arise from sending out emails to your customers. Since you are reading this article I am hoping I don’t have to tell you how powerful social media is for your business– meeting your customers where they are. However, don’t forget email! I keep on hearing stories about the demise of email– that the younger generation aren’t bothering with it any more. If I can be bold– that is complete rubbish! What do you need to sign up for the likes of Facebook or Twitter? A valid email address! You may have push notifications on your phone to alert you when someone tags you or updates their status on Facebook– but many people have notifications sent to you by email?

Building up your own database of email contacts is vital for the majority of small businesses. It helps you find out more about your customers or potential ones. MailChimp makes this so easy and over time you can add more information such as demographics (age, gender, location etc).

Making sure a website works well in all modern browsers is quite a challenge– something I have rather a lot of experience in. Gone are the days of working with Internet Explorer 6, but even so, we web developers have to make sure our websites work well in Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer 8, 9 & 10. On top of that there is the task of making it mobile ready for all the tablets and smartphones out there. If that sounds difficult then I promise you the art of making an email newsletter work across all email applications is a hundred times harder! I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty, but suffice to say, MailChimp have spent over a decade making sure that your email newsletters will arrive in your customers’ inboxes looking as beautiful as the time you sent them. MailChimp also have detailed analytics, so you can track when your recipients open the email or click through to your website.

Whilst many of the features are free, if you want more and specifically you want to send to more than 2,000 subscribers, you’ll need to upgrade. However the prices are very reasonable (from $10 per month) so it shouldn’t be a problem. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons I recommend MailChimp is their customer service. They go out of their way to help you (doesn’t matter if you are only on the free plan) and do a daily webinar to help you get started.

(Visit MailChimp)


7. LastPass

lastpassHow many sites and applications do you use that require a password? How do you remember the password? Do you use the same password for everything, or even for just a few? With so little time at our disposal it is sometimes all too easy to cut some corners when it comes to security. LastPass allows you to have top security across all your social networks and never have to remember more than one password. I definitely recommend using it– and it is a lot easier than you might expect.

I know many people use the same password across all their sites, but what if a hacker gets hold of that password? It means they can gain access to all your accounts and lock you out. There was even the story of a hacker remotely wiping someone’s computers and mobile devices (read about Mat Honan’s experience here). Your email account’s password is arguably the most important of all– since if a hacker were to gain access to your email account they can potentially reset the password of all your accounts.

LastPass works in your browser or on your mobile device. Once you enter your LastPass password, LastPass automatically fills in all your usernames and passwords so you never have to remember them again. You can also do the LastPass Password Challenge to see how secure you are.

My recommendation once you have installed LastPass is to take the time and change all your passwords to more secure ones. LastPass can even generate ridiculously complex passwords for you– ones that would be impossible for a hacker to guess (unless they had a couple of million years to spare!). For example, here is a password generated by LastPass (16 characters including special characters)- J#BS0AiOdb0!PeRU. You’ll never have to write down a password again!

(Visit LastPass)


8. edocr

edocrAs a small business you will have something that your customers want. Now I want to ask you to give some of that away for free. I know that sounds mad, but seriously it works. Remember, one of the golden rules of social media marketing is not to talk about yourself all the time (I’ve already mentioned that in no. 5). If you share content from other people you’ll not only build relationships but you’ll build trust. Giving away stuff for free is part of content marketing and as well as building trust it also shows people that you are an expert in your field. With so many people and businesses out there with a social presence, how can you prove that you are who you say you are, that you’re worth talking to, that you’re worth doing business with? You give away some of your secrets– that’s what you do!

You may have already realised this– and hopefully you are already doing some of this with your blog and your social profiles. However one of the easiest ways to give stuff away is by creating an e-book. For example if you are a cake shop why not create a recipe e-book for people to download? If you are an accountant, why not create an e-book of top tips to keep on top of your accounts? The type of e-book depends on the type of business you run, so have a think about what your customers would want. When people download or read your e-books you’ll soon be able to talk to them and hopefully some of these will turn into customers.

In order to showcase your e-book you will need to use a document sharing service. You may have already heard of the likes of SlideShare which is owned by LinkedIn. I’d certainly recommend you use that, but I’d actually like to recommend an up and coming document sharing service called edocr. I have mentioned edocr before in a review and walk through tutorial called The Complete Guide to Lead Generation & Content Marketing With edocr. I mention edocr over SlideShare because it is a growing service with almost 100,000 users. When you upload your e-book to edocr you will then appear in the edocr directory and be searchable for any edocr user and on the web. When an edocr user reads your e-book you get notified by email and you’re then able to follow up on that lead. Another great feature is that you can link your edocr profile with Google+ which means that Google will list your e-books with you as author-something that is going to become more and more important. Finally, edocr is very reasonably priced. You can opt for the free account which gives you space for 5 documents, but the freelancer is only $9 per month which gives you 100 documents. The business plan is a bit more pricey at $62 per month but you have the added bonus of a business page as well as room for 1,000 documents and 5 team members.

I highly recommend reading my guide on edocr for further information.

(Visit edocr)


9. ManageFlitter

manage flitterOnce you start building your followers on Twitter it can start to become difficult to keep on track of the people you follow as well as the people who follow you. Firstly, I highly recommend using Twitter lists, especially if you follow more than 1,000 people. Following a lot of people has big advantages but it can become easy to miss important updates and more difficult to interact with the people that matter. As well as lists you’ll need a social media relationship management tool which I’ll be covering in my last recommendation.

ManageFlitter (which used to be called Manage Twitter years ago before Twitter asked them to change their name) is a Twitter follower tool. On a basic level it allows you to quickly see who isn’t following you and then having the option of unfollowing these people in bulk. As well as that you can find try and weed out spam followers or irrelevant followers that just clog things up. My favourite feature is the white list– and it’s one that I couldn’t do without. I add all the people I never want to unfollow– the people I interact with regularly and want to keep up with, to the Manage Flitter white list. All the people in the white list will be hidden from any ManageFlitter list so that I can never accidentally unfollow them.

As well as that, you are able to follow people that someone else follows. This is a great way of following the same people that follow another business in your field. If they follow your competitor then they are likely to follow you.

ManageFlitter has a free plan as well as several paid plans. The free plan allows you to unfollow up to 200 people every day as well as unfollow fake and inactive accounts. The pro accounts allow you to unfollow unlimited people as well as follow the followers of another user. Do make sure you know your Twitter limits though, as you could end up getting banned. The pro account costs $12 per month for 1 Twitter account or $24 per month for up to 5 accounts.

(Visit Manageflitter)


10. Commun.it

Communit

My final recommendation is an app called Commun.it. If you are a regular reader to my blog then you’ll already know I am a big fan since I wrote a comprehensive review of Commun.it including a walk-through video. Like Buffer, Commun.it is a social media management tool, however it is a bit more specialised than that– and that’s why I mention it here.

Commun.it is a social media relationship management tool– it helps you find out who is in your Twitter community– those who support you and your content (by retweeting, favouriting, and mentioning) and those who influence you.

As a small business owner you will have limited time and I find that Commun.it is a huge time saver. I spend 5 – 10 minutes on Commun.it at the start of each day and in that time I can reply to all my outstanding mentions, thank people for retweeting me, thank those who are in my community, find those who have linked to my blog and engage with them, thank any new followers and dig deeper and interact with those in my local list (so I can interact further with people in my local area). As well as that, you can find who has unfollowed you and decide whether or not you want to unfollow them too. Another powerful feature is interacting with people who are talking about your business or brand using the monitor engagement list. The guys at Commun.it have been awesome in integrating Buffer so that you can even schedule any of your replies.

The core features of Commun.it are free, but the Pro plan is very reasonably priced and gives you access to the full reporting features, as well as unlimited monitor/lead items, engaged members and custom groups for up to 4 Twitter accounts. If you have more than 4 Twitter accounts to manage or need to divide the work between a small team, then the business account allows you to do this with unlimited Twitter accounts and 2 team members.

Social Media CloudIn case it helps, here is my list of actions I complete using Commun.it in my daily morning session:

  1. Reply to all my Twitter mentions and replies
  2. Retweet all interesting retweets (sometimes using Buffer to schedule them)
  3. Send a “thank you” tweet to my high value members
  4. Send a “thank you” tweet to my influencers
  5. Send a “thank you” tweet to my supporters
  6. Send a “thank you” tweet to my engaged members
  7. Check recent followers list and reciprocate if relevant– thank them.
  8. Check unfollow list and unfollow any that are not part of my community
  9. Check “monitor engagement” section for anyone mentioning my business name or linking to my website. Reply to any of these.
  10. Check “discover new leads section” and follow and interact with any new and relevant ones.

I highly recommend checking out my article on Commun.it which goes into a lot more detail.

(Visit Commun.it)


Conclusion

So, there you go, 10 social media tools that all small businesses should be using. Of course you may disagree and you may think there are some glaring omissions.  If you have any thoughts, then please leave them in the comments below!

Turbo Boost your Social Media with the Seriously Social Newsletter!

You will receive an email no more than once a week.


About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a web developer, social media consulant & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad, geek and runs a monthly tech meet up called Cheadle Geeks and a regular coworkers event called Cheadle Jelly. Find out more


Comments- Let me know what you think!

  • http://ClinicalPosters.com/ ClinicalPosters

    Thanks for the useful suggestions!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      No problem. Do you use any of the tools yourself?

      • http://ClinicalPosters.com/ ClinicalPosters

        Four of the 10 mentioned plus others. Still vacillating on G+. Not comfortable with Google knowing so much about me though I use analytics. Same reason I avoid FB. Active in other social media mentioned on my blog.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          I do understand where you are coming from, however you only need to put into Google the important stuff– i.e. your name and web site address– that’s what gives you authorship. Anything else on top of that obviously helps, but it does mean Google will know more about you!

    • Tom Lavent

      Agreed, great tips! I use buffer and mailchimp from this list. I also use:

      http://process.st  — Document and track my processes and systems
      http://trello.com — Task and project management
      http://workflowy.com — Organize my brain

  • David

    Nice post. Do you integrate Buffer and Tweriod? How do you find it?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi David. Thanks for your comment. Assuming you have a Buffer account and signed up for Tweriod, you should just be able to go to your analysis and click on the “Connect with Buffer” button. To be honest it was a bit fiddly, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble with it.

      The only downside with Tweriod is that it works out the best time to tweet based on all your followers. It would be better if it worked out the best time for the most relevant of your followers– i.e. the ones you want to reach based on a Twitter list or the people who interact with you the most. I’m hoping that Commun.it will be building a tool to do just that– since they have the data on that.

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/ Neil Ferree

    Nice Top 10 SMM List Ian. Encodr is the only one I don’t use daily. It would be nice if there was a ManageFlitter tool for G+

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Neil.
      There certainly isn’t quite an equivalent to ManageFlitter G+ — at least one that works in the same way, however there is a great Chrome extension that is worth looking into. It is called Circloscope! Have a look here– http://www.circloscope.com/2013/04/google-plus-circle-management-tool.html
      It basically enables you to manage your circles and uncircle anyone who hasn’t added you to theirs. In also allows you to uncircle people who are inactive. I paid for the pro version as it is very cheap (5AUD) and it gives you extra features. It also works across multiple profiles (pages and profiles). Let me know if you try it– it is a little tricky to use but it works very well for me.

  • Emmett Ferguson

    Thank you for the fantastic writeup, Ian! I got some great insights from this post, as you managed to arrange different tools in a way they do not overlap.

    I use four apps and services mentioned in this post on a regular basis and mostly heard of the rest (except for ManageFlitter, which I seem to have missed for some reason). Btw, my experience with Do Share plugin wasn’t positive at all, because it somehow refused to work.

    Eventually, I stopped at another solution for managing Google+ (in addition to Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, plus forums and blogs) called
    BuzzBundle. I’ve been using it for a whole bunch of SMM tasks (scheduling, posting, sharing, searching for relevant discussions, tracking brand mentions) for a couple of months and I have to say this tool proved to be an excellent investment so far.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Emmett. I’m glad it was useful. Let me know how you get on with Manage Flitter.

      Sorry to hear you had issues with DoShare. What was the problem? It works really well for me and I use it all the time.

      I have come across BuzzBundle– it seems to be being talked about in the comments a bit (they’re obviously doing their marketing well!). I will look into it further. It has advantages and disadvantages as far as I can tell. It’s not expensive ($97 from what I saw) but you do have that initial outlay and the other downside is that you always have to have your computer on — but that is the same for DoShare. I’ll certainly look at it as it seems to be very comprehensive.

  • Johnny B Spence

    very helpful points

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Johnny! Any tools you hadn’t come across before that you’re going to give a go?

  • Guest

    How can it be that this ridiculously long list still misses quintly?:D
    nah don’t get me wrong, nice article there. But quintly is a really
    great tool and should be mentioned more! regards,Patrick

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Well, it misses quintly for a couple of reasons. Firstly I haven’t come across it, and secondly it is a list of only 10 social media tools– I am sure you will appreciate I can’t include them all! There are quite a few analytics tools I didn’t include– for example Sotrender and Canddi. Then there are CRMs such as Nimble. I could go on, but instead I will be including them in a forthcoming post.

      If you work for quintly or have connections (I am assuming you and Betty have some connections with quintly since you’ve commented on this post within minutes of each other!) then do let know. It would be good to have some more info. Thanks! :-)

      • aglasheena

        Ian, may I ask what tools you are actually currently using for social media analytics/reporting? I’d like to know the best way, most efficient way to go about getting this data and exporting it without an overload of time being involved to provide social reports to future clients. I’d like a real-life example of your regimen for that. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks for your great question. This is actually something I am researching because I haven’t found the perfect solution yet. However I do love the social media analytics reporting in Google Analytics, but it isn’t perfect. I use FB Insights for Facebook and use bit.ly to track all my links. The problem with all of this is that it is all fragmented. Despite this it does allow me to keep on track of everything.

          I’ll keep this updated once I have done some more research and found a better solution.

          • aglasheena

            Thanks so much for your reply. I’ll be on the look out for more information

  • Betty Ginsberg

    which of these tools do you use personal? I’m using quintly currently -
    and I have to say that it is much more efficient than many of the tools
    you referred to in your article.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Betty. I use all of the tools I mentioned in the article. I’ve replied to Patrick above regarding quintly. Thanks! :-)

  • http://projectisabella.com/ Kay Patterson

    Good List Ian, I find I have happened on all of these over time and I am using most of them. My favourites I think are buffer — because it plays nicely with other things including my Twylah and commun.it. One thing I have missed though is edocr and I will go and read your article on that. Thanks.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Sorry I missed your comment, Kay. Glad you found the article interesting. I use Twylah too. edocr is worth considering. Let me know how you get on.

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  • aglasheena

    This is very informative, practical advice and information on helping the decision of what to use for social media management.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks so much. Glad you found it interesting.

  • Shawnessy Rodriguez

    Trying social media for my business and iBook. This will certainly help build my platforms! Thank you!

  • http://inspiretothrive.com/ Lisa Buben

    Ian, great list! I have to get going with LastPass. I use MailChimp and Buffer, love it! Google Analytics is a must and Bitly is great to shorten those links up before sharing.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Lisa. Definitely do try LastPass– it is worth it, especially now that they’ve upgraded the look and feel. I am glad you love MailChimp– it seems that a lot of bloggers seem to go with AWeber, but I love the way MailChimp works. And Buffer, well, where would we be without that! Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it!

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  • Binu Madhav

    Good Info. but one doubt, If I use GA with my website, to use bit.ly analytics, what would be the advantage?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Great question. GA is good for tracking visits to your website where as bit.ly tracks clicks on your short URLs. This means you can track all links posted across all your social networks whether they go to your website or not. I frequently post links to other websites’ articles as part of my social media strategy. I wouldn’t be able to track these using GA, but I can with bit.ly. Since I use Buffer, IFTTT and Friends+Me to post to most of my social channels I am able to use bit.ly across all of them and get a good picture of how engaging my posts are. Hope that makes sense.

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  • http://www.bigapplemedia.com/ Gene

    There is also very gmail extension “Rapportive”. It loads social media accounts for your contacts inside your gmail so you can connect with them without leaving your email.
    I just installed it few weeks ago, but I find it very useful and can easily connect with people throguh their social media profiles which appear in the sidebar.

  • srm2012

    Ian — have you heard of PocketSuite? Combines social networking with SMB business automation. Super relevant to a 2014 version of your above article…

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      I hadn’t heard of PocketSuite. It’s a shame it’s only available for the iPhone at the moment, although it seems they may consider an Android version at some point. I’ll see if I can have a play on my iPad.

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