50 (mostly) free social media tools you can’t live without in 2012
18th March 2012 by Adam Vincenzini
A couple years ago, Jay Baer wrote a great blog post called ‘The 39 social media tools I’ll use today’ which was an all-in-one toolkit for social media marketers (and still is).
A lot has changed in the two years since that post was published so here is a ’2012 remix’ featuring 50 (mostly free) tools you can use on a daily basis.
Whether you are just starting out in the social media arena or have been at it for a few years, this will hopefully be a handy resource. So, let’s serve ‘em up!
Listening / Research
The foundations for any social media marketing activity start with listening and in-depth research, ranging from influencer identification to campaign planning.
General listening tools
- Best in class: SocialMention.com – As far as ‘free’ options go, this is a solid as it gets.
- Alternatives: BoardReader.com (discussion board specific), Addictomatic.com (a general listening dashboard) and PeopleBrowsr.com (big data, big insights).
Specific listening tools
Each of the major social media platforms can be interrogated using a combination of specific tools including: FBsearch.us (Facebook), Monitter.com (location-based Twitter search), TagDef.com (Twitter hashtags), YouTube/KeywordTool (YouTube content optimization tool).
General research tools
- Domain / Username Checking: KnowEm.com, CheckUsernames.com, Claim.io (all solid options)
- Alternative Site Research: SimilarSites.com (the most robust website alternative engine), SmilarSiteSearch.com, SitesLike.com
- Blog / Blogger Identification: AllTop.com (online blog ‘magazine rack’), IceRocket.com (use the advanced blog search function for best effect), Google.com/Blogsearch (always improving).
- Influencer Research / Identification: This is a much-debated topic thanks to the existence of Klout.com, PeerIndex.net, Kred.ly and the like. While these tools are useful to a degree, the listening tools listed above (when used manually), are just as useful.
Another very handy tool is Google’s AdPlanner which can help you determine which online destinations are most relevant to your product, brand or service.
Content Creation / Curation
Publishing / blogging
- Best in class: WordPress.com – The world’s best publishing platform catering to the very big to the very small.
- Alternatives: Tumblr.com, Posterous.com and many more.
- New kid on the block: CheckThis.com – Need a single page website in an instant? This is the tool for you.
Content discovery / curation
There are literally millions of tools and process for discovering relevant content and arranging it online so it can be re-purposed / re-shared. Here as just a few: Bo.lt, Trap.it, YourVersion.com and MyCube.com are all examples of content curation and discovery tools which you can tailor to suit your needs).
If you are looking for specific forms of content, the following tools are useful too:
- Imagery: Stock.xchng (the best place to find free images by keyword) and New.Pixable.com (A Pinterest-style image aggregator based on your networks and interests)
- Video: en.fooooo.com (video search engine which aggregates results from all the major video platforms)
The best engagement dashboards are often a subject of much debate. The most widely used ones include TweetDeck.com, HootSuite.com and SproutSocial.com, but there are a bunch of other alternatives out there too.
Scheduling: BufferApp.com – A simple way to ‘pace and space’ your updates across multiple social networks.
Two of the most popular blog comment management tools are Disqus.com and LiveFyre.com but there are a host of others out there too, including IntenseDebate.com.
Analysis / Insights
There is definitely no shortage of analytics tools out there, and the free ones pack some formidable power.
- Google Analytics is the king when it comes to free website insights but lots of other tools can play a role too.
- StatMyWeb.com is a great all-in-one tools to get a feel for the performance of any website on the planet and SiteTrail.com/analysis/ can track site performance over a time period.
Social media analytics tools
- Twitter: TweetReach.com is perfect for measuring the impact of a campaign or hashtag and TwitterCounter.com is great for analyising the growth and impact of Twitter accounts.
- Facebook: In addition to the Facebook Insights tools, sites like SocialBakers.com can give you an idea of page performance outside the ones you manage.
- YouTube: The YouTube Comments Search tool is worth having in your toolkit to assess community sentiment post-upload.
If you are after a social buzz aggregator, you’re not short on choice either with sites like ZoomSphere.com, YourBuzz.com and Unilyzer.com also worth a look.
ViralHeat.com provides great insights too and has a nifty extension that provides you with sentiment on any social network page (as reliably as is technically possible).
While this suite of tools doesn’t take care of absolutely everything on your social media marketing plate, it is a decent starting point and something you can add to…and add to…and add to…