The best tools to help you research, organise and manage your social media accounts.

February 9, 2016

This is the first in a series of insights posts offering practical advice, tips and inspiration in relation to digital. One of our predictions (and hopes) for 2016 is that we all become a bit more pragmatic when it comes to our use of digital. That’s not to say we shouldn't be experimenting because we certainly should, however, there’s a lot we need to get right first in terms of the basics. So we’re calling this series ‘Positive Pragmatism’.

To kick off, this post features 10 tools that can help you run your social media accounts more effectively. We’ve deliberately chosen tools that are free to use or where the paid option is relatively low cost.

Hootsuite helps you to manage your social media accounts more easily since you can post to each network from one place plus you can add multiple accounts. It also offers other features such as analytics, scheduled posts and the ability to add Twitter searches or Twitter lists as separate columns (they call them streams).

From time to time it can be a good idea to do a bit of ‘housekeeping’ with your social media accounts. With Twitter in particular it’s a good idea to periodically check who you’re following and remove any inactive accounts. As with many Twitter tools, ManageFiltter has a number of different features, including search, analytics and a ‘power post’ feature that suggests the most effective time to post but the main reason for mentioning it here is because of its ‘manage’ function. Connect your account and see how many people you’re following are inactive, spam accounts or not following you back.

Thinkup provides useful nuggets of insight about your social media accounts that can help you to better understand what is working well with your audiences.

This app will show you the most shared links amongst your Twitter network, which is a great way to see the most popular content. You can then be sure you don’t miss anything important plus it can help you to understand what your network finds interesting or useful.

One of the challenges of running social media accounts is having enough interesting content to share. Flipboard is a beautifully designed app that you connect to various inputs - such as RSS subscriptions, your own social accounts plus selected topics - and it will show you new and popular articles. It’s like having a magazine created for you on the fly.

Birdsong is a paid for but reasonably priced tool that provides analytics for any account across a range of different platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. It can be interesting to carry out some analysis of accounts from similar organisations and see how you stack up in comparison.

Ignore the dreadful name, this is a genuinely useful Twitter tool that can help you to learn more about your own followers, search for individuals by keywords in their bio and understand more about how your account compares to others.

This tool has a ton of features including search, monitoring of hashtags and analytics. There is even a geo-location search function, which can be particularly useful for those venue-based organisations looking to find Twitter users within their vicinity.

As with many tools, this has a free and paid version. Socialrank is particularly helpful for searching your existing followers, by categories like influence, location, bio keyword. You might want to look for journalists, bloggers or individuals to invite to an opening night.

Working across Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, PostPlanner helps you to find content to share that is likely to be popular with your audience. It also has a host of other features such as scheduling and analytics.

That's our top 10 - we'd love to hear which are your favourite tools?

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Top Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via Visualhunt / CC BY

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