Social Media Secret Weapons

August 9, 2011

I am often asked how exactly I manage all of the Social Media work I do to promote my self, my business, my EO Chapter, and my clients’ campaigns. The answer? It has been an arduous process of self-regulation and learning. Like many of you, I often commit more time to social media than I probably should.

With that said, I have accumulated a number of really powerful and useful tools that help me manage, measure, and monitor my social media efforts. These are “the big guns” – secret weapons that give me great power and reach with little to no effort.

Put simply, if you are engaging in social media manually (using only the tools provided to you at and, you are showing up to play with a $0.25 squirt gun. Those of us ‘in the know,’ by contrast, opt for the fire hose. It’s no wonder you’re drowning!

Thus, it is with some reluctance that I share a handful of the tools that empower me to be nearly all-seeing, all-knowing, and omnipresent in the realms of Social Media. Some of them are better known, and some are very well kept secrets. Use them wisely, conscientiously, and in good health.

If you don’t know about this one, shame on you! Klout is a new (and free!)  A look at some of Klout's metricsA look at some of Klout’s metricsservice that helps you measure, track, and grow your “influence” online.This may seem like an exercise in narcissism, but it is a powerful way to understand how effective your online activities are. You can also see who is influential in the topics you care about – and cozy up to them. If you profess to being a social media and advertising expert, you better start looking into – and growing – your Klout.

Watch this company. They are adding social networks like YouTube, Google+, and Foursquare fast, and have quickly become the standard measure of who’s who in Social Media. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them acquired in the near future.

Price: Free
Availability: Beta is open to the public

Triberr is one of those tools that could be very powerful, or very dangerous – once it gets off the ground. Still confined to the elite Twitterati (you must be invited to join), Triberr has yet to reach it’s full impact. The premise is a little complicated, but basically involves creating “tribes” of people (grouped however you wish, as you rule 3 tribes and can join as many as you like). These “tribes” will tweet the things you want them to – and you will return the favor, either manually or automatically. The power for amplification is powerful, especially if you build tribes of very influential people. Unfortunately, so is the potential for abuse.

Price: Free with paid upgrades
Availability: Must be Invited to a Tribe to join the beta

Recently, Facebook announced the impending demise of the lackluster “FBML” app for creating static content tabs on pages. Good riddance. Now that iFrames (boxes within pages that show the content of another site) are allowed, a whole host of utilities have opened up offering powerful content creation tools made easy. ShortStack's Tab Designer interface practically does the work for youShortStack’s Tab Designer interface practically does the work for you Shortstack, by the amusingly named Pancake Labs, has built an incredible utility complete with a graphical user interface, loads and loads of integrations, and a real-time preview pane. Out-of-the-box integrations include Mailchimp, Google Maps, RSS, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, countdown timers, forms, promotions, and even Flash. Creating, organizing, and publishing stunning and professional  pages is now easy – and requires little to no coding expertise.

Price: Free with Ads, Plans from $15-300/mo
Availability: Beta is open to the public

I’m actually unsure why or how people use Twitter without HootSuite. Quite simply it is the best way to manage your Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, et cetera. HootSuite is a lot like TweetDeck – but much better – which begs the question, why oh why did Twitter not acquire them instead? Snapshot of my very own HootSuite dashboard (one tab of many) and the awesome scheduling featureSnapshot of my very own HootSuite dashboard (one tab of many) and the awesome scheduling featureThe interface, quality, complexity, and sheer feature set is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine the engineering team behind this thing.

I simply cannot sing enough praise about HootSuite, so you’ll have to check out their site, help files and “HootSuite U” program, where they educate you more than I ever could (HootSuite U is a certification program. For $21/mo they will teach you how to become a social media superstar. They even help you find clients).

Put simply, though, HootSuite is a dashboard that lets you arrange streams of whatever you want – lists, mentions, searches, etc. It also allows you to schedule tweets. For teams, it allows multiple people to use the same account without butting heads – and to approve one another’s tweets and updates. You can manage multiple accounts with the free version, and dozens of accounts with the paid version. There are Mac, iPad, BlackBerry, Web, Android, and Ketai (whatever that is). Finally, it’s built-in URL shortening service offers reports, statistics, and much, much more.

Honestly, if it weren’t for HootSuite, I would not be able to survive social media overload. I use the scheduling feature constantly, and generally have my tweets pre-written days in advance. If you aren’t using this tool, you’re just not being as effective as you can be.

Price: Free. Enterprise accounts start at $5.99/mo.
Availability: Open to all*

Crowdbooster is a new and relatively unknown utility – but don’t underestimate it’s immense power. If you need to know where and how to maximize your social media efforts, look no further. Crowdbooster will tell you when to tweet, who to engage, how effective your tweets are. Their “Recommendations” feature spells it out in plain english: “You should tweet at 1PM,” or “You should engage with these 4 people.” It can’t get much easier than that.

Price: Free, $20/mo Premium Accounts
Availability: Apply to beta or get invited

So very awesome. If you are overwhelmed by making and managing lists, or just looking to find new users, or.. well, there are a million uses for this. Formulists takes the CRON-Job approach to list-making, allowing you to specify criteria to assemble your lists. One of my Formulists, showing the amazing info it gleansOne of my Formulists, showing the amazing info it gleans Say you want a list of people who haven’t tweeted in the last 3 days, but have more than 2,000 tweets, who you don’t already follow, who have 500 or more followers, but follow fewer than 300 people, and have mentioned you more than once, but not more than 10 times. It can do that. Seriously.

Personally, I use Formulists to make lists which help me follow and unfollow people when appropriate. If you don’t follow me, and you are not an influential follower (i.e. I don’t penalize @bnet for not following me back), I can choose to unfollow you. If you mention and retweet me a lot, you are on a list of a select few people who I will retweet disproportionately. If you unfollow me, well, I am going to know about it!

An incredible service that has transformed the way I use Twitter.

Price: Free for limited lists, upgrade for $9.99/yr.
Availability: Open to the public

So there it is. Now you are properly equipped to handle the onslaught of social media. While I still have a few tricks, techniques, tactics, and philosophies left up my sleeve (you’ll have to make use of my consulting services to get those!), this should put you well on your way to controlling and understanding the flow of information.

Thanks for reading, retweeting, sharing, liking, and sending smoke signals! If you need an invite to one of these service, show some love on Twitter.

* Full disclosure: The link to HootSuite is an affiliate link, however none of my statements have been biased or altered by that fact. To the folks at HootSuite, you earned every kind word, and I only realized you HAD an affiliate program after writing this article.

2 Responses to “Social Media Secret Weapons”

  1. Ricky Yean says:

    Thank you for the post, Jonathan. It’s really an honor to be your secret weapon…well, not so secret anymore.

    Happy to answer any questions and just be helpful in general. Let me know.

    - Ricky

  2. Bear Files says:

    Solid list of tools, Jonathan. I have used most of these and, like you, I think they are invaluable for enhancing Twitter.


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