Every community manager needs to have an arsenal of tools at hand to help you succeed in your day-to-day and long-term goals.
These are a dozen tools I use to help me in my day-to-day. If you’re looking for a place to get started, this is it. I also threw in some links so you can learn more about them.
Listening and Monitoring
Feedly—With the death of Google Reader (oh, my heart is broken), Feedly is a good alternative to organize the list of news sources that keep you up to speed with what’s happening in your industry. It’s so easy to set up, and the design is easy on the eye, helping you get to the important highlights quicker.
HootSuite—To listen to the chatter on Twitter, HootSuite can help get the job done. The interface allows you to track multiple conversations (through hashtag, keyword, or lists), schedule your posts, and customize your reporting. The best part: you can get a lot out of it for free.
Flipboard—I recently jumped on the bandwagon for this one, and I am so happy I did! Flipboard is a free iPhone/iPad app that compiles all of your social-sourced news into one place. Aside from giving you the updates from resources you sign up for, it’ll introduce you to new and relevant resources, constantly expanding your horizons.
Pages—Also for made for the smartphone and tablet is Facebook’s Pages app. If you’re managing a Page, this app is non-negotiable! With it you’ll keep tabs on what’s going on in your pages so you can address any issues that just can’t wait until the morning. It integrates with your Insights too, so you’ll have access to what you need on-the-go.
Disqus or Livefyre—Both of these services will enhance your blog tremendously by giving your readers the ability to tag their friends into conversations, help you moderate (and encourage) engagement, and make your life easier with an effective spam filter. Many regular blog readers already have their own profiles set up on one or both of these services, so compare the two, and try them out.
WordPress—Speaking of blogs, is yours on WordPress? If not, consider building it on this platform. It’s the most popular and versatile blogging platform, so working with it will be simpler. It has a never ending option of plugins you can use to enhance your blog—from spam filters to widgets, you’ll never run out of tools to improve your blog’s performance.
Scribe SEO—You’d hate to see the blog posts you so carefully wrote, formatted, and promoted fall flat just because of an SEO no-no you committed. This tool to help you see the big or small tweaks you can make to your post to optimize its searchability. (And if I just used a couple terms there that flew right over your head, check out this wiki.)
Google Analytics—Numbers can be a chore, but collecting and making sense of them will help you implement strategies that don’t waste your time. This is one of the best free website analytics services you can use. The data can get complicated, but there are plenty of FAQs, forums, and blog posts on the interwebz to help you sort through them.
Pinalyzer—Facebook has Insights, and Twitter has HootSuite, but what about Pinterest? If you’re on the fashionable social network, don’t let your efforts fade into the air by not catching stats of your performance on Pinterest with this tool.
Gmail—If you have the option of picking where your email is hosted, try Gmail. It’s got a rock star search capability for the user who’s not very diligent in archiving emails into the right folders all the time (ahem), it’s accessible anywhere (so if your computer dies, the information doesn’t go along with it), and it’s both secure and compatible with many smartphone and tablet apps.
Google Drive—Another perk of having Gmail is that it comes with Google Drive (formally known as Google Docs). It works like a charm. Aside from functioning just like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Drive keeps all your documents backed up to where you can get it anywhere. You’ll also shout with joy when you’re able to get your colleagues to collaborate on edits and comments on one document. (No more version confusion!)
Mailbox—You may have caught the hype about the Mailbox app lately. It’s a new iPhone app designed to help you get through emails, a.k.a. your to-do list. It won’t let you leave emails unread, so you’re forced to take some kind of action when you read them—including setting a timer to bring it up again later. There’s a waiting list to get the app, but for the service it offers (for free), it’s worth giving it a shot.
I’d like to hear from the other community managers out there! What apps are you using to be productive?