45 Social Media Tools and Tips to Improve Your Marketing via SocialMediaExaminer.com

Are you looking for some practical tips and tools to help with your social media marketing?
Do you find it difficult to keep up with how quickly social media is evolving?
In this article, I outline a collection of technology tools and tips you’ll want to consider using to improve your presence across social media.

Why Tools?

It takes a lot of time to create quality content, engage on social profiles and sustain online relationships that support your business goals.
Larger businesses and corporations often have teams of people dedicated solely to these tasks.
For smaller businesses that don’t have the luxury of staff or financial resources, there are tools to help. But there are also efficient shortcuts and tips to help you get more out these technology tools.
By using some of these tips to strategically choose your tools, you can get more out of your social media marketing.
Here we go.

#1: Monitor Your Blog Visitors’ Activity With Lucky Orange

The more you know about your website visitors, the more you cater to their needs with content, layout and design.
Lucky Orange monitors and interacts with your blog visitors and lets you:
  • View details of who’s on your site now, what pages they’re visiting, where they’ve come from and how long they’ve been on your site
  • Interact with visitors in real time, through a chat box
  • View real-time or recorded videos of your website visitors browsing your site
  • View an overall heat map which shows the key areas your website visitors are clicking on
In the image below you see the time people spent on your site, how they found your site, the previous site they were on and the country they are browsing from.
lucky orange tool
Lucky Orange provides great information about your visitors.
Start by recording sessions of individual users browsing your blog and see where they’re scrolling and what they click on. Then interact with visitors while they’re on the site and ask them questions about their experience on your website or the content they’re browsing.
Use what you learn to fine-tune your site.

#2: Use Smush.it to Reduce the Size of Your Images

The load time of your page is one of many factors that Google uses to determine your web ranking, so it’s important to reduce the size of your images where possible.
Smush.it is an image compression tool that’s “lossless.”
You upload the images, reduce them and then download a version that’s smaller in size but not in quality.
smush it image reducer
Upload your images and reduce them in size.
Use these smaller images to improve your social media marketing performance.

#3: Implement a Content Distribution Network

When I browse a website or blog from Ireland that’s hosted in the United States, it’s likely to run slower for me than for someone who’s browsing from within the United States.
To standardize your load times, use a hosting provider that uses a content distribution network (CDN). A CDN keeps the latest copy of your website on various servers around the world so visitors get your content from the server that’s nearest to them, which results in faster load times.

#4: Check the Availability of Your Business Name on Social Networks

To get an account that matches your company name on Twitter, Facebook, etc., you need to visit each social network and go through the whole registration process to discover if your name is available.
KnowEm searches over 550 social networks in an instant to see if your name is available.
knowem username index
Search through over 550 social networks to find out if your name is available.
You may not have time to register your name with all social networks, but you should certainly consider registering it with the most popular ones—even if you don’t plan on using them immediately.

#5: Analyze Your Competitor on Twitter Using Twitonomy

Twitonomy provides a detailed analysis of your competitor’s Twitter account. Use it to:
  • Analyze the type of content your competitor sends and how it performs. Model content that gets shared a lot into your own distribution.
  • Find out whom your competitor interacts with the most. These may be people you should be interacting with.
  • Find out what hashtags your competitor uses quite frequently to give you an idea of the category of content they’re sharing.
    twitonomy profile comparison
    Twitonomy provides useful details if you want to analyze a competitor’s Twitter account.

#6: Use ClickToTweet to Encourage More Tweeting

To encourage people to tweet content within your posts, consider usingClickToTweet.
Paste your text and/or link into the box provided and click Generate Link.
Add this link to your site. If visitors click on this link, a tweet is created with the original text already pre-populated.
click to tweet tweet generator
Just enter the text you want to include in the tweet and then include the generated link in your post.
Use a Click to Tweet button beside a great quote in a blog post, a promotion you’re running or an event announcement.

#7: Identify Blogs in a Niche With Inkybee

Inkybee is a blogger outreach tool that helps you find the most relevant blogs in a particular niche, run campaigns to target these blogs and track the results. It determines relevance by counting how many times the keywords you specify appear in the blog’s posts.
For example, if you want to reach out to the top social media marketing blogs to see if they would be interested in linking to your content, then you would do a search for “social media marketing.”
Once you enter the keywords relevant to your niche (e.g., social media marketing), Inkybee returns a list of blogs that are best suited. You then sort the list based on blogs with the most audience, highest engagement, most posts per week, highest-ranked blog and much more.
inkybee blog search
An example of some of the data that’s returned.
Select relevant blogs from the niche, then build a campaign to reach out to the blogs, build relationships and monitor results. To monitor results, you integrate with Google Analytics and track traffic from the blogs you reached out to.

#8: Check for Broken Links on Your Blog

Links to external or internal pages on your blog that don’t work create a bad impression of your website.
Broken Link Checker is a free tool that goes through your site and finds any broken links.
broken link checker

Identify all broken links on your website.
Just enter in your web address and get a list that shows all of the broken links and exactly what page they’re on.

#9: Use SqueezeCMM to Track Links Shared Across Social Media

If you share your blog post in email or on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels,SqueezeCMM allows you to create custom links in one pass for a variety of channels.
Put in the link address and SqueezeCMM gives you a custom web address for email, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.
When you send out your content, use the relevant link for the channel and see exactly where traffic is generated from as a result of that link.
squeezecmm url shortener
A separate link is created for each channel.

#10: Check Domain/Page Rank

Moz (formerly SEOMoz) has their own algorithm that ranks websites and web pages out of 100. The domain authority is the overall rating of the website and the page authority is the rank for any particular page.
If you have a high domain authority and page authority, it’s easier to get your blog posts to appear high in search results.
Open Site Explorer allows you to check your domain/page authority. There’s a limited free version that allows you to check 3 sites per day, so you can check your site’s authority and the authority of a couple of your competitors.
In the example below, you see that Social Media Examiner has a very high domain and page authority (for their home page).
open site explorer authority check

Domain and page authority are ranked out of 100—the higher the better!
The best way of increasing your domain authority is to get businesses that are in a similar niche with a very high domain authority to link to you.
In the example above, you also see Linking Root Domains. This is the number of unique sites that link to Social Media Examiner. Because it’s so high and a lot of the businesses that link to them are relevant, their domain authority remains high.

#11: Optimize Your Blog Posts for Search Engines

WordPress SEO Plugin is an excellent plugin to optimize your blog posts for search engines such as Google. You select the keyword(s) you want to focus on within the post and this plugin gives you easy-to-follow guidelines regarding where you need to place these keywords to appear higher in search results.
wordpress seo plugin
WordPress SEO provides you with clear guidelines on what you need to do to assist in the ranking of your post for particular keywords.

#12: Encourage Visitors to Share Your Images

When you create a blog post with great images, you may want to encourage visitors to share your images on Pinterest. One way to do this is to install the plugin calledJQuery Pin It Button for Images.
When someone hovers over an image, the option to share on Pinterest automatically appears.
jquery pin it button
If your visitors are active on Pinterest, why not give them the option to pin your images on their boards?

#13: Implement Flare for Sharing

Flare is a social sharing WordPress plugin that displays a vertical sharing bar alongside your blog post. As the user scrolls, the bar moves with them.
You can also choose to have Flare appear horizontally at the top of your blog posts.
On a mobile device, the vertical sharing option doesn’t appear; however, the sharing bar appears across the top of the posts, so you still get shares on mobile.
flare share bar
The vertical bar for sharing is not available on mobile, but the horizontal bar at the top of your posts is!
Flare is visually appealing with useful functions and it works really well for social sharing on desktop and mobile.

#14: Generate Business With vCita

When someone reads your blog post, you may want to encourage him or her to contact you to book your services. For example, if you are a consultant, you may want to encourage readers to book a time slot with you.
vCita is a popout box that appears after a specified interval on your page. It pops out at the bottom of your blog post to ask your visitors if they want to schedule an appointment.
vcita reservation popout
The popout is a great way of attracting attention.
They click on the button to make an appointment and pick out an available slot in your schedule.
vcita appointment scheduler
Visitors schedule an appointment based on your available time.
After they pick the appointment time, you can even collect payment using PayPal!

#15: Link Your Blog Posts

When you create a new blog post, it makes sense to link to another blog post that has information relevant to your current post.
This internal linking between posts is beneficial for your search engine ranking. Google ranks pages that contain relevant links higher than those that don’t. Links from external websites are more beneficial, but it’s still useful to do some internal linking.
anchor text content link

Make sure to link to some other articles on your website.
Consider linking to other published posts when you write a new post, then review existing posts to see where you can introduce more links between them.

#16: Add Text to Your Photos With PicMonkey

When you share photos over social media channels, it’s useful to add text to the picture so you have a better chance to grab the attention of someone who sees the picture within their news feed on Facebook, Pinterest or other channels.
PicMonkey is a free online photo editor that allows you to add text to your pictures.
picmonkey image text editor
Easily add text to images within PicMonkey.
Take a look at Pinterest and Facebook and see how text is used on images to attract attention.

#17: Recycle Evergreen Posts Using SocialOomph

Evergreen content doesn’t go out of date. Unlike the latest news, a post on strategy may always be useful.
If you’ve written lots of great articles, it’s important to keep promoting them to your audience members who may not have seen them originally or who may have forgotten about them, and to new fans and followers.
With SocialOomph, you set up a queue and add your blog posts to that queue.Specify a time interval when a blog post should be taken from that queue and posted on social media channels.
For example, you could put 50 posts in the queue and get SocialOomph to post one item from the queue every day. When all 50 posts have been published, it goes back to the start of the queue and sends each item again.
socialoomph post scheduler
Setting up a queue within SocialOomph is quite straight-forward.
If you only have a few blog posts or a few followers, make sure to space out resending your blog posts (e.g., every 2 weeks) so that the same people don’t see the same posts too close together. This isn’t so much of an issue if you have a lot of followers and many blog posts; in fact you may even be able to send out posts every few hours!

#18: Search Social Media Channels Using Google

The search facility within different social media channels isn’t always great. So why don’t you use Google to search them?
If any content is made available for Google to index, then it’s searchable. For example, if I type “Razorsocial site:www.linkedin.com” into Google search, I can see if a company has mentioned RazorSocial on their LinkedIn company page. Then I can go to this page and click Like to show my appreciation.
google social search result
This was one of the many results found on LinkedIn.
If you want to search for a person within LinkedIn, you’re restricted to results based on whether you are a free or a paid member. However, if you search using Google, you’re not restricted.
Replace LinkedIn with any other social network to find mentions of your own site.

#19: Generate Blog Post Titles Using Tweak Your Biz Title Generator

A great blog post title makes a significant difference in the traffic you get and the number of times the post is shared.
The Tweak Your Biz Title Generator displays a variety of possible titles to use based on the keywords you enter.
Here are just some of the suggestions based on the keyword “Facebook Apps.”
tweak your biz blog title generator
A wide variety of post ideas is displayed.

#20: Create and Edit Videos on Your Mobile Device With SocialCam

SocialCam is a video creation and editing app for iPhone and Android. You shoot your video and edit it on the phone to add text, change the background and even add background music.
socialcam video editor
An easy way to take and share videos.
You don’t need a lot of time or money to add more personality to your social media marketing using video when there are apps like SocialCam.

#21: Create Lists With List.ly

Lists are extremely popular in blog posts, but they’re static and can’t evolve. List.lyallows you to create a list that embeds within your blog post and lets visitors add items to the list, then vote and comment on the items.
When you create your list, it’s also hosted and viewable on the List.ly website, where you can brand your list and add a link back to your website so that it becomes an additional source of traffic to your post.
listly list tool
Your list can be on List.ly, embedded on your website or both.

#22: Research a Hashtag Conversation With Tagboard

A hashtag is a way of grouping a conversation around a particular topic. They are particularly popular on Twitter, but have found their way into other platforms like Google+ and Facebook.
tagboard hashtag search
View all of the conversations happening around a particular hashtag.
If you want to research conversations about something important to you,Tagboard allows you to view conversations based around a hashtag across a variety of social media platforms.

#23: Attract Attention With Hellobar

When someone is on your blog, a good way to attract attention is a popup. A less intrusive way to get attention is to use Hellobar to display your call to action.
Hellobar is a thin bar that appears across the top of your page after a time that you specify.
You configure the text, the color and the call to action and have it up and running in a couple of minutes.
In the example below, the color of the bar contrasts with the color in the banner so it stands out on the page.
hellobar call to action
Having a contrasting color really makes Hellobar stand out.

#24: Keep Track of Events With Google Analytic Annotations

If you see sudden spikes or dips in traffic on Google Analytics, you may not remember why these occurred in 3 or 6 months. You may have gotten a great writeup in a newspaper, run an advertisement campaign or completed a guest post that was popular.
The best way to track this is to add annotations to these spikes or dips within Google Analytics when they happen.
google analytics annotation
Annotations are easy to add and well worth doing.
Use them as reminders of precipitating events when you review historical analytics in the future.

#25: Display the Facebook Like Box to New Subscribers

When readers subscribe to your blog for email updates, consider sending them to a thank-you page that holds the Facebook widget, which allows them to become a fan of your Facebook page.
Because they just made a commitment to become a subscriber, it’s a very easy decision to become a fan too. You should expect up to 25% conversion rate.
facebook like box
Subscribers become fans by clicking the Like button on the page.
To get the code for the Like box for your page, visit Facebook.

#26: Hold a Tweetcast With Nestivity

Twitter chat lets a group of people chat about a certain topic on Twitter based around a hashtag at a specified time.
A Tweetcast is a more engaging Twitter chat hosted on Nestivity. During a Tweetcast, you can present documents, images, videos, polls, presentations and Google+ hangouts all within the same chat.
nestivity tweet chat
Nestivity makes Twitter chat more interactive and engaging.
This makes your Tweet chat more interactive and interesting.

#27: Set Up Weekly Reports for Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great tool to monitor the performance of your blog, but you may not look at it regularly enough. One way to get around this is to set up a weekly report for delivery to you via email.
google analytics email reports
Easily set up weekly/daily reports.
A weekly report ensures that you review your analytics on a regular basis so you can stay aware of major shifts in traffic.

#28: Implement a Feature Box for Subscriber Conversion

A feature box is an image with a form that appears across the full width of your page. It’s normally used to register email subscribers and I originally came across it on Derek Halpern’s website Social Triggers.
With my current feature box, 8.2% of all visitors to the page with the feature box on it subscribe to my email list!
call to action feature box

This is just part of the feature box. The full box spans the width of the page.
How are you building your email subscribers? Add a feature box to increase subscriptions.

#29: Unroll.me—Manage Your Email Subscriptions

Unroll.me combines any subscriptions you have—newsletters, LinkedIn groups, Twitter accounts, etc.—into one email to reduce clutter in your inbox.
Set up Unroll.me and view all of your subscriptions in one place andunsubscribe to any of them with the touch of a button.
unroll me email subscription aggregator
Easily unsubscribe to your newsletter subscriptions.
You’ll easily see which subscriptions don’t add any value, so you have more time to read the subscriptions with content that matters.

#30: Set Up Google Analytics Goals

You should have some goals for what you want to achieve with your blog and it’s useful to track your achievement of these goals through Google Analytics.
Goals could be similar to the following:
  • 1% of all visitors to your blog send in an email inquiry
  • 3% of all visitors subscribe to your email list
  • Each visitor looks at an average of 2 pages per visit
If you track email subscribers, send them to a thank-you page after they subscribe.Set up a Google Analytics goal, which is achieved each time someone reaches the thank-you page. Now you can easily see what percentage of visitors convert to subscribers.

#31: Track Most Popular Tweets Using Brook

Brook sends a daily email summarizing the most popular tweets sent or shared by a group of people you specify.
Set up a list of key influencers within your industry, competitors or strategic partners tostay informed of trending articles and use the email as a source of content to share with your own followers.
brook tweet tracker
View popular content from people you track.

#32: Build a Following on Twitter Using ManageFlitter

If you want to grow your following quickly on Twitter, the best way is to follow more people who are relevant to your business.
ManageFlitter provides some free functionality that allows you to search through Twitter profiles and find people who meet specific criteria that match your target.
manageflitter twitter tool
The filtering options on ManageFlitter are very good.
Use ManageFlitter daily to build a following of people who are interested in the service or products you provide.

#33: Use Google Keyword Planner for Keyword Research

Recently, Google retired their Keyword tool and replaced it with the Google Keyword Planner. To use the Google’s Keyword Planner, you don’t need to run any advertisements on Google using Adwords but you do need to register for a Google Adwords account.
One useful feature of the Google Keyword Planner is the ability to set the minimum search volume for keyword research. For example, if you research the keywords ‘Social Media Tools’ and similar keywords, you can specify a minimum search volume.
In the example below, Google filters results to show you keywords that get an average of at least 250 searches per month.
google keyword planner tool
Research keywords and filter the results.

#34: Use LeadPlayer for Video Email Subscription

LeadPlayer allows you to include an email subscription form or a call to action within your video.
leadplayer email subscription call to action
The Subscribe option appears within the video.
Use it to display a free introduction for your video and then show a subscription form that must be completed to reveal the remainder of the video, or include a clear call to action that generates clicks to your sales page.
You may already include calls to action within your blog post, so why not include them within a video?

#35: Use Social Crawlytics to Find Out What’s Popular on Competitors’ Sites

Social Crawlytics crawls through any website and displays a report to show which posts get the most shares, and on which social networks those shares occur.
social crawlytics tool
Social Crawlytics is a very useful research tool.
This report shows that content from this site is shared most often on Twitter. Each of the colored areas indicates a blog post and if you hover over any area, you see the name of the blog post and the number of shares it’s received.
This is a great research tool to find the most/least popular content on a competitor’s blog. If you find really popular content from a competitor, it’s likely that similar content will be popular for you.

#36: Find the Theme a Site Is Using

If you come across a really nice WordPress site and you want to find the theme, just drop the URL into WordPress Theme Detector.
wordpress theme detector
WordPress Theme Detector shows you details of the theme the website is based on.
You get a short report that shows information about the theme and a few of the WordPress plugins used on the site.
This information you see is freely available if you look at the source of the page, but it’s much easier to read it using this tool.

#37: Direct Facebook Ads to a Landing Page

If you use advertisements to build fans on your Facebook page, don’t direct people to your timeline; direct them to a landing page that convinces them to become a fan.
tabsite custom facebook tab tool
Directing people to a landing page increases your conversion significantly.
Tabsite allows you to create custom landing pages, promotions and competitions within Facebook that improve your conversion and ROI.

#38: Review Buffer Analytics

Buffer allows you to easily share content you find across the web. Click on a button in your browser and content is automatically added to your queue for delivery to your social networks based on times you specify.
When you share content through Buffer, it keeps track of the interaction on the content so you see how much engagement you get based on both the content and the time you post it.
buffer post publisher
This is an example of a link shared on LinkedIn using Buffer.
Investigate how your content performs across social media channels. Is there any particular content that does better on one channel rather than the other? Are there any particular times that work best for you? Adjust your content and delivery according to what you learn.

#39: Include Incentives for Sharing in Facebook Contests

A great way to build fans and promote a contest on Facebook is to encourage entrants to share the contest with friends by offering incentives.
The following contest—run using Rafflecopter—offered a free ticket to the Social Media Success Summit. You had to be a fan to enter the contest, but you could enter more than once by becoming an email subscriber and by sharing the contest with your friends.
rafflecopter contest incentive
Providing incentives to share helps spread your contest and grows your fans.
Extend the visibility of your next Facebook contest with a good incentive that encourages people to share it with their friends.

#40: Include a Clear Call to Action in Your Blog Posts

If a website visitor makes it to the end of your blog post, that’s a good place to put acall to action to encourage them to subscribe to your blog posts or purchase your product or service.
blog post call to action
The Buffer team includes a very clear call to action at the end of their post.
What goal can you achieve by including a call to action at the end of your blog post?

#41: Use Camtasia or ScreenFlow for Advanced Video Editing

We already mentioned using SocialCam for basic editing, but if you want to do advanced editing, Camtasia and ScreenFlow are powerful tools that both provide excellent editing facilities and neither is difficult to use.
Easily cut or add pieces of video, drop in opening slides, add text and much more to help you create professional webinars or tutorials.

#42: Use Topsy to Get Ideas for Content

Topsy is a social media search engine that searches for content based on a keyword and filters the results based on the content that has the most links.
Use the results to find inspiration for types of content you can create and distribute on your own site and networks.
topsy keyword content search
You want to see the most popular content based on links for any time (i.e., not just for the last 30 days).

#43: Use Nimble to Build Relationships on Social Networks

For example, create a list of key influencers in your industry through Twitter, then add this list to Nimble. Add their profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ andtrack all of the interactions you have with them, monitor their activity and even respond to them through Nimble.
nimble crm
Track and monitor all interactions within Nimble.
Building relationships requires ongoing interaction and Nimble helps you nurture and build those relationships.

#44: Use SpeakPipe for Q&A on Your Podcast

If you want someone to leave a response or ask a question for your podcast,SpeakPipe lets your website visitors leave a voice message with the click of a button.
speakpipe voice message widget
Let visitors record a message!
Now you can play this voice message back on your podcast and answer their question directly!

#45: Use SEMrush to Find Content Your Competitor Ranks for

If you want to create content that does well in Google search, you may want to see what keywords send your competitor lots of traffic.
With SEMrush, you type in the website address of a competitor and it shows you the top 10 performing keywords for their site.
sem rush keyword detector

Target keywords that your competitor gets a lot of traffic with.
Use what you learn to incorporate the same keywords into your own content.
Over to You
Use these tips and tools to empower and inspire you to improve your social media marketing strategy. Start small, make adjustments and then follow a strategy that works best for your business.
What do you think? Are you using any of these tips or tools? What’s worked well for you? What would you add? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

How to Promote Your Blog Through Social Media? What Steps to Promote Blogs Online

Writing blog is not the most difficult part in blogging but getting viewers is the important part.  After writing hundreds of blog posts but attracting no viewers is mere waste of time.  The viewership of blogs determines the popularity of the same.  Social media platforms have made the job easier to get connected to people having similar thoughts.  Here are certain tips that will help you to gain new readers:Facebook
Post your blog content or the URL of the blog post in your Facebook status or can be embedded on your wall.  Or go ahead and create a fan page for your blog and continue to update the same.  If you believe that your friend is interested to read your blog posts but often forget to come back to your blog, you can directly post the URL in their wall.  When you write about any other brands, you should tag them without fail.  You should also create a “Like” button for your blog post.  Remember to tell readers to hit the button if they find the content impressive.  Further, go ahead and post the URL on their wall, discussion boards, communities etc.

One can tweet the title and link of your blog post along with  some relevant hash tagsl  Hash tag will bring your during the searches made by other tweeters.  When you have completed tweets, it is good to do a quick search on the keyword to find out others who speak on the same theme.  Look for questions on the same subject and try to be the first person to answer and divert the traffic to your blog.  Finding out people who are interested in conversation might help you to grow the traffic.

The traditional way to start is to place the URL of your blog posts.  It supports the same functionality as Twitter to add # tags to your posts.  Look for other authors who are discussing on the same topic and mention them in the tag.  You can call their posts to be an inspirational material and quote them in the tags.  This information might attract the readers and they might actually end up in your blog to go through the information.

Update the URL of the blog post in your LinkedIn account and add them in the publication tab.  Prospective readers, employers and employees will go through the link if they are interested.  Make sure to install BlogLink application tool in your account.

Online Communities
Search for online communities who are interested in your topic.  Make sure that your posts aren’t blatantly promotional and engage with the rest of the community or you may be labeled as a spammer.

At this time, email is still a popular way to send information.  Try to create an e-news letter or add a self updating RSS feed (like wise stamp) to your email signature.  Alternatively,  you can offer subscriptions via email on your blog.

Triberr was created specifically for bloggers to promote each other.  Bloggers use it by creating ‘tribes” of fellow bloggers who are writing for a similar niche audience.  The tribe members all provide Triberr with access to their Twitter account and an RSS feed URL for their blog.  The site creates a stream of formatted tweets promoting all tribe members blog posts that, upon approval by each member, are scheduled for posting to their Twitter account.  The posts are staggered no less than one hour apart.

Pinterest is a social sharing site that allows you to collect & share images & links in a bulletin board format.  You can collect links on visually pleasing boards that you can categorize as you like.  Pinterest only works as an image-based link sharing tool and hence use images that are posted with your blog.

The most important part of your social media marketing campaign is strategy and keep in mind that all social media users are hyper-sensitive to sales & marketing.  Try to be authentic, engage them in a one to one manner, and strive to bring value regardless of whether doing so seems to directly benefit you.  Tricks and active sales will be counter productive and if you can generate trust they they welcome you into their communities. 

Compiled by Amit Giri, Digital Marketing Manager, DART Consulting.  He can be reached at amit@dartconsultng.co.in

40 Most Popular Social Networking Sites of the World

“Social networking” has been around forever. It’s the simple act of expanding the number of people you know by meeting your friends’ friends, their friends’ friends and so on. In fact, many of us today use Twitter and Facebook to promote our existing and upcoming businesses. And people looking to connect with other business-associated contacts usually move to sites like LinkedIn, but one need to understand that social media is beyond Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogs. After observing and running an analysis on hundreds of Social Networking sites I have listed down 40 most popular social networks across countries.

1. Facebook: To access Facebook.com, you must create an account on the site which is free. Facebook’s terms of use state that members must be at least 13 years old with valid email ID’s. After updating you’re details, your Facebook profile is generated. Using Facebook.com you can:

o Browse and join networks, which are organized into four categories: regions, colleges, workplaces and high schools.
o Pull contacts from a Web-based e-mail account, into Facebook.com.
o Find friends in several ways, including search engine to look for a specific person and lot more.
o Facebook has recently crossed 500 million users and is the most popular Social Networking site of the world.

2. MySpace: On MySpace, your social network starts growing from the first day. When you join MySpace, the first step is to create a profile. You then, invite friends to join there and search for your friends on already profiled on MySpace these friends become your initial Friend Space. Once the friendship is confirmed all the people in your friends’ Friend Space become part of your network. In that sense, everyone on MySpace is in your Extended Network. As part of terms of MySpace, the user must be at least 14 years old to register.

3. Twitter: Twitter is a very simple service that is rapidly becoming one of the most talked-about social networking service providers. When you have a Twitter account, you can use the service to post and receive messages to a network of contacts, as opposed to send bulk email messages. You can build your network of contacts, and invite others to receive your Tweets, and can follow other members’ posts. Twitter makes it easy to opt into or out of networks. Additionally, you can choose to stop following a specific person’s feed.

4. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an online social network for business professionals, which is designed specifically for professional networking, to help them find a job, discover sales leads, connect with potential business partners. Unlike most of the other social networks, LinkedIn does not focus on making friends or sharing media like photos, videos and music. To start using LinkedIn you need to register and create a profile page. To register to LinkedIn, you need to provide personal information. You can update the profile with your education and job details and a summary. Additionally, you can also give and receive recommendations from co-workers and bosses. There are more than 75 million professionals registered on LinkedIn.

5. Bebo: In the United Kingdom, Bebo is the second best social network. Bebo allows users to create social networking profiles for free. It offers many of the same features as other social networking sites. You can register a free account with Bebo and upload photos, videos and information. The site lets you connect with old friends and make new ones using a unique user interface. The site boasts users from more than a dozen countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Poland, France and Germany.

6. Friendster: Friendster was one of the first Web sites to bring it into mass culture. It was designed as a place to connect with friends, family, colleagues and new friends over the Internet. However, it went beyond just a one-way communication. Using Friendster, you can connect with friends and family, meet new people through the connections you already have, find people with similar interests, backgrounds or geographical locations, join groups by activity, school or interest, interact through message posts, games, blogs and application sharing, and share your details with the Internet community.

7. Hi5: Hi5 shares many similarities with many social network sites; however, it introduces some twists that make it worthwhile for people who love trying out new and interesting online communities. However, it is not one of the popular sites in the United States. This was a strategic move from the founder, therefore, Hi5 claims around 60 million members from more than 200 countries other than the US. One of the site’s biggest transformations is the addition of many entertainment options, including games.

8. Habbo: The Habbo online community is inhabited by pixelated, cartoon-character alter egos. You can meet others in public rooms (nightclubs, restaurants, shops) and create private rooms for selected friends. Habbo employees heavily moderate the site, catering to its solid teen user base. Most of the users of Habbo are between the age group of 13 – 18 years. Although, a major part of the users are from the U.S., Habbo social networks is very popular in places like the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Finland and more.

9. NING: Ning is the leading online platform for the world’s organizers, activists and influencers to create social experiences that inspire action. It helps you create a safe and secure place online for like-minded people. Ning takes the idea of groups to a whole new level. The ability to create your own community makes Ning a great home away from home for organizations and groups looking to fill the social void.

10. Classmates: Classmates.com is different from most social networks, in the sense that most of its features are available to premium member. The price for premium members depends on the length of the agreement – shorter term results in a higher cost per month. Classmates.com is primarily used to reconnect with old classmates. The site features a search engine that lets you view other people who went to the same school you attended. Creating a basic Classmates.com profile is free and easy. However, most of the advanced features in Classmates.com are only available to paid users.

11. Tagged: Tagged is a blend of social networking features that MySpace and Facebook users will find very familiar. Tagged was designed to help users meet lots of new people with similar interests in a short amount of time. You can access and register directly or be invited by a friend to join Tagged. This is a free social network that allows you to view your friends’ newly uploaded Tagged photo album. Tagged encourages its users to meet strangers based on shared interests, with the idea of growing your network to meet as many people as possible.

12. myYearbook: myYearbook, the best place to meet new people and one of the 25 most-trafficked sites in the United States. myYearbook has Flash-based games, and the games incorporate Lunch Money (the myYearbook virtual currency). It includes a virtual economy through which people can purchase of gifts which members send to each other. Lunch Money is also donated by members to their favourite charity. In 2010, myYearbook donated money to the Haiti Relief Fund to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

13. Meetup: Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. It makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

14. MyLife: MyLife (formerly Reunion.com) is a social network service. MyLife can search over 60 social-networking sites and other information resources on the Web. MyLife searches the web to deliver accurate and timely results. Even in cases when you don’t immediately find who you’re looking for, MyLife continues searching and provides updates and alerts. MyLife suggests friends and contacts you may know based on your profile information and existing contacts. It also intimates you when someone else is looking for you. MyLife gives you a global view into the most popular sites your friends are part of, including LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace as well as 50 other sites.

15. Flixster: Flixster is a social networking site for movie fans. Users can create their own profiles, invite friends, rate movies and actors, and post movie reviews as well. From the site, people can also get information about movies, read user-generated movie reviews and ratings, converse with other users, get movie show times, view popular celebrity photos, read the latest movie news, and view video clips from popular movies and TV shows. Flixster.com also operates leading movie applications on Facebook, MySpace, iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.

16. myHeritage: MyHeritage is a family-oriented social network service and genealogy website. It allows members to create their own family websites, share pictures and videos, organize family events, create family trees, and search for ancestors. There are more than 15 million family trees and 91 million photos on the site, and the site is accessible in over 35 languages.

17. Multiply: Multiply is a vibrant social shopping destination, but faster and more convenient, where sellers and buyers interact. A user’s network is made up of their direct contacts, as well as others who are closely connected to them through their first-degree relationships. Users are also encouraged to specify the nature of their relationship with one another, making it possible to share content based on relationship. Many shoppers in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have made the Multiply Marketplace a favourite shopping destination.

18. Orkut: Orkut is a free social networking website where you can create a profile, connect with friends, maintain an online scrapbook and use site features and applications to share your interests and meet others. The prerequisite for logging on to Orkut is that the user must be over 18 years old. Currently, Orkut is the most popular in Brazil. The number of orkut users in India is almost equivalent to those in its original home in the United States.

19. Badoo: Badoo is a multi-lingual social networking website. It is gaining popularity in emerging markets like Russia and Brazil. The site allows users to create profiles, send each other messages, and rate each other’s profile pictures at no cost. However, features that are designed to make user profile more visible to other users are provided at a cost. Badoo includes geographic proximity feature that identifies users’ locations based on analysis of their network connection. This lets users know if there are people near their current location who may wish to meet.

20. Gaia Online: Gaia Online is a mix of social networking and massive multiplayer online role-playing games. It is a leading online hangout for teens and young adults, and offers a wide range of features from discussion forums and virtual towns to fully customizable profiles and avatars. It provides a fun, social environment that inspires creativity and helps people make meaningful connections around shared interests such as gaming, arts and anime.

21. BlackPlanet: Initially, BlackPlanet was designed as a way for African-American professionals to network. Since then, it’s grown and evolved as a site operating under the principles of Web 2.0. Members can read other members’ blogs, watch music videos, chat with one another, look for new careers and discuss news. Though BlackPlanet is not restricted to any community, this site is more popular amongst African-American. This site helped Obama to connect to nearly 200,000 potential supporters.

22. SkyRock: SkyRock.com is a social networking site that offers its members free web space where they can create a blog, add a profile, and exchange messages with other registered members. The site also offers a specific space for members who create blogs showcasing their original musical compositions. SkyRock is very popular in France and French speaking markets including Switzerland and Belgium. The site is also available in English, German, Dutch and Spanish. It’s very popular in the European Union.

23. PerfSpot: PerfSpot provides a web portal for people of any age, gender, or background to share their interests and favourite things on the web. PerfSpot currently publishes its site in 37 different languages, with comprehensive moderator team based in the U.S. and the Philippines that screens through up to a million pictures on a daily basis.

24. Zorpia: Zorpia.com is a social network that has a large international community. Zorpia’s features include profile customization, networking features and an incredibly detailed search. Zorpia has an impressive music section featuring popular artists like Ashlee Simpson, Vanessa Hudgens, Alanis Morissette and more. You can purchase a Royal Membership for extra networking options such as an ad–free profile, extra profile design features and unlimited messaging.

25. Netlog: Netlog (formerly known as Facebox and Bingbox) is a Belgian social networking website specifically targeted at the European youth demographic. On Netlog, you can create your own web page with a blog, pictures, videos, events and much more to share with your friends. Netlog is pageview market leader in Belgium, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Romania and Turkey. In the Netherlands, Germany, France and Portugal, Netlog covers the second place. Pan European, Netlog is the market leader. Netlog is localized in over 25 languages, to enable users from around the world to access the network.

26. Tuenti: Tuenti is an invitation-only private social networking website. It has been referred to as the “Spanish Facebook”, by many social network watchers. It is one of the largest social networking sites in Spain. It allows you to set up a profile, upload photos, link videos and connect and chat with friends. Many other utilities, such as the ability to create events, are also offered. From 2009, utilizing a simple interface, Tuenti user can change their language to Catalán, Basque, Galician, and English. Tuenti is also available as an iPhone App.

27. Nasza-Klasa.pl: nasza-klasapl is considered one of the largest and most used social networking sites in Poland. It primarily brings together school’s students and alumni. The site is in polish therefore restricting its popularity only to Poland and polish speaking people. Nevertheless, it claims to be the most popular networking site in Poland, and therefore, has found its niche in the competitive social networking space. The site where one might say, new meets old, where the intractability is like Facebook, yet traditional with old styled forums.

28. IRC-Galleria: IRC Gallery has been one of the most popular social networking sites for over 10 years, in Finland; with over 5.5 lakh registered users, 90% of which use the site regularly. IRC-Galleria is popular within the age group of 18-22. To be able to create an account with this site, at least one of the uploaded images must be accepted by the administrator. While regular users can upload only up to 60 visible images, you have the option to upgrade to VIP status that enables you to upload 10,000 visible images. Using this site, users can communicate with other users, comments on photos, and join over a 100 communities.

29. StudiVZ: StudiVZ is the biggest social networking site in Germany. It is also popular in German-speaking countries like Switzerland and Austria. This site works as a student directory in particular for college and university students in Europe. The site allows students to maintain a personal page that containing their personal information like name, age, study subjects, interests, courses and group memberships (within StudiVZ).

30. Xing: Xing, (formally known as openBC/Open Business Club) is a professional networking tool. It is popular in countries like Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. Xing is similar to LinkedIn and claims to have professionals from over 200 countries. Xing has two features Basic and Premium, depending on weather the user wants to use the site for free or at a cost. It is available in different languages including English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Dutch, Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Polish, Turkish and Hungarian; French and German being the most popularly.

31. Renren: Renren (formerly called Xiaonei Network) is one of the largest social networking sites in China, and caters to people of Chinese origin. It is very popular amongst college students. Renren also has a WAP version, which users can access through mobile phones. It features an instant messaging service for its users. Users can use the same username to log in both Renren and Kaixin. Renren appeals more to Chinese college students who use internet cafes, while Kaixin001 targets Chinese white-collar workers who have internet access at work.

32. Kaixin001: Kaixin001 is a popular professional networking tool in China. The target audience for Kaixin’s, are typically white-collar middle class who come from a first tier city. This site in China is extremely popular among people who work for multinational companies, ad agencies and other white collar companies. Kaixin001 has gained much more popularity since 2009, because social networking sites, such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were blocked in China.

33. Hyves.nl: Hyves, pronounced hives (from beehives) is the largest social network in Netherlands, with many Dutch visitors and members. Hyves Payments and Hyves Games, allows you to play games and pay friends through the social network. Hyves provides usual amenities of a social networking site, including profiles, blogs, photos, and so on. ‘Hyven’ (Hyving) became a common word in Dutch, and is gaining popularity across Europe.

34. Millat Facebook: MillatFacebook is a Muslim-oriented social networking website. Originally launched in Pakistan, it has gained popularity in Arab counties as well. This site came into existence after Facebook was banned in Pakisthan. Millatfacebook offers video chat, bulletins, blogs, polls, shout box, and customization of profile page. Members can change the page CSS and design it on their own will.

35. Ibibo: Ibibo stands for iBuild, iBond. It is an Indian social networking site. It is an umbrella site that offers a variety of applications under its social network. The services offered include games, blogs, photo unlimited storage, mail, messenger, videos, free SMS service, mail, polls and surveys.

36. Sonico: Sonico is a free-access social networking website focused on the Latin American audience. You can do a to rage of things in this site including search and add friends, interact with friends over message, update their own personal profile, manage their privacy, upload photos and videos, organize events, play games with other users. Sonico, more importantly, let’s its members more control over their profile by giving them three distinct profiles that the user can organize based on the need: a private profile, a public profile, and a professional profile. This site is popular in Latin America and other Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Regions.

37. Wer-kennt-wen: Wer-kennt-wen, is one of the most popular social networking website in Germany. It is by an invitation-only social networking website, and only for people over 14 years old. The site provides the user to write blogs, chat with friends, and write in their guestbook. It provides users a social community for people, to interact with anybody they want.

38. Cyworld: Cyworld is a South Korean social network service. It has had a big effect on Korea’s Internet culture. Many renowned Korean socialites and celebrities have accounts where they post upcoming tours and works. Cyword has networks in South Korea, China, and Vietnam and is gaining popularity across Asia and the Pacific Island. Users have access to a profile page, photos, drawings and images uploading, an avatar, neighbourhoods, and clubs.

39. Mixi: Mixi is primarily for Japanese. Mixi offers options to meeting new people, send and receive messages, writing in a diary, read and comment on others’ diaries, organize and join communities and invite their friends. The site requires users to own a Japanese cell phone which bars anyone who is not or has not been a resident of Japan.

40. iWiW: iWiW (abbreviation for International Who is Who) is a Hungarian social networking web service. The site is an invite-only website, where a user can provide personal information. Users can search for friends using the search tool. iWiW allows users to log in to external websites using their iWiW credentials. iWiW is also available for iPone and Android.

The list is tentative. You might want to add your thoughts to the same. Please feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below. I will soon revamp the list and take your suggestions into consideration.

10 Best Social Media Management Tools For Social Media Managers

Social media is one of the most effective ways for you and your business to get more traffic and generate new leads. Having a presence on all the major networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a necessity these days for any business. But what tools are the social media gurus actually using to manage these multiple accounts?

1 Hootsuite

HootSuite is the most popular social media management tool for people and businesses to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks like Facebook and Twitter from one web-based dashboard. Hootsuite has become an essential tool for managing social media, tracking conversations and measuring campaign results via the web or mobile devices. Hootsuite offers a free, pro and enterprise solution for managing unlimited social profiles, enhanced analytics, advanced message scheduling, Google Analytics and Facebook insights integration.

2 Buffer

Buffer is a smart and easy way to schedule content across social media. Think of Buffer like a virtual queue you can use to fill with content and then stagger posting times throughout the day. This lets you keep to a consistent social media schedule all week long without worrying about micro-managing the delivery times. The Bufferapp also provides analytics about the engagement and reach of your posts.

What’s the difference between Hootsuite and Bufferapp?

Hootsuite provides a more complete solution that allows you to schedule updates and monitor conversations, whereas Buffer isn’t a dashboard that shows you other people’s content. However, Bufferapp has superior scheduling flexibility over Hootsuite because you can designate very specific scheduling times and change patterns throughout the week. Hootsuite recently introduced an autoschedule feature that automatically designates a scheduling time based on a projected best time to post. This can be effective to use, but doesn’t have the same flexibility as Buffer since you don’t really know when a post will be scheduled till after doing so. What’s the right solution for you? Many people use both Hootsuite (to listen) and Bufferapp (to schedule), including me, and it really depends on your posting needs. In my opinion though, if Hootsuite we’re to introduce more scheduling options this could spell trouble for Buffer! But then again, Buffer could be working on some cool new dashboard that would rival Hootsuite’s offering, time will only tell.

3 SocialOomph

SocialOomph is a neat web tool that provides a host of free and paid productivity enhancements for social media. You can do a lot with the site which includes functions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk and your blog. There are a ton of useful Twitter features like scheduling tweets, tracking keyword, viewing mentions and retweets, DM inbox cleanup, auto-follow and auto-DM features for new followers. Social Oomph will auto-follow any new follower of yours on Twitter if you like, which could save you a ton of time if you normally like to reciprocate follows. Social Oomph is so effective at increasing social media productivity that I use the site every day but haven’t had any reason to actually log in there since last year!

4 TweetDeck

Tweetdeck is a web and desktop solution to monitor and manage your Twitter feeds with powerful filters to focus on what matters. You can also schedule tweets and stay up to date with notification alerts for new tweets. Tweetdeck, who was purchased by Twitter, is available for Chrome browsers, as well as Windows and Mac desktops. Recently they closed down their mobile apps to re-shift focus on the web and desktop platforms.

5 Tweepi

Tweepi is a unique management tool for Twitter that lets you flush unfollowers, cleanup inactives, reciprocate following and follow interesting new tweeps! The pro version allows you to do bulk follow/unfollow actions of up to 200 users at a time making it a pretty powerful tool for Twitter management.

6 SocialFlow

Social Flow is an interesting business solution to watch real-time conversation on social media in order to predict the best times for publishing content to capture peak attention from target audiences. Some major publishers use Social Flow which includes National Geographic, Mashable, The Economist and The Washington Post to name a few. Social Flow offers a full suite of services that looks to expand audience engagement and increase revenue per customer. In addition to its Cadence and Crescendo precision products, SocialFlow conducts an analysis of social signals to help identify where marketers should spend money on Promoted Tweets, Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories, extending the reach and engagement for Twitter and Facebook paid strategies.

7 SproutSocial

Sproutsocial is a powerful management and engagement platform for social business. Sprout Social offers a single stream inbox designed to help you never miss a message, and tools to seamlessly post, colloborate and schedule messages to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The platform also has monitoring tools and rich analytics to help you visualize important metrics.

8 SocialBro

SocialBro helps businesses learn how to better target and engage with their audience on Twitter. It provides tools to browse your community and identify key influencers, determine when the best time to tweet is, track engagement and analyze your competitors. Socialbro analyzes the timelines of your followers to generate a report showing you when the optimal time to tweet is that would reach the maximum amount of followers for more retweets and replies.

9 CrowdBooster

Crowdbooster offers a set of no-nonsense social media analytics with suggestions and resources to boost your online engagement. The platform provides at-a-glance analytics, recommendations for engagement and timing, audience insights and content scheduling to optimize delivery.

10 ArgyleSocial

Argyle social is social media management tool for savvy B2B marketing. It allows you to merge social data with sales and marketing numbers to identify and engage with more prospects, qualify and quantify better leads and build stronger relationships with social media actions.

So what’s your favorite social media management tool?

Source: http://dashburst.com/best-social-media-management-tools/