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The Community Manager's Toolbox

There is definitely not a shortage of tools and apps designed to help us manage social media, the messages we send, the communities that gather and its influence on building brand loyalty. Of course, the right tools are easy to use and add value to how customer experience is managed and measured.

The role of the community manager is evolving to keep up with the enterprise’s commitment to customer engagement. And while companies are expected to make it possible for customers to engage no matter where they may be, there’s no one magic tool for community managers to handle it all. Whether it’s on our desktop or from our smartphone, there are a number of tools that help us see the big picture.

As a community manager for CMSWire, here are a few tools that help me stay on top of trends, manage conversations and share information with team members. 

Desktop Tools

I prefer using desktop tools for platforms that I rely on heavily. When it comes to social media platforms like Twitter, the web-based options were never able to keep up with demand and crashed or refused to reload reliably. With desktop tools you can usually benefit from audible alerts that don't often come with browser-based sites. 

TweetDeck by Twitter

What it does: TweetDeck is an app that brings more flexibility and insight to power users across a variety of social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

What I like about it: The TweetDeck desktop tool lets me manage many different social network feeds at once and lets me seamlessly post, retweet and share information with followers. New updates have also made it easier to follow conversions from within the platform, rather than having to be redirected to a browser window. Scheduling tweets across accounts is also easier to set up and manage. 

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Paymo

What it does: Paymo offers a suite of online tools that makes it easy for businesses and freelancers to manage projects, timesheets and billing. Available for desktop, mobile and web. Free, basic and premium pricing options available. 

What I like about it: Invoicing isn't just about billing clients. It's about keeping track of the time you spend monitoring communities. The Paymo time tracking widgets helps me measure my online investments. I can track tasks easily and analyze how much time I spend accordingly. Weighed against other metrics, I can effectively evaluate and change course as necessary to make sure both client and community are benefiting best from my time. 

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Browser-Based

I go between using Firefox and Chrome as my primary browsers, with Safari as a back up (mostly for testing and review). Within these browsers, I have a few tabs that always remain open so I can continually access them whenever I want. It goes without saying that Facebook is among them, but there are others that take up real estate. 

Social Bro

What it does: SocialBro delivers a powerful and comprehensive Twitter management dashboard that lets users manage and analyze their Twitter community. 

What I like about it: I started using SocialBro for a review I wrote. I use it to monitor multiple feeds. While it gives you a lot of information, most of which you may not use on a regular basis, it's always easy to access when you want to. Best features include "best time to tweet" and dashboard insights, like recent unfollows or influence stats that are easy to read and analyze.  

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Sendible

What it does: Sendible is an online marketing service for businesses and marketers to promote, grow and track their brands through the use of Social Media, email and SMS messaging. Variety of plans available, starting at $29.99. 

What I like about it: Scheduling posts to social networks seems like it should be easier. However, nothing is as easy as Sendible. You can use it for as much or as a little as you need. I like it for scheduling multiple posts across various platforms at once. Great for social media collaboration, as team members can schedule or set up posts as needed. 

 

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