A community manager is responsible for engaging, promoting and monitoring a specific community in an effort to build valuable and meaningful relationships that benefit both a company and its fans. Managing a community takes more than just pushing out content. It also requires that you facilitate and manage conversations with your followers.

While there are many tools that can help community managers listen in on all the customer conversations taking place in, around and across your user communities and social media platforms, it’s hard to know which ones are worth investing in. After researching and reviewing, we’ve compiled our top five community management tools that can help community managers generate leads, manage performance, track interaction, measure engagement and enable community tracking.

Lead Generation

Who: Viralheat

What: A self-described human intent identifier, Viralheat covers the social web from Google Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, real-time web to YouTube as it tracks and analyzes mentions. With its influencer analytics, Viralheat helps community managers discover advocates and detractors who are shaping your conversation.

Why: With Viralheat’s human intent technology, community managers can leverage influencer analytics to generate viable leads.

How Much: Three plans are available, starting at US $9.99/month and includes up to 40 profiles and a six-month data archive, as well as unlimited mentions for all plans.

Interaction Management

Who: Argyle Social

What: Argyle Social helps marketers and businesses organize, measure and justify the marketing efforts they're investing in social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Argyle Social boasts that it provides results, rather than sentiment or influence. By using engagement and interactions as core social media outcomes, Argyle Social helps users understand which posts, campaigns and properties drive interactions and which ones don't.

Why: Argyle Social integrates with Google Analytics, Tweetdeck, and most other leading tools and its integrated publishing tool lets community managers publish your social media content from within one interface.

How much: All accounts start with a 15-day free trial. Users can choose from two pricing options: Marketer US $149/month and Advanced US $499/month. Plans offer up to five goals and 10 advanced rules. Advanced plans have access to unlimited social properties.

Performance Management

Who: TwentyFeet

What: TwentyFeet helps users keep track of social media activities and monitor their results by aggregating metrics from different services in one place and will alert you when there’s a stat you need to handle and manage right away.

Why: By providing an overview of your social platforms (from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Bit.ly, and more), TwentyFeet educates you about how your key performance indicators develop over time, and then “nudge you” when your metrics shift in a significant manner, either above or below expected performance.

How much: Pricing starts at US $2.49 (USD) per year per account. One account each with Twitter and Facebook is free. A 30-day-free-trial period is available for all accounts.

Measuring Engagement

Who: Conversocial

What: Conversocial helps increase engagement and manage interactions with your customers on Facebook and Twitter by helping you understand what type of content resonates the most with your fans and followers.

Why: Conversocial uses interaction per thousand fans (IPM) to measure engagement. Use their free Conversocial’s Profiler to compare your page with your competitors’ and see who comes out on top.

How much: Conversocial offers two plans. The Team plans starts at £ 50/month and the Enterprise plan starts at £1500/month and allows unlimited Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Community Tracking

Who: uberVU

What: uberVU helps teams collaborate on listening, reporting and engaging in social media by keeping track of and interacting with your community, while providing data collection and analytics.

Why: The uberVU dashboard helps you be where your customers and fans are so you can listen, meet and connect with them. UberVU shows you how customers feel about a variety of topics, including your company, a product launch or competitors. It can also alert you if there's a PR crisis that you needs attention.

How much: uberVU provides four plans, starting at US $49.99/month. All plans feature unlimited mentions.

Define Your Goal, Then Manage It

While there is no one social media metric that guarantees absolute return on investment, these tools provide a variety of metrics for companies. Whatever your goal, it’s important to use a tool that helps you meet, track and manage your engagement so you can be sure that what you’re doing is working.

Are you using a community management tool that’s not on our list? Tell us what you use.