Community managers swear by certain apps and tools for their social media management. In honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day on January 23, we asked several to talk about their favorites.
Whether they are filtering mass amounts of content, managing a project or professionally presenting a company, community managers deal with a lot of communication. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to keep them productive.
"As a community manager, I find myself in need of a good way to create forms fairly often," says Sarah Rapp, community manager at Behance. "Whether [I'm] sending our annual survey to our entire member base, sending targeted questionnaires or just collecting e-mail addresses for a certain set of people, Wufoo is a great solution.
"What it has that Google Forms doesn't [is that], depending on how someone answers a certain question, you can determine what questions come next."
"Shared docs, e-mail and internal microblogging are great work, but combine all these and more in the social work platform, Podio," says Mike Fraietta, enterprise community manager at News Corp. "[Podio] allows for a wide range of project management and collaboration methods. It has an easy drag-and-drop interface for customization, along with a slick mobile app. I think it's still free for up to 10 users.
"The biggest problem with Podio is transitioning users to a new platform."
"I use TweetDeck for one reason only—it allows me to schedule my tweets for later," says Asa Alger, community manager and interactive designer at Luxurious Animals. "Also, [the ability to manage] multiple accounts is pretty handy.
"But the 'post later' function allows me to do my social media gathering mostly in the morning and focus on other work later. Other than that, I keep a large folder of RSS feeds that I go through every morning looking for interesting things to share with the world."
"One app I love is Simply Measured," says Dave Brown, director of digital strategy at MKG and co-organizer of CMMeetup. "With so much data flying around in social media these days, it's crucial for us as CMs to help our clients by cutting through all the noise....
"This [helps] brands we represent better relate to their fans and ... make real-world connections. It's a great example of using online technologies to deliver offline results. We're also using this data to identify influencers in real time and monitor specific conversations around a particular event or brand."
"Sysomos allows me to measure the social buzz around my brand and its competitors," says Christina Dick, community manager at The Martin Agency. "I monitor the conversations around keywords for each brand, and I am able to tell when there is jump in the amount of buzz around a specific brand.
"By looking at Sysomos Text Analytics and Top Influencers, I am able to analyze why there is a spike in conversation. This allows our team to keep our clients informed about what conversations are happening around their brand and their competitors."
"We've all explored the new Facebook Insights, but what's fantastic about this iteration for community managers it to see how and why your content is spreading," says Rapp. "It's important to know—are we getting a lot of traffic from Facebook from what we're posting to Facebook, or because users are posting it on their own? That can be found in the Organic vs. Viral graph in Reach. This is valuable information to help inform your Facebook strategy."
"Screenr is a free way to record your screen for tutorials, demonstrations and to answer customer issues," says Fraietta. "The most important reason to produce and save screen recordings is for scalable learning, FAQs and detailed responses to your users.
"Most community managers have some responsibility in customer service, and ZenDesk is a great solution to handle the influx of customer service inquiries," says Rapp. "If your entire community is submitting tickets to one place, in the same format, you can quickly and easily assign these out to different members of your team or have non-visible conversations about a customer's issue with another member of your team.
"It's really customizable, so you can determine what fields people have to fill out, create reports, etc. Overall, it's a really robust solution, and it makes customer service organized and efficient."
"Not all of the 'tools' in my toolbox are in the form of an app or program," says Sheena Medina, community manager at Fast Company. "One idea that has served me well as the community manager for Fast Company is to never stop being the customer. It's not a "tool" in the traditional sense, but I would consider insights like this to be of equal or greater importance in helping you do this job well.
"Tools come and go. But people matter most. If you can remember to stay focused on people, you'll never lose your way."
Are there other tools or tricks you use to manage a community? Let us know your favorites in the comments.