Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pinterest Business Accounts

Pinterest Business Accounts: This Week in Social Media

By Cindy King
Published November 17, 2012
On SocialMediaExaminer.com

Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news.

To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention.

What’s New This Week?

Pinterest Rolls Out Business Accounts: Pinterest now offers a set of free tools and resources for businesses. There are new terms of service for businesses. To set up your Pinterest business account, go here.

You can now use Pinterest for business.

LinkedIn Enables Profile Editing on Mobile: LinkedIn makes it possible for mobile professionals to edit their profiles on the go.  ”Now you can update your profile with a new headline, add recent skills or add a new position so your professional identity is always up to date.”

Discussion From Our Networking Clubs: Thousands of social media marketers and small business owners are asking questions and helping others in our free Networking Clubs. Here are a few interesting discussions worth highlighting:

YouTube Makes it Easier to Watch Videos on TV: There’s a YouTube app update for Android and Google TV that “automatically pairs your devices on the same WiFi. Just find a video on your YouTube app for Android—like the latest video from GoPro or H+ The Digital Series—click the TV icon that appears and the video will play instantly on your Google TV.”

This new YouTube on TV feature is "like a remote control—you can pause, scroll or skip to the next video with your mobile device as it plays on your TV."

Facebook Launches Social Jobs Partnership Application: The Social Jobs Partnership (SJP) unveiled a Facebook app to ”make it easier for people on Facebook to find and share employment opportunities.”

"The new SJP app is a central location where recruiters can share open positions with the Facebook community sorted by industry, location and skills."

Here’s upcoming news to watch:

Facebook Now Testing “Ranked Comments” on Business Pages: Currently only a few people have this feature. “Ranked Comments” means that the comments with the most engagement will float to the top.

Facebook Adds Sources of Friendship Under Users’ Friends Tab: You can expect to see “more information under the Friends tab on users’ timelines, indicating how many of the user’s friends were recently added, from high school, from college or from work.”

Here’s an interesting tool worth noting:

Leaderboarded: A tool for companies to create their own online leaderboards powered by social data.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The End of the Expert: Why No One in Marketing Knows What They're Doing

This is a very interesting and on point article about how drastically the landscape of marketing has changed over the last 15 years. It is not only been a radical shift but now today's marketer must keep up with the ever-changing technology. One of the best points in the article is how you don't need to be a marketing expert, you need to be someone who is interested in and passionate about marketing. Someone who wants to stay on the trends and be creative to cultivate and nurture the new company/customer relationship.

The End of the Expert: Why No One in Marketing Knows What They're Doing
by Dorie Clark, Contributor

Richard Branson's Virgin is one company that's succeeding in the new era of marketing.  

It’s a stark verdict from a prominent source. “There are hundreds of thousands of people who were trained and mentored, and studied classical marketing, and they got good at it,” says Clark Kokich, chairman of digital agency Razorfish. Unfortunately, the world has changed – and that education is no longer relevant. “If your self-worth and your confidence is based on you being an expert, you’re in deep trouble, because there aren’t any experts,” says Kokich, author of Do or Die: Surviving and Thriving in a World Where the Old Ways of Marketing Aren’t Getting It Done. “Sure, there are experts in some fields. Someone may be really good in SEO or in mobile. But there aren’t any experts in making this transition.”

In the late 1990s, digital marketing debuted to great fanfare, but it was still fundamentally about advertising to customers. But in the past several years, new social and mobile tools have upended that paradigm. “The focus has really changed,” Kokich told me in a recent interview at the Inbound Marketing Summit, where we were both keynote speakers. “It’s less about advertising and more about creating an experience that transforms what it means to be a customer of a brand. And that change has really caused a lot of consternation in marketing because none of us were trained to do that.”

As a model for the future, he cites the iconoclastic examples of Richard Branson’s Virgin; Nike’s “Write the Future” campaign, in which youth competed to be identified as a rising soccer star; and the “Epic Mix” campaign by the Vail ski resort, which leveraged digital technology to help friends connect, track each other, and compete on the slopes. To succeed in marketing moving forward, he says, “What you need more than expertise is curiosity, someone who’s interested in what’s happening, loves change, and wants to develop ideas and drive change. If you’re not one of those people, you’re going to hate what’s going on in marketing and you won’t be effective. I have friends who have told me they’re just trying to hang on before people realize they don’t know what they’re doing. But I don’t think you can fake it another five years. You’re just not relevant if you’re fighting the reality of what’s happening.”

So how do you begin to “create brand experiences” instead of relying on past methods of advertising? The first step, says Kokich, is to “ask a different question.” He advises companies to pull together a cross-section of company and agency staff – “everybody that’s responsible for building anything that touches the customer” – put them in a room and ask: “What do people hate about doing business with us, and can we use digital to fix it?”

The wrong frame, which too many companies use, is “This is what we are, and how do we shine it up?” Kokich believes more fundamental change is necessary. “We talk a lot in marketing about the importance of being good storytellers. Well, we need to be good story changers, because telling a story isn’t enough. Customers can see right through a great story about a lousy product.”

If you succeed in the new marketing, Kokich says, the benefits can be profound: “Companies like Virgin or Vail fundamentally altered their market position, because they fundamentally altered the way they did marketing.” 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Measure Social Media with Google Analytics

I just did this. First, if you have a website or blog, make sure you have set up the Google Analytics tracking code on each page. You can google how to do this step-by-step. Also, be sure you have keywords listed for each page. These instructions were slightly difficult to navigate, but if you get stuck there is a help section on Google Analytics that you can use. The main point here is to set up the tracking. Then check back in a few days to see how it is working for you and refer back to this article to see ways to use the data you collect.

How to Measure Your Social Media Traffic Using Google Analytics

By Liz Lockard
Published November 15, 2012 

Do you have a grip on your social traffic?

Measuring your social media impact can be overwhelming.

A tried-and-true favorite social media measurement tool is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics can track the impact of social media traffic on your site, going beyond clicks, retweets and other vanity metrics.

Here’s how to measure your social media traffic using Google Analytics.

#1: Identify Where Your Social Traffic Comes From
Google Analytics can help you understand the users’ social networks and their physical location.

To see your social media traffic, you need to first set up an advanced segment in Google Analytics.

When you’re logged into your Google Analytics account, head to Advanced Segments, +New Custom Segment, then add your social media traffic sources to the segment.

You can see this below.

Use one catchall segment to capture all of your social media traffic at once.

Once that’s set up, head to Audience – Demographics – Location, and you’ll get a grid that looks like this:

Shows what states my social media traffic is coming from (one step deeper than the default country-level report).
How can this information help you improve your marketing?

You can apply this information to your business goals. For example, you can use this information from Google Analytics to help you decide what locations might be best for a meet-up, where to set up the best Facebook location targeted ads or determine the best locations for a Pay-With-a-Tweet store.

#2: Determine What Social Media Traffic Comes From Mobile Devices
We’ve all heard that mobile is on the rise. Google’s 2012 Our Mobile Planet report shows that 80% of smartphone users in the United States use their phones to access social networks, and 55% visit more than once a day.

What about your audience? Industry stats are great, but don’t you want to see what applies specifically to your site?

With that advanced segment selected, simply head to Standard Reporting – Audience – Mobile – Overview.

You’ll get a chart that looks a lot like this:

Here I've selected the default All Visits segment to compare against my Social Media Traffic segment.
How can this information help you improve your marketing?

You’ll find it useful to know how much of your social media traffic comes from mobile. If there’s a significant number, you’ll want to check how your content shows up on mobile devices.

Maybe your detailed infographic is hard to read. Or your Flash video only shows up as a “?” on mobile devices. Or maybe that contest form you’re thinking about tweeting has a lot of tiny fields that are too hard to fill out.

#3: What Social Media Outlet Sends You the Best Traffic?
Google Analytics’ built-in traffic quality metrics like Time on Page and Bounce Rate are great. But when you’re serious about measuring the quality of traffic, it comes down to conversions.

In Google Analytics, conversions are generally defined as goal completions.

Let’s walk through a quick “how-to” for setting up one of the most common goals: signing up for your newsletter. (I’m assuming here you’re using a double opt-in process for your email marketing.)

  • Walk through your newsletter sign-up process. When you click on the link in your email to confirm your subscription, what page do you end up on? Copy that link.  (Note: if that ‘Thanks for signing up!’ page is not on your own website, change that first. You can’t measure what’s not on your own website. With most email marketing service providers, you can easily tell them to redirect to your site as part of the process. Here’s how to do this for MailChimp.)

  • In your Google Analytics account, head to Admin (upper right, orange bar). Click through to your profile. Click the blue-text Goals menu (next to Assets, Users).
  • Click New Goal.
  • Enter Goal Name (something as clever as “Newsletter Sign-up” works well here).

  • Select URL Destination as the Goal Type.

  • That URL you grabbed earlier? The one that’s the last page in your newsletter sign-up process? Copy that into the Goal URL box here. Remove the http://www.yourdomain.com part of it.

  • Click Save.

Awesome. Now you have a goal set up. It can take 24 hours for Google Analytics to start tracking these.

Once you start to collect some newsletter sign-up data, you can move on to properly evaluate your social media outlets.

In your Google Analytics account, head to Standard Reporting – Conversions – Goals – Overview.

Here, you can compare your social media traffic in one of two ways:

  1. If you don’t have a lot of referral sources, you can tell with a quick glance which networks are working for you without having to use advanced segments.
  2. If you have a lot of referral sources, you might want to set up different advanced segments for each social network (facebook.com + m.facebook.com vs. t.co + twitter, for example). Here’s more on that if you need it.
  3. If you’re using segments, you’ll see something like this:

Google Analytics shows you how much traffic comes from each social media platform.
But let’s not forget about the assisted conversion—not all traffic converts the first time they visit your site.

Here’s how to check if social media is helping some of your other channels:

Simply head to Standard Reporting – Conversions – Multi-Channel Funnels – Top Conversion Paths.

You’ll get a chart that looks like this:

Social media plays a role in 2 of the top 5 conversion paths for my newsletter.
How can this information help you improve your marketing?

This tells you where you should spend your time and where you need to improve your social media marketing.

For example, let’s say you’ve been spending a lot of time on Facebook marketing, but Google Analytics shows you this is not bringing in much traffic, and you’ve been getting a good amount of Twitter traffic even though you’ve spent little time on Twitter marketing.

Consider switching things up. You could decide to change your Facebook marketing tactics to try to get more traffic. Or you could decide to spend more time on your Twitter marketing efforts, because this is what’s giving you the best results.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Five ways companies are using Google+ to reach customers

A good blog from Tech Republic:

Five ways companies are using Google+ to reach customers
By Scott Matteson
November 16, 2012, 10:38 AM PST

Google+ was launched on June 28, 2011 as a new effort to get Google into the social networking scene (prior efforts, such as Google Buzz, were not long for this world). It started out as invite-only - which I personally feel is a horrible way to promote a product - but then became publicly accessible to all. Google+ has been slow to catch on and occasionally derided as a ghost town, but it has been reported as scoring higher in customer satisfaction than Facebook. Google offers many different unique products and is linking them together via Google+, whereas Facebook is just Facebook.

Not Facebook

I believe many potential users have been reluctant to try Google+ since they considered it a duplicate of Facebook that offers no truly compelling reasons to switch. This may be a thing of the past, however: Google+ currently has 100 million active users and 400 million registered users, according to Venturebeat.com (which, to be fair, has reported that the “active user” count for Google+ has fluctuated; last July it was clocked at 150 million users). Granted, Facebook now hosts over a billion users, but Google+ isn’t trying to be Facebook, but instead rather its own entity.

It’s been interesting for me to see fellow IT guys who saw Facebook as pointless suddenly flock to Google+ for the same idea-and-update sharing that social networking has popularized. I think it’s because Google+ has a more professional atmosphere free of suspicious apps and annoying ads.

I’ve also been fascinated with the ways companies have started to leverage Google+ to their advantage. Many of these companies have a presence on Facebook, where clicking “Like” on their page will populate your news feed with their updates and announcements. However, some more innovative developments have been brewed up over on Google+, where instead of using “likes” people can follow individuals and companies to connect them to Circles.

So what can Google+ do for me?

First and foremost, your organization can create a Google+ business page, which promotes your products or services. For example, here is TechRepublic’s page:

Figure A

Note the “About” link next to “Posts”, which provides a tagline, introduction, and numerous links for our site:

Figure B

However, simply creating the page isn’t enough; just the same way planting a seed won’t achieve anything unless you also provide water and sunlight. The key is to put something in to get something out; this will reach throughout the Google+ community. Here are five ways to nurture your business through Google+.

1. Use a Google+ badge on your site

A Google+ badge is a widget for your website which will let viewers follow your Google+ page and recommend or share your material. The badge appears as follows:

Figure C

Note the counter (+60252) which lets visitors see who else has connected with you.

This means people don’t need to search for and follow your organization on Google+ - you can encourage them to do so directly. According to Google, “Top publishers have seen an average follower increase of 38% after adding the Google+ badge to their sites.” For the full rundown on how to set this up, click here.

2. Engage in Search Engine Optimization

When people search for your company, if you have a Google+ page, you have the advantage because your company is moved to the top of the results pile. It’s like pre-boarding an airline with small children (I can state from experience that it is like being royalty; I had three kids so I could stretch this out for many years). Speaking of airlines, in the example shown I’ve searched for Delta Airlines:

Figure D

Not only does the search engine then allow me to click “Follow” to add Delta to one of my circles, but I can see who else is following this business and get a preview of their most recent post.

3. Start using Hangouts

Now that you’ve got people following your Google+ page, you can let them know what your company is doing (or plans to do) by using posts. This is helpful to spread the word, but sometimes some face-to-face time is even more meaningful. Google+ Hangouts were made for this purpose. To start a Hangout or access other Hangouts (including past events), click the Hangouts link in the vertical toolbar in Google+:

Figure E

You’ll need to download the Hangout plugin first.

In an effort to integrate Hangouts among their other services, Google lets people join Hangouts from Gmail, to work with Google Docs in Hangouts, and schedule Hangouts as calendar events.

Up to 10 people or locations can participate in a Hangout, which may not sound like much (this can be great for internal company or client video conferences), but you can also use “Hangouts on Air” to post the video to the web from your Google+ page or Youtube channel. This is perfect for presenting content to a large mass of customers, subscribers or affiliates. Of course, the material can also be archived for on-demand perusal.

President Obama participated in a Google+ Hangout earlier this year. While it might be hard to argue that this effort won him re-election, it certainly helped establish him as being part of the tech-savvy community as well as provided an opportunity to interface with fellow citizens.

4. Leverage product reviews in Google Shopping

It was recently announced by Google that they are combining features of Google+ with Google Shopping, which lets users search for products to buy on the web as well as in brick and mortar locations.

This means that if people search for products which have been reviewed by those in their Google+ Circles, these reviews will be available for them to read (this is similar to Google+ Local which I’ll discuss next). People can even post the reviews to their Google+ page.

This feature allows you to increase visibility for your products insofar as your customers are using Google+, and are either writing reviews or connected to people doing so. Encouraging honest feedback via these product reviews is a good way to start using this feature to your advantage. However, for the record I do not condone in any way the lowbrow tactic of padding a site with bogus reviews.

5. Get Local

Google+ Local is a feature which allows customers to find and read reviews about businesses (as opposed to products in the last example). It’s possible to search by business name or just put in your location and see what’s recommended nearby.

For instance, if I type Boston MA into the location field I get the following:

Figure F

A company’s Google+ Local page generally displays the business hours, directions, and other relevant details. Zagat summaries and reviews by people in Google+ Circles can be a big help to potential customers. If I click the “China Pearl Restaurant” link at the top I can then see their business page, complete with a link to the menu, pictures of the exterior/interior and a map.

Figure G

Note a “Local” page isn’t the same as the standard Google+ page, but you can set it up easily enough. Click here for details.

Bonus: Benefit from social extensions (for Google AdWords customers)

If your business uses Google AdWords, you can deploy social extensions to allow you to link your Google+ page to your ads.

Google states: “Google can show more endorsements for your business from your customers and supporters. This can raise the social awareness of your business and increase its relevance.”

By default, AdWords ads that appear on Google or the Google Display Network all have a +1 button. A web user +1′ing your ad endorses your specific landing page, and vice versa. With social extensions, a +1 on your ad applies to your Google+ Page. All +1’s from your Google+ Page are also applied to your AdWords ads.

This creates a larger social web presence for both your ads and your Google+ Page, making it more likely that someone who sees them will see an annotation. Since annotations make your ads more relevant, they may also increase your overall ad performance.”

Here is an overview of AdWords in case you’re considering signing up.

According to Google, “Search ads using Google+ average 5 to 10 percent more clicks.”

Sounds great, but how can I see how I’m doing?

Google provides some methods to measure how Google+ is working out for you.


Google+ Ripples is a service which offers handy visuals to let you see which of your public posts/links has been shared. You can also check what’s being said about it.

Social reports in Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides reports to let you see how you’re doing in the social media arena (even outside of Google+). It can show you how people are getting from social networks to your site, or how your content is being shared or interacted with outside your site. This can help you decide your next step or prepare goals for the future.


It isn’t just companies selling goods that can use Google+; individuals or groups offering services can benefit from it as well. I recently came across a great article for writers outlining How to Use Google+ as an Author Platform. You may not be an author, but the article presents some amazing strategies which could easily apply to other disciplines and careers.

Google offers a page for businesses outlining how they can profit from Google+. This provides a great amount of content including concrete examples and case studies.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Helpful Tools for Social Media Marketing

Social Media Examiner posted this article with 24 social media marketing tools. Read through and see what suits you and saves you time in your marketing efforts.

24 Must-Have Social Media Marketing Tools

By Cindy King
Published November 13, 2012

Are you looking for ways to enhance your social media marketing?

Do you want new tools to simplify your job?

We asked a group of social media pros for the hottest social media tools they use today.

Check them out to see if these social media tools are a good fit for you!

#1: Unlock to Share Plugin
My favorite social marketing tool of all time is the unlock to share plugin. What is it? It’s a simple plugin that “unlocks” additional content when your web visitors share your stuff on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Make your site go viral by requiring the user to share your link to unlock content.

Why is this so valuable? Well, today everyone has a Like button on their site. But if you want your audience to share your stuff, you need to give them a little incentive! That’s exactly what this plugin does.

In my most recent experiment, I had 452 people land on a page where they had access to royalty-free music they could use in their videos. If you shared the post, I gave you an additional five music tracks. Out of those 452 visitors, 379 shared to unlock those five extra songs!  That’s 84%!

These unlock to share plugins are everywhere. The one I used was found over on CodeCanyon.

James Wedmore, co-founder of Video Traffic Academy and founder of Video Sales Magic and Video Copy Pro.

#2: SlideShare
This isn’t a “new” tool, but I’m amazed by the number of marketers who still don’t use SlideShare as a main staple in their social media distribution.  According to the latest research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, just 23% of B2B marketers and only 7% of B2C marketers leverage SlideShare (which now sees approximately 60 million users per month).

SlideShare is a great tool to use as part of your company's storytelling process.
We continue to integrate SlideShare into our visual storytelling, and it’s now a key part of our lead generation process.  It’s a true sleeping giant.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of Managing Content Marketing and co-author of Get Content, Get Customers.

#3: Commun.it
I use Commun.it to help build and nurture relationships with supporters, influencers and potential customers on Twitter.

The basic service, which is free, keeps track of your most valuable followers and interactions, rolling up the data into an action-driven dashboard. One glance and you’ll know whom to follow, whom to thank and to whom you need to respond—all of which you can do directly within the tool.

Another big plus: You can quickly spot your most active conversation buddies. Commun.it tallies up the number of exchanges between you and other Tweeters, indicating whether or not you’re following each other.

Commun.it rolls up your data into an action-driven dashboard.
In addition to the dashboard, Commun.it has reporting functionality. I love the way it lists hard-to-find stats in one handy place, including new followers, the handles of who stopped following you, RTs of your content, direct messages and total reach.

Commun.it also records this social activity for your Twitter handle, so you can keep tabs on your own contributions and connections in the Twitterverse.

Shelly Lucas, senior marketing manager and leader of social media at Dun & Bradstreet.

#4: YouTube’s Audience Retention Report
You’ve probably read that YouTube search is now optimized for time watched. Effective YouTube marketing demands that we understand (and create better videos based on) how our videos are watched, at least as much as we “optimize” them for SEO, etc.  Those “gurus” who tell you to buy thousands of 5-second views to bump up your view count … yes, that does the search damage you always knew it would.

This is why audience retention is the new view count.

The new Audience Retention Report in YouTube is, without a doubt, the most important social media marketing tool to come around in a long time.  You can now see what kind of retention you’re getting from your videos and how it compares to everyone else’s.  Want to get to the top of the results?  Study this Audience Retention Report like a hawk and update your video making strategies accordingly.

The following video walks you through a couple of reports and offers some insights on how to respond.

Paul Colligan, education czar for Traffic Geyser Inc. and CEO of Colligan.com.

#5: Cyfe
While there are a number of enterprise-level listening and monitoring tools available to assist brands, a new tool that I’ve been a fan of is Cyfe. It provides visibility into social channel and search metrics that typically only admins of those channels/tools have access to.

Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard that helps you monitor and analyze data scattered across all of your online services.
For example, we’re able to set up a visual real-time dashboard for GoToMeeting, which provides brand-specific Facebook Insights data, YouTube Analytics, Twitter and Twitter Search information, SEOMoz, Google Trends, Google Analytics and a number of other social or search data points.

As a social media team, we’re often asked for such information from team members who are curious about the community, channel interactions and other related questions. Cyfe has enabled to us to make that data easily accessible to our team members.

Going one step beyond social and search, Cyfe also enables you to bring in your CRM, email marketing and blog data, with new integrations shipping on a regular basis.

Justin Levy, strategic advisor on all social media activities at Citrix Online and editor-in-chief of Workshifting.com.

#6: Cloze
The newest tool that I’m most excited about is Cloze, recommended to me by Jascha Kaykas-Wolff of Mindjet.

Imagine an aggregation and curation system for your social network and that’s what Cloze provides. I’m able to view the activity of people by date in my network and then check them off, respond to them, like them or retweet them directly from the Cloze interface.

Cloze helps you increase your interaction with those most important to you.
It’s absolutely genius and is already saving me tons of time, increasing my interaction with those most important to me and reducing the clutter and wasted time of having five channels open that I’m constantly trying to stay abreast of. This is the inbox of the future! Cloze is currently in beta.

Douglas Karr, founder and chief blogger at the Marketing Technology Blog, founder of DK New Media (an inbound marketing agency) and author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.

#7: AgoraPulse
There is no shortage of social media marketing tools these days, that’s for sure. But despite the overwhelming number of tools out there, it’s still very difficult to find the ones that will really deliver while remaining accessible for a small-business budget.

When it comes to managing our Facebook Page, I’ve been very impressed with AgoraPulse. It focuses on Facebook (at least for now), but provides everything your Facebook Page will ever need.

In addition to contest and promotion applications that are a “must-have” for every Facebook Page, AgoraPulse offers unique features that really make a difference, such as:

  • Detailed benchmark with competitors
  • AgoraPulse shows you a detailed benchmark with your competitors.
  • Fan ranking and qualification

The fan management feature shows you fan ranking and qualification.
Advanced statistics and personalized content recommendations

You can also track average users reached by day of week.
They also offer a ton of other great features such as advanced statistics, automated moderation and even admin rights and workflow management. These are the kind of features that used to be only available in expensive enterprise-level solutions. Getting access to such advanced and useful features for a price that every small businesses can afford does make a big difference.

Aaron Kahlow, CEO of Online Marketing Connect and chairman and founder of the Online Marketing Summit and its related educational arm, the Online Marketing Institute.

#8: GaggleAMP
One application that I’ve recently been exposed to and am excited about is GaggleAMP. I talk to many marketers who say, “If only our sales and business development team would share our social media postings, it would help us reach a greater—and more relevant—audience in social media.”

This is especially relevant in B2B companies where you traditionally have a large sales force compared to a small number of people in marketing. That sales force represents a potential army of internal brand advocates who can help make a company’s social media marketing efforts much more effective.

Leverage employees, partners, customers and fans to share your company's social media messages on your behalf.
With the emergence of GaggleAMP, social media and marketing directors can now utilize the reach of their internal staff to help spread their message in social media, and internal employees have complete control in deciding exactly which messages they would like to share on which platforms and how frequently.

Companies simply sign up to GaggleAMP, create a “Gaggle” (a group revolving around their content), and then request that interested employees join the Gaggle. Employees then authorize their social networks and decide which content they would like to share with their network.

GaggleAMP can send notifications when new content is available to be posted, and there is even a “point” system to gamify social sharing and reward those internal employees who are good sharers.

GaggleAMP tracks activity, allowing you to report on the impact and ROI for every message and campaign.
B2B companies are sitting on a goldmine of brand advocates who work at their company. By using GaggleAMP, they can organize and leverage their internal tribe while ensuring control over social media messages that are sent out externally.

For employees, it’s internal content curation served up on a platter to give them more timely and relevant content to share with their networks and maintain mindshare on whichever social networks the company’s customers or clients are on.

I expect to hear about more companies adopting GaggleAMP in the months to come!

Neal Schaffer, founder of Windmills Marketing, is a leading social media strategist and teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University.

#9: SproutSocial
I’ve been enjoying the statistics and tools available on SproutSocial, and am using it to get good Twitter and Facebook overviews of my accounts and for some of my clients’ statistics.

You can also do some Twitter account comparisons, schedule content, bring in your Google Reader to watch for content and share accounts with others.

Deliver beautiful detailed reports to your organization or customers.
If you manage many accounts, you can easily create nice-looking reports that give a good overview of activity and growth and SproutSocial is reasonably priced.

Andrea Vahl, social media coach, speaker and strategist and Facebook community manager for Social Media Examiner.

#10: Reachli
Reachli (formerly known as Pinerly) is the hottest new Pinterest analytics tool. Similar to Facebook and Twitter apps such as Buffer and HootSuite, Reachli allows users to pre-schedule pins and view feedback data such as click-through rates and number of repins. Creating social campaigns on Reachli is easy with its clean and simplified design.

Although the site is optimal for Pinterest analytics, it also allows users to post on any social platform and benefit from similar analyses. Boasting comprehensive capabilities, Reachli is an ideal page-management tool for any brand or community manager.

Reachli helps you understand what works and what doesn't to help you optimize your posts.
Social media analytics are essential in providing users with optimal content, as well as discovering hard data to support social initiatives. Offering real-time analytics and best practices data, Reachli helps you optimize your Pinterest content based on the analysis of click-through rates and repin feedback. This beneficial information can result in more effective scheduling and more engaging content.

For a low cost, brands can also employ Reachli advertising, a service that uses a unique algorithm to match content with its most relevant online audience across the social sphere. As Pinterest grows in popularity, brands will find the capabilities of Reachli to be extremely beneficial in most effectively leveraging the social platform.

Dave Kerpen, cofounder and CEO of Likeable, author of Likeable Social Media and the forthcoming Likeable Business.

#11: Instagram
For the team here at Sony, one of the new platforms we are most excited about is Instagram. When we launched our brand channel (@sony) 4 months ago, we couldn’t have imagined the wealth of beautiful, funny and creative content we would find. We’ve seen everything from the cutest pups and kitties with Sony products to gorgeous, artistic shots taken by professional Sony photographers.

But the best thing about all of this content is that the community has been more than willing to let us share their work (crediting them, of course).

We’ve asked hundreds of Instagrammers if we could share one of their Sony-related photos and have never once been declined. The result is that we get access to authentic and cool content while honoring this community of artists.

Instagrammers share their photos with Sony.
We’re also exploring holding contests on the platform and have just recently launched our very first #SonyX contest. Although we’re only two days in, we’ve already received a lot of enthusiasm from the community and are building awareness for our new X headphones via the photo entries and the use of the hashtag.

Callan Green, senior social media specialist for Sony Electronics.

#12: Buffer
Buffer is to social media marketers like what a wand is to Harry Potter—it’s one of the coolest and most useful social media tools I’ve ever used.

As you know, in order to benefit from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you have to actively be posting things—an account with no life is not going to be very interesting to those who follow it. With Buffer, you can schedule your tweets and posts ahead of time and create a consistent social media presence on your accounts.

Often, I’ll schedule a week’s worth of tweets, which will automatically drive traffic back to my site or keep my audience engaged throughout the week, without lifting a finger.

Of course, it’s best practice to follow up with those who reply and you may have specific time-sensitive tweets to share in between your scheduled posts, but anything that allows me to be more efficient in my business and ensure that I am posting stuff when I might not have the time otherwise is gold in my opinion.

With Buffer App, you can schedule your tweets and posts ahead of time and create a consistent social media presence on your accounts.
In addition, the team behind Buffer is always friendly, responsive and looking to improve, which speaks highly about the tool and what kind of company created it, and where it’s headed in the future.

Pat Flynn, founder of the Smart Passive Income Blog.

#13: SocialToaster
I’m excited to see some of the advancements in using social media to increase brand advocacy. SocialToaster is making great strides in combining gamification for sharing brand-related content with superfans to drive reach and engagement.

Brands like QuickenLoans, JustFab and the Baltimore Ravens are leveraging these tools to connect with fans in an authentic and mutually beneficial way to increase brand loyalty and advocacy. It’s exciting to see social media used in a way that drives and enhances brand passion.

You can use SocialToaster to amplify your message.
Nichole Kelly, president of SME Digital, a division of Social Media Explorer and author of How to Measure Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI.

#14: Pop-Ups
In the past, pop-ups were hated by many marketers, and rightfully so due to their unprofessional look and feel, plus the fact they were so disruptive to readers each time they came onto the site.

But if you look around today, some of the most professional websites—like Social Media Examiner, Content Marketing Institute and others are using pop-ups for lead capture.

The main reason for this shift and “acceptance” is as follows:

Pop-ups today can be set on delays and scheduled. In other words, you can set a pop-up so that once a viewer closes it out, it does not reappear on their screen again for whatever amount of time you’d like—be it a week, a month or forever.
Now pop-ups look much more professional than in the past. Great visuals can be added, they can fade in and fade out depending on how long someone has been on the site, and their custom options are plentiful.
I added a pop-up feature to The Sales Lion a few months ago and the results have been exceptional. Instead of getting 15-25 signups a day for people downloading my eBook and subscribing to the newsletter, I’m now getting 25-40 a day, which is a huge increase.

At the same time, I haven’t had any long-time readers complain that they had to see a pop-up one time, which was a fear I initially had.

The Sales Lion saw a huge increase in opt-ins from the use of this pop-up.
If you’re looking at adding a pop-up lead capture to your blog, you may want to consider Pippity, PopUp Domination or others.

Marcus Sheridan, co-owner of River Pools and Spas, founder of PoolSchool.us and founder of the popular sales/marketing blog The Sales Lion.

#15: LinkedIn’s Skills and Expertise Page
What if there was a social media tool that could tell you:

The best keywords to use in your social profiles?
Who the key influencers are and how to get in touch with them?
The exact companies you should be targeting with your particular skill set? What kinds of groups you should join for optimal relationship-building?
What companies you should work for and who you know at those companies?
Of course by now you’ve probably guessed that I’m talking about LinkedIn. But the tool I’m talking about in particular is LinkedIn’s Skills and Expertise page. After entering “Facebook Marketing” in the search box there, this is what came up:

The LinkedIn Skills and Expertise page helps you find experts in different fields.
Keywords: “Related Skills” show up on the left-hand side of the Skills page when you search for a skill to add to your LinkedIn profile. Think of them as relevant keywords. LinkedIn will also show you the popularity of those particular keywords (the higher the number, the more people are using that skill) Hint: Use the less popular skills too!

Influencers: LinkedIn will show you the influencers in your particular skill set by name, picture and title. It will show you how you’re connected to them. If they are a first-degree connection, send them a message. For a second-degree connection, ask for an introduction. Outside of your immediate network? You can still reach them through InMail or a shared group. What a powerful way to build your network and find mentors or advisers!

Companies, Groups and Jobs: The Skills page will also highlight the companies, jobs and groups that are recognized by LinkedIn as being relevant to your skill set. This can save you an enormous amount of time when you’re looking for companies to offer your services to, for groups to engage with to build your strategic relationships or jobs that will suit you. And of course, because this is LinkedIn, you’ll see who is already in your network and can give you access to that company, group or job!

Skills is truly a doorway into stronger connections and better business.

Viveka von Rosen, known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert” and author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day.

#16: Scoop.it
I originally thought Scoop.it was just another curation tool, a platform that allows users to gather together great content that they’ve discovered online. A Scoop.it button on the browser window can now rest besides those for List.ly and Pinterest, so that as you go around the Internet and find great content, you can simply click and share.

Scoop.it is a powerful curation tool.
When you “scoop” a tweet, a blog post, or any other content, you’re creating a post that is added to a category, or a “topic.” You can easily create new topics that others can follow. In turn, you can follow the topics of others.

At any point, a post can be re-shared through a number of other social platforms. People can add comments to a post, or give it a thumbs-up. Combined, these features make for a robust content curation tool that allow you to build community around topics, and to nurture relationships with influencers by sharing and discussing their content.

When you create topics, Scoop.it suggests content for you to add. You can manage how Scoop.it recommends content based on keywords or the feeds of particular users. Those feeds can include their blogs, Twitter feeds, Twitter lists, hashtags, and Facebook.

In this way, Scoop.it becomes a powerful social discovery tool and if focused on an individual, can even act as an influencer outreach management tool.

If you’re a HootSuite user, you can now integrate your topics right into HootSuite. With or without HootSuite, though, Scoop.it can act as a central hub to discover great content, build community around that content, and nurture relationships with influencers.

Ric Dragon, CEO and co-founder of the digital marketing agency DragonSearch and author of Social Marketology.

#17: Pocket
The hottest social media marketing tool I’ve discovered in the last 6 months is Pocket (formerly known as Read it Later).  At first glance you may think that Pocket is simply a private online bookmarking tool, but it’s actually much more than that. Pocket is a centralized mobile content curation and social media sharing control center!

Put articles, videos or pretty much anything into Pocket for later.
You can save and tag content from anywhere (your smartphone, tablet or computer) to your Pocket account. You can even save content to Pocket from Google Reader and Twitter using the browser extensions.

Save content to Pocket from Google Reader and Twitter using the browser extensions.
The real power of Pocket, however, is that it integrates with over 300 web and mobile apps. This means that you can collect the best content you discover on any device and share it whenever and wherever you wish through Pocket.

Pocket drives my entire social and mobile content curation and social sharing system, whether I’m sitting at my desk or on the go.

Pocket integrates with over 300 web and mobile apps.
Here are three tips for using Pocket:

Download the Pocket app to your mobile device and/or tablet and install the bookmarklet to your web browser. If you have a Mac, be sure to install the Mac application. (You can now share content to your social networks directly from the new Pocket Mac Application.)

Save the content that you want to share with your social networks to Pocket from your computer, mobile phone or tablet. Be sure to add the tag “Share” to the particular articles you save that you later want to share with your social connections (you can add as many tags as you like).

Each day, login to Pocket on your smartphone or tablet and push the articles tagged with “Share” to Buffer (my personal favorite), or literally to almost any social network of your choice. Don’t forget to insert your own insights or comments when you share!

Note: Typically I share from Pocket to Buffer because it integrates with Bit.ly and enables me to track the links I’ve shared. Buffer also distributes my social shares at optimal times so that they can be more visible with my network connections.

Pocket is a smart content collection and distribution tool that allows you to become a master social curator!

Stephanie Sammons, founder and CEO of Wired Advisor, a digital strategy and marketing agency for financial advisers, business professionals and professional services firms.

#18: Crowdbooster
What if you had a system that informed you exactly when your best times to tweet are in order to reach the maximum audience, based on how your followers respond? And what if the system showed you the Klout scores of new influential followers so you can follow up? And how about spotlighting @mentions that you hadn’t responded to yet?

Look no further than Crowdbooster!

Crowdbooster always shows your best times to tweet at the top of the dashboard. The times are adjusted as your followers respond.
But this awesome tool doesn’t just analyze Twitter. You can also dig into your Facebook Fan Page metrics to analyze your top posts, number of impressions, fan growth, top fans and more. You can even schedule posts via Crowdbooster for both Twitter and Facebook.

Crowdbooster displays colorful "bubbles" showing how well your tweets (and Facebook posts) are doing. Hover over any bubble for more information as shown in the black box.
You get one Twitter account and one Facebook Page for free. Upgrade levels include up to 10 or 30 total social accounts (currently only Twitter and Facebook Pages) for a reasonable fee. Give it a try and see what you think.

See at-a-glance metrics for follower growth, influential followers, retweets and more.
The nice thing about Crowdbooster is the team is super helpful, friendly and approachable… and they’re always iterating, so stay tuned for even more awesome features in the pipeline!

Mari Smith, leading social media strategist and premier Facebook marketing expert. Co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

#19: Lithium
We use Lithium for our new community platform. Its phenomenal capabilities allow for a lean team to rally users, influencers and our own associates to participate. From an organic growing knowledge base through the ability to reward frequent contribution, it is state of the art with WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) functionality and a truly object-oriented environment that makes it easy for a layman to customize.

Lithium helps companies unlock the passions of their customers to build brand advocacy, drive sales, reduce service costs and accelerate innovation.

Lithium also has the capability to do private moderation areas so we can all learn what FAQs need answers, solution creation both by us and by users to populate the knowledge base with good content and the ability to co-create content with guest bloggers.

Kat Smith, director of social media and commerce at Petco.

#20: Tweetbot
Tweetbot is a Twitter app that allows you to do everything you can do on any other Twitter app with an extra killer feature: the ability to filter out tweets.

Tweetbot allows you to filter out tweets.
This app allows you to focus on the tweets that matter in your Twitter stream. It’s available at the Apple App Store.

Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner.

#21: PostAcumen
Facebook is one of our brand’s primary social channels. Our goal with that channel is to deliver content that begs to be engaged with. We’ve had tools to measure how well our own content performs, but we also wanted to know how well we performed relative to the competition.

Thanks to a brand-new tool called PostAcumen, developed by the same folks who made EdgeRank, we’re now able to perform extensive competitive analysis on Facebook posts. We can see how our content resonates with our fans and how those metrics stack up against our competitors for Likes, Comments, Shares, etc.

With PostAcumen you can see how your brand compares against direct competitors, or even industry leaders.
There is a nominal cost for the service, but so far it’s provided great insights, is easy to use and understand and helps us get better at delivering engaging content to fans.

Liz Phillips, social media manager at TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, where she manages social media for TaylorMade, Adidas Golf, and Ashworth brands.

#22: Facebook Pages Manager App
My favorite social media tool is the Facebook Pages Manager App. This tool allows me to manage multiple pages while on the go. Not only can I post, comment and engage with my fans on multiple pages, but this app does so much more. I’m also able to create Facebook Offers directly from the app, which allows me to promote my programs and services anytime, anywhere.

In addition, I can instantly get a greater reach for my most important posts by buying Promoted Posts on-the-go directly from my mobile phone.

This is what it looks like to buy Promoted Posts via a mobile phone using the Facebook Pages Manager app.

With these features, I can make real-time decisions for my pages based on my fans activity and my current marketing goals. If you’re like me and often on the move, this app is one you don’t want to go without!

Amy Porterfield, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and a social media strategist.

#23: Vocus
One of my favorite social media tools is Vocus. Vocus is a suite that helps manage your social media profiles, monitor what is happening in real time and other key functions.

One of the key elements that makes it different than other services is that it incorporates the very popular Help A Reporter Out (HARO) website. HARO is a site where reporters can post their requests for information and interviews anonymously, and where you can respond. If it’s a good fit, the reporter contacts you. It’s a great way to get additional free PR. Combined with the rest of Vocus’s platform capabilities, this provides a powerful one-two punch.

Michael Crosson, founder and publisher of SocialMediopolis.com and founder of the fourth-largest LinkedIn group, “The Social Media Marketing Group.”

#24: Quozio
Can’t find an image to pin on Pinterest? No problem! I recently came across a simple, slick tool that allows you to take some text, like an inspirational quote or a particularly helpful blurb from a blog post, and turn it into a beautiful, pinnable image. The tool is called Quozio.

You can use Quozio to create cool quotation pins for Pinterest, but it also solves a common problem.

When you find a great article, or blog post, you want to pin it to one of your pinboards. But sometimes when you use your Pin It bookmarklet to try to pin it, the bookmarklet can’t find a pinnable image on the page. This is where Quozio can come to the rescue.

All you need to do is highlight a snippet of text from the blog post you want to pin, copy it, then use Quozio to create a pinnable image from that text. You can pin your new image directly from the Quozio interface.

To make sure your new Quozio pin links back to the original blog post you want to share, you just need to edit your pin after you’ve posted it. You can click on the “edit” button in the corner of any of your pins to edit that pin’s settings and add the URL of the original blog post.

When editing your pin, make sure you add the URL of the original blog post.
Then just click on “Save Pin” and viola! You’ve got a beautiful pin that links back to an awesome blog post.