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My Fab Five: 5 PR Tools to Know and Love

With thousands of online tools to help us public relations professionals in our busy day-to-day lives, sometimes it seems like there’s just too many to choose from. Worry not! In this post, I’ve highlighted five great tools that help me in various aspects of my everyday work routine. Not only are they all user-friendly, they’re also free!

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  • Hootsuite: Most of us are probably familiar with this one, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Hootsuite is a platform that was developed to organize tweets. Since then, it has developed into a resource for organizing multiple social media accounts in one place. There are a few ways I utilize Hootsuite:
    • To keep track of client Twitter feeds: On Hootsuite’s home page, we have 10 feeds laid out that we’re able to easily monitor; one for each client, one for our own tweets, and a few others for other topics we’re interested in. These live feeds make it simple to keep up with what’s important to the brands you represent.
    • To tweet: Instead of logging into Twitter, Hootsuite allows users to send tweets out directly from the platform for multiple Twitter accounts.
    • To schedule tweets: This is great, because you can get your social media posts out whenever you want, staggering them at different times and even days so you don’t send out too many at once, or can plan ahead for time out of the office, etc.
  • Talkwalker Alerts: Talkwalker alerts are similar to Google alerts. You can set up alerts as frequently as you like, in any language. I’ve found these alerts to be quicker and more reliable than Google alerts, although I use both together.
  • TheSkimm: Keeping up with the news is crucial. TheSkimm is a daily morning digest of top news stories. The newsletter is concise and written in a casual and often sarcastic tone, making reading the news a quick and sometimes even entertaining experience perfect for our jam-packed and stressful days.
  • HARO (Help A Reporter Out): HARO is a social networking tool for sources and reporters. This service is simple; sign up, and you receive 3 emails a day: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. These emails contain queries from reporters across different outlets covering various beats. This is great for PR Pros, because if your client is knowledgeable about any of the topics, you can answer the reporter directly through the anonymous email address in the HARO email, and connect your client with the reporter.
  • MyTopTweet: This is another handy one for social media. Just go to mytoptweet.com and input your Twitter handle. The platform will automatically generate your top ten tweets that gained the most traction (favorites and retweets) with your followers. This can give you a sense of the content your audience is most interested in; a great metrics resource for the brands you represent.

These are just a few examples of what’s in my PR toolbox. What’s in yours?

Keeping Organized with Hootsuite

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In my last post on Fireside, I talked about the series I write about the great social media resources available to businesses and ones we use here at Wireside.  In writing the post, I realized that the one tool I use day in and day out had not yet been highlighted in that series on tools we endorse.  It’s the common case of not recognizing what’s right under your nose.  But I’m rectifying that omission today.

Today, I’m writing about the tool I rely on every day to organize our social media output – Hootsuite.  Hootsuite was originally developed as a way to organize tweets.  It has since evolved into a service that helps users manage a number of social media platforms.  The free membership allows a user to set up to 9 streams that display different feeds for each social platform.  Here at Wireside, we monitor Twitter feeds about our clients, trending topics, and any mentions about our own brand.  It’s all in one place, easy to monitor, and keep track of the topics of greatest importance to our company.  We also have our Wireside Facebook and LinkedIn pages integrated with Hootsuite and monitor our wall posts and company updates.

The best feature I’ve found with Hootsuite is the ability to schedule tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts in advance.   It’s a great feature to make sure that relevant content is going out throughout the day and not all at once.

The free version also allows users to generate basic analytic reports that help to determine what is resonating best with their audience.  My favorite analytic report is the Ow.ly Click Summary which shows which links were clicked on most frequently.  It’s quick to generate and easy to understand when distributed throughout the company.

But even for all the wonderful things that Hootsuite does for me, it isn’t without a few quirks.  As it was originally created for use with Twitter, it still works best with that platform.  I still find the need to log in to Facebook directly sometimes because a wall post doesn’t display properly.  I’ve also found the search feature, to search for a person to follow or a hashtag, to be a bit limited and have found myself logging into Twitter directly on occasion when I can’t seem to pull the necessary information.

Yet, these are very minor inconveniences when compared to the amount of time saved with Hootsuite.  If you’re looking to get organized, I highly recommend setting up your Hootsuite account today.

A Brave New, Overshared World

SocialMediaI write a series on Fireside about social media resources we use here at Wireside that we endorse.  There seem to be so many great (mostly) free tools and resources for businesses to track and analyze social media output.  I’ve written on this blog about resources like Klout which allows individuals and businesses to gauge their influence on social media; RebelMouse which compiles a user’s social media output into a dynamic, colorful, easy-to-read format; and Bottlenose which allows users to analyze their social media influence and trends in real-time. And I don’t know what I’d do without Hootsuite, which allows me to schedule tweets and Facebook posts in advance, see a number of designated streams at once, and provides basic analytic tools – all for free.  It seems that every day a new start-up pops up to make my life as a manager of our social properties easier.  And I love that businesses use social media; it allows for a two-way dialogue with clients and customers rather than the one-way dialogue of the past.  As a marketer I love engaging with, not just talking to, customers.

But lately, I’ve read news account after news account about adolescents who are being bullied on social media, who are having their lives destroyed by one unflattering picture being posted online and remaining there forever.  In a recent article, in a series focusing on what they term “Generation Overshare,” an HLN.com reporter points out the difference between adolescents growing up today and those of past generations.  He notes that all of us encountered embarrassing experiences in our teen years (oh yes, I can attest to that!), but what’s changed is that now those embarrassing moments are turning up on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram to exist in perpetuity and be shared and shared until kids in the neighboring town and around the world have seen it.   Sometimes those images come back to haunt them into adulthood when they go to get their first job and the hiring manager does a quick Internet search.

It’s definitely a brave new world and it has gotten me to thinking about what resources are out there to help adolescents analyze and protect their social media output.  Sure, they could sign up for Bottlenose and track the trends around their handle and their personal brand, but such services are marketed towards people like me – the digital marketing managers – not adolescents.  Where are the start-ups in Silicon Valley dedicated to sniffing out digital bullies and erasing derogatory, bullying posts and tweets?  Are there engineers working to build programs that can erase those awful, embarrassing images once teens graduate to adulthood and realize that hiring managers know how to use Google as well?  It seems there is quite a market for such services judging by the news coverage.  If you know of great tools out there to manage social media output for teens and anyone interested in protecting their personal brand, please leave a comment below.  After all, teen years will always be filled with embarrassing moments and kids will be kids, but should teens be judged forever on one embarrassing, overshared moment?