When you’re creating or implementing a fully integrated marketing strategy or marketing plan, you have to juggle multiple components, stakeholders, tools, sources of data and content types. You need to be organised and on top of everything all of the time.
To help me do just that, I use the following cloud and social media management tools. Some I would say are essential for monitoring, managing and measuring any SME business’ marketing activity; others are more a way of working.
Whilst I am in no way endorsing any one of the products listed below, they are just 5 of the marketing management tools that I either use or refer to virtually every day.
Perfect for brain dumps! You can organise and search your thoughts and to do lists any which way you want:
- Create notebooks and checklists
- Assign tags to and within notebooks to add another dimension to your notes
- Keep pertinent emails against a note and/or add web clips
- Share notebooks with colleagues or post them to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn
Available for pretty much every device, there are both free and premium versions of Evernote.
2. Google Analytics
Essential to track visitors to your website, where they’re coming from, what they’re searching for, when they’re visiting your site and how often, where they’re going when they’re on your website, how long they’re on each page for, how they interact with your content. And that’s just a snippet of the insight Google Analytics provides.
Google Analytics is free and an extremely powerful tool not just for reporting visitor statistics and activity but for measuring ROI and informing future marketing strategies, plans and campaigns too.
All you need to do is add a piece of code to the backend of your website. It’s a 5 minute job that can reap so, so much.
This social media management tool makes managing your various social media networks and profiles more like a walk in the park on a sunny summer’s day than battling through a hail storm on a blustery winter’s day. It’s a dashboard that supports Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and many other social networks.
You can schedule posts, post updates to any one or all of your social media profiles, share content on website’s that you visit using the Hootsuite Hootlet.
You can reply, comment, retweet, like and direct message your followers directly within Hootsuite.
You can set up regular analysis reports, see who’s following you and who you’re following, how many tweets a day they send, how many people they’re following and how many followers they have, their Klout score and which of your Twitter lists you have categorised them under.
Within organisations, you can share streams with your teams and assign messages to other teams.
Needless to say, the premium version of Hootsuite does give you more features than the free version but for many SMEs, the free version is more than sufficient.
Another great thought organising tool, but more visual than Evernote. Mindmeister is an online mind mapping and brainstorming platform.
It’s ideal to literally map out, for example, the information architecture of a new website or the various components of your marketing plan. You can quickly and easily see the whole picture yet at the same time drill down to the various levels of detail all in one document.
You can share and collaborate your creations, export them to pdf format and even add hyperlinks to documents.
The free version of Mindmeister does have its limitations (you can’t add any branding and you’re limited to creating just 3 mind maps) but it’s certainly a good starting point. I’ve upgraded to the paid version because I’ve found it so useful.
5. Google Alerts
OK so the results generated from Google Alerts aren’t nearly as good as they used to be and there is an argument to say that they’ve certainly passed their sell by date in terms of relevancy.
Even so, I do believe they are still worth keeping as a tool in your brand and competitor monitoring toolkit. Just supplement them with other tracking and alert platforms like Social Mention which is the equivalent of Google Alerts but for social media.
You can set up Google Alerts to monitor everything, just blogs, just videos, just discussions or just books and get the alert email sent either ‘as it happens’, once a day or once a week.
A word of warning, when you set up your alerts, put speech marks either side of your search term, for example “DMK Marketing”. If you don’t, you’ll get alerts for anything that has DMK or Marketing in! In essence, using the speech marks means you’ll only get an alert when there’s an exact match although, as I say, the quality and comprehensiveness of the results is not what it once was.
Other Marketing and Social Media Management Tools
There are a whole host of other marketing management and social media tools out there with new ones cropping up virtually every day.
I am the first to admit that any new gadget or fad needs to be proven to benefit me, not just a little but a lot, before I adopt it. Those that I have listed above were no exception. There are others that I use as well which I will cover in Part 2.
Even with just the above 5, my office is now a much more efficient, paperless environment. The only downside is that, with the various portable devices I have, ‘my office’ appears to be everywhere, wherever I am! Perhaps I should schedule a regular digital detox into my diary…
What tools do you use to plan and manage your business and marketing activities?