Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

The FREE Social Media Tools Your Store Needs

Posted by admin on 9/9/13 11:00 PM
Topics: social media

Listening to what your customers, competitors, critics and supporters are saying about you is essential in today's connected marketplace, but it's also not an easy endeavor. Often, there aren't enough hours in the day to develop a social presence on several sites, let alone analyze what it all means. But, you're in luck; there are lots of free resources out there to help! We've listed a few you should take advantage of below in order to make the most of your social media ROI. Check it out:

  • Buffer: Think of this app as a consolidated 'share' button. It's an easy way to manage your articles, pictures and videos on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts; just install the browser extension and click it whenever you find interesting content on the web. Then, you can set unique update schedules and Buffer will automatically share your content across platforms and even make sure it's formatted correctly for each one. Plus, it includes detailed analytics for all of your posts. We love it!
  • Social Mention: This real-time social media search and analysis platform aggregates user-generated content from Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google, and more into a single stream. That means you can easily see what others are saying about your store with the click of a button. They even break the results down into positive and negative sentiments, so you can browse by each category. Simply type your store name in the search bar (we suggest using quotes around it to narrow your results) to get started.
  • Hootsuite: This is one of the most popular social media monitoring tools. It’s available through a web based system, as well as a mobile app, and allows you to manage multiple accounts from multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, FourSquare, etc.) in one consolidated location. You can view all of your interactions, respond to posts, and even schedule content in advance. In the free version, there are also a limited amount of reports that will help you decipher what types of posts are shared most often on your accounts. Upgrading unlocks even more options.
  • TweetBeep: It's the Google Alerts of Twitter. By signing up for a free account and entering a few key words, you can keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates! You can even keep track of who's tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL (like or Now, how cool is that?!
  • TweetReach: You can tweet all day long, but is anyone listening? TweetReach is an easy way to find out. The application monitors how far your tweets travel and measures the actual impact of social media discussions, so you can identify your most influential followers and determine the type of audience you should be targeting with your content. Enter your Twitter handle in the search bar then authorize the app in order to run the report.
  • Tweriod: This tool for Twitter helps you work out the best time to send tweets. After analyzing your account, it produces a graph showing when your followers are online. It can then tell you the times of day to tweet in order to get maximum exposure. The free version is pretty basic, however, and only enables you to run one analysis each month. You can upgrade to a premium account, with pricing based on how many followers you have.
  • Twitter Lists: This functionality is built in to Twitter, but is often underutilized. A list is basically a curated group of Twitter users, grouped together in a way that makes sense to you. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. For instance, your store could create a list for students you follow, another for campus resources, college stores or even industry news. Then, you can view a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list. It makes it much easier to navigate and share content! Here are some directions on how to set up lists, step-by-step.

What social media tools does your store use? Add them to the list by commenting below, so other college stores can put them to use!

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