Finding B2B Social Media Tools That Add Value – not Just Time

We’ve all seen the signs: shaky fingers, bleary eyes, achy wrists and plain old sleep deprivation. You or your colleague may be suffering from a significant case of Social Media Tool Exhaustion. And the more time you spend online, the more likely you are to suffer relapses.

“But I need to stay on top of emerging trends,” I hear you say. “This next tool might be the key to a successful digital PR campaign.” It’s true — online engagement analysis is not for the weak of heart. But I tried to offer some hope during a May presentation in Shanghai to the Worldcom Public Relations Group, the world’s leading network of independently owned public relations firms:

My 7 Best Practices for Social Media Tool Adoption:

  1. Understand your assessment context before you begin. Why do you want to test the tool? To help your staff? Outwit your competitors? Give a boost to a marketing campaign?
  2. Pick 2 tools to experiment with at a time: You’ll wind up discarding over 50% of these tools, ultimately, but you need to keep experimenting and “churning.”
  3.  Read “tool master” reviews to give you a sense of the pros and cons: Insights from smart people like Jason Falls help make my job easier.
  4. Use colleagues to divide and conquer analysis: If you work for a PR agency, please don’t make the mistake of delegating this work to your junior staff. Senior PR practitioners need to understand how these tools fit within a larger marketing strategy.
  5. Find online buddies who are having fun with the tool: It may not be your idea of giggles, but you still need to develop an educated opinion on why the tool is attracting attention, anyway.
  6. Discard tools relatively quickly if you aren’t finding value: There’s always an emerging tool to replace a dud. But don’t assume that you can rule a tool out forever, the playing field can change instantaneously with the right upgrade.
  7. Protect clients and employers by waiting to share tools until you are sure they are worth the time: Tools are the last “stop.” Start with Forrester’s POST approach, and fold the tools in later.

Take a peek at my 20 minute speech if you’d like to hear more about the tools I use daily to support our own digital PR strategy, including:

  • Feedera: bundles your friends’ “most shared” Twitter content daily
  • offers a metrics dashboard to understand if your content excites people
  • Backtype: flags keywords in blog comments
  • Google Reader: organizes your RSS feeds, but has the potential to be your top competitive intelligence tool
  • Wordtracker: identifies “starting point” keywords without the cost of an SEO

This presentation also shares the tools and networks that I’m experimenting with:

  • LinkedIn: Realize that “sleeping beauty” is waking up and has real potential for B2B companies
  • Foursquare: Understand how acquiring audience location data could impact your marketing strategy
  • Flowtown: Mine social data from your email address list
  • Authority Labs: Track search engine positioning for your site’s critical keywords
  • MobiReady: assess if your site is ready for mobile use
  • Flickr: use visual tags to get lots of Google “love”

Did I stop your “shakes?” How do you solve Social Media Tool Exhaustion?

P.S. My time in Shanghai wasn’t all work. Head over to my Flickr account to see a few pictures of our visit or to YouTube to see a couple of video clips of my favorite pavilions at the World Expo.


To reach Elizabeth:

Phone:  212.840.0017
Twitter: @elizabethsosnow
LinkedIn: Elizabeth Sosnow