Tools you can use.

As social media becomes a bigger part of my clients’ day-to-day workload, it’s becoming clearer that tools that simply manage accounts (like HootSuite or TweetDeck) are necessary but not sufficient for getting the most out of the medium. Luckily, there’s a new generation of tools that really get to the heart of what social media is all about: building relationships.

Muckrack is a directory of journalists’ Twitter accounts. A free account gives you lists of accounts broken down by publication, with lists of top stories and full feeds. All of which is nice, but the real utility lies in their pro accounts, which let you search for journalists by beat, set up alerts, and even create and manage media lists right from within their site. At $99 a month, it certainly isn’t cheap, but it is a great tool for understanding journalists’ most pressing concerns and connecting with them quickly and easily., from the smart folks at Fission Strategy, is another new tool built on a similar premise. Many organizations have spent considerable time and effort over the years building email lists of their supporters. But those lists don’t play nicely with social media– there’s often no easy way to connect email addresses with your supporters’ social media accounts, and there’s certainly no way to see which of them might have a large Twitter following or a big list of Facebook friends they could be sharing your action alerts with. takes your email list and uses it to find the social media accounts of your followers. It makes it easy to see who’s voices are most influential, and what they’re talking about– and it allows you to connect with them quickly and easily to ask for their help. Monthly costs are much lower than Muckrack, but this is really a tool for organizations with fairly large email lists– at least 1000, and the larger the better. They’ve got a free trial, too, so there’s no excuse for not checking it out.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the 2013 edition of LightBox Collaborative’s celebrated editorial calendar is out, which I helped create back in 2011, and contributed to this year. It’s the perfect tool for building a social media strategy that puts your best foot forward, making sense of the content flowing through your social media channels, and creating a plan for real engagement with your key audiences.

Best of all: it’s completely free. What are you waiting for?


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Tom,

    Nice piece Heath. Muckrack is a fantastic service, I get a lot out of even just the free version for keeping on top of what journalists are talking about. Another tool you might consider using for keeping track of the conversation on social media is NewsWhip Spike. It ranks news stories by the rate at which they’re being shared on social media in real time – great for staying on top of the news in your vertical.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tom. I’ll check it out!

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