Facebook, Google+, and Twitter – By now, you’re aware of them and likely (hate it or love it) they are a part of your everyday life. Now that you’re hip to the services, you’re either on your way to accepting them as beneficial business tool or standing alone and falling further behind. For those bringing up the rear, an assortment of useful tools has found its way into our hands that both enhance and optimize the social media experience – anything from aids for those with little time to the numbers people wanting to see results. We’ll take a look at some of our favorite tools here at 919 that can help you with your social media management.

TweetDeck

Recently acquired by Twitter, this tool may be used as a web app or desktop client, which comes in handy for those who are frequent tab-openers. TweetDeck also allows the ability to monitor and manage an unlimited number of Facebook and Twitter accounts – this is coupled with the ability to arrange columns based on your display preferences (Mentions, Retweets, Messages, etc.). Another big hit with this tool is the option to use custom bit.ly shortened links within tweets. The few low points of this app include no real analytical tools and the need to schedule future tweets at an exact date and time (I’ll discuss Buffer’s advantage in this regard below).

Buffer

For setting up future tweets across multiple accounts, no one really does it better than Buffer. A simple, easy to use interface is easy on the eyes and very straightforward. Buffer allows a user to schedule tweets just as TweetDeck does, but conveniently allows rollover to following days when the user-set limit for the current day has been reached – A lot to take in there, but well worth understanding. Think of filling a funnel with your tweets, and having them fall out precisely when you’d like – That’s Buffer. The app also allows the user to set custom bit.ly shortened links, and provides simple analytical snapshots of each tweet (including number of clicks, Retweets, etc.). In addition to those perks, Buffer will continue to operate even while the user is not signed in. One shortfall that prevents this app from being alone on the top is the lack of ability to interact or monitor with your audience.

Hootsuite

Next up is Hootsuite, a web-only app that offers integration with several different social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If the Pro level is purchased, users enjoy enhanced tweet scheduling and the ability to produce analytics reports. Similar to TweetDeck, Hootsuite offers users the chance to customize column views to display any and everything relevant to the goodies provided by Twitter, Facebook, and the others. As mentioned before, you must be signed in online to Hootsuite in order for it to be active, which can let content and interaction go missing. Just as with TweetDeck, there is no ability to create custom bit.ly shortened links and users are required to schedule each tweet to a specific date and time.

SocialBro

SocialBro is a relatively new app to me, but one that I find very useful. The app offers users a nice breakdown of everything from the best time to tweet during the day to the makeup of their audience of followers and friends. One great feature is the ability to filter and search a specific type of follower based on several different metrics. For example, take a tweet idea involving an interesting PR tactic – searching your followers for the perfect matches can make your tweet that much more impactful by getting to the right people – the movers and shakers. For analyzing those who you interact with, SocialBro looks very promising. Unfortunately, it is nowhere near a do all solution. You can tweet from the app, but that’s about it. No interactive ability, and like most others above no ability to create custom bit.ly links.

So, is there a world-beater, one stop app to handle your social media monitoring? Nope. But there is a solution out there. Each of the applications offer wonderful features of their own, but the opportunity exists to blend them all together – take the desktop positioning and customization options of TweetDeck, the simplicity and scheduling tools of Buffer, the integration might of Hootsuite and the ability of SocialBro to paint a picture of who you interact with – you now have an amazingly capable and powerful tool to bolster your social media efforts.