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Timesavers and smart agents: social media tools for business

May 23, 2016

4 user-friendly services which really help

Social media platforms are the opposite of complicated IT systems that require a steep learning curve. Simple user interfaces, a strict focus on core functionalities and ease-of-use are the key strengths of the following services. What do all these tools have in common? They save time (a rather precious resource these days) by programming recurring tasks. Some of these do this even automatically for you.

Doodle - Appoint meetings with ease

Inviting a couple of colleagues to a meeting is easy - as long as all involved parties have access to a common intranet infrastructure like Outlook Exchange. Things used to get a lot more complicated when external invitees were involved until Doodle stepped in the scene. The organizer of the meeting sets up a couple of time-slot suggestions which get sent to all invitees. With just one click per timeslot, each participant announces his or her availability to the group. As soon as everybody has sent their answers, a simple, yet efficient table leaves no scheduling question unanswered.

Unlike with most other services, Doodle doesn't even require any kind of registration. The basic service is free, upgrading to the pro version unlocks additional features comparable to a shared Exchange calendar.

See: http://doodle.com

Hootsuite - All social channels at a glance

Hootsuite refers to their software as a "social media dashboard". The browser-only application doesn't require any installation, mobile apps are available for Android and iOS. Hootsuite combines a couple of management tools as a one stop shop. A couple of years ago, the ability to schedule status updates was one the service’s main strengths. These days, most platforms offer scheduling, but Hootsuite has other interesting tools in store as well: A freely configurable social media dashboard displays all updates from various channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, on one screen. Additional features include a workflow tool for teams and an RSS auto-poster.

Tailoring content to each platform is a must these days, so the value of Hootsuite's cross-posting functionality remains rather limited. The software is an excellent monitoring and workflow tool though and a great timesaver for professionals who are managing and evaluating a large number of social media channels.

The free version is limited to three social media profiles. Depending on the required features and extensions the full version is priced between $10 and $25 per team member.

See: http://hootsuite.com

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Hootsuite

Paper.li - Online newspaper & monitoring tool

Paper.li, a Swiss start-up, defies common categories. Is it a monitoring tool? Is it a personalized newspaper or a newsletter tool? The software combines all these aspects and qualifies itself for a wide range of applications.

After a (quick and painless) registration new users pick a name for their personal newspaper and set up basic options as well as various news sources and automated searches. Paper.li then generates a daily or weekly “paper” from this data which is structured into different sections just like its analogue counterpart.

Paper.li is a powerful research tool and monitoring device and it is a publication platform at the same time. Many users set up their own newspaper merely for personal monitoring reasons, while others use the software to publish industry newsletters. Most of the main features are available with the free version. Corporate users get access to additional functions: i.e., non-public newspapers and extended branding options, for about $100 per year.

Paper.li's potential might not be visible a first sight, but having used the service myself for a couple of years now, I assure you: The monitoring algorithms are excellent and keep you informed about breaking news in a very time-saving manner. Also, paper.li is one of the few social media services that fully support different languages.

See: http://paper.li

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Paper.li

Storify - Remixing social media

Storify is a so-called content curation service. The split screen features an editing pane on the left and a combined search field on the right side of the screen. Storify enables users to search for various bits and pieces of information such as status updates, videos, search results and the like, combine these into a collection and add personal comments.

Storify is always embedding the original source, meaning that likes, shares and comments are displayed in real-time. Authors can edit and extend their collections anytime and decide whether they want to keep their material private or publish the result.

Storify is powerful research tool and quite helpful when evaluating feedback about (online) events. Just like the other 3 services, the basic service is free. The pro version adds white-labelling (no Storify logo) and team workflows.

See: http://storify.com

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Storify

These four social media tools save social media users a lot of time. Naturally, personal preferences and taste play a big role in picking one's favorite tools. Personally, I'm a big fan of combined approaches; however, if I had to pick just one of these services, I'd definitely go with Paper.li.

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