How do you turn your social network into the ultimate lead generating device?
You have an incredibly valuable resource at your disposal already when it comes to creating leads for your business: your own social network. What is the best way to leverage this resource? From discovering new leads to maintaining links to old ones, here are ten social media power-tools that will help you turn your social network into the ultimate lead generating device.
1: Five Hundred Plus – never lose touch with your LinkedIn contacts again
Do you phone your mother regularly? It’s called staying in touch. How many potential business connections or clients were once in your network but haven’t heard from you in ages? That’s called losing touch. Five Hundred Plus (www.fivehundredplus.com) is a web application that helps remember to follow up and stay in touch with your most valuable connections. It connects with your LinkedIn account and allows you to organize your LinkedIn contacts according to their importance and helps you track what you’ve said to whom and when it’s time to connect with them to prevent you from losing touch.
2: Boomerang for Gmail – send your emails at optimal times
Many business owners get much of their email writing done at evenings or even weekends. But that’s not the optimal time to be sending these emails out, since not everyone spends that much time with their inbox. Boomerang (www.boomeranggmail.com) is a handy Gmail extension that presents you with a “Send later” button so your email gets sent the next morning or next week. It also allows you to “boomerang” emails so that they pop back up at the top of your inbox after a certain time if they haven’t been replied to – reminding you to resend or pick up the phone.
3: DataHug – leverage your colleagues’ networks
Is a decision maker in a Fortune 500 company already in your network – but you don’t know it yet? DataHug (www.datahug.com) specializes in uncovering who knows who, helping your company leverage the business network of all of it employees. It analyses all contacts your company is emailing and setting up meetings with to help you discover leads. So if your colleague makes a connection at a conference that is more useful to yourself than him, DataHug will let you know.
4: Mention – monitor your brand on the web
Mention (mention.net) helps you monitor what people are saying on the web, or on social networks, about the things you care about. You could monitor mentions about your brand, your name, your competitors or topic you want to stay up to date on. Given the growing importance of online brand and reputation management you’d think the web would be crawling with applications like this. On the contrary, Mention is one of the few applications we’ve seen that nails this problem completely. It’s very feature rich but unlike many of its competitors, it doesn’t have a steep learning curve. You’re up and running with the basics of Mention within a few minutes.
5: Write That Name – keep your address book up to date
Write That Name (www.writethat.name) automatically updates and creates contacts in your address book and in CRM systems. If a contact of yours changes his phone number, Write That Name will notice the change in the contact’s email footer and automatically update his contact information in your address book. So, when you’re on the move and you need to reach this contact, the contact information you have for him or her will be up to date.
6: Buffer – schedule your social media updates
This is one of our favorite social media apps. You’re sitting at your computer, topping up your caffeine levels before your day starts. You’ve discovered five new articles you think are worth sharing to your friends and connections on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Instead of flooding your social media profiles with all articles at once you add them to Buffer (www.bufferapp.com), which shares them for you throughout the next day or two. Once we started using Buffer we noticed a big increase in retweets, likes and mentions.
7: Rapportive – social media profiles in your inbox
Rapportive (rapportive.com) is a Gmail extension that shows you everything about your contact right inside your inbox. As soon as you’ve made email contact with someone Rapportive shows you what they’ve been up to on Twitter, presents you with a “connect on LinkedIn” button and shows you their profile image from various different social media sources.
8: Nimble – social CRM without the pain
Nimble (nimble.com) is one of the few CRM systems we don’t absolutely hate. It is in fact quite Nimble. It combines both various features mentioned above, such as social media monitoring, with more traditional CRM features such as deal tracking. Nimble is treading a fine line between simplicity and features but at the moment, it’s one of the more usable CRM tools for social media aware small businesses.
9: Hubspot – the ultimate inbound traffic tool
Hubspot (www.hubspot.com) is a suite of tools that helps you generate inbound traffic. The tools listed above help you leverage the network you already have, while Hubspot is one way of expanding that network. Even though it feels like one of those Swiss army knifes that has so many tools it doesn’t fit in your pocket anymore, it is quite powerful and the team behind it have done an impressive job of making the learning curve as smooth as possible. It’s the most expensive tools on this list at $200 per month.
10: Hootsuite – industry standard social media dashboard
Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) is a “social media dashboard” to manage and measure your social networks. No list of social media power-tools would be complete without it as it is rapidly becoming one of the most visible brands in the social media marketplace. We’ve found the learning curve to be a bit steep but we keep hearing people sing Hootsuite’s praises so for those of you with a big social media profile, we recommend you at least give it a spin.
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