With so many social media tools out there, how do you find the right one for you?

The answer–and I’m sorry to say–is I don’t know… Or let’s go with the famous ‘marketing’ answer: It depends. However, I’ll document a few I use and why I chose to use them:

Micro-blogging
Twitter I’m a Twitteraholic. No doubt about that. However, I will admit I have yet to try out the competitors (Namely, Pownce and Jaiku, as well as Utterz I believe). Usually I like to try out a few before I commit, but I’m so in love with Twitter (aka addicted), I just don’t have time for the others! I’ll admit–I also love how the name lends itself to cute wordplays like twitterverse and twitterati etc., but that’s just one of the many reasons.

*Update*

  • Pretty much everyone agrees, Twitter rocks!

Blogging Platform
Wordpress First I started out my blogging life using Blogger, because it seemed the easiest for beginners. I wasn’t completely thrilled and contemplated switching, right until Google bought it out and re-vamped it. I fell in love, but when the company I worked for was acquired, Blogger wasn’t flexible enough. So I learned WordPress and I have never looked back. Recently, however, I began blogging over at Ottawa.Cityguide.ca, which uses Moveable Type. I’m no expert yet, but so far I’m liking it a lot. However I’m only a contributor on Moveable Type, so I can’t say for sure how they templates, set up, etc. work.

Therefore my favourite would have to be WordPress. It’s easy-to-use and I was able to set it up on my own domain quickly and easily. Though I have yet to use Typepad, which I know many swear by.

*Update*

  • Johann Burkard recommends a service called blojsom, I’ve never heard of it, but apparently Apple uses it for one of its web servers.

RSS Readers
Google I started out using Newsgator, not even sure why, but I noticed that a large majority of my subscribers were using Google Reader–I was intrigued–so I checked it out and sure enough, fell in love. I’ve also tried managing some feeds through my iGoogle page, but I think I consume too much for that to be a viable option. What I would love is a reader built into an app that could sit on my desktop and scroll through new headlines for all my feeds. I’m not even sure if it exists-but I would love it.

*Update*

  • Dave Barger recommends Outlook 2007’s built in reader. I’ve never used it, but I’ve heard lots of good things from others. So if you have ’07, it’s worth checking out!
  • @heatherforce says she loves Attensa, which I’ve never heard of before. According to the web site it looks like an enterprise RSS reader. Heather particularly likes the plug in for Outlook. (Come on now, who’s really surprised we want to read our feeds with our email?!)
  • Johann Burkard uses Bloglines, which is another popular choice, but has also used Rojo & found it to be great, but unreliable.

Social News/Sharing Sites
StumbleUpon Ok, this is probably a vague area, as it could cover a lot, but I’m thinking of Digg, Mixx, Reddit, and even del.icio.us and StumbleUpon might fall into this category. However there’s tons of niche sites that could be included like Sphinn and PlugIM, for example.

Out of all of them, I’d say Stumble is my favourite. Actually, by far. It is a killer tool for driving traffic to your blog, AND it’s hours of fun hitting the “Stumble” button. My Stumble is also integrated with my Facebook, so all my friends can see the sites I like. It’s a fantastic tool

(Fun fact: I actually heard about Stumble over two years ago from my hair stylist, she was complaining that her husband stayed up all night ‘stumbling’ and I was intrigued to learn more)

I know I could probably go on for days, but I’d love your input: What tools do you use? Why do you use them? What else have you tried?

I’ll update this post with your comments.

*Update*

  • Colin brings to my attention that I missed a very obvious category: social networking. (duh!)

Social NetworkingLinked In
I’m still hooked on Facebook, because it’s my primary means of communication with some of my good friends. However, like Colin says in the comments, LinkedIn is a rocking place to be. I’ve pretty much abandoned MySpace. I’ve also joined and played around in a few niche sites like Chapter’s Book Lover’s Community as well as Group Recipes, but they just don’t have the ‘stickiness’ of the big guys.

*Update*

  • Linda Bustos points out some great niche sites for marketers: Gooruze, Sphinn, and SEOmoz. I’ve been involved a little in all three, so I’ll second the great choices.

10 thoughts to “Dare to compare – How do you choose the right tools?

  • Dave Barger

    We share all same preferences on tools except on the feed reader. I’m able to take advantage of the rss reader in Outlook 2007 (I don’t think it’s available in earlier versions). Twitter was getting me down there for a bit with being unreliable, but since right before SXSW they seemed to have recovered very nicely. Cheers!

    Reply
  • Colin

    I think I’m 4/4 in agreement with you. I don’t use Twitter quite as much as you do, though — it’s a bit harder to get into.

    The one category you might be missing is networking sites (Facebook/LinkedIn/MySpace). I really don’t enjoy Facebook anymore, but LinkedIn is great.

    I also enjoy Last.fm… my favourite way to find new music.

    Reply
  • Heather Force

    For RSS reading, I quite like Attensa, and particularly the Attensa add-on for Outlook. I admit that I’ve never actually tried the built-in Outlook reader, but I may just take a closer look now πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Johann

    Hm, micro-blogging: Twitter (though I have Jaiku and Pownce accounts).

    Blogging: Blojsom.

    Feed reader: Bloglines (used Rojo before, also great though unstable).

    Sharing: Stumble πŸ˜‰ and del.icio.us, Mixx every once in a while.

    Reply
  • kelly

    Thanks for all your comments! I will update the post.

    Reply
  • Linda Bustos

    I try to be more Twitteriffic, but I keep forgetting to. I’m also planning on getting more involved in StumbleUpon. But I’m more active in the marketing niche networks: Sphinn, Gooruze and SEOmoz. And Facebook!

    Reply
  • Heather Force

    Me again πŸ™‚
    For social networking: Facebook for friends, LinkedIn and Plaxo for professional, and Plaxo overall for keeping your address book up to date with its auto sync. The calendar sync is a bonus too, bringing together personal and professional calendars. Plaxo is actually better adapted to connecting to people that you hadn’t thought of also, since it cross-references your address book with its db, and is synced regularly.

    Reply
  • Chris Blackwell

    Is anyone here actually using Mixx on a regular basis? It looks like a good site but I just don’t see many people on it.

    Reply
  • kelly

    @Chris Blackwell – I think I signed up once upon a time, but never really used it, though it seems like a good site. I guess I’m agreeing with you here!

    Reply
  • mose

    I used MT as soon as it was released… they still have yet to fix the back door SPAM issues.

    Love it – but not protected against comment SPAM

    we dropped it in favor of Blogger – WordPress … just never excited me.

    Personally I look after 20 Blogs – nice to have a dashboard

    Reply

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