A dozen tools every community manager needs

From monitoring services to apps that force you to read your email, these tools should be in every community manager’s arsenal.

Every community manager needs an arsenal of tools to help him or her achieve day-to-day and long-term goals.

Here are a dozen tools I use. If you’re looking for a place to get started, this is it. I also threw in some links so you can learn more about each tool.

Listening and monitoring

1. Feedly

With the death of Google Reader (oh, my heart is broken), Feedly is a good alternative to organize the news sources in your industry. It’s easy to set up and the design is pleasing on the eyes, which helps you get to the important highlights more quickly.

2. HootSuite

HootSuite can help you listen to the chatter on Twitter. The interface allows you to track multiple conversations (through hashtags, keywords or lists), schedule posts and customize your reporting. The best part: You can get a lot out of it for free.

3. Flipboard

I recently jumped on the bandwagon for this one, and I’m happy I did. Flipboard is a free iPhone/iPad app that compiles all of your social-sourced news in one place. Aside from giving you updates from the resources you signed up for, it will introduce you to new and relevant resources, which constantly expands your horizons.

4. Facebook Pages Manager

Facebook’s Pages app is also for smartphones and tablets. If you manage a Facebook page, this app is non-negotiable. You can keep tabs on what’s happening on your pages so you can address any issues that can’t wait until morning. It integrates with Insights too, so you have access to what you need when you’re on-the-go.

Engaging

5. Disqus or Livefyre

Both of these services will enhance your blog tremendously. They give your readers the ability to tag friends in conversations, help you moderate (and encourage) engagement, and make your life easier with effective spam filters. Many regular blog readers already have profiles on one or both of these services, so try them out and compare.

6. WordPress

Speaking of blogs, is yours on WordPress? If not, consider building it on this platform. It’s the most popular and versatile blogging platform, so working with it is simple. From spam filters to widgets, it has a never-ending list of plugins you can use to enhance your blog; you’ll never run out of tools to improve your blog’s performance.

7. Scribe SEO

You’d hate to see the blog posts you carefully wrote, formatted and promoted fall flat just because you committed an SEO no-no. This tool helps you see the big or small tweaks you can make to your post to optimize its searchability. (If I just used a couple of terms that flew over your head, check out this wiki.)

Analyzing

8. Google Analytics

Numbers can be a chore, but collecting and making sense of them will help you implement strategies that don’t waste your time. This is one of the best free website analytics services you can use. The data can get complicated, but there are plenty of FAQs, forums and blog posts on the Web to help you sort through it.

9. Pinalyzer

Facebook has Insights and Twitter has HootSuite, but what about Pinterest? If you’re on the fashionable social network, don’t let your efforts fade into the air. Catch your Pinterest performance statistics with this tool.

Productivity

10. Gmail

If you can pick who hosts your email, try Gmail. It has a rock star search capability for users who aren’t very diligent in archiving emails, is accessible anywhere (if your computer dies, the information doesn’t go along with it), and is secure and compatible with many smartphone and tablet apps.

11. Google Drive

Another perk of having Gmail is that it comes with Google Drive (formally known as Google Docs). It works like a charm. Aside from functioning just like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Drive backs up all of your documents so you can access them anywhere. You’ll also shout with joy when you’re able to get your colleagues to collaborate on edits in one document. It eliminates version confusion!

12. Mailbox

You may have caught the hype about the Mailbox app lately. It’s a new iPhone app designed to help you get through emails, a.k.a. your to-do list. It won’t let you leave emails unread-you’re forced to take some kind of action when you read them, including setting a timer to bring them up again later. There’s a waiting list to get the app, but for the service it offers (for free), it’s worth a shot.

I’d like to hear from other community managers out there. What apps do you use to be productive?

Ifdy Perez is a social media strategist with a specialty in community building. A version of this article originally appeared on the Vocus blog. Follow Perez on Google+.

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