social media: tools to help you talk and listen

More and more I am finding myself becoming increasingly social. I'm on Twitter. I'm on Facebook. I'm on Pinterest. Day in and day out, I work very hard to maintain, track and socialize on these social platforms. But it can get overwhelming and time consuming - luckily there are many free & paid social media management tools out there that can help streamline your social activities, and make you more efficient when it comes to multi-management.

I am often asked which tools I use and find the most useful. There are a lot out there, and through trial and error you too will find ones that work best for you.

Here are my Top 5 Social Tools + a few honourable mentions...


AboutHootsuite is a Social Media Dashboard used for multi-platform, multi-user management.
What It Does: It allows you to manage multiple social networks from one central website. The customizable dashboard allows you to view several streams from your social networks in tab format. The dashboard also allows you to simultaneously post to several accounts
saving you time. Hootsuite supports several of the major networks like Twitter, Facebook, and most recently added, Instagram. Both the free and paid version allows you to shorten and track links, but statistics on the free accounts are limited to only 30 days.
Cost: Ranges from Free - $9.99 per month for the average user.


About: Bitly is a URL shorter which allows you to effectively shorten, share, and track your links.
What it Does: Bitly not only shortens your links (which is beneficial for social networks like Twitter), but tracks clicks, geographic location, and referrers; all important in understanding what your audience is looking for, where they are, and how they are finding you.
Cost: Free!


AboutMailChimp is an email delivery platform which allows you to create email campaigns, manage your email lists automatically, and track campaign success with several analytics.
What It Does: Mailchimp is very easy to use. Its user friendly dashboard allows you set up everything from your email database (complete with website sign-up forms), to an RSS feed driven campaign from your blog. Mailchimpís robust tracking allows you to read into campaign details like open-rate, click-through rate, social shares, geographic location, and many more - all very important measurements for determining what your audience finds appealing.
Cost: Send to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers for free!

Google Reader

About: Google Reader is an RSS feed reader.
What It Does: Google Reader allows you to follow all of your favourite business and personal blogs all in one place. It is also easy to add Google Alerts to your reader to track company & product mentions, and other keyword mentions from new sources, and blog sources.
Cost: Best of all, it is free.

RELATED:  Pin Your Way to Success Workshop - Vancouver

About: is a sharing applet that can be installed on any website and blog with a snippet of HTML.
What It Does: The AddThis applet is as much of a benefit to you as it is your bog readers. Supported by many of the major social networks, the AddThis applet allows your readers to quickly and easily share blog posts or pictures from your blog. Sophisticated built-in analytics allow you to track everything from how many shares your content receives, to what platforms it is most often shared on - again, very beneficial when it comes to understanding what your audience is looking for, and what they consider to be "share-worthy."
Cost: Free!

Honourable Mentions:


A website is the central hub. All social media platforms below should be well integrated into the website for seamless sharing and engagement. A platform like WordPress allows you to integrate your website and blog, and has an easy to use Content Management System. To get the most of our WordPress, I like to use the self-hosted option.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics solution that gives you insights into website traffic and marketing effectiveness. It tracks how many people visit your site, how many pages they looked at, how long they spent on your site, how they found it (keywords), who is linking to you, where in the world are your visitors coming from, plus hundreds more metrics.

Twitter Plugin for your Website

This twitter widget allows you to display your most recent tweets in the sidebar of your website in real-time. It also allows your visitors to easily find your twitter profile and follow you. Twitter Plugin for your Website

Facebook Plugin for your Website

This Facebook badge allows you to display your most "likes" and profile in the sidebar of your website. It also allows your visitors to easily find your Facebook profile and makes it easy for them to "like" you. Facebook Plugin for your Website
What are some of your favourite social media tools?

For the past 6 years, Brittany Stager worked as the Marketing Manager for Mushrooms Canada, a role which grew her talents in social media and communications. She now runs her own Social & Marketing Communications company called GroupTalk where she provides everything from social management to training. Brittany's passion for social media and blogging also spills over into her personal life, as she authors her own successful personal lifestyle blog, My Daily Randomness where she documents and showcases her love for DIY, home renovation, food, and of course her family.

You are subscribing to the FBC Food Lovers Newsletter.
You can unsubscribe any time!
Click Me



Yeah, social media can get pretty overwhelming. Thanks for all this info Brittany, and I know I am going to be using a couple of your recommendations now!

A Canadian Foodie

Sometimes I am so busy Cyber networking, I don’t have time for my already busy real life networking so anything to assist is a huge help.
One thing I don’t understand is the tracking on bitly. I will have to investigate. Further information on that would be very helpful. I was also surpised to see add this so high on your list, Brittany – and then no mention to any pinterest social media plug ins.

Brittany @ GroupTalk

@Michelle – Thanks Michelle, glad I could help you out.

@A Canadian Foodie – Yes Valerie, some of these tools make it easier to streamline your process making social networking easier and more efficient. The new, redesigned Bitly I find is a bit harder to navigate, but again, the main function is to track clicks, which I believe it does well. As far as Pinterest goes, there are two measurement tools out on the market currently (PinReach and Pinerly), but they still need a bit of refinement. I hear Pinterest is looking to introduce analytics for users shortly.

As far as a Pinterest plug-in goes, that “Share” functionality is all built into the “AddThis” widget – allowing your readers to share your content on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and a suite of other social networks.

I hope this helps! Thanks again for your questions and comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.