Small businesses should use a variety of social marketing tools. Take the time to decide which social marketing tools are exactly right for marketing your business, and use them appropriately and at just the right time.
You can educate yourself by becoming familiar with tools like some of these:
- Google Alerts — email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.
Audio and Video Search Engines
- EveryZing — audio and video multimedia search engine developed by BBN.
- Podscope — audio and video multimedia search engine launched in April 2005.
Blog Search Engines
- Bloglines — blog search engine and news aggregator that allows users to search for, read, and share updates from news feeds and blogs; founded in 2003 by Mark Fletcher; acquired by Ask in 2005.
- Google Blog Search — an important blog search engine; launched in 2005.
- IceRocket — blog search engine; founded in 2004; backed by Mark Cuban.
- Technorati — important blog search engine; founded by Dave Sifry in 2002.
- Yahoo Buzz — blog search engine.
Blog Tracking Service
- Tailrank — “We track the hottest news in the blogosphere!”; blog tracking service that enables users to find and track topics being discussed in blogs; founded in 2005 by Kevin Burton.
Content Sharing Sites
- Flickr — online photo management and sharing site that hosts billions of images and videos; launched in Canada in February 2004, bought by Yahoo! in March 2005.
- Photobucket — photo, graphics, and video management and sharing site founded in 2003; bought by the Fox Interactive Media division of News Corp in July 2007 for about $300 million to complement MySpace.
- Scribd — document library where users can publish and find information; founded in 2006.
- Wikipedia — multilingual, Web-based, free content encyclopedia project written collaboratively by self-selected users from all around the world and overseen by volunteers; the most popular Internet reference site, it established in 2001.
- Yahoo Answers — service that allows users to ask and answer questions; after Wikipedia, the 2nd most popular Internet reference site.
- Yelp — local information guide with user listed and reviewed restaurants, night life, shopping, outdoor recreation, coffee and tea shops, salons and spas, events, and more; founded in 2004 by former PayPal executives Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons.
- YouTube — service for uploading and watching on websites, mobile devices, blogs, and by email; founded in February 2005 and bought by Google in November 2006.
Discussion Group Services
- Google Groups — service that enables people who want to discuss common interests, both in traditional Usenet groups and in groups similar to mailing lists.
- MSN Groups — service that offers free discussion websites that are created and managed by users; launched in 1995.
- Yahoo Groups — service that allows users to set up both electronic mailing lists and Web-based discussion groups.
Event Search and Promotion Sites
- Eventful — service that allows its community of users to find, promote, track, share, and create events.
- Going —service that allows users to search for events in thirty or more cities, and connect with others before, during and after those events; for 20-somethings; launched in November 2006; formerly HeyLetsGo.
- Meetup — network of self-organized clubs and community groups that enable people to find others in their area who share their interests.
Instant Messaging Tools
- AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)
- Meebo — a web-based instant messaging tool that consolidates accounts on every major IM network; includes chat rooms; launched in September 2005; Mountain View, California.
- Windows Live Messenger
- Yahoo! Messenger
- Pownce — social networking and micro-blogging site with an emphasis on messaging and sharing files, events, and links with a user’s friends from other services; founded in 2007 by a team including Kevin Rose (of Digg and other services); launched in January 2008.
- Twitter — social networking and micro-blogging service where updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them; the service has been adapted for a wide range of notification purposes by users including universities and the Los Angeles Fire Department; founded by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone; launched in October 2006.
- Tumblr — micro-blogging site that hosts “Tumblelogs,” which have short, mixed-media posts that emphasize creative writing an videos rather than commentary; founded in 2007 by Jason Kottke.
- Podcast Alley — podcast directory launched in 2004 by Chris McIntyre.
Social Network Integration Managers
- Flock — social network integration manager with its own browser; launched in 2005 in Redwood City, California by Bart Decrem and Geoffrey Arone.
- FriendFeed — social network integration manager allowing users to keep up-to-date with friends’ web pages, photos, videos, and music; launched in 2007 by former Google employees.
- Minggl — social network integration manager with browser extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer; aggregates friends’ lists, automatic login, multiple updates, and reception of friends’ activities; launched in 2005 in Austin, Texas.
- Plaxo — “Stay in touch with the people you care about”; social network integration manager that allows users to transfer their address book, friends list, and content to whomever and on whatever other participating sites they choose; it also provides automatic updating of a user’s contact information.
- Yoono — “Get a life”; social network integration manager with a browser sidebar that shows friends’ pictures, online status, and updates of his friends on multiple sites; launched in 2008.