Ultimate Recap: The 12 Best New Social Media Tools from 2012

by Jason Keath on Jan 29, 2013

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get-excited-new-toolsOne of the big themes of my Top New Social Media Tools from 2011 was the maturation of social networks like Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest as well as the trend of automation to auto-creation.

As popular social networks continue to mature, gone are the days in which we post something and hope that it “sticks” or becomes viral. We can now take calculated risks and posting and sharing has become more intelligent and efficient.

2012’s social media theme centers around metrics, analytics, and tools that are helping us create deeper connections with consumers. Content is the underlying current that many are trying to navigate more successfully using the below list as their support team.

1. G+ Hangout On Air


If your friends still refuse to watch that interview show you have been toiling away at for years on your local public access channel. I might have a better option for you Garth.

With On Air you are now able to broadcast your Google+ Hangout to the public via your Google+ profile, YouTube Channel and website.

After your hangout is over you can then share this video like any other video. Even while the live hangout is going on, you can embed the live broadcast, like any Youtube video, on your own website or blog.

Google+ hangouts are increasingly being used well by businesses and are an easy opportunity to work video content into your business’s content stable.

2. Little Bird



Every time an expert advises companies to “simply identify and build a personal relationship the people who matter in your industry,” the marketers responsible for making it happen think – easier said than done.

After all, the democratization of media has created an infinite number of “potential influencers.”

A marketing or communications professional could spend all day every day turning over rocks looking for relevant influencers. Enter Little Bird, a new influencer search engine that analyzes the social graph related to any given topic to help marketers not only identify hyper-connected individuals, but also paves the way for relationship-building by highlighting the most relevant blogs on the subject.

Little Bird is still in private beta. Thanks to Joe Chernov, VP of marketing for Kinvey, for contributing this review.

3. Percolate



Many brands, when you ask if they have a brand voice, they will of course say yes. Now if you ask them to actually explain that brand voice in a short sentence or two, far fewer will tell you something that you remember, and more likely will put you to sleep.

On social channels these days, the content we share on Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere builds our brand voice, how consumer consider our businesses, one piece at a time. Months and months of content builds up in their grey matter until one day, your brand voice becomes bad memes and cat photos.

Percolate helps brands define their brand voice with content. They will put a face to your voice and then help create and curate the content you need to maintain a consistent voice and an engaging presence.

Percolate uses human intelligence certainly, but their software makes it really interesting as it recommends content for brands, specifically related to their voice and what the fans want to see and engage with. The software organizes and suggests which content a company should be sharing from existing assets and third party content available on the web.

Their price point will only make the tool accessible to Fortune 500 brands and other large enterprises, but a great concept nonetheless.

4. Addvocate


Tired of pleading with your coworkers to help retweet that last company announcement or asking them to “engage with the brand” more only to see them keenly focused on sharing Lady Gaga’s latest fashion choices every morning?

Addvocate is a publishing and measuring platform for employee advocacy that can help you win over your Lady Gaga fan and get your coworkers help with lifting brand messages in social.

The service focuses on organizing your internal advocay efforts and making it much easier for your coworkers to help share specific messages that you and they both approve.

Any employee can suggest content directly from their browser window and route it to their coworkers. And anyone using Addvocate can pull up a list of approved messages while on Twitter or Facebook and share which one they like best.

5. Sprout Social

sprout social

If you ever get a little frustrated managing your company’s several social channels and creating powerpoint reports about the weekly progress on those various channels, Sprout Social might be able to help. So put your therapy nunchucks down and breathe a little with me, ok? Ok.

I spoke with a lot of social marketers who signed up their brands to use Sprout Social this past year. It is a very robust social media dashboard solution that allows scheduling post, queuing content from multiple sources (mobile, email, social) and covers many of key features businesses need to manage and grow their social presence across channels.

Sprout Social integrates with Twitter, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Foursquare, among many others. Beyond their publishing capabilities, Sprout Social has a social inbox feature and “presentation ready” reports that many of their users herald. And they also seem to have found a pricing sweet spot that works well for small social teams.

6. Buffer Images to Facebook

Buffer this image

Buffer has been on our list before. But this past year they added a feature that makes sharing images to Facebook so easy, I had to share it with you here.

Sharing images is the most engaging content strategy Facebook. We’ve seen this supported with data several times. And while it is not a hugely time sensitive task to share images on Facebook, logistically it does take more time, effort and knowhow.

But now it is as easy to post an image to your Facebook profile or page as it is to pin an image to Pinterest. Easier even. With Buffer, when you use their Chrome extension, you can simply right click on any image and share that image to Facebook.

It is a huge time savor and can take away any barrier to using a more engaging content type to up your Facebook results.

7. PostAcumen


Do you stalk your Facebook page competitors like a really bad private investigator? Following too closely so they’ll clearly see you in their rear view mirror? Dressing up as a garbage man and digging through their trash?

Well, clearly you need help. Head home to live with mom for a few months and let me know who takes over social for you while you are gone, because boy do I have a tool for them.

PostAcumen (from the makers of EdgerankChecker) gives you deep competitive intel. It finds what images are working best for your page or your competitors, dives into industry focused reports, compares pages side by side, and does a lot of it in real time. You can figure out time of day, which status types work best, best historical posts, and even which frequency of content is working best.

All that AND it is easy to consume. Their visual web reporting is easy on the eyes and quickly understood.

PostAcumen  is a very impressive tool. And I don’t just throw that description around like that stranger’s trash you ripped up on your stakeout.

8. Netbase


You might think from their website that Netbase performs some kind of Trivial Pursuit based brain surgery to help you with trivia night. But it is way cooler than that.

(In all seriousness, they are “unlocking” your customer’s mind, pretty cool comic strip style illustration on their site)

If you are trying to figure out your customer’s purchase intent or influence rankings, NetBase is your key.  delivers tools and scorecards that give market researchers and brand managers a reliable way to understand online brand equity, analyze and compare consumer passion, and generate deep insights that help marketing teams make smarter and faster business decisions.

9. Mention


Ever use Google Alerts? I thought so.

Ever wish that Google would, I don’t know, pull Google alerts out of whatever closet in the basement it has been running out of since 1999 and add a few features, spruce it up a bit? Me too.

Well, Mention has beat them to it, and in a big way.

Mention monitors your alerts and notifies you in real-time for anything published on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs, and webpages. Mention has many functionalities including the ability to share your alerts with any user and assigning tasks to your team members.

10. Tagstand


Tagstand is a one stop shop for Near Field Communications (NFC). Using the Tagstand App, users can recreate repetitive task and associate them with tags and activate their phone with a simple tap. So you can, say, check in on Foursquare when you set your phone down on your desk, or send out a Tweet every time you get home.

You press your phone to an NFC “tag” and control what action happens through the web. So what a tag does today can change tomorrow.

For businesses, they serve a similar to QR codes, but more flexible. They are easier to use and can simply do more.

The one problem is that NFC enabled phones are not quite yet pervasive. At least in the US. But the trend line is clear. If you have a lot of tech savvy android users (or maybe just a bunch of Google employees?) in your storefront each day, it might be worth testing out today.

11. Facebook WordPress Plugin

facebook wordpress plugin

WordPress is awesome because there are usually a dozen plugins for anything you would need for your website or blog. WordPress will also drive you a bit nuts, mainly because there are usually a dozen plugins for anything you would need for your website or blog.

I’ve had to go through 3, 4, 5 different plugin installs looking for the plugin that does what I want well, looks professional, and doesn’t break.

Getting Facebook functionality on your WordPress site got a little easier for those out there that are a little less tech savvy this past year when Facebook released their own WordPress Plugin.

Some of the features include being able to add a like, send, and subscribe button to every post to help your reader’s share content with friends and a Recommendations Bar, helping your visitors discover additional content on your site.

12. Unroll.me


Which is it 789 unread emails or 897 unread emails?

Unroll.me organizes your inbox by tidying up the mess left by all of the unwanted subscriptions we all have become victim to. The ones that you actually want to read?

Those are organized and sent to you in an organized overview.

Unroll.me is much more of a personal organization lift than a business tool, but considering how many social media notifications you probably get each day, it might be a huge aid in your productivity.


All in all, 2012 was a big year for software and tools helping social media enthusiasts make sense of all of the data that is out there. Can’t wait to see that this new year will bring us. We’ve already started building this year’s list.

Which favorite new social media tool of yours did not make the list?

Let me know in the comments.



Post Author

As the CEO and founder of Social Fresh, Jason is the lead analyst and consultant for all Social Fresh brand clients. Jason has 15+ years of experience as a marketing leader and focuses on how to help brands be more...