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Nine Tools We Think Community Managers Should Keep in Their Tool Belts

Written by Molly Talbert | on April 13, 2016 at 9:30 AM


Your life is busy and every moment counts. So it’s hard to find the time to sift through tools and plugins that might help you stay productive and manage your time. What’s the easiest way to track them all down?

Fear not! We’ve compiled a list of tools that can help you! The catch is finding the right tool for the right task. Rather than wading through the App Store or a million generic, time-saving articles, check out our summary below:

1. Snagit

Sometimes the best way to teach is to show -- but how do you do that if you’re time zones away? Snagit let’s you easily capture and share images and videos of your screen. You can then send these images or videos to individual people, or post to a how-to discussion in your community. Rather than explaining -- “click that button; scroll down to here” -- members can follow along as you go through the motions.

Cost: Free for 15 days; $49.95 single user

2. Airtable

At first glance, Airtable looks like a fancy, collaborative spreadsheet. But it’s way more than just another version of Google Sheets. Airtable is mobile friendly, has 12 integrations (including Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive), allows you to add filters, tasks and teammates, and you can link data. It’s more of a project management tool that helps you organize tasks, notes and people.

Cost: Free (1,200 rows, 2 Gb space); $12 per user/month Plus (5,000 rows, 5 Gb space); $24 per user/month Pro (50,000 rows, 20 Gb space)

3. Evernote

Evernote is a great place to keep random ideas, blog posts, links and thoughts. It’s the ultimate note taking, archiving and collaboration tool -- almost like a giant idea-scrapbook. Instead of scattering ideas and lists throughout documents or applications, Evernote lets you store everything in once place, add attachments and screenshots, and search keywords or tags. Even though it’s been around for a long time, Evernote is still one of the most widely used archiving tools out there.

Cost: Free Basic; $24.99/year Plus; $49.99/year Premium

4. Google Keep

Evernote gets a lot of hype, but it doesn’t work for everyone -- either the interface doesn’t click for you or it’s overloaded with confusing features. Google Keep is a great alternative. The layout is simple and sleek, works on desktop and mobile, and has collaborative features. You can also set location-based reminders and dictate notes.

Cost: Free (you just need a Gmail account)

5. Buffer

Managing social media is about more than just writing quippy tweets or relevant Facebook updates -- timing is key. Not only does Buffer help you manage your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, but it learns when the optimal publishing time is for your specific audience. By analyzing your followers -- when they post and interact with your content -- Buffer learns when to optimize your updates. You can use the dashboard to schedule, or use the Chrome plugin.

Cost: Free (Individual); $10/month (Awesome Plan); $99/month (Small Business Plan); $199/month (Medium Business Plan); $399/month (Large Business Plan)

6. Canva

Even if your organization has a graphic designer, sometimes you just want to create a quick banner image yourself. Canva is a great tool for throwing together a fast, professional looking graphics -- for your community, a blog post or social media. You can upload your own image or a stock photo, add filters, icons and text. They even have templates in case you need extra inspiration.

Cost: Free

7. Pocket

There are so many great resources and articles online. The only problem? It’s hard to keep track of everything (and there’s not enough time). Pocket let’s you save articles, videos and anything else you come across for later. You can save things directly from your browser (now you won’t have 50 tabs open!) or from apps like Twitter.

Cost: Free or Premium for $4.99/month

8. Trello

Trello is a great organizational tool (I use it everyday to track my own content calendar) -- there’s nothing else quite like it out there. A Trello board includes lists, filled with cards, and you move the cards from list to list. You can add notes or attachments to each card, start discussions and collaborate. My Trello board moves from left to right -- starting out with Blog Idea, moving to Researching, Writing, Editing and Scheduled. As I move a Blog Idea card through the columns, I add notes or helpful links I’ve found.

It looks similar this:



Cost: Free; $8.33 per user/month (Business Class); $20.83 per user/month (Enterprise)

9. Feedly

Do you ever have trouble finding great articles or resources? Feedly helps you create a personalized newsfeed, by connecting all your RSS feeds in one place. You can also organize your feed into folders by topic and even set up alerts -- you’ll know the second you or your organization are mentioned. Instead of checking Twitter, blogs and news outlets, you only need to keep an eye on one place -- your Feedly feed -- to stay up to date.

Cost: Free; $5/month (Feedly Pro)

Find the right tools for you

Just because there are a million awesome apps and tools designed to make your life easier doesn’t mean you need to use them -- or that they will make you more productive. Trello is really intuitive for me, but might not be for you. Or you might love Evernote, and your colleague can’t stand it.

The trick is finding the right tools that work for your brain -- why force a square into a circle? You may try a few of these tools, and find one that changes your life. Or, you may stick with a pen and notebook, and still knock the ball out of the park. Don’t waste time trying to use a tool you don’t like. Try a few of these out and let us know what you think fit well into the community management profession.

What organizational tools could you not live without?


Topics: Online Community Management, Marketing, Online Community

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