Social media tools are the saviours of the day. Many companies and more specifically PR agencies have started embracing social media tools. PR probably four years ago included either sending press releases through e-mail or faxing hard copies of press releases to media agencies and journalists. There weren’t many tools available back then to leverage technology to further promote clients. The last two years have seen a deluge of new social media tool releases that have made coordinating, interacting and responding to journalists and media quite easier.

Furthermore, these tools have actually made “spreading the news”, a piece of cake. The fusion of technology and new ideas have gotten better and better over the years and have thus lead to release of exceptional and unique pieces of technologies that have benefitted the PR industry greatly. So then, here’s a rundown of some of the social media tools you should definitely use:

Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a service that sends you an e-mail, or report to your RSS feed, when any entry that gets indexed on Google, mentions your client’s name, your name, or any keyword that may form a part of your press release or media statement. Why is this important? Well, you would almost instantly know whether the news release you sent out was covered on online news sites.

In today’s era of social media, there would have been tweets, blog posts, and photos of it online within thirty seconds of the first flame. If some extremely negative or extremely positive comments are made on one of your client’s products or your company in general, you want to be the first to address it, thus ensuring any potential problems don’t escalate.

TweetBeep
TweetBeep is sometimes known as the Google alerts for twitter. It’s the same concept – except that you are notified when your keyword is mentioned in any tweets on Twitter, and in real time (usually within one hour of the mention.)

Twitter is evolving as a real time search engine, so instead of getting notified hours or perhaps days after your client’s coverage, you’ll be notified immediately. Also, in case of bad publicity, it allows you and your client to immediately begin to formulate a plan for addressing the issue and managing your client’s reputation.

HARO
HARO means Help A Reporter Out. This is a mailing list, which includes queries from reporters and journalists. The list was originally conceived on Facebook – however, since Facebook caps group emails at 1,200 people, this is the next incarnation. Each day, you’ll receive up to three emails, each with anywhere from 15-30 queries per email. They’ll all be labelled with [shankman.com] in the subject line, for easy filtering. If you see a query you can answer, go for it!

Twellow
Use Twellow to find reporters who cover your industry. Twellow is a search engine that searches Twitter account entries. You can run a keyword search by keyword “reporter” to find anyone who has included that keyword in their Twitter profile (bio, name). You can also search by News & Media categories to help you identify reporters. Once you find the reporter, try to build a relationship with them before pitching your stories.

Twellow grabs publicly available messages from the Twitter.com micro-blogging service. The site then analyses and categorises each of the users responsible for those messages into the various categories found at Twellow.com. By adding these people to specific categories the site helps its audiences by narrowing their searches into specific niches where they can find who they are looking for.

PitchEngine
PitchEngine makes it possible for PR pros, brands, and agencies to build and share digital, social media releases with their contacts for free. The website takes press release to the next level, eliminating the need for antiquated email attachments, word documents, image CDs, and more. The site also offers customised newsrooms for your clients (at a separate cost), wherein it will host a full archive of PitchEngine SMRs for your clients’ corporate website and share them with their database of media users.

PitchEngine makes it easy for you to incorporate PR assets such as video, audio and images directly into your press release and share it with your media contacts via email and cut-and-paste links or post it directly to Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, and so on. You can create an account for free. Your Press releases will be hosted for free for 30 days and you can purchase a subscription to create a permanent media newsroom.

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