As public relations professionals and social media managers, we, the BIGfish account team, spend almost all of our time online emailing, researching, reading the news, and sourcing and scheduling social media content. In order to accomplish these tasks as efficiently as possible, we depend on various browser extensions. Read on to find out why some BIGfish account team members can’t live without their favorite Chrome extension!
Recording and saving placements we secure for our clients is something PR pros do every day. Most articles published online aren’t available forever, so we create our own permanent database by clipping and saving each article on our server. While there are a few ways to do this, grabbing a quick screenshot is the fastest, easiest method. I also take screenshots of important social media interactions or successful posts for use in recap reports and presentations.There are several screenshot extensions available, but my favorite by far is Nimbus. This Chrome extension has a clean design and is more intuitive (and less glitchy) than others I’ve used. While it’s simple to just grab a screenshot of visible content (command + shift + 4 on a Mac), Nimbus’ “Entire page” or “Select & Scroll” options enable me to capture parts of the page that aren’t visible in my browser’s window.
Once you’ve selected the content you want, Nimbus opens a new tab in your browser where you can edit the image. I tend to use Photoshop when it comes to photo editing, but Nimbus offers some pretty useful tools for free. You can crop, resize and rotate the image, and also add sticky notes, comments, shapes, and arrows, adjust the thickness of lines and shapes you’re drawing and even blur out sections of the image. One catch here is that you can only ‘undo’ the last three or so actions, and the usual command + z shortcut doesn’t take.When it comes time to save the image, Nimbus automatically includes the website in the file name, which helps me stay organized when I’m taking multiple screenshots at a time. It also offers a variety of saving options and even a button to quickly copy the image to your clipboard.
Nimbus is a simple yet capable tool that saves me time and frustration every day. Anyone who takes a lot of screen shots or who could use some basic editing tools should try it out!
When part of your job requires monitoring Twitter all day, it’s easy to get distracted. Interesting stories are constantly popping up in my timeline, and newsletters like the Muck Rack Daily and Today in Tabs only make the list of articles I want to read even longer.Being constantly surrounded by compelling articles (and sometimes clickbait) could make it difficult to focus on getting actual work done. That’s where Pocket comes in. Anytime I see an article I want to read, all I have to do is click the “Save to Pocket” icon in Chrome and it will automatically sync the tab I have open to my Pocket account. Then I can close that tab and get back to being productive without worrying about missing out on a good read.
Pocket is especially great because it has an iOS and Android app, meaning you can read all those saved articles on your phone anytime. Instead of wasting time at work scanning articles that may or may not be relevant to what I’m working on, I can catch up on my reading during my commute home via my iPhone or even on my couch via the Pocket app on my iPad. Even better? Pocket makes your articles available offline, making WiFi-free plane rides a great time to settle into a long read.
If you enjoy reading, both the Pocket app & Pocket extension for Chrome are must-haves. Download them here!
Since links can be hundreds of characters long, link shorteners like bit.ly make URLs much more manageable, especially if you need to include more than one in a tweet or Facebook post. Shorteners are also useful because they track and compile click data. I’ll shorten the link to a client’s website, for example, before sending it out through their social media platforms so I can see how much traffic those posts are driving to their site. With bit.ly, you can also add notes to your saved links and bundle them together to keep your “bitmarks” organized.
The reason I use bit.ly instead of other link shortners is simply because bit.ly out-performs its competitors. In the image below you can see the performance history of the most common shortening services over the last few days. Bit.ly performed normally every day while others like tinyurl and digg experienced service disruption. Looking back at performance history in February, some of the low-performers vary, but bit.ly still performed normally every day. As the most reliable link shortener, bit.ly is also the most trusted and most likely to be clicked - so why use anything else?The bit.ly Chrome extension is the fastest, easiest way to shorten and copy links without leaving the page you’re on. Simply click the extension and a small box pops up within your browser, click ‘save bitmark’, and voila - you have your shortened link copied and ready to go.
Click here download the bit.ly extension and start shortening and tracking your links today!
4) BIGfish Team Favorite: Buffer
One Chrome extension the whole team couldn’t live without is Buffer. As social media managers, we rely on Buffer to schedule most, if not all, of our tweets. Check out our Hootsuite vs. Buffer to find out why Buffer is our favorite social media tool.
What are you favorite browser extensions? Tweet us @BIGfishmarket and let us know!
-The BIGfish account team
If you use Twitter, chances are you’ve heard of Hootsuite. The social media management system is one of the most popular social media tools for brands, enabling users to schedule, listen and engage all in one place.Although we’ve been using Hootsuite for years at BIGfish, we’re constantly on the lookout for new tips and tools for managing our clients’ Twitter profiles. The newest tool we’ve added to our arsenal is Buffer, a platform for scheduling and analyzing tweets (and Facebook posts, if you’re so inclined). But which tool is better? Let’s find out!
1) SchedulingWhy It Matters: For me, scheduling is hands-down the most important feature of a social media management tool. There are about 128 hours a week when I’m not at my desk, which translates to 128 hours of potential missed opportunities. Scheduling posts in advance is critical to ensure your profiles are always active - even when you’re not! Hootsuite: Scheduling is pretty run of the mill with Hootsuite. To schedule a tweet, you either write it directly in Hootsuite or use the somewhat clunky Hootsuite extension. Rather than notifying you when you’ve hit 140 characters, Hootsuite simply cuts off your tweet with an ellipsis - making your tweet look sloppy and potentially removing vital information. Hootsuite does have a nice “Auto Schedule” feature, which pre-selects a time for “optimal impact,” but I found myself selecting times anyway to ensure tweets were properly spaced out.
Buffer: Buffer definitely takes the cake on this one. First off, Buffer lets you set up a daily posting schedule for when you want your tweets to go out. For example, you can set it to automatically schedule your tweets at 9 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. If you want to send a tweet at a custom time instead, that’s always an option as well. Second, Buffer’s Chrome extension is just amazing. Once it’s installed, scheduling a tweet is as simple as clicking the Buffer icon in your browser - the extension will then automatically make that webpage into a tweet. If you have text highlighted, it will pick that up too and insert it as a quote before the URL. You can even right click any image on the web and select “Buffer This Image” to tweet it! More on this later, though.
2) Link Shortening
Why It Matters: Believe it or not, the way you shorten your links is important. Take a look at the recent performance history for common URL shorteners and you’ll see what I mean. From February 5-11, bit.ly was operating normally, while ow.ly has had performance issues everyday. Which URL shortener would you rather be using?
Hootsuite: Unfortunately for Hootsuite, its default URL shortener is ow.ly. Your other options are ht.ly, owl.li and htl.li - none of which are even considered the most popular URL shorteners (meaning they’re probably less likely to get clicked).
Buffer: Looks like Buffer wins this one as well. Buffer lets you select your default shortener as the well-known bit.ly, and also offers buff.ly and j.mp.3) Pictures
Why It Matters: Sharing pictures via social media has always been a great way to drive engagement, especially when you have a client like Iceland Naturally. And now that Twitter automatically expands photos, tweets with photos are 2x as likely to get retweeted.
Hootsuite: Herein lies Hootsuite’s fatal flaw. The platform does not offer a way to schedule tweets with pic.twitter images, which was the ultimate deal breaker for me. Technically, you can still share images in Hootsuite - however, they will show up as ow.ly links rather than as embedded images, meaning they will not automatically expand or even show up in Twitter unless someone clicks the link.
Buffer: One of my favorite things about Buffer is how easy it is to schedule tweets with pic.twitter images. There are a couple of ways to do it: by directly uploading an image in the Buffer app; by right-clicking an image on the web and Buffering it with your extension; or by retweeting someone else’s tweet with an image. Buffer also allows you to turn off link shortening at anytime, ensuring that your image will show up as an embedded pic.twitter image rather than a bit.ly link. Now I know why they call it “The Awesome Plan.”
Why It Matters: Keeping track of what your followers are saying on Twitter is essential to maintaining a successful Twitter account. Not only is it important to monitor your @mentions, but it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on what similar brands and companies are tweeting about.
Hootsuite: It’s your time to shine, Hootsuite! Social media monitoring is definitely one of Hootsuite’s strong suits, primarily thanks to its ability to create various streams. The interface makes it incredibly easy to get a quick preview of what’s going on in the Twitterverse. Beyond simply creating streams for your @mentions and sent tweets, Hootsuite allows you to set up custom streams based on keywords, phrases or lists. For example, we have a stream that displays every tweet containing #Iceland and a stream that displays tweets from our Twitter list Made in Iceland, among others. You can learn more about the various capabilities of Hootsuite streams here.
Buffer: Buffer doesn’t have much to offer in terms of listening. It’s meant to be a scheduling tool, and it focuses on perfecting that function. Points go to Hootsuite on this one.
Why It Matters: Do I really need to explain this? Analyzing your tweets’ performance is the final crucial step in running a successful Twitter account. From retweets to mentions to favorites, there are several key metrics to study when determining how to improve your engagement rates and follower counts.
Hootsuite: Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, Hootsuite can offer a wide variety of analytics tools. With Hootsuite Pro, your analytics reports are customized to your liking, but limited based on how many “credits” you have available.
Buffer: The analytics tools in Buffer are basic but solid. While you can see the number of retweets, favorites, mentions, clicks and potential reach for any given tweet sent through Buffer, The Awesome Plan does not offer a more comprehensive summary of how your Twitter account is doing.
As you can see, Hootsuite and Buffer each have their pros and cons. If I had to pick one, it would definitely be Buffer - their scheduling tools are hard to beat! But overall, I’ve found that using a combination of both tools is the best way to manage our various Twitter accounts. Hootsuite obviously shines in the listening department, whereas Buffer edges out the competition with its intuitive scheduling tools and clean interface. Neither is particularly great with analytics, but then again, that’s not really what these tools were created for. There are certainly additional solutions out there that can do it all, but we tend to gravitate toward low-cost, flexible options instead.
What social media tools do you use? Do you have a preference for Hootsuite vs. Buffer? Tweet at @BIGfishmarket to let us know what you think!-Jacqui Johnstone