What are the social media tools you can't live without?

2014 saw the launch of our sellout Sookio Masterclass series of events which saw panel guests from leading brands including Jamie Oliver, ASOS, BuzzFeed and Grazia offer straight-talking tips on making the most of social media.

We thought it would be interesting to ask our guests about the tools they use. What do they use to schedule? Which platforms do they find the most addictive? And what are the tools they can't do without?

Members of our LinkedIn group, Straight-talking social media, had some useful tips too. Take a look and add your suggestions in the comments below.

Hannah Craik, ASOS

Quepoppa is a trends dashboard which collects the hottest topics from Twitter, Vine, Google search, Tumblr, YouTube and Google+. It not only lets Hannah see what’s currently hot on any given platform but also compare trends and spot talking points to tie into her own content.

Reddit’s rising submissions page sorts through content on the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ and picks the most popular topics from its thousands of sub-forums. This lets Hannah spot incoming trends before they break out into the wider internet and plan her content ahead of time.

Neil McClarty, Jagex

With a wider scope of sources to examine, Neil uses UK-based social listening and analytics tool Brandwatch to stay on top of things. This pulls data from all of Jagex’s online sources including their website’s forums and lets Neil’s team track sentiment within minutes. In an environment where all business is conducted online and responses from consumers come instantly, this is priceless.

Neema Cox, B&Q

"We can't do without our social listening tool," says Neema. "It helps us keep an ear out for what’s being said about the brand from a reputational point of view and track how well our campaigns and everyday activity is performing. It also lets us keep a look out for trends and conversations while we’re planning and executing key campaigns.”

As for outgoing content, Neema advocates the effective use of her scheduling tool. “As a big brand with set and planned campaigns throughout the year, this tool is really handy to schedule content and competitions which free up our time to work on more exciting stuff for our social channels.”

Alison Morris, Veiled Rebel

Jeweller Alison makes effective use of Buffer, a tool for scheduling content across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Scheduling is important for Alison as she accepts she’s not always going to be able to tweet, post or pin in real time. By queuing up content ahead of time she knows her social momentum won’t be broken by something as mundane as a lack of mobile reception.

Her second tool of choice is Hootsuite, the social media dashboard. When posting content across various platforms, Alison uses this tool to bring everything onto one screen and give herself an accurate overview of everything that’s going on in her social media world. It also lets her follow and track similar content across different platforms.

Dan Spicer, Hootsuite

Dan has been getting into Instagram this year, so he uses Iconosquare, the analytics and marketing suite. By plugging this into Hootsuite he can manage multiple Instagram accounts, browse stats for each and monitor users and hashtags, both for his Instagram accounts and those of competitors. Then there’s Vidpiq which lets him monitor Instagram activity by location and see who is posting what, and where.

As a busy chap, Dan often needs to save cool content he spots for later when he can give it his full attention. Using Pocket Social lets him not only keep track of interesting content but also organise, filter and post it direct to social with minimal fuss.

Athar Abidi, Age UK

Athar is also a fan of Iconosquare when it comes to tracking who’s engaging with his Twitter campaigns across different platforms.

When it comes to managing a social inbox across a multi-person team he recommends Sprout Social. Sprout focuses on engagement, publishing and analytics to allow multiple users to access the same inbox and schedule content across Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, UserVoice and Zendesk.

Barney Brown, University of Cambridge

“I’d have to cast a vote for a tool that helps in the creation of social media friendly content: a smartphone with a decent camera," says Barney.

"So much of our recent social media success has relied on strong, playful (and immediate) visuals, and this would be a lot harder to achieve without always having a camera with you.”

And from our LinkedIn group Straight-talking social media

Martin Black, Webmanager at London Borough of Camden
As far as Twitter goes I could not survive without Tweetdeck. Also for Twitter, followerwonk.com and tweepi.com have been instrumental in increasing my followers (in a non-spammy way, of course!)

Jon Torrens, Communication Coach and Speaker
For me it's all about Hootsuite - I like to create a week's schedule of content and then relax knowing it's all going out when I want.

Tara King, Freelance Digital Editor
I'm a big fan of Bufferapp. It's easy to use, good insights and you can schedule photos which is an important part of my work. I also use bitly, which has become far more user-friendly. Another app I'm a fan of is Canva - you can make slick art work in minutes and it's all sized for social media!

Why not join our LinkedIn group on Straight-talking social media too?

Of course, these tools are just a cross-section of the brilliant social media advice for businesses given by the guests at our masterclass events so be sure to check out the podcasts and roundups from each one. Thanks once more to all our guests for sharing their coveted online wisdom, and a merry Christmas from all of us at Sookio!