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Automate Your Life With IFTTT

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to remember to mute your phone when you are in a meeting? What if your lights would turn on as you drive up to your house? Wouldn’t it be cool if the wallpaper on your phone would automatically update when you posted a picture to Instagram? If your Twitter profile picture would automatically change when you changed your Facebook profile picture, that would be cool, right?

I like to work smarter, not harder. IFTTT helps me with that mission. IFTTT stands for “If This Then That” and is pronounced like “gift” without the “g.” IFTTT let’s you create “recipes” and use “recipes” created by others. These recipes all are based around if something happens, something else happens.

Let me explain this better with an example. I use IFTTT in many different ways. One of my recipes triggers if my wife calls and I don’t answer. She will automatically get a text from me that says, “Hey babe! Busy right now. What’s up?” Then she can text me and I can respond or call back when I am available.

I sleep like a rock, but my wife wakes up when someone drops a pin across town. She mentioned that when I get emails during the night, the notification would wake her up. I created an IFTTT recipe so every night at 10:15 p.m. my phone will mute itself. Then at 6:00 a.m. the volume will turn back up.

Cool, right?

How Does It Work?

The service is fairly straightforward and anyone can create their own recipes with ease. As mentioned above, the recipes answer “If This Then That.” It uses channels, triggers, actions, and ingredients to create the recipes.

Channels

Channels are the building blocks for IFTTT. There are 112 channels, and each has its own triggers and actions. Some of the popular channels are Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Craigslist, Fitbit, Nest, Weather, and more. Click this to view all 112 IFTTT channels.

Triggers

The triggers are the “This” part of the recipe. If something occurs, that triggers something else to happen. Some triggers are “I take a photo on Instagram” or “It’s forecasted to rain tomorrow” or “I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook.” These trigger actions.

Actions

The “That” part of the recipe are actions. Some actions are “send me a text message” or “make a note in Evernote” or “email me.”

Ingredients

The data from a trigger is called ingredients. The ingredients of an email trigger could be subject, body, attachment, received date, and sender’s email address. Each trigger has different ingredients.

How to Create a Recipe

I know what you are thinking: “This doesn’t sound that easy, Aaron!” Let’s walk through how to create a recipe. How about we create a recipe that emails me when I miss a call on my cell phone. Sound good?

When you click to create a recipe, you will be taken to the page below. Click “this” to get started.

Create_Recipe_-_IFTTT

Here is where we choose the first channel. The most popular channels are listed or you can use the search bar to find the channel you need. Right above the search bar you can click to view all channels. I have an Android phone and want the trigger to happen when I miss a call, so I’m going to select “Android Phone Call.”

Select_Channel-_IFTTT

Now we need to select the trigger for this channel. Remember each channel has its own set of triggers. All available triggers will be listed with a short explanation of what will cause that trigger to fire. I will select “Any phone call missed.”

Choose_Trigger_-_IFTTT

The next step would be to fill out any ingredients for that trigger. In this case, there are no ingredients to select, so I just click “Create Trigger”.

Trigger_Ingredients_-_IFTTT

Now we move to the “that” part of the recipe. Click the blue “that” to keep moving.

Create_That_-_IFTTT

Now we need to choose the action channel. Same as the selecting the channel previously, you can search, select from the top channels, or view all channels. I want an email sent to my Gmail address when I miss a call, so I will select the Gmail icon.

Action_Channel_-_IFTTT

The only action available for Gmail is “Send an email”. Makes sense. I’ll click that.

Choose_action_-_IFTTT

Now we have some ingredient options. I need to assign an address, a subject, a body, and an attachment URL. The cool thing is there are dynamic text options in the ingredients. More on that in a second. I put “aaron@clickrain.com” in the to address. The subject, by default, is set to read, “Missed phone call from [ContactName] [FromNumber]”. The contact name and number of missed call will be dynamically inserted in the subject line.

The body reads, by default, “Missed phone call from [ContactName] [FromNumber] [OccurredAt] via Android. Again the bracketed information will be filled in dynamically. You also have the ability to put an optional attachment with the email.

You have the option to modify any of the ingredient fields and you can also insert additional allowed dynamic fields. Just click the blue “plus sign” in the upper right of each ingredient field to view available fields. Click “Create Action” and we are almost there!

Action_Field_Ingredients_-_IFTTT

In the last step, you have the option to modify the recipe title so you can recognize this recipe in your list. Modify the title, click “Create Recipe” and we are done!

Create_Recipe_Final_-_IFTTT

Below is the email I received when I missed a call from my esteemed colleague, Kristina Johnson. I blurred her phone number for her safety or whatever.

Missed_Phone_Call_-_IFTTT

There are tens of thousands of recipes created by other IFTTT users. Just click “Browse” at the top of any page. You can browse by collections, featured recipes, certain channels, or what you want to accomplish.

*Note: You will need to activate channels the first time you use them. You also need to download the IFTTT app on your phone if you would like to use channels that utilize your phone. Activating is very quick and easy and you only need to activate a channel once.

Sounds fun. Can I use it for work?

The examples above are about how the service can be utilized for personal use. What about for business? IFTTT can absolutely be used to automate business processes. Here are some recipe examples that business people could find helpful.

  • Monitor your or your competitors’ TripAdvisor reviews
  • View Instagram posts in your area or at your business
  • Mute your phone when you have a meeting on your calendar
  • Keep a spreadsheet of your new Twitter followers
  • Your phone switches to vibrate when you walk into your office building
  • Export new blog comments to a spreadsheet
  • Save your Tumblr ‘Likes’ for viewing later in Feedly
  • Add to a spreadsheet when you get new Fiverr orders
  • Post your latest blog post to your Facebook Business Page
  • Track business miles in a spreadsheet or calendar via text
  • Record on your calendar or spreadsheet when you get to and leave work
  • Get daily business articles emailed to you
  • Track all business trips and expenses in Evernote
  • Remind yourself to track mileage, expenses, etc when you get home
  • Backup your contacts to a spreadsheet
  • Find your lost phone by turning up volume by SMS or email
  • Save all your tweets in a spreadsheet
  • Get text notifications before your calendar events
  • Log your hours to your calendar
  • Text your wife/husband when you leave work
  • Get an alert when your (or your clients’) website goes down
  • Automatically track sales leads in a spreadsheet or your contacts
  • Receive a text when someone comments on your website
  • Get an alert when a certain person or certain people email you
  • Record a voice memo that gets emailed to you in text
  • Create shared meeting notes via email
  • Wish customers/colleagues a Happy Birthday on Facebook

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

My recommendation is to create an account and just jump in and play around with channels and recipes. Every time I login I find a new recipe that makes my life easier and new channels are being added frequently.

Also, cool product channels like Automatic, Nest, Phillips Hue, Google Glass, Netatmo, SmartThings, WeMo, Wink, and more are being added all the time allowing you to automate things like control your lights, adjust the thermostat, and control your electrical outlets with IFTTT.

Did I mention it is all free? Check it out!

Facebook_under_water

How Can I Make My Facebook Account Secure?

Privacy is on people’s minds more than ever. Within the last few months, we have seen Yahoo!SnapchatTargetAdobe, and many more companies be infiltrated by hackers and the private, sensitive information of their customers be published to the internet.

There are many things you can do to keep yourself more secure online like using different passwords on different sites, creating complex passwords, never giving sensitive information via email, only buying from reputable, secure websites, etc.

Social media privacy and security settings are also very important. Just think of all the information you give out on social media: gender, age, where you work, relationship status, home address, phone number, email address, and pictures of your family and friends. The list goes on and on and on. You need to control the people that can access that type of information, and your privacy settings can achieve this.

To do this, update your settings on all of the networks you belong to, even your MySpace page you haven’t looked at in five years. Because 57% of adults and 73% of 12-17 year olds use Facebook, this post will focus on Facebook’s privacy settings.

Facebook has taken some heat about their privacy settings because they were hard to understand and hard to change. They also defaulted so your posts and pictures were public to anyone on the network. You would have to go in and change those settings if you didn’t want your information to be public. Facebook changed this option at the end of May, but that leaves roughly 1.3 billion users with a potentially revealing profile.

Disclaimer: the screenshots in this post are from my personal Facebook page and may look different than your page. I have blurred out sections to not reveal people and business names. These directions are for Facebook accessed from a desktop computer and the screenshots reflect this.

First things first, you have to find your privacy and security settings. Look to the upper right hand side of the Facebook screen. There will be a triangle pointed down. Click that and you should see options similar to the image below. Click on “Settings” and we are off!

Facebook Settings

You will be taken to your account settings page. The page displayed first is the General Account Settings page. You can edit your primary email address and change your password on this screen. For the sake of this post, click on “Security” (see below).

Facebook General Account Settings

Security Settings

The Security Settings page has seven different settings: Login Notifications, Login Approvals, Code Generator, App Passwords, Trusted Contacts, Trusted Browsers, and Where You’re Logged In. I will go through each below.

Facebook_Security_Settings

Login Notifications

Facebook will notify you when it believes someone is trying to access your account that isn’t you. You can receive notifications via email or text message/push notification or both. This isn’t 100% necessary, but I really can’t think of a reason to not get the notification. A text or an email never hurt anyone and then you can change your password as needed to prevent a breach.

Login Approvals

This is an extra login step if you or someone is trying to log into your account from a new or different device or computer. If you turn on login approvals, you will need to enter a security code each time you try to access your account from a new computer or mobile device. You’ll have the option to save a computer or device to your account so you won’t have to input a code every time.

Code Generator

The generator is found within the Facebook app (find where to access the generator on your device) and is used to generate a code you must enter if you are trying to access your account from a new computer or device. You must be logged into your account on a mobile device that has previously been recognized as a safe device. I have Code Generator enabled. I always have my phone with me so I feel this is a sufficient way, for me, to verify my identity.

App Passwords

Many applications use or piggyback Facebook for their service. If you use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to post to Facebook, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck use Facebook’s API to post to the network. If you use Facebook’s App Passwords, you can require each app that accesses Facebook to have its own password. That is a lot of passwords to remember!

Trusted Contacts

Have you ever gotten locked out of your Facebook account? You can designate three Facebook friends that you trust that can help you get back into your account. All you need to do is call your three Trusted Contacts and each of them can get a security code for you. Once you get the three codes, enter them into Facebook to regain access.

There seem to be a lot of “what-ifs” with this option. “What if Bill doesn’t answer his phone?” “What if Karen and I break up as BFFs?” I think I would rather regain access the old fashioned way of resetting my password via email. But that’s just me.

Trusted Browsers

Facebook remembers devices you have logged in from, and considers them a Trusted Browser. You can remove Trusted Browsers but cannot add them. I see this being helpful if you sell your phone on Craigslist and want to make sure that device cannot access your profile after you sell it.

Where You’re Logged In

This feature is cool and could be helpful. You can view where you are currently logged into Facebook. You can also view where, when, how you have logged into Facebook recently. You have the ability to “End Activity” if anything looks fishy. Take a look below.

Facebook_Where_You_re_Logged_In

This is a very cool feature that you could check every now and again just to be safe.

Privacy Settings

As you probably noticed, the Security Settings focus on keeping your account secure. Privacy settings focus on your content: who can see your content, who can contact you, who can find you, etc.

Take a look at the screenshot below. To access your Privacy Settings, look to the left of the screen under the “Security” tab is the “Privacy” tab. Click that.

Facebook_Privacy_Settings_and_Tools

The Privacy Settings section is broken up into three main sections: Who can see my stuff?, Who can contact me?, and Who can look me up? Let’s go over those sections now.

Who can see my stuff?

This section has three settings you can access. This first is “Who can see your future posts?” This sets the default setting of who can see your posts. Your options are public, friends, and custom. I have my setting at Friends. You can always change this setting in real-time on each post. If you want anyone on Facebook to be able to see your posts, set this to Public.

The next option is “Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in.” This will take you to your Activity Log so you can review all your activity on Facebook. It shows anything you’ve liked or commented on, it show anything you’ve posted, and it shows anything you have been tagged in. This is good to review from time to time to check if anything looks fishy.

The third option is “Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public.” Once upon a time not so long ago, Facebook defaulted to share your posts with everyone on Facebook. Even if you go in and change who can see your future posts, all your previous posts would remain public. If you want to limit all your previous posts to just your friends, change this setting to “Limit Past Posts.”

Who can contact me?

You can change who can send you friend requests in this first option. I have mine set to Everyone because I have to approve the request, but the other option is Friends of Friends. This only allows people that are Facebook friends with your Facebook friends to send you friend requests.

Facebook created an “Other” folder in your Facebook inbox. If someone that you are not friends with sends you a message, the message will likely be sent to your “Other” folder. However, currently you are not notified if there is an unread message in your “Other” folder.

The next setting sets your Inbox filtering. The options are “Basic” and “Strict.” Basic filtering is recommended by Facebook and the option I use. Someone can’t necessarily gain anything by messaging me. If I get a message from someone I don’t know, I just delete it, and that ends it.

Who can look me up?

Most people provide their email and phone number on their Facebook page. This section lets you limit who can look you up by that information. The first is your email address. The options are everyone, friends of friends, and friends. I have mine set on everyone because my email if fairly public and I don’t mind if someone contacts me via email.

The next setting is for your phone number. You have the same options as for your email: everyone, friends of friends, friends. I have mine set to just friends. For a long time I didn’t have my phone number on my Facebook profile, but to use some of the security settings, Facebook needs to associate a phone number to your profile. This is definitely up to your preference, but think about how easily accessible you want your personal phone number.

Have you Googled yourself lately? When I Google “aaron blumer sioux falls,” my Facebook profile is the fifth result. Being in the digital world, I want people to Google my name and my profiles be visible. If you don’t want to show up on search engines, you can change this last setting so your profile won’t show up if someone searches your name.

Whew! That is a lot to think about, right? If you’ve made it this far, don’t stop now. There is still one more important section to look over: Timeline and Tagging Settings.

Timeline and Tagging Settings

Same as before, look to the left and click on “Timeline and Tagging.” This section is split into three sections that answer “Who can add things to my timeline?,” “Who can see things on my timeline?,” and “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?”

Facebook_Timeline_and_Tagging_Settings

Who can add things to my timeline?

Your Facebook timeline represents your likes and dislikes, your ideas, your personality, and more! Your timeline represents you and you need to control what goes on your timeline. The first setting lets you control who can post to your timeline. Your options are friends or only me. I have mine set to friends, but you can easily make it so you are the only one that can post to your timeline by changing this setting.

The next setting allows you to manually approve or reject a post you are tagged in before it posts to your timeline. I think this is a little deceiving. It only controls what is allowed on your timeline. Posts you are tagged in still appear in search, news feed and other places on Facebook. You get a notification when you are tagged in a post anyway, so manually approving or rejecting it before it goes on my timeline seems pointless. I can see it being an extra notification if you are tagged in a post you don’t want to be tagged in. You can then contact the poster and ask to be removed. But I leave this feature disabled.

Who can see things on my timeline?

The first option here is a really cool feature. It allows you to view your profile as someone who is not friends with you, or you can type in specific people to view how they see your profile. This is a great check to see if your security and privacy settings are set to how you would like them to be for friends and nonfriends.

Next you can limit who sees posts you are tagged in that are on your timeline. Your options are everyone, friends of friends, friends, friends except acquaintances, only me, and custom. Since only my friends can see my profile and only my friends can post on my profile, I just keep this setting at friends. One scenario I can see is if you are friends with your boss or coworkers on Facebook and you don’t want them finding out what you do with your free time (crocheting scarves, training your cat to use the toilet, etc).

The last setting in this group is very similar to the previous setting, but is for what others post on your timeline. If you have people posting weird things on your timeline that you don’t want certain people to see, you can control that with this setting. Moving on.

How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?

You can review if your friends tag themselves or someone else on your content with this first setting. You will always be notified if someone you aren’t friends with tries to tag any of your posts, but I like to have this enabled so I can monitor my content closely even if it is my friend that is adding to my post.

Odds are your friends have friends that aren’t your friends. Clear as mud? When Bob posts a picture and tags me in it, Bob’s friends can see that picture of me, but I have friends that Bob is not friends with that now see that post because Bob tagged me in the image.

The next setting allows me to restrict the people who see Bob’s picture with me tagged. The options are friends, only me, and custom. If you don’t want your friends seeing what you are posted in, select “only me.” I have mine set to “friends” because thinking about this setting makes my head hurt a little and I believe Facebook is about sharing, so why not let everyone see what I’m tagged in! Right?

This last setting is a little creepy. When a friend uploads a photo you are in, Facebook can automatically recognize that you are in the image and suggest your friend tag you in the picture. Creepy, right?! The good thing is that if some weirdo takes a picture of you while you were on vacation and uploads it to Facebook you won’t be automatically suggested to tag in the image. Sorry weirdo picture taker. The setting allows the suggestions to be given to your friends or no one. Your choice. However it is defaulted to your friends so change that if you feel it’s necessary.

 

Uff da! That’s a lot of settings! If you made it this far, give yourself a gold star and a pat on the back. I hope this was a good review for you or maybe you even learned something. Remember, we share a ton of personal and private information online. Privacy and security settings are a step in securing your data from someone who may misuse it. Stay safe everyone!

stay safe

 

Fun Fact: The words “friend” or “friends” was used 52 times in this post! Yay friends! (now 53)

BONUS! Blocking

Do you have an annoying aunt that always comments on your posts? Does that same aunt invite you to play Farmville and Fishville and Cityville and other dumb games? My name starts with two “A’s” that means I am at the top of everyone’s list when those annoying games tell you to “share for more coins” or whatever they say. So I have a fairly extensive block list.

To the left of the Facebook screen, under Timeline and Tagging is Blocking. This tab allows you to put people on a restricted list, block specific users from viewing your content, block app invites from specific people, block event invites from specific people, and block specific apps. The blocking section is glorious if your name is Aaron or Aaliyah, or if your mom just got Facebook and really doesn’t understand how it works yet.

funny-facebook-messages-kathy-not-my-mom

Social Media

12 Online Management Tools If You’re On a Budget

More than ever businesses and brands need to monitor themselves on social media. Even if you aren’t active on a certain network, your customers are and you need to know what they are saying about you. Most businesses feel they should be on social media, but don’t have the time or the staff to put the effort in to multiple platforms.

If you have tried to post to Twitter, Facebook, and your blog, while trying to answers your customers’ questions and comments online AND at the same time you have this small task of running your business, you know what a nightmare it can be.

This post is here to help!

I am going to assume you have determined you know the networks your customers on which your customers are most active. I am also going to assume you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a month on a platform. All the platforms and websites listed below offer their services for FREE! I will also let you know the services I use and why.

Let’s start with the more common platforms.

Buffer Aaron Approved

Buffer is a great tool that will help you in two main ways. First, you can write a bunch of posts at one time, and choose which social profiles to send them to, and then Buffer will spread them out throughout the day or week so that you don’t have to be at a computer all the time in order to have a social media presence. Second, since we shorten your links for you, we are able to provide more analytics than if you just were to post to Twitter or Facebook directly. For example, we can tell you exactly how many folks clicked on each of your links.

Aaron Approved! I really haven’t used Buffer for very long, but I absolutely love it. I have small windows of time throughout the day where I can jump on social media. So instead of rapid firing off 10 tweets in a row, I can simply add the post to my Buffer and it will schedule the posts for me. The links analytics is a plus, and I love the ability to publish immediately or jump a post to the top of the queue. The Buffer browser extension is an absolute must to share with a click.

Facebook Insights Aaron Approved

Facebook Insights provide measurements on your page’s performance and are available after at least 30 people like your page. Find anonymized demographic data about your audience, and see how people are discovering and responding to your posts.

Aaron Approved! This really goes without saying. If you have a Facebook brand page, you MUST use Facebook Insights. Analyze everything about your page and you also have to ability to export the data so you can analyze it even further. Data nerd alert!

Hootsuite Aaron Approved

Hootsuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard.

Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard. Streamline team workflow with scheduling and assignment tools and reach audiences with geo-targeting functionality. Invite multiple collaborators to manage social profiles securely, plus provide custom reports using the comprehensive social analytics tools for measurement.

Key social network integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages, plus a suite of social content apps for YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and more.

Aaron Approved! I use Hootsuite when I am in front of a computer. I solely use it to consume content, but you can share and schedule posts easily from the dashboard. Hootsuite is super easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. Tip: I create lists on Twitter and put every account I follow into a corresponding list (News, Marketing, Friends, etc). The I setup my Hootsuite streams to pull in specific lists. This way I can easily identify different types of content and organize my streams.

Google Alerts Aaron Approved

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you’ll receive.

Aaron Approved! I really don’t use Google Alerts to its full capabilities, but it is a very useful tool. I use it to notify me if someone posts about me or my family. I get an automatic update every time someone posts about me and I get a weekly update of mentions of my wife online. That is all I use it for, but these alerts are very important.

Klout Aaron Approved

Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.

Aaron Approved! Some people are not fans of Klout. I am indifferent, but use it to track my social media influence. Klout is trying to be a “content sharing” platform. I believe there are better options out there (Hootsuite, Buffer), but I can see how some people could come to like the platform. I use it as a benchmark monitoring tool. I have a goal to not let my Klout score to drop below 50. Soon I will be bumping that to 55. Some people have given Klout a hard time because they say, “What does a Klout score of 55 even mean?” It really means nothing, but if someone you respect in your field has a score of 65, then you can benchmark yourself against that person. You can also use it as I do to monitor yourself.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck: Owned by Twitter, TweetDeck is a desktop application similar to Hootsuite. Monitor multiple timelines in one easy interface. Schedule tweets to be posted in the future. Turn on alerts to keep up with emerging information. Filter searches based on criteria like engagement, users, and content type. Build and export custom timelines to put on your website. Use intuitive keyboard shortcuts for efficient navigation. Mute users or terms to eliminate unwanted noise. TweetDeck timelines stream in real-time. Manage multiple accounts, tweet, and follow from one or all.

Note: I have used TweetDeck in the past, and just prefer Hootsuite. I know many people that prefer TweetDeck over Hootsuite. It’s really a great tool and is really a matter of preference. If you haven’t used either, check them both out.

Now for some maybe lesser known solutions.

Icerocket

Icerocket is a free resource for brand monitoring. It taps the internet, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, and delivers easy-to-read results in one page. It has a fairly minimal and easy to use interface. It is a great tool if you would like to search blogs, Twitter, or Facebook individually or all at once. Just type in what you need to search and the results are neatly arranged on the page.

Mention

Mention is an iPhone and Android app that lets you create alerts for your company, its keywords, your brand, and your competitors. Updates in real time. This app is similar and lets you create your first alert for free. It looks nicer than Google Alerts, but if you need multiple alerts, use Google Alerts.

Netvibes

Netvibes is the all-in-one dashboard intelligence platform for real-time social media monitoring, social analytics, brand sentiment, reputation management. Netvibes offers a free option along with two paid options. When Google stopped offering iGoogle, most of those loyal users flocked to Netvibes.

You can monitor a topic without signing in. Without an account, you can see news about your topic from Bing News, Yahoo News, Google, Twingly, YouTube, and Dailymotion. If you login for a free account, you can like your Twitter profile and see news and results from Twitter. You can also add widgets to monitor everything from Facebook to your website’s Google Analytics.

Note: I haven’t played around with Netvibes enough to give it my recommendation, but it looks really awesome. I will be adding this to my shortlist of things to try out. If you are looking for a dashboard that will give you almost any information you could need, check out Netvibes.

Plugg.io Aaron Approved

Plugg.io is a web-based system to help individuals, businesses, organizations and marketers easily grow and manage their social media profiles. It includes a suite of tools to organize and keep track of multiple accounts, get more followers, and automate the finding and publishing of excellent targeted content.

Note: Plugg.io is very similar to Hootsuite and TweetDeck. However, Plugg.io combines the features of Hootsuite with the features of Buffer. You can view your Twitter stream and you can schedule tweets for a specific time or set predetermined times to post, just as in Buffer. If Buffer ever makes me mad, I will definitely switch to Plugg.io. You can also get Twitter stats emailed to you weekly and infographics for free.

TweetBeep

TweetBeep: Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates. You can keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL. The alerts are sent to the email address of your choosing.

Social Mention

Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.

There you go ladies and gentlemen. Twelve options you can use to monitor yourself or your business online. All for FREE! Have you had luck with any of these platforms? Which ones did I forget?