The great thing about companies widely publishing APIs in this age of collaboration is that crafty third-parties can develop tools and features that the developers of the "mother ship" forgot. Browse through Laura Fitton's amazing One Forty (the app store Twitter neglected to build) and you'll find thousands of Twitter add-ons. But now that Twitter is clamping down on API access and trying to have their cake and eat it too, the next frontier for API-driven frosting is on Facebook.
Among the best of this new-ish breed of Facebook features is HyperAlerts. Developed by HyperInteraktiv in Oslo, Norway, this free social media tool monitors Facebook pages and sends you updates via email.
If you're a Facebook page administrator, you may have other things to do besides sit on your own Facebook page for hours and hours. HyperAlerts lets you multi-task by emailing notifications whenever a Wall post or comment is created.
Using HyperAlerts is as simple as the plot of Hop:
1. Enter your email address and a password
2. Add the Facebook URL of any pages you want to monitor.
3. Select the notification frequency you desire (immediately, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly).
4. Determine whether you want to receive Posts and/or Comments and/or only your Own Content.
The emails you receive are nicely formatted, and most importantly emails contain embedded links to each comment or Wall post, so you can click through to a specific place on the Wall.
I set up a HyperAlert for the Facebook page for The NOW Revolution, and got an email instantly each time someone commented on the (intentionally) terrible video interview of Amber Naslund by our friend Matt Ridings...
Better than Facebook
You may be thinking "But doesn't Facebook offer this service itself now?" Yes, and no. Indeed, you can get email updates of your fan page activity. But, HyperAlerts has two crucial advantages that Facebook lacks:
- You can get HyperAlerts to any email address, not just those associated with your fan page;
- You can get a HyperAlert for any fan page, not just your own.
The competitive monitoring opportunities are significant. Want to know whenever your competitors are launching a new contest or promotion on their Wall? Get a HyperAlert. Want to know whenever your competitors are being criticized by their community? Get a HyperAlert. Want to monitor the progress of your favorite band, restaurant, social media strategy consultant, professional football player, or warlock and don't want to be clicking all over the place to do so? Get a HyperAlert.
It's essentially RSS for Facebook pages. Very handy indeed. And at the outrageous price of totally free, you can't go wrong. (Plus, as 1/4 Norwegian myself, I'm rooting for the guys from Oslo).
Have you tried HyperAlerts? What do you think? If you haven't tried it yet, how would you use it?