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17 April 2012

Saving Time With Social Media Tools



This post is written by contributing author Genevieve Brazelton. 
 
I’m a strong believer in social media as tool to market your business. However I’ll be the first to admit it can often be time consuming to post to various social networks especially if you’re trying to keep up with both personal and professional contacts. That’s why I highly suggest using a few tools to keep you in the conversation while saving you time.

Start with a dashboard. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are dashboards, meaning you have access to multiple accounts on multiple platforms all at once. Dashboards are all about management. You can customize your dashboard to include the areas you want to keep tabs on the most, regular searches, mentions, your tweets retweeted, and so on. If you’re connecting with folks on more than just Twitter and Facebook, many dashboards give you access to other major platforms.

Hootsuite
Hootsuite screenshot


Which One Should I Use?

I mentioned both Hootsuite and Tweetdeck because they’re the leaders, have a free option that works for most people and have pretty much everything you’d need. Tweetdeck is a desktop program that runs on Adobe Air unless you Chrome as a browser, then you can use it straight from Chrome. The free version of Hootsuite only allows you to follow 5 different accounts, so if you have more than that you might consider Tweetdeck or look into Hootsuite’s paid version which also has analytic features if you’re into that sort of stuff.

They have very different feels to them so most likely one will quickly feel more comfortable to you than the other. If neither of these fits your needs Seesmic also comes highly rated, but I’ve only recently checked it out.

What Will It Do For Me?

As I mentioned before, one of the biggest bonuses is it saves you from logging in and out of multiple accounts throughout the day. Seeing your mentions, retweets, scheduled posts, and searches all on one screen also has it’s advantages. However, my favorite function is the ability to schedule your posts ahead of time. This is a great bonus if you are promoting something and want to scatter posts throughout the week without thinking about it or to schedule sharing of your blog posts when most of your followers are online. But remember you still need to check in on occasion to interact by replying and retweeting.

Buffer
Buffer screenshot


Spread Out The Sharing

Another tool I highly recommend is Buffer. If you’re anything like me you do much of your web browsing and blog reading in one big chunk and find lots to share all at once. However bombarding your stream with all these articles can make people ignore you really quick.

Buffer allows you to stack up links to share and spread them throughout the day. Buffer works directly from your browser as a plug-in. When you set up your account you’re able to set the time of day for up to 10 posts. That way you can spread out your sharing. I happen to know most of my Twitter followers are active between the hours 8 am and 2 pm so I don’t schedule any tweets for the morning. However my Facebook followers are active throughout the day so I space those out into the evening.

There are a multitude of tools out there to help you keep track analyze your social media interactions and it’s easy to think you need to use them all. Most are meant for big companies who have teams of people managing their social media communications and that also need to keep track various statistics for the powers that be. Most likely your needs are much simpler and all those bells and whistles are just going to get in the way.

However if you find yourself often saying, “If only there was a way I could...” there’s probably a tool out there to help you. Do a Google search and test out your options. Hopefully you’ll find exactly what you need. 

Do any of you have tools you can't live without? 


Genevieve Brazelton endlessly researches the newest ideas in creative and social media marketing so you don’t have to. Genevieve’s strength is her keen outside perspective and sometimes infuriating logic that puts structure to dreams and lays out paths to goals. She is also the business side of Lightbox SF. Read more about her here.
Connect to Genevieve via twitter or facebook.

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