One of the biggest fears clients share is that participating in social media will be a huge time suck for them. Many have signed up for a Twitter account or a Facebook page, only to desert them after a few well-intentioned weeks of scattered and sporadic posting.
Well my friends, there is an easier way.
Quite a few programs and platforms have been created over the past couple of years to help consolidate and automate your social media strategy. Here are just a few:
After trying out Tweet Deck, Market Me Tweet and Hootsuite, I have found Hootsuite to be the most effective and streamlined program for social media automation. It was created as an interface for managing your brand on all of your social networking accounts.
Hootsuite is a platform that allows you to manage multiple profiles, pre-schedule tweets, measure the statistics of your tweet links and post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, MySpace and Foursquare
Here are the best things about Hootsuite:
- It’s Convenient – Hootsuite is Web-based so it doesn’t have to be installed on your computer in order to use it. This also means that you can login on any computer and access it anywhere in the world.
- It’s Free – Enough said. They are now offering a paid version that allows you to tweet in bulk (type the tweet once and then schedule it to go out multiple times), but this is definitely not necessary.
- It’s User-Friendly – Hootsuite has great usability and layout. The feeds are conveniently laid out in columns and you can arrange them in any configuration you like. If you have multiple social media accounts, they are conveniently tabbed so that you can toggle between them.
- Statistics – When you use their ow.ly link shortener you can track the stats of your social media efforts and get to know your audience. In other words, if you link back to your website and/or blog, you can track how many people are actually clicking on your link.
- Groups – You can group “like” people together, i.e. family, friends, celebrities, industry mavens, etc. for easier access to information you want to see.
- Schedule Your Posts – YOU get to decide when your posts go up on your profile. This also means you can schedule an entire week or month’s worth of posts and status updates in one sitting! (This is, without a doubt my favorite thing about Hootsuite and I use it regularly)
- Post Once, Reach Many – YOU get to pick which social media platforms your post is sent to. Currently, you have the option to send your post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ping.fm., MySpace and Foursquare.
In a nutshell, Hootsuite allows you to completely streamline your social media strategy. You can manage multiple accounts on one dashboard, schedule tweets/posts in advance and track your most popular links using their ow.ly link shortener.
One of the best things about Hootsuite is the ability to schedule your tweets. Using their scheduling box, you can decide the exact date and time you want to send each update. You’ll have to decide what works best for you, but I find that spending 30-60 minutes once a week to schedule many of my posts saves a tremendous amount of time.
Every Monday I spend 30-45 minutes scheduling all non-time essential tweets. Following my content ladder and personal brand strategy, this includes informative tweets about branding, marketing and social media, inspirational quotations, links to relevant articles and blog posts and anything else I feel will be relevant for my tribe.
I balance this out with fun, personal tweets throughout the week. Because I really LOVE the social media conversation, I check in multiple times during the day to respond and engage with others, retweeting and reading what others have to say.
Keep in mind that Hootsuite is merely a tool to help you manage and automate your social media conversations. It is NOT a substitute for real, engaging online conversation. It is also not an excuse to send out massive sales pitches and promotions. Nothing will get you un-followed faster than acting like a spam-bot.
Use Hootsuite to provide valuable content and insight for your tribe, not alienate them, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a stronger personal brand and creating more online relationships.
©Liz Dennery Sanders 2011