Do you find it challenging to keep up with your social media? Are you overwhelmed with tweets, posts, mentions, hashtags and friends requests?
While it’s now essential to be engaging with your audience on social media it can be a task that gets left behind if you don’t have someone looking after it full time (and if you do they should be reading this too!).
Not only is it important to make sure you’re joining in the social media conversation (both contributing and listening) it’s also a useful channel for monitoring your company reputation, keeping up to date with the latest trends and in many cases a way of offering an extra service channel to your business (the first place an unhappy customer will go to broadcast their story is social media).
Here are 3 tools that will help you manage your social media and help free up some valuable time for other aspects of your business.
Tweetdeck is a really useful tool to organize and track the different streams of information that run through your Twitter account everyday.
I use Tweetdeck via it’s web interface although it is available in a mobile app and standalone download too. I find the web interface the most useful as I spend most of my time inside a browser.
I’ve found it useful for keeping an eye on the latest news in my industry, for seeing how many mentions a blog post gets when it gets released from our blog (giving a real time feel for whether topics are engaging our audience or not). I can also in real time see who’s recently followed our Twitter account and whether they’re worth following back or if they’re interesting as a potential new prospect, project partner or influencer.
As you can see from the screenshot you can set up different columns for different activities that happen in your Twitter account, move them around, delete them and set up your own personal Twitter dashboard to filter the exact information that’s important to you and your business.
You can respond to tweets , retweet and compose new tweets direct from the individual timelines as you would in Twitter itself, however I find that having filtered Twitter datasets to work with make it easier to interact with Twitter through Tweetdeck than Twitter itself.
Hashtags are one of the great ways to discover new content on social media and they help keep threads strung together from the vast amount of information that is being posted on multiple platforms. If you’re looking to follow a particular area or conversation with hashtags it can be inconvenient to have to do it inside of each social media application.
Enter Tagboard, an online application that will bring together the hashtagged conversations from multiple social media streams, allowing you to gain a full spectrum of the conversation going on across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Vine and App.Net. I find it particularly useful to track the hashtags of conferences to see who’s going what the latest updates are and who’s speaking.
Not everyone is always on all social media, and some people have their favourites so Tagboard gives you a great opportunity to reach new connections and information that you’d otherwise spend hours on keeping up with if you had to log into each network separately and review.
When it comes to driving traffic to your website social media is a great way to let people know about new blog posts, new products and updates, or to simply keep connected with your audience. In particular Twitter is a great communication tool, but to make it effective you need to be tweeting at times during the day when your audience are going to be receptive to your messages, and keeping up with a tweeting schedule manually can be a real drain on your time when you’re running your own business.
We came across a fantastic tool called Bufferapp.com that helps solve this problem, by allowing you to pre-write your tweets and have them scheduled to be sent out at specific user definable times throughout the day. You simply sign into Buffer (using your existing Twitter account) at their website http://bufferapp.com and you can start adding scheduled tweets right away.
You can also install a browser add on for Firefox that gives you the ability to add any web page to your Buffer account and schedule it to be tweeted out, right from within your browser. There is also a free Buffer iPhone app that allows you to do the same thing right from your mobile safari browser too. A Buffer button is also available from within your account which allows other people to buffer your web pages into their schedules too which can help increase the shareability of your pages.
There are a whole host of other add ons for Buffer, including a useful WordPress plugin that fills your buffer account with your blog posts automatically. Buffer can even suggest new content to share with your audience right from within the app itself, making it easier than ever to find relevant content to share with your followers.
The free version of Buffer allows you to add 10 tweets at a time, so if you’re tweeting four times a day that’s about two and a half day’s worth of tweets or you can sign up for their low cost monthly plan for $10 a month and stack up unlimited tweets to cover longer periods of time. The paid version of Buffer also allows you to schedule out your messages to other social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn in addition to feeding to Twitter
Buffer is a great way to drive traffic to your website or blog from Twitter on an automated basis, and still retains the ability for you to personalize the tweets to maintain the human feel to your audience. We found it not only increased the visitor rate to our website, but it also increased our twitter following too, and we welcomed the time saved by scheduling our tweets.
Photo Credit: Flickr CC
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