I was recently asked about the time that I committed to social media management. The reader was concerned that the time element was a deal breaker because of the many demands already laid on us by the running of busy practices. Although I no longer run my own practice, in my current position I assist with the running of many through our business support strategies. Whilst I admit it is not necessarily hands on and more advisory than anything else. It demands a lot of time, research and thought. That and driving, driving oh and more driving, I am afraid my ass is going to be flat forever. So whilst organising strategical advice and the tactical delivery of the same, I have many demands on my time.
I first became involved in Social Media because it truly fascinated me, the psychology behind it and also the fact that it appealed to my own ideas of engagement. As I have said before, my company had no real involvement nor where they particularly interested. So, any time I committed was really my own. In order to reduce that time commitment I use, or have used the following tools.
Hootsuite is one of my favourites, it is an online tool that can run in your browser. The basic account is free and you can run five seperate social profiles. Hootsuite will manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare etc. It provides social analytics as well, whilst they are limited they do give you an understanding of what is happening with your posts across platforms. What I really love about Hootsuite is that they allow you to schedule posts with an easy to manage interface. Hootsuite also allows you to post to Facebook Pages and is one of the very few management interfaces that will allow this. This is an invaluable time saver, it allows you to plan and schedule posts as much ahead as you would like. Hootsuite also has an app for the iPhone. So your campaign can be controlled on the move. You can also set up search streams, which allow you to monitor keywords or hash tags that you may be interested in.
Get hootsuite here hootsuite plans
TweetDeck is another great free social media manager, it is different in that it lives on your desktop. Again, there is also an iPhone app for management on the go. It can also schedule posts in advance, manage keyword search listings and hash tag streams. My opinion though is that Hootsuite is the better option, the TweetDeck interface at present is not optimal and can quickly become cluttered. It is also not nearly as user friendly or feature rich for a power user. However having said that, don’t tell Hootsuite, I still wander back to TweetDeck from time to time, she was my first love. Twitter recently bought TweetDeck so I would expect some changes to the interface in the future, it should be interesting to see what they do with it.
Get TweetDeck Here TweetDeck Desktop
Last but not least is Facebook’s App for the iPhone, I would use this quite regularly to monitor our Facebook business page and indeed my own personal page. It is ideal for on the go stuff such as managing friend requests, likes, comments on posts etc. It also allows you to upload pictures, status updates and your own comments whilst mobile. The interface is not fully functional in that they still havent given you the feature to share other people’s posts to your business page, but I think that should be coming in the near future.
Get Facebook for iPhone here App store Facebook
Windows Live Writer
I use Windows Live Writer as a tool to publish my blogs, it is a great programme allowing me to write and format my posts as I wish them to be seen. It is acting up a bit now as I write but it only happens sometimes. It again is also free, so considering what I paid for it I got a really really really good deal.
You can download Windows Live Writer here Windows Live Writer
That would be a rundown of the management tools I use regularly, I think Hootsuite is the one that I most lean on for the management of all my social media channels. There are many more free and paid for management tools out there. search around and try some out, if you find one thats cool let me know.
you can check out some of the channels that I manage here: