Social Media Tools to Save Time and Improve Effectiveness
Social Media Tools to Save Time and Improve Effectiveness
As I was researching for this article I noticed that several people (most noticeably Honey Singh of honeytech blog and Jeff Bullas) had already written some excellent articles about the same subject. And I, being prudent and not wanting to reinvent the wheel- or try to think of a new way to present this material- decided that I would give you my take on the subject in a condensed version and link you to some of the most helpful articles I have found. But you will have to read my newsletter for those links. Please sign up to receive it on my website.
Before I get into the meat of the topic I just wanted to say that this probably will not be the last time I address social media tools. Social media is a fast growing and quickly changing field and new and better tools and apps are being created all the time. Just a few days ago (as of this writing) both Google and Facebook announced their own URL shorteners. These are the nifty little tools that take those long URLs such as this http://www.honeytechblog.com/top-10-social-media-tracking-and-analytics-tools/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter and turn them into neatly packaged links like this http://ow.ly/Mzlt that will fit inside a tweet (because Twitter only allows you 140 characters per tweet). I use ow.ly because it comes with my chosen Twitter client, Hootsuite, and because it is trackable.
Hootsuite and Ping.fm
Hootsuite is my favorite social media tool. I use this practically every day. Hootsuite is a client manager that manages post or updates (called Tweets on Twitter) to your Twitter account. At least that was the original use. It has since evolved into managing posts for other social media accounts as well when integrated with Ping.fm- more on that in just a moment.
Schedule Your Updates
There are two really terrific time saving features in Hootsuite. The first is that you can schedule your tweets with Hootsuite. If you have information that you would like to post several times (such as a new promotion that your business is running) you can create one or two Tweets about that and schedule them to be sent out over a period of a few hours, days, or even weeks. Just make sure you copy the tweet so you can paste it back into the update area without having to retype it every time. You can also write several different tweets at one sitting (or find material to retweet) and schedule these so they are tweeted later- you don’t want to bombard your followers with too much information at one time. Also, studies have shown that there are optimum times in which to tweet something because tweets at those times are more likely to be read and retweeted, helping increase awareness of your update or post.
One Post, Many Places
The second major time saving feature is that Hootsuite integrates with Ping.fm. Ping.fm will send you tweets, updates, posts, etc. directly to dozens of social media networks. Of course, you have to setup accounts with those various social media networks and give Ping.fm permission to post through them, but once you have done these two steps you can simply post to either Ping.fm directly or to Hootsuite and that post will be broadcast to all of those social media networks. This is a tremendous time saver for me and why I absolutely love these two tools! I use them to broadcast to multiple networks from one location and with one post.
Another related feature I like about Hootsuite is that I can decide which posts I want rebroadcast through Ping.fm and which I want solely broadcast on Twitter by selecting with a check mark my Ping.fm icon on Hootsuite. If I do this Hootsuite will broadcast to and through Ping.fm. However, if I leave it unchecked it will broadcast only to Twitter. Additionally, there are other ways to manage which posts go to which social media networks by using hashtags (the # symbol). If you want Twitter to post to your Linkedin account, simply append the hashtag #li or hashtag #in to your tweets and they will be posted to Linkedin as well (but only if you setup Linkedin and Twitter to work this way- call me directly if you need more help with this). Facebook and Twitter can also be linked together to post to either and broadcast to the other but if you use Ping.fm it is much simpler. And many people, me included, do not want to post the same information to their friends and family on Facebook that they do on Twitter and elsewhere. Using Hootsuite and Ping.fm gives you more control over this but it will require you to log in and post updates to your personal Facebook profile separately. FYI, you can post to your business’s Facebook fan page without posting to your personal Facebook page.
There are a couple of other features I want to quickly mention. Hootsuite comes with a URL shortener that will take your website or any webpage’s URL and change it to a much shorter URL so that it fits more easily with the 140 character guidelines Twitter and other networks place on you. To use it you simply copy the long URL and paste it into Hootsuite’s shortener (which sits on the page directly beneath the posting area) and click on the button that says “Shrink it” and it viola- the URL is now shorter and trackable.
Trackability is my next favorite feature of Hootsuite. Once your URLs are shortened, Hootsuite can track anytime someone clinks on the link. This allows you to track which posts are most popular so you can create more like them. I also use another little trick that helps me know which time of day a post gets the most clicks. I schedule the exact same post to be delivered multiple times in a day- or over several days- and I use the URL shortener each time I create a post. This changes the short URL which has a different tracking code, meaning it tracks each post separately and does not lump them all into the same category. I then simply track each link to see which one receives the most clicks.
That’s enough from me on this subject for the moment. Read the accompanying articles for more information and look for future updates and articles on social media tools in the future. I will be talking more about these in future articles and blog posts and posting links to other articles as new tools become available (or as I become aware of them). Also, be sure to follow my tweets on Twitter and my updates on my Facebook fan page for more helpful social media tips, tricks, and tools or give me a call or email for more specific advice.
Copyright 1st Position Marketing
Gavin Head is a marketing professional and owner of 1st Position Marketing. He specializes in marketing, branding and growing profitable small businesses through the power of smart marketing strategies and tactics- including online and social media marketing.
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