Software Solutions for
Social Media Work-Flow
With so many pieces of online-software available online to help us manage our social media marketing, it’s sometimes very overwhelming to know which ones are working for people.
So when Aaron Lee wrote about Sprout Social (which I look forward to trying soon), and it started a discussion of alternatives, I thought maybe you’d enjoy seeing what I currently use and what role each one plays for me.
Start At The Beginning…
For the big five social sites (FB, YT, LI, TW & G+), most of these I visit on their native home page.
I use mobile apps, on my HTC Incredible (android) for YT, FB, Twitter & G+. However, when mobile I primarily manage my FB fan page from my favorite mobile browser (free) as I find the FB mobile up lacking in that department.
For Twitter however, I absolutely depend on Hootsuite (free). On the desktop/laptop that means their main site http://hootsuite.com and on the mobile phone that means their app. I moved away from Tweetdeck for a couple of reasons prior and adore Hootsuite.
I use Aweber as my email list management tool of choice and can’t recommend them highly enough. They are the top in the industry. Totally worth the cost. Excellent deliverability.
From there, I use Gmail to manage my email. There’s a great android app I use for it too. Free and highly flexible. Connects in to some of the stuff I’m going to mention in a moment. I also create polls and surveys using Google Docs Forms, which are easy to use and put the data straight in a spreadsheet (free).
Build A Lightweight Layer…
Then Rapportive (free) creates a sidebar (using a browser add-on) in Gmail that shows me the social accounts, including most recent postings by the individual I’m emailing. This is a really powerful app and can even post to Facebook and Twitter. I love that it puts your Gravatar picture next to the email when you email me. This just makes my email so much more socially aware.
Rapportive also has applets that let it connect to things like Aweber & Klout and PeerIndex and show me all sorts of additional info about the person (including which of my lists they are/are not on which is very valuable to me.)
Then I use WiseStamp (free) to auto-add lovely HTML signatures to the bottom of my outbound emails that include links to my latest blog post, fan page, etc.
While Rapportive + Gmail is a superb super-lightweight CMS, then Connected is where I house a lot of additional information about my contacts (because they make it easy, and free). Connected lets me keep track of the last time you and I engaged, what we said, what you wrote on your blog, and notes I may make about you. Like Rapportive it also shows my your social accounts. Connected is now owned by LinkedIn has good LI integration too. This is not a daily-visit site for me currently though in the future that could change.
Increase The Client Database…
Additionally, Connected makes it easy set reminders for myself to contact someone if I want to make sure a relationship does not fade on my own forgetfulness. I found these more helpful than they sound. It imports my Google Calendar and each day sends me a “task list” with my scheduled things for the day.
It also monitors my friends on Facebook for job changes and birthdays. In the event of a birthday, I can follow the link from email to connected and in one additional click wish the person happy birthday. There’s actually probably a lot more that Connected does too but I’m still learning it.
Unless I’m on someone’s profile within Connected (which is my record of them) and want to send them a message on a particular platform, I do not generally use Connected to Tweet or Facebook.
Optimize Your Social Time Investment…
Then comes CrowdBooster! Now CrowdBooster is really my social time optimization site. I mostly use it for Twitter targeting but it can see trends on my Facebook page too. CrowdBooster keeps track of which of my status messages or tweets have shown viral activity, which ones were successful, what times of day I get good responses, what social media influencers have followed me that I should engage with and who has #FF/RTd me regularly and really might be overdue for a thank you from me.
It even looks at my tweets that performed strongly and suggests ones that might perform well on my FB page. (That is not always true but I like at least considering if they might.)
Essentially, CrowdBooster makes sure I don’t miss stuff! Again, not a daily site for me. Also, it takes a couple of weeks for it to have enough data to have accurate statistics. (You must be willing to give this app time to mature your data.)
While I can schedule tweets from within CB and they identify the best times to schedule to maximize exposure, I’m such a believer in watching those idea spots that I also use those times for other applications.
Tweriod is a great site to get a free report from to identify the times you get strong response on twitter. I often pay them the couple bucks for the PDF report but it’s optional. I visit this site about once every 4 or 6 months. Or whenever I change strategies.
Avoid Flooding Your Followers…
Because I read a lot of blogs, some on site and many through Google Reader , I don’t always want those tweets flooding my stream all at the same time. I use both a browser bookmarklet and a Google Reader integration for Buffer for Twitter. Use the Tweriod report to optimize your timings.
Because Buffer only allows me 10 tweets in the buffer for free, I also use Timely App for Twitter which allows a lot more. It has the optimization timings built-in. I honestly would replace Buffer with Timely if I could use it in Reader and if it had just a few more tools. However, I use both, similarly which allows me to not need a paid Buffer account.
For piping a single feed into twitter, Hootsuite is sufficient. However, for anything more than that, ditch TwitterFeed and grab Dlvr.it! With a great management interface, easy grouping, solid click tracking, and a solid support team, they leave TwitterFeed in the dust!
Not Everything That Could Work, Does…
Buffer will soon also work with Facebook. However, I should know my optimum FB posting times, courtesy of CrowdBooster in the next couple weeks. I post so rarely via applications (due to the big EdgeRank (visibility) penalty on app postings, that if I do it at all I just use Hootsuite which has a scheduler too. Honestly though, Facebook penalizes for that so I try not to do it too often.
Hootsuite has really strong Facebook integration (more than most realize, since their recent fairly quiet update). However, we still have to pay attention to EdgeRank consistently when it comes to Facebook.
This isn’t to say that apps don’t serve their purposes on Facebook but that you don’t want to be using them for posts you want plenty of eyes on.
So as you can see, I have a pretty nice stack that has matured over time. Is it perfect? Certainly not. However, for now, it gets the work done and it does so on a limited price investment. It also is subject to change as newer solutions become available.
However, what I’d like to see going forward is more integration of a suite like this. That will probably show up in the paid arena. Once you start wanting to talk about saving time (rather than money) and wanting the best efficiency it’s usually time to upgrade a stack like this.
What apps, suites, platforms can’t you live without? What powers you business? I look forward to hearing from you!
Taking The Headaches Out of Internet Marketing
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