In part 1 of this series on Social Media Marketing I gave a brief overview of what seems to be going on in this young medium. In part 2 of this series, I walked through some of the tools that I’ve found to help me with managing the task of getting involved in Social Networking sites. Next, I’d like to share with you some of the additional tools I’ve found to help me manage the time involved. As I mentioned, I’m doing all this from the experience of a Novice. It won’t take you long to zoom past me once you get started.
To start with, I made sure that the RSS feed for my blog feeds LinkedIn, and there’s a navigation button from my website to the blog. I use a program called Hootesuite to help manage and read twitter posts. Hootsuite allows me to schedule a tweet as well as to read my direct messages from followers. It acts like a “dashboard” for my Twitter account.
Ping.fm is a site that allows you to enter one “post” that will be sent to a wide variety of your Social Networking sites. For me, that means that ping.fm is set up to post to Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Fan Page and LinkedIn. This allows me to enter a post that will meet Twitter requirements (lowest common denominator in terms of character count) one time and then it will post to my other “registered” accounts. So if you followed the logic, I can enter a post in HootSuite and schedule it to post to ping.fm on the following day at 9 am. Ping.fm will in turn post to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn once it receives the post from HootSuite. I try to make sure that the particular post is really relevant to each of those sites. If the post is really specific to my LinkedIn connections and not so relevant to others, then I post individually as appropriate. However, usually, the post is appropriate for all sites since I pretty much stick to business and not personal or unique relationships on these sites. The exception, a small one, is that I do “allow” a more personal tone on Facebook from time-to-time. I keep in mind that the internet is “forever.”
Twitter has become a great resource for sharing information, not just the mundane. You can find a way to share with your followers in a way which is comfortable for you. I frequently find articles about business, leadership or science to share with others. To do this, and keep within the 140 characters, you will need to shorten the long urls normally used go locate articles. There are many such services available and the one I chose is bit.ly. It is helpful to use a service that also allows you statistics on how many times the link you create is used.
In order to help me gather and annotate the articles I think others might find useful, I use diigo to save the urls. It even allows me to capture the page and/or highlight the sections of interest to me. I find these articles by setting up a Google News page that is customized for my searches. And for an easy aggregation of the various blogs I like to read and to which I sometimes respond, I use the News Blur.
This information is just scratching the surface of what’s available in the way of useful tools for helping you manage the time you spend and when you spend it to manage your on-line brand. And I’m sure you will find your own way to manage not getting “sucked into” that Social Media black-hole. For those of us providing the strategy, the effort and the follow up, it is important to keep things in perspective and set the expectations correctly. For me, that meant finding ways to shift the time spent on this branding effort to non-payment hours, finding ways to quickly and easily schedule “publishing” to work hours for my followers and organizing to provide useful information. It works for me. What will you do to manage the Social Media Marketing for your business? Outsource? Delegate to someone in your organization? Do it yourself?