Are you spending too much of your day jumping from one social network to another to monitor your feeds and post updates? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you log in to your social media accounts daily—or close to it—in a never-ending battle to get the upper hand on social media marketing. Yet, somehow, you never quite manage to do it. Diagnosis? Social media overwhelm.
Social media overwhelm is a common 21st century malady—especially among business owners, who typically experience a great deal of pressure to stay ahead of the social media curve. You may be so busy, in fact, that you feel you don’t even have enough time to stop and do the research that will allow you to figure out what to do about the problem. So, day after day, you continue doing things the same way you always have. You know it’s less efficient, but you feel you simply have no choice. Well, let’s just stop right there, because you do have a choice—more than one, in fact.
Social Media Efficiency Tools
Several nifty online tools not only make it possible to view all your social media content in one place; they also let you update multiple social media profiles from the same dashboard at the same time by creating a single, time-saving post for all of them. Some of these social media tools can handle your Facebook profile and Facebook business page, as well as your Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and/or Tumblr accounts. To learn more about each, read the descriptions below:
HootSuite offers both Free and Paid versions. The free version allows users to connect up to five social media profiles to their HootSuite account, and HootSuite Pro, which costs about $10 a month, lets them connect unlimited profiles. Both offer message scheduling and reporting capabilities, as well as RSS feeds, with the Pro plan offering extra features and enhancements. HootSuite Pro is currently offering a 30-day free trial.
If you’re on the go a lot and are looking for a flexible platform that you can access "in the cloud," a platform that gives you the ability to assign tasks to team members on-the-spot, and one that offers the versatility to monitor and respond to your social media mentions in real time, HootSuite will likely be your platform of choice. HootSuite makes it easy to stay far ahead of the social media curve so you don’t have a backlog of social media tasks to handle when you get back to the office. Here are several other strategic ways to use HootSuite to get a handle on your workflow. This brief video demonstrates how you can use HootSuite for business.
TweetDeck is free, though this social media app will only let you post to Twitter and Facebook. Depending on how many social networks you have to update, you may or may not want to take advantage of TweetDeck. If you’re only posting to Twitter and Facebook anyway, TweetDeck could be the perfect tool for you. Those who have more than one account on these two networks will be happy to know that TweetDeck lets you monitor and manage unlimited Twitter and Facebook accounts. It also allows you to conveniently synchronize your configuration so you can use TweetDeck from more than one computer.
If you generally work from your home and/or office and find that you don’t need to update your social media accounts "in the cloud," TweetDeck’s desktop functionality, may be appropriate for your needs. While TweetDeck isn’t as fast as HootSuite and uses more resources; it does offer a simpler, more user-friendly interface that makes it easier to monitor multiple accounts simultaneously, since it displays them all in the same window, rather than in separate tabs, as HootSuite does. Here’s a post [http://www.myrisedesign.net/blog/social-networking/item/486-tweetdeck-vs-hootsuite-which-twitter-client-is-the-best-marketing-tool.html] you might find helpful. It compares the functionality of HootSuite and TweetDeck.
Seesmic Ping (formerly Ping.fm)
Seesmic Ping, which replaced the former Ping.fm on July 5, 2012, offers three pricing plans, ranging from free to around $50 a month, depending on number of posts per day, number of social networks linked, and features/support level desired. Free accounts are limited to 10 posts per day on a maximum of three social network profiles. For about $5 a month, the Plus plan allows 50 posts a day on 10 profiles. And the Pro plan allows unlimited posts and unlimited profiles. Both the Plus and Pro plans offer unlimited features, and both provide a support-ticket option, with the Pro plan promising a 24-hour response time.
If you’re looking for a simpler, more intuitive platform that will let you publish a smaller number of posts to a limited collection of social media accounts each day via either a desktop application (if you don’t need to work on-the-go) or a mobile app (if you do), Seesmic Ping’s Free or Plus plans might work well for you. Both allow you to schedule posts to multiple accounts, create personalized groups, share links as attachments, and post photos or images "natively" to Facebook and Twitter. If you need to manage a larger number of accounts or post many times a day, or if you require full functionality, you’ll certainly need the Pro plan.
Other Social Media Tools
A few other platforms you might want to try in addition to the above three staples of social media management follow:
Save Time on Social Media
Get more done in less time by combining your social media posting tasks using one of the above tools. Since most can be tried or used for free, it’s a simple prospect to take each of them for a test drive at your leisure and see which one works best for you. You’ll find it well worth your time—and you might even have a little fun in the process. You’ll certainly be much wiser about social media management when you’re through. Once you become accustomed to your tool of choice, you’ll feel as if hours have been added to your day.
So, what are you waiting for? Consolidate your social networks and say good-bye to social media overwhelm!
Which of these tools have you tried, and what do you like/not like about them?
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