In today’s digital world, the idea of “social” is constantly morphing into something new. Companies have to maintain their presence across a wide range of social media networks, including hotshots like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, but there are also a range of smaller, or more specialized social platforms. If you haven’t run the gauntlet yet, let me tell you straight that managing multiple social media accounts is a time-consuming process. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you how best to do it.
Figure out your content’s relevance
Before you even get started, you should be able to correctly conceptualize how your company should be represented on its social media platforms. Most companies should want to sign up for the heavy-hitters like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (these have the greatest potential for disseminating your content). Then you need to analyze the audience potential of sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. If your business is financial analysis, for example, you might not have much to offer the image-based Pinterest community (unless you’re big into infographics—then there’s some potential there). But don’t overstretch yourself: only establish presence on social media that is relevant to your content.
Hire a community manager
So it’s Tuesday afternoon and you finally got through your e-mails. You had planned to start in on those inventory reports, but now it’s 2 p.m. and you still haven’t gone to lunch. The culprit? You guessed it—you’ve been slaving away at the social media gauntlet.
In order to be successful on social media, you have to participate in the communities. This means scheduling posts, responding to comments, reaching out to other bulwarks in your community, planning and timing content, and generally managing your social media. It’s time-consuming. Managing social media quickly becomes one of your principle tasks, replacing such things as managing people, creating your actual product, balancing accounts, or spending time with your family (Yup, truth hurts).
Enter the community manager. Ideally, your community manager can handle not only scheduling and participation in the social media platforms, but will also be a creator of your social media content. It might bust your bank to hire a dedicated employee for something that seems simple—but the increased chatter and conversions that this person elicits may convince you that they were well worth the investment.
The reason managing social media takes time is because you have to log into each and every account to make updates. You can be snazzy about this by bookmarking the social media sites and having them remember your password, but still, wouldn’t it be easier to manage all this from one place?
That’s why developers have designed Social Media Management Tools, or SMMTs. A SMMT is software that allows you to register some or all of your social media accounts on their platform. They offer a single interface from which you can manage your social media, collaborate with team members (additional community contributors), and track post performance.
One of the most popular SMMTs out there is Hootsuite, which was also one of the first. You can connect a Hootsuite account to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress, and others. Some of the best features about Hootsuite include scheduling capabilities, team registration, analytics, and RSS integration. Of course, you’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to get access to some of the more advanced stuff (and some have lodged other complaints), but all in all, Hootsuite is a great time-saver.
There are many other SSMTs to choose from:
Each has a different reason to be useful to you. Some, like Oktopost, are better for B2B management, while others, like GrabInbox, are tempting because of their price tag.
Autopost, Autopost, Autopost!
If you are using a CMS like Drupal or WordPress for your company blog (which you ought to have), then you will be happy to learn that you can automatically update some of your social media pages as soon as a new post goes live. In WordPress, functional add-ons are called plugins, and in Drupal they’re called modules. My favorite auto poster for WordPress is the Social Networks Auto Poster (SNAP) plugin. You can program new posts to publish directly to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Blogger, Tumblr, Digg, StumbleUpon and more. The Drupal module Post It Everywhere offers similar functionality.
Between hiring a dedicated community manager, using SMMTs, and leveraging the advantages of auto-post software, you may now be able to make lunch by noon. And the family will be happy, too.