Managing Social Media Effectively

I get this question more than my daughter would ask “are we there yet” on a 12 hour trip!  Well, reasonably so because it’s pretty important.  There are hundreds of social networks with slightly different focuses and uses.  If we just wandered around, it could be just a whole day week wasted.  Most of us are busy doing a dozen things so I wanted to share some of the tools that I have used to help make things a little more manageable and efficient.  First, are you using social media for personal or business use?



Personal Use

Most of us are probably just talking about Facebook and Twitter, right?  Here are three different tools that I have used for monitoring conversations

HootSuite ::  Tweetdeck ::  Seesmic

All three of these tools help you follow hashtags, watch @mentions, track direct messages, and keep track of what’s going on with your personal Facebook profile.  They also provide good notification ability (sound alerts or email messaging).  Both TweetDeck and Seesmic are most widely known, but all are good tools for managing your personal social networks effectively.

Business Use

This is really where everyone asks me this question.  Actually, everyone says, “I’m too busy to mess around with all of this social networking stuff.  I can’t afford to waste my time on Facebook.”  My response is always, you can’t afford not to! I’m going to give you two scenarios that I deal with weekly showing the wrong and ineffective use of social networks.

1) I created my account, now where are the sales?  Where’s the traffic, brand recognition, fans, and followers?

2) I got on Facebook and started playing around with some things.  I spent 4 HOURS reconnecting with old friends, playing a few games, and I feel like this is a waste of my time.

You would absolutely be correct, you just wasted your time because you weren’t using it effectively.  We are talking about taking time away from your daily business activities to grow a new medium of referrals for your business; not games, chatting, stalking high school crushes, etc…

How To Fit This Into Your Daily Schedule?

I’m going to just tell you what I do.  If you have a weird scenario, leave a comment and I will do my best to help you fit it in…

When I get into the office, I open a browser with my emails, Facebook, Twitter and blog so that I can check all of my overnight activity at once and respond right away.  (Timeliness responses are key!)  Then, as I go about my daily work, I open up HootSuite.  I must mention that I started working on a dual monitor system a year ago and will NEVER go back!  I do most of my work on one screen and use the other for social network monitoring.

If you think it’s expensive and complicated, its not!  I bought a mid-level computer, two screens, and a USB adapter to sync the dual monitors all for about $600.

Also, if you haven’t gotten a smart phone yet; bite the bullet and invest.  There are a dozen new ones coming out this summer so the competition will drive down the price.  You will notice a HUGE improvement in your productivity.  Then, sync these social networks up with you as you’re mobile.

What to Post and How Often?

If you care about your industry, you could tell me 3-5 sources of information regarding what’s happening.  There’s a start.  Be sure to post what your readers are interested in and not what you are interested in.  Just because I love the Indianapolis Colts, doesn’t mean you will hear about them all of the time.  I recommend starting out with 1-2 posts a day on Facebook and Twitter, work your way toward 2-3.  Again, responsiveness is key; if someone comments on your page, it should be responded to asap!  Retweeting and Sharing Facebook Posts are a great quick way to share content to your readers in the line at the grocery store or anywhere else for that matter.

…this should help you get started.  I will talk about other tools that I use to post the same message on all of my networks at once, distribute content easier and grow my networks fast.  Also, a “friend” is just an icon unless you engage them; so I am going to give strategies that will help you encourage interaction.

Please help me focus my writing on what you are interested in.  Leave me a comment with questions or issues you have come across and I will do my best to help you out.

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