For the average business person, the world of social media can seem overwhelming. Even with only 2 accounts, the time spent online posting and checking and responding can seem never-ending. If it seems like you’re constantly online checking accounts, I would recommend a social media management tool. There are plenty of options that cater to different platforms; many of them are free for single users (i.e. not large corporations).
Management tools can help with scheduling posts well into the future, ensuring your posts are regularly scheduled instead of all bunched together. Tools can also help you with listening for any mentions of your name, trends within your industry and amalgamating all your accounts in one place so you can post to several accounts at once.
While the tools can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend on line checking your accounts, it’s important that you (or someone in your company) still checks regularly.
I recommend checking the accounts once a day and responding to any questions and posts by your customers for several reasons.
1. Users want to connect with a person and not feel like they’re interacting with a robot. Think of the last time you called a customer service line and had to press 100 buttons just to get to speak to someone, or worse had to use one of the new automated voice services.
2. With scheduling weeks in advance you can end up missing out on current events and trends.
3. Successful social media relationships require engagement. Reading the posts on other people’s accounts and posting current comments show’s that you’re willing to dedicate time to building relationships.
A simple social media management tool for newbies is Tweetdeck. If you only have Twitter and Facebook to take care of, this is the perfect tool. It’s available through the Chrome App Store and customizable for your needs.
My favourite manager is Hootsuite. It has the ability to import all of your social media accounts, offers analytics so that you can see how people react to your posts (clicks, forwards, shares), you can also import apps and social bookmarking accounts. They offer a free membership (limited to 5 social profiles), free quick reports and 2 RSS/Atom Feeds. The next level is Pro for $9.99 a month and gives you unlimited social profiles, additional users, Google Analytics Integration and an enhanced analytics report.
If you’re still on the fence about it, try doing a trial run with the social media management tool of your choice. Most offer trial periods and all have great customer service to help you through the learning phase.