Nearly everyone agrees that social media is a great way to reach and communicate with your market online. Weather it’s through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, direct access to your target market has never been easier. The challenge, of course, is finding the time and resources to make the process efficient and effective. Following is my list of 7 Tools to Increase Social Media Efficiency:
1. Google Reader
This one might not be so obvious, but Google Reader is a great tool for market intelligence and brand management when it comes to social media. Basically, Google Reader allow you to subscribe to the RSS feeds on other websites, blogs, Facebook Pages and Twitter Searches that you want to track or find relevant to your market niche. You can also subscribe to Google Blog or News results containing your name, product or brand. Finally, sign up for BackTweets and track Twitter updates that link to your content.
Now you have a powerful one-stop-shop for getting up to speed on the latest news, trends, and brand mentions in your niche. Now, use this for inspiration in your next blog post, reply to people’s comments about you, and share links with your social network.
Congratulations! You just saved hours a week by setting up a proper system that pushes your content to you!
2. WordPress “Press This”
“Press This” is a often overlooked bookmarklet that comes with every WordPress blog. Essentially, it allows you to highlight text on a website and then easily quote the content in a blog post. So instead of copying and pasting text and links back and forth between a webpage and your WordPress post editor, you can now do it with the single click of a button. This is a huge time saver!!
If you’re like most people using social media today you have accounts on multiple social media networks. Ping.fm allows you to update multiple platforms at once without having to go to each individual account. The beauty of this system is that you have central control over how information is distributed.
For example, when this blog post is published, Ping.fm will automatically send a link to Twitter, Facebook, linkedIn, and Delicious. If at any point I decide to change my distribution strategy all I only have to login to my Ping.fm account and make the changes there. This is much more efficient than re-routing my content on each individual network.
4. Smart Phone (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, etc)
Today’s smart phones provide users with many of the same capabilities available to them on a laptop or desktop computer. However, most smart phones also have cameras and GPS capabilities that add visual interest and location-based information to your social media updates. The tools are so easy to use that literally within less than 60 seconds you can take a picture of something, tag your location, and update all of your networks with just a few clicks.
To do this from your desktop or laptop computer would take considerably longer and would be virtually impossible to complete using a standard cell phone.
5. TweetDeck or Hootsuite
Tweetdeck and Hootsuite suite are two applications that allow you to control your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates from one single location. This is very helpful because you no longer need to log into each individual account to post an update or to see what others have to say. Another great feature of these services is the ability to schedule or timestamp your updates for future release.
For example, if you knew that next week you were going to be announcing a new product, you could schedule your updates over the course of the next few days all at once to correspond with the upcoming product launch. This saves you the time and hassle of manually updating your accounts every day with Marketing copy you already have available now.
InstaPaper is a free and very simple online tool that allows you to save a webpage or article for later reference. Rather than printing the article or saving it to your bookmarks or favorites where he can easily get lost, InstaPaper keeps everything organized and accessible across multiple devices by storing information in the cloud. This is particularly important if you don’t have time to read the article now and/or you would like to reference the article in an upcoming blog post.
For example, I can save something using the InstaPaper bookmarklet on my iMac desktop and it will be instantly available for viewing and sharing within my iPad InstaPaper App. Dozens of third-party applications are supported and the functionality continues to expand, so check out InstaPaper when you get a chance.
Posterous is a terrific blogging platform of sorts that allows you to easily capture text, images & audio and then share this content across multiple social media networks automatically. The real differentiator is that you can e-mail content to your Posterous account, and it will use a smart filtering process to determine where and how that content is posted on your blog.
For example, you just took a picture on your cellphone and would like to post it to your Posterous account, but you would also like that picture to get posted to your Flickr account at the same time. In this case, you would e-mail your picture from your phone to Flickr@Posterous.com and Posterous would take care of the rest. Again, trying to do this manually would take considerably longer.
There are so many other tools and approaches that you could incorporate into your process to increase your social media efficiency. I hope you learned at least one new idea in this post. What other tools are you using that help make your social media life easier?