Twitter eating up your time? Facebook filling up your schedule? Losing track of time on LinkedIn? You’re not alone. Time management is one of the top challenges for serious online networkers.
Social media management is worth the effort. Networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace can launch your message to the far corners of the net. You can harness this power for your business.
But managing these social networks doesn’t have to consume your day. Here are five tools to take back your day and streamline your social media circle.
Social Media Management Tool: HootSuite
Schedule a week’s worth of tweets and status updates in under ten minutes? It can be done! HootSuite schedules tweets for later publication on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Ping.fm. This is my personal favorite web application for handling social media.
Plus, with a careful Ping.fm setup, you can achieve social media nirvana, scheduling updates on Plaxo, MySpace, LiveJournal, and more. Truly mind-blowing.
You can keep an eye on your Facebook and LinkedIn social media networks here as well, with separate columns for various Twitter list feeds. Their reputation management settings allow for social media monitoring on your key terms. Clever.
They make it easy to use, too! There’s an iPhone App, and a quick-post button for scheduling updates while you browse.
Bonus 1: HootSuite gives you automatic link shrinkage and tracking!
Bonus 2: The adorable mascot. Look at those big eyes!
Bonus 3: It handles pages and personal accounts separately. Yes!
Social Media Management Tool: TweetDeck
TweetDeck is an application that lives on your computer, organizing the stream-of-consciousness into customized columns. It plays well with Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, and Twitter, and handles custom searches, @replies, and direct messages.
Bonus 1: TweetDeck is also on iPhone.
Bonus 2: It handles multiple accounts with the greatest of ease.
Bonus 3: It’s a multimedia star: drag and drop images into TweetDeck to share on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace. You can record and share YouTube videos within TweetDeck also.
Bonus 4: Interactive notifications.
Social Media Tip: Import Your Blog to Facebook
This one is a huge time-saver. Facebook has a built-in tool to import posts from an external blog! The posts show up as notes, without you lifting a finger. Facebook will automatically update your notes whenever you write in your blog.
With this setting, you can import posts from Blogger, WordPress, or any other blogging platform with an RSS feed. Choose wisely: you can only import one blog.
Bummer: Imported blog posts cannot be edited.
Social Media Tool: Posterous
From one email, create dozens of blogs and social updates. Send blogs, pictures, and status updates to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and blogs.
This service spins all forms of multimedia into web-friendly formats. Bring them your photos, audio files and links, documents, video files and links. They will even resize photos to web-friendly size.
Bonus 1: Posterous redefines “easy to use”. Attach multimedia file to email. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Poof! Blog post.
Bonus 2: Posterous also offers a social media bookmarklet, for your browsing convenience.
Social Media Tool: Ping.fm
Post blogs, miniblogs, and status updates to over 40 social networks. From the popular to the obscure, this is one of the most complete network support for social media posting services. Unfortunately, multiple Twitter accounts are a bit tough.
For customized communications, you can create “posting groups” to focus messages. Your “professional” group might hook into LinkedIn, Twitter, Plaxo. On the other hand, the “Personal” group could send information to Blogger, Friendster, and so on.
Bonus 1: Ning support, very impressive.
Bonus 2: iPhone integration. Of course.
Bonus 3: Social bookmarking support.
Social Media Tip: Tools do not replace interaction
Imagine sending a robot to replace you at in-person networking events. Not the best impression to leave with your audience, right? In the same way, overusing social media tools can leave your network cold and disinterested. It can be tempting to take things to the limit with automation. But remember, there’s no substitute for the “personal touch” in networking, online or offline.
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