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Feb 23, 2010

Using Social Media Channels Efficiently?

Based on some of the discussions we’ve seen on our Facebook pages, as well as conversations had during events, many responses revolved around not having time to be active on Facebook and on Twitter, (or other social media channels).  And I hear you on that one! Who has time for a lot of things other than working, working out, family, friends, colleagues and trying to eat and sleep every once in awhile? But what if there was one tool that you could use that allows you to post and track your Facebook feeds AND your Twitter account(s) as well as others like MySpace or Linked In? What if you don’t have to login to multiple websites? There are some excellent tools that do just this, and are available for free.

I heart free.

So…if you want to keep up-to-date on Facebook, and also keep track of what myself and others are “tweeting” on Twitter, this is a very simple way to see it all in one place using social media management tools.

Most of these applications are typically web-based (Seesmic and Hootsuite) that you will simply need to sign up, provide your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. login and password and you are ready to roll. Tweetdeck is the exception as it is a desktop application that needs to be downloaded , provide login details and users will simply need to open the application. So not hard to do considering the pay off!

Many have mobile applications that can be downloaded (for free) depending on what kind of phone you have (Tweetdeck and Hootsuite have iPhone apps, while Seesmic has Android and Blackberry apps). All have URL shorteners as well that will compress URL addresses into a compact link allowing users to maximize the number of characters on Twitter. With that being said…here are a few I would recommend:

Tweetdeck – One of the most popular and easiest to use is Tweetdeck. You can keep track of multiple social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Linked In, as well as multiple Twitter accounts. You could even do a search of someone you want to follow and you will then see posts of everything they tweet. The website has a very intuitive list of features to answer any question you may have. You are able to comment, tweet, retweet, follow, favorite, view and share pics and videos, upload pics, etc. iPhone application is available. I personally like Tweetdeck’s layout best, although it does not have the ability to schedule tweets nor the statistics that Hootsuite offers. Hootsuite has come on the scene very quickly and offers a few variations that Tweetdeck does not.  With Hootsuite, you can schedule tweets or even Facebook postings well in advance. So if you live on the West Coast and wanted to schedule a posting for friends or followers on the East Coast (or anywhere in the world), you can create a post and schedule it to post at a designated time. Or, if you have an informative tweet that bears repeating, you can also schedule your tweet hours or days in advance. (Remember to not abuse this function, spamming or repeated salesy tweets are not good etiquette!) Hootsuite also has statistics available that enable users to see how many people clicked on their link, which is useful to see just how effective you are as a tweeter. -- Seesmic is also a very popular choice and has some features that the other browsers do not. The main difference is that Seesmic is available for desktop like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, but they also feature a web based version (Windows).  Seesmic also just came out with Seesmic Look, an application that can be downloaded and is targeted at users who may not be on Twitter, who just want to see what their favorite brand, celebrity, etc., has to say, but in a format that is more entertaining, and users need not have a Twitter account to use the application.

So why are these tools valuable?

Hopefully I have been able to explain the reasons why this could be a time saver, but also a great way to track and interact with your friends, followers, MonaVie and anything/anyone else.  For those of you who are not on Twitter or hesitant to dive in, this is an extremely easy way to learn and just listen to what is being said on Twitter. Plus, you can post and view your Facebook feed as well!  In fact your homework for this week is to download one of these applications and take it for a test drive. I look forward to hearing how your assignment goes!

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MonaVie Chief Blogger

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