The first step I recommend is signing up for a social media aggregator. A social media aggregator is a free web site that allows us to coordinate all of our social networks from one spot. Nice, huh?! There are some fantastic aggregators available. See the bottom of this post for a list of very popular aggregators. My personal favorite is HootSuite. The greatest benefit of an aggregator is that we only need to log into one web site to see activity on all of our accounts, rather than taking the time to log into each. This is a huge time saver. However, I do recommend that we still log into those accounts once a week or so to check things out.
Another time saving apsect of aggregators is that they allow us to schedule posts and status updates. So, let's say there are several tweets we want to send out in a particular day/week, but the day/week is crazy busy and we don't want to forget. Well, with most aggregators, we can schedule a tweet/message/status/whatever to be sent at the date and time we choose.
The next step I recommend is setting a social media timer. In the beginning this timer may be more of a 'I have to spend this much time on social media efforts today/this week.' The timer may be set for 30 minutes. It simply encourages us to use social media and remain engaged with our followers. After we get into the social media swing, the timer may turn into more of a, "This is all the time I can spend on social media today," because it can become addictive with all of the great information out there.
Social Media Aggregators (compliments of Francine Kizner, writer for www.entrepreneur.com):
- Digsby: A desktop IM, e-mail and social media aggregation app that brings together Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn, as well as multiple e-mail and IM programs
- Flock: This social media web browser gives you quick views of your friends' activity on various networks, allows drag-and-drop media sharing and has a built-in RSS reader to track buzz around your brand.
- FriendFeed: A social network built around aggregating social networks, FriendFeed has you create a lifestream of all your online activity and lets you see and comment on all your friends' online activity.
- HelloTXT: A status blaster program that lets you update multiple social networks via web, SMS or e-mail
- HootSuite: Never miss an update with HootSuite's multiple columns feature. Organize your social networks into friends, news, search terms, keyword tracking - whatever you like!
- iGoogle: Google's personalized home page lets you add Gadgets for various social networks to get an overview of recent activity.
- Minggl: This browser plug-in for IE and Firefox gives you a toolbar and a sidebar to keep track of contacts, link up your profiles, send cross-platform messages and do mass status updates.
- PageFlakes: This personalized home page application gives you widgets where you can see the latest activity in multiple social networks.
- Ping.fm: A status blaster tool that lets you update multiple social networks via SMS, IM, e-mail and other mobile and desktop apps
- Tweetdeck: This desktop dashboard lets you manage Twitter, Facebook and 12seconds updates, and also allows you to set up filters and friend groups to help manage a large network
- Twhirl: This Adobe Air desktop app brings together Twitter, FriendFeed, Seesmic and Identi.ca, letting you send and receive updates and sending notifications for personal messages
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