Social Media Tools & Best Practices

When companies start designing their social media campaign, they typically want to jump right in and get started. Unfortunately, this means they won’t do proper research into which social media tools and practices will give them the most bang for their buck. They stick with working with Twitter and Facebook which, let’s face it, is a horrible idea.

In honor of these lost souls, let’s take a look at some of the better social media tools out there. If it saves just one Social Media manager from working with the limitations of the Twitter website, it’s worth it.

Your Social Marketing Dashboard; Hootsuite

HootsuiteUntil August of 2010, you couldn’t find social media manager who didn’t use Hootsuitei at least a little. You could update many different Twitter accounts at once, search for keywords and hashtags, and create unique columns. Best yet, multiple users could use each Twitter account, so many different people in your team could update it.

In August, that all changed; Hootsuite went to a paid model where multiple users couldn’t use the same Twitter account. Regular folks and small businesses who couldn’t afford the extra cost jumped ship.

However, Hootsuite is still a great program, even in its limited free functionality. There are comparisons to Twitter’s recently acquired Tweetdeck, which is generally used as a personal client, and they are apt. These days you can monitor not only Twitter but Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Foursquare making it worth a look as your end all dashboard.

Sharing Social Media Responsibility with CoTweet

CoTweetWhen the above mentioned small businesses abandoned the Hootsuite ship, many of them went to CoTweet. One of the drawing features of this Twitter client is the ability to “assign” tweets to different members of your staff.

If a tweet comes in containing a question for your sales department, simply assign the tweet to the person in charge. They see it, read it, then answer either from that account or from another business account. It’s very handy and easy to stay on top of messages.

CoTweet doesn’t have nearly the adaptability of Hootsuite, but it is quite a bit more user friendly. This can be beneficial to those just starting out with social media and don’t want to spend all day learning the ropes. Just tweet, search, schedule, reply, and read.

Email, IM, and Social Marketing with Digsby

DigsbyLike the aforementioned Tweetdeck, Digsby is a social media client that installs directly onto your computer. You’re not going to be able to instantly jump on if you forget your laptop.

However, it comes with several advantages. First off is the fact it not only incorporates all your social media AND email into one (customizable) place, you also have integrated instant messaging at your fingertips. No more clicking around your computer trying to find the next program you need.

Even better, Digsby works in the background and only pops up when you need it to. If a tweet comes in, there’s a small alert…if you want it. If an IM from your mom shows up, it lets you know. This gives a huge advantage over website based programs like CoTweet and Hootsuite, especially if you’re busy doing other things like writing blog posts about social media tools.

Social Media Best Practices

All these tools don’t mean anything, however, if you don’t use them correctly! When establishing your presence on social media it’s best to develop some good habits right out of the box.

First, social media is all about interaction. Don’t pretend your company is some outside force sending golden information into the Twitter feed for all to love. Everyone knows you’re a real person and they want to talk to you! Check out how much the manager behind Nickelodeon’s Twitter account chats with their followers – they go all day long.

Next, you want to make sure you have some real content going out. This can be anything relevant to your field to something you just think is cool and believe your followers will like. IBM’s Twitter manager does a pretty good job at this, tweeting about computers, science, and IT.

One last practice to follow is to repost others’ updates or tweets. If you love a blog post they put up, share it on Facebook and Twitter and let the author know about it. They’ll likely tell you how much they appreciate it and you’ve shortly made a new Internet friend – one who will share your blog post in the future!

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