If you’ve discovered social media as a great tool to get your message out to a much larger audience and understand the importance of engaging with people rather than selling at them – then you’ve taken the first two critical steps.
If you’re active you’ll find your network is growing. If you’re using more than one platform (and it’s good to do that) your networks are multiplying. The problem is that if you have an active business you can spend hours online catching up with all your networks. What you need are tools to manage it all – and they’re out there.
At basic level you’ve got things like www.ping.fm and www.onlywire.com – both are distribution networks and enable you to spread your blog links and short comments across a wide range of networks. Ping connects with 32 and Onlywire with 42 – with some overlaps.
It takes time to set all this up, but it’s a one-time activity, once you’re connected you can post to all your networks in just a couple of clicks. However, this is a one way street – you can post, but can’t see what’s going on in your account on those networks.
There are a couple of tools that are excellent for managing and posting to your networks. One is Tweetdeck, which is a downloadable application; the other is Hootsuite, which is an online service. Whilst Hootsuite was launched later than Tweetdeck it quickly passed it in functionality, leaving Tweetdeck playing ‘catch up’. The big advantage of Hootsuite is that you can access it anywhere, on any computer – as long as you can remember your passwords.
It allows you to connect to and manage up to 5 social media sites (including Ping.fm) as a free user. This means that you can post to Twitter, Facebook, your Facebook page (business or community page), LinkedIn and others from one place and also see the status updates of your contacts.
You can connect to Twitter and LinkedIn via Facebook and pretty much all the leading social media offer connection options. The danger is posting in one place and creating a chain effect where your message pings all round your social media as one sets off another. Not all social media sites filter incoming posts and just post the same thing again and again.
If you want to get control of your connection network my advice would be to draw yourself a little map and choose where to post and where it goes from there.
Getting control of your connections means you can post once and your reach is global!
Lesley Morrissey is Lesleywriter! Offering expert advice on written communication and readability. Lesley has a unique expertise in making the words and pictures really work, particularly on the web. Learn more about Lesley here www.lesleywriter.com
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