There is a constant flow of new tools to support the challenging work of managing your social media work. Managing the lists, posts, schedules, and conversations that create an effective social media presence for a business is a huge time and organizational commitment. Some of the tools created to support that work are wonderful, others not so much.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about some of my favourite social media power tips and tools. These are all things that make it possible for someone like me, with a family and a thriving business with flesh-and-blood clients, to manage a social media presence to supports that business.
Windows Live Writer – I love writing my blog posts on WLW. I don’t have to be connected to the internet or distracted by all the tabs, buttons, and menus that surround my WordPress editor in my browser. The local Save & Post draft to blog functions mean I can keep one copy of my articles on my computer, and update my drafts online with the click of a button. Windows Live Writer also allows me to manage multiple blogs from one clean, very easy-to-use interface. But my favourite WLW feature? The way the Hyperlink button works. When you copy a hyperlink from your browser, highlight text in WLW, and then click the Hyperlink button, the hyperlink you copied is pre-loaded! Just click insert. No pasting. Its just a little thing, but when you write as much as I do, each little click is one more step in a million!
Pinned Tabs – Both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox allow you to ‘pin’ your tabs to the top bar of the browser. Why is this useful? Because it does two things: it shrinks the tab to the size of the favicon (the little icon that represents a site), and it locks it in place on the tab bar. This means that I can have a set of mini-tabs for all of my favourite sites always one click away, and they persist if you close and re-open the browser. My browser of choice is Chrome right now and I have my Facebook page, two blogs, LinkedIn, etc. on permanent pinned tabs ready to go when I open my browser. To pin a tab, just right-click it and choose ‘Pin tab’.
Facebook Mentions – That’s right, you can use the @ in Facebook (Facebook calls it tagging)! This is one of my favourite ways to reinforce connections and remain front of mind on other Facebook business and brand Pages. I make a comment about something on my Page, but tag the name of the business or brand in my post using ‘@’. On the wall of my Facebook Page, I can write something like “Welcome to Facebook and soon to the community @The Old Firehouse Wine Bar! Can’t wait to see what you do, and celebrate it with a glass of wine!” Not only will the post show on my Page, it will also show up on the wall of The Old Firehouse Wine Bar. It is a classic ‘right’ social media gesture: the business I mention is promoted on my wall, and I am exposed to all of the visitors to the Page of the other business. Everyone gains.
TweetDeck – I swing back and forth between TweetDeck and Hootsuite, and often have them both open. In fact I have ‘pinned’ Hootsuite in Chrome. Overall though, I have to say I prefer TweetDeck. Hootsuite does have the advantage of being web-based, which means that no-matter which browser you open it in, your tabs, lists, and all of your preferences are right there. Also, with its use of tabs, Hootsuite makes the organizing of your multiple Twitter & Facebook lists, LinkedIn, and other social media channels a bit easier. However, I find TweetDeck to be much faster and easier to read. Also, there are a couple pretty serious bugs in Hootsuite that don’t ever seem to get fixed. The auto-complete when you start typing with ‘@’ seldom works, and Hootsuite misses lots of mentions that TweetDeck picks up. Of a dozen mentions that TweetDeck lists, I will switch to Hootsuite and see only 8 or 9. I make a point of thanking everyone who mentions me in their tweets, and don’t appreciate it when I miss someone because of a software error! For all of the pluses and minuses (and both have loyal fans), both programs definitely make it easier to manage Twitter. Once you get past a few dozen followers, you will want to subdivide them into lists. And the ability to display several lists at once in TweetDeck (including columns for Facebook and LinkedIn) makes managing large sets of Twitter lists so much easier.
Want to become a Twitter ‘Power User’? Can you see the value of harnessing Twitter to really fuel social media marketing for your business? Join me for my 6-session online Twitter BootCamp.Want to improve your communication with employees, partners, and customers? I help organizations improve communication through social media strategies and management-level workshops. Check out these opportunities to work with me online, from anywhere in the world: Effective Online Coaching Programs.
There’s more! Looking for success in your small business? Read my Small Business blog at Small Business Fundamentals (www.smbfundamentals.com).