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3 Tools To Help Bring Order To Your Social Media Chaos

social media toolsIf all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.(Tweet this!)

Tools are a wonderful aid in making sense of your social media management. Some may try to tell you that they use a “one-stop-shop” tool and it is all they need. My experience is that any tool made to do a lot of different things doesn’t do any of them particularly well. That also applies to social media tools. Here are some tools that I use to manage my social media with scottkwilson.com and also that of urbanchildinstitute.org where I am the Director of Communications and Technology (shameless title plug).

3 TOOLS I USE TO MANAGE SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Buffer (bufferapp.com) – Buffer is a standalone online (and with an iPhone app) social media scheduling tool and is one of the best out there. Buffer helps you schedule posts and updates on social media sites. If you want an easy way to communicate to your followers in a regular and consistent pattern, using Buffer to schedule those updates would be ideal.

Think of Buffer as a big bucket with a spigot at the bottom of it. You fill up the bucket and adjust the spigot to allow a set amount of content to flow out. You add to the bucket anytime, usually with a simple click of a button on your browser or the app on your phone. Keep the bucket full and posts, updates and tweets flow out. The spigot is set by you to determine the days and times that the information will post and you don’t have to worry about constantly logging in to manually send them. Post a couple of times each week or several time each day. It’s up to you!

Ideally, this is a great tool for people who don’t have time to spend all day updating their social profiles. You can spend a few minutes here or there setting up your updates with Buffer and have them flow out throughout any period of time. As mentioned before, be sure to set up your bit.ly account in Buffer so you can take advantage of some of the built-in analytics later on. Buffer has also recently added the ability to schedule posts for a specific day and time allowing you to coordinate your activity with a particular event. Previously, only Hootsuite had this functionality. Speaking of Hootsuite…

2. Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) – Hootsuite is a great tool for aggregating many of your social media platforms into one place. It can be a one-stop-shop for most of your monitoring and direct engagement with followers. Hootsuite also allows you to schedule posts and tweets for a specific time and date, a great feature if you are promoting an event or a time-specific story or activity.

It may seem that Hootsuite is a better choice to use exclusively but I prefer a mix of both Hootsuite and Buffer. Hootsuite is superior for engaging individuals and monitoring multiple social media platforms but Buffer makes sharing information with your followers really easy. I use Buffer for my routine, non-time-sensitive posting exclusively and use Hootsuite for monitoring and direct engagement. Together they make a great team.

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3. Feedly (feedly.com) – RSS feeds are your friends. For the unfamiliar, RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Consider it a feed of a specific stream of information that you can subscribe to with a Reader like Feedly. For example, blogs all have RSS feeds. Often specific searches have RSS feeds as well. You can look to see if an RSS feed is available by either keeping an eye out for the word “subscribe” and the RSS feed symbol on the page (often the color orange).

Sometimes there is an RSS feed located on the page. If there is one, the symbol will appear in the navigation of your browser. Click it to subscribe to the feed. Simple! Did you know you can use RSS Readers for more than just subscribing to blogs? You can send anything with an RSS to your RSS Reader and monitor it from there. Using an RSS Reader like Feedly for Google Chrome is a great tool to help you consolidate and organize all the feeds you collect across the internet. Just go to feedly.com, download the plug-in and follow the instructions.

There they are, 3 of my favorite. What tools do you use to manage your social media?

Scott Wilson is the Director of Communications and Technology for The Urban Child Institute (tuci.org), a not-for-profit dedicated to improving the development and well-being of children. He is also a marketing and business strategy consultant for small businesses and writes regularly about Leadership, Communication and Marketing on his blog, scottkwilson.com.

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