As I've mentioned in previous posts, each social network is just a little bit different and our approach to each one should be carefully crafted. Once you choose which networks you will focus on, you need to give each one the proper amount of attention.
I also cautioned against simply using social media integration tools to broadcast the same thing across all your social networks. I stand by that advice wholeheartedly, but there are still a few useful tools that will help you streamline your social networking process.
Here's a few tools to consider:
With several social networks to monitor you will want to implement a program for integrating and managing your streams. Hootsuite creates an easy-access dashboard for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and among others.
After you connect each of your social media accounts, you can view all of the streams in one places, instead of logging into each site individually. You can also schedule posts to publish at specific times that you choose.
Hootsuite provides some analytics. If you choose to go with the Pro account you can get many of the features but it can get quite expensive. Depending on how much you use Hootsuite, this may or may not be worth it. A Pro account is also useful if you have more than 5 profiles to manage and/or you have a number of members on your social networking team.
Other similar tools in the marketplace include Tweetdeck.com and SproutSocial.com.
Tweriod.com and TweetWhen.com
There's some debate over the best time to participate in social networking but by using specific tools for this purpose will help. After all, you want to ensure you reach the highest number of people in your target audience as possible, right? There are lots of studies out there to help you find the optimal time, but it always depends on your own unique audience. This means to determine the optimal time, you should analyze things yourself.
A couple of tools that might help you include Tweriod and TweetWhen.
Tweriod is a service that monitors the activity of your followers to determine the best time for you to tweet. The logic behind this is that you should be more active when your followers are active. Makes sense, right?
TweetWhen analyzes your audience for when you would most likely receive the best response and then gives you an optimal time to tweet. Because you don’t have to log into your account to use this service, you can also use it to gain intelligence on the best times for other Twitter users, like your competition or other like-minded tweeters. However, it’s important to realize that TweetWhen’s data is based on when you’re actually tweeting, so if you tweet more at certain dates and times, these are more likely to be favored in the results.
Taking the data from Tweroid and TweetWhen together can help you decide how to adjust your participation on Twitter for best results.
Analytics are so important to evaluate whether what you are doing is working or not. TwentyFeet helps you determine that. It offers a dashboard of social media networking analytics for YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more.
If you use bit.ly as your shortening service you can also add it to your dashboard to monitor its analytics as well. This offers more useable data than something like Klout, which generally reduces social networking to a popularity contest. Fun fact – they call it an “egotracking service”.
The site allows you to compare your various sites analytics to see where you should increase or adjust your efforts. The service also notifies you whenever something noteworthy happens in your accounts.
A basic account is free and it offers one Twitter account and one personal Facebook account – no fan pages allowed for free. They have monthly packages if you want to add anything from there. The cost of the analytics is more affordable than what's provided with Hootsuite.com.
If you need a more in-depth service you can take a look at Trackur.com but it is definitely more expensive. Or if you're looking to just track where people are talking about you and your brand, do a free search at SocialMention.com. This free service will also give you an idea of the sentiment in the mentions.
Technology is out there to help us and you can certainly use it to your advantage to make it easier and more efficient to participate in social media – without looking like some kind of bot that is just auto-broadcasting everything, if you plan carefully.