July 9, 2012

3 key tools for managing social media

HootSuite, Post Planner, Buffer can provide productivity boost

Guest post by Shonali Burke
VP Digital, MSL, Washington, DC

When it comes to staying on top of social media, one of the big challenges we have is to find the social media tools that will help us achieve a happy medium between curating, listening, engaging and producing content.

Frankly, I think that sweet spot is tough to find, and when we do find it, it stays with us for a while before it goes dancing off into the sunset, leaving us to figure it out all over again.

What to do? There are a ton of tools — and new ones coming out nearly every day — that purport to help us do this. I haven’t tested all of them, of course, but of those I have tested, here is what I currently think is the holy trinity of managing social media.

HootSuite: Scheduling updates made easy

1I’ve been a HootSuite fan for a long time. It’s a terrific way to post to a number of social networks, schedule posts and listen in on what’s going on, either by creating dedicated searches or creating streams of Twitter lists you’ve set up.

While I don’t use this tool to post to LinkedIn, etc., as much as I could, what I do find very useful, in addition to the publishing/scheduling dashboard, is the ability to monitor and post to Facebook Groups directly from HootSuite:

Typically I like to do my Facebook work “in” Facebook, but I know plenty of people who’d rather do all their Facebook management from a third-party app. And this fits the bill.

And just to go back to the scheduling feature, when people ask me to help them promote specific events, fundraisers, etc. I find the easiest way to do so is to schedule a ton of posts in HootSuite. (Assuming, that is, that those are things I want to help promote.) I find this feature very useful; I can simply copy a post and bung it in at various points in the “publisher” view, making minor edits if I want.

So if you are really pressed for time, then I honestly don’t know of a better one-stop management shop for the primary social networks than HootSuite.

Post Planner: The easiest way to schedule Facebook updates

2I’ve also been a fan of Post Planner for a long time. I find the team extremely responsive and the app just superb. Sure, you can post to Facebook from a number of different apps (including HootSuite), but PP rules, in my book, because:

  • There’s nothing like having your own branded footer, as I wrote about a while back.
  • Even though Facebook has recently introduced the ability to schedule posts, the feature is extremely clunky, and Post Planner makes it a breeze.

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August 23, 2011

4 tools to help build your social community

Image by orangebrompton on Flickr

Strike right balance between scheduled updates & direct interaction

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, community managers, educators, NGOs, Web publishers, bloggers.

Shonali BurkeWhen trying to build an online community, I’ve found that one of the most important things to do is to participate consistently in your preferred channels. And not just participate as in talk a lot, but share interesting pieces of information so that your community knows you’re not just in this for you, you’re in this for them as well.

Inevitably, then, the time question comes up: “How can I always be online? Is there a way for me to cut down the amount of time I spend in social media?”

Yes and no. Yes, there are various tools you can use to cross-post your updates, for example, or to automate your updates. (See Socialbrite’s handy roundup of 10 social media dashboard tools.) But the “no” part of this answer is that if you’re going to try and cross-post every single update, or automate your posting schedule completely, I think you’ll flop.

How to maximize your social media time

Assuming you agree with that “yes and no” answer, here are four tools I’ve been finding very useful recently. They might help you, too.

Networked Blogs

NetworkedBlogs: Syndicate your blog to Facebook

1I tried NetworkedBlogs — one of many auto-posting services that syndicate your blog to Facebook — early on and then, for some reason, stopped. But recently, Ken Mueller wrote about nearly tripling his blog traffic by using, among others, NetworkedBlogs, and that made me decide to try it again.

Since coming back to NetworkedBlogs, I noticed that you can also syndicate to Twitter (though I’m not using that option).

How I’ve been using it: I had set up both my blogs to syndicate to my Facebook Page (that’s where Waxing UnLyrical goes) and my personal profile (that’s where my food blog goes). In addition, Waxing UnLyrical goes through to a secret Facebook group that I’ve set up for all the regular guest bloggers. I’m also testing this for a client blog — syndicating to the Page as well as a supporting Group.

Hiccup: Since I’m also testing Livefyre’s new SocialSync feature, I ran into problems with comments that I got on my Facebook posts not being pulled into the comment stream on Waxing UnLyrical (that’s what SocialSync does, it pulls in comments from Facebook and Twitter). Jenna Langer at Livefyre told me this was because when syndicating via NetworkedBlogs, NetworkedBlogs’ URL masks the actual blog URL and loads the site in an iFrame. (Sorry for that geek interruption.) Because Livefyre can’t see that that’s part of the conversation, those specific comments don’t show up in my Waxing Unlyrical comment stream.

But if you’re not using Livefyre as your comment system, you should be fine, and it’s worth a try because it does make the posts show up nicely in Facebook.


Triberr: Get your Twitter updates shared

2Much has been written about Triberrwhether automated tweets being shared by a “tribe” are a good thing, whether it can be gamed, and so on. When Gini Dietrich invited me into my first tribe, I had absolutely no hesitation in accepting.

I think Triberr is a great way to share posts – and get your posts shared – by a select group of people you trust. While there is a setting in Triberr that allows you to go in and check what’s due to be posted to Twitter via your account, I rarely check it.

Why? Because I’ve seen consistently good content being produced by fellow tribe members, and I trust them. So trust is key.

How I use it: I keep my Triberr settings on “auto” mode. This helps me because I don’t have to worry about going to Tribe members’ blogs (or to my Reader) to find the posts and tweet them out (though I still try to do that so that I can comment as often as possible). Continue reading

August 2, 2011

Post Planner: A branded publishing app for Facebook


Schedule your posts and include your own logo & linkback

Shonali BurkeIwrote a while back about why I like Post Planner so much as a way to schedule posts to Facebook.

Have you tried it yet? Let me tell you right now that if you haven’t, you should.

And now it gets better. Today we’re relaying a special offer for you — and then I’ll tell you what’s in it for your organization.

When Post Planner, now in private beta, launches to the public, it will be priced at $19.95 a month. Now through the end of August their current customers are being offered a chance to lock their subscription price in at $14.95 a month, for life or until cancellation (at any time). Just sign up and the discount will be automatically applied.

Customized branding on world’s biggest social network

What got me excited about this is that last week Josh Parkinson of Go West Social, one of the people behind Post Planner, created a white label version of it for my blog. For free. Now, thanks to my very own “Waxing UnLyrical Post Planner app” — which shows up in my Facebook left sidebar — I have the option of having my Facebook posts come “via” Waxing UnLyrical when I post a status update.

That means I get my logo at the bottom of the post instead of the Post Planner icon (or, if I were posting from HootSuite, for example, the HootSuite icon), and a branded footer link back to my blog … or any URL I choose. This can be a custom landing page (if I have a special deal I want to share), my blog home page, whatever I want.

Cool! Continue reading