By Hessie Jones
Almost all businesses are now active on social media, or need to be. And everyone who uses social media for business purposes has issues with how much time it requires.
In previous articles, I introduced some of the free or low-cost online tools available for business development, advertising and video, and also how to use social media for business development. In this article, I’ll discuss how to “spend” your social media time (= money) efficiently.
Simply put, social media is essential but time-consuming. Here are some free tools that will help drive efficiency, while allowing you to nurture your prospects at the same time:
- The best tool for deployment, monitoring and distribution seems to be –hands-down– Hootsuite. While I use Tweetdeck, I must admit that Hootsuite has a better system for analytics, tool-bar bookmarking, scheduling and distribution to Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Linked-in. For those managing multiple profiles, this seems to be the tool to use.
- My friend Sara Chi @infosara, whom I consider a social analytical guru prefers Tweetcaster for mobile, which does a better job of notification on my iPhone than Hootsuite or Tweetie. It has all the benefits of multiple account management and best of all, it works with Android.
- If you have a lot of video accounts, don’t worry about uploading your video multiple times to multiple accounts, just go to TubeMogul and upload it once. Watch as it gets syndicated to all your accounts. TubeMogul comes with analytics so you can see your video metrics all on one dashboard.
- If you ever wanted one time content publishing that is visible to an existing network, while at the same time syndicates to ALL your social accounts: social networks, video, blog, photosharing accounts, go no further than Posterous. This is just like tumblr. I can create a post here and it distributes my post to Twitter, Facebook, (images) to Flickr, (original video) to Facebook, and full content to WordPress.
Analytical tools for social media
Analytics was a huge topic at Enterprise Toronto’s Small Business Forum. Businesses agree they want to know the results of their social media “labour”. Unfortunately, SMBs don’t have the same access to the Radian6‘s or Sysomos‘ of the world. So here are some free tools they could use to provide some measures of success:
- Social Mention is a free tool that provides velocity, sentiment, reach and passion measures, plus top referrers, verbatims, top keywords plus exportable file that I use to create word clouds. Here is the social mention results for Blissdom Canada, a conference I attended recently.
- Hashtracking.com according to Sara Chi, although still in beta, is a great way to track #Hashtag mentions–not only verbatims but also physical count within a defined period (something Social Mention lacks). It includes: reach, impressions, content analysis, contributor lists and full transcripts.
- Facebook Analytics has come a long way and not only does give you general stats on demographics of your fans or growth in Likes, it also provides you an exact measure of a given wall post impact ie the reach, the number of engaged users, the “virality”. You now know what type of content builds audience impact.
- Klout seems to be the only real FREE measure of influence right now. Klout has a pretty sophisticated algorithm to define an individual social media influence score. While there are no tools that come close to Klout, the system has its flaws. Much of the algorithm still uses numbers (followers, frequency) to define influence. Also, your community defines your Klout. If the frequency of your tweets are to those that don’t have a strong Klout score, then yours, in-kind, will be affected. Recently Klout made algorithm changes that saw many scores drop (much to the chagrin of its users). Good news: hopefully the changes will make it less likely to game the system. For now, it is the baseline that many will still go to despite these glitches.
- How to take your small business online – slowly but surely
- How to get more out the time you spend on social media
- More about Hessie Jones