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How to Get the Most Out of Social Media May 28, 2010

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Social Media.

Managing a million different social media sites is a headache for even the most seasoned social media-ites. But what happens when your business is expected to maintain a Twitter account, a Facebook Page, or a WordPress blog?

Updating all those sites takes time and energy, but social media hubs like Hootsuite can help any small business efficiently manage their social media presence. Hootsuite is a free website that allows users to update, post, monitor, and track a range of popular social media services.

Like other social media hubs, Hootsuite’s hub can be customized to suit your needs. Whether you’re tracking one or multiple accounts across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more, Hootsuite might be an efficient, secure way to stay on top of all of them. Below are five quick ways to maximize Hootsuite.

1. Setting Up Multiple Accounts

That little grey launch button in the lower-left corner of Hootsuite.com is your new best friend. From here you can access all of Hootsuite’s advanced features to really get the most out of your sites. Under settings, click “Social Networks.” The Add Social Network dropdown lets you set up multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ping.Fm, WordPress, MySpace, or Foursquare networks by typing in your specific username and password. Quick Tip: you’ll need to go to the parent sites in order to create your profile, which you can then add to Hootsuite.

2. Building a Team

On Hootsuite you can give any number of Team Members, or employees, access to your networks. Adding Team Members is a great way to increase your online presence and boost your efficiency, as they can help send out posts, monitor traffic, and update your networks while you act as an administrator. Adding Team Members is as simple as typing in their email address and selecting a network: it can increase traffic and take the pressure off whoever is stuck updating every site. The feature is so useful, Twitter is even adding it their business profiles as a “contributors” option.

3. How Well Are You Doing?

Learn to love the launch button. From there you can find Hootsuite’s handy Stats page. It shows how many times your links were clicked over any date range, what sites direct traffic to you, and even your most popular posts. Tracking stats is important for any small business. The stats page is a great way to see which posts are doing well, and whether your time on social media is actually paying off. Quick Tip: In order for your stats to show up, you must use Hootsuite’s built-in Ow.ly URL shortener, located right below the text box.

4. Listen, Listen, Listen

Social media is about creating community and conversation. Any good conversation requires a good ear. You can use Hootsuite to follow the trends, topics and issues that relate to your business by creating columns. These automatically updated lists can save you a ton of time by tracking your company’s mentions, direct messages, news on competitors or even by important keywords and phrases related to your business. For example, a small accounting firm may benefit from making a column that tracks “taxes,” “IRS,” and “April 15” to create a feed on the latest tweets about taxes.

5. Take It On The Go

Whether you’re stuck in the morning commute or just away from your computer, chatter on social sites will still go on. You can add Hootsuite apps to your iPhone or Android devices. The Lite (read free) version includes all of the basic Hootsuite features. You’ll have to upgrade to the Premium ($2.99) version to add more than three accounts or to check your stats.

If Hootsuite isn’t your thing, there are more options out there. For starters, try TweetDeckCoTweet and Seesmic for an entry-level look at the possibilities. If your company is looking for a more robust social media management system, VitrueSocialTALK and Radian6 are all viable options. Whatever your business needs may be, keep in mind that social media management tools are still developing, but doing so very quickly. If you don’t find what you want now, keep your eye on the market. It may be around in the coming months. For now, there is no one-stop shop, but there are certainly many ways to maximize your use of tools like Hootsuite.

Joe Buck, N.C.E.

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