2 Time-Saving Social-Media Tools
Let’s be honest, the holidays make us even more aware of the fact that many times, despite the song, time is not on our side. We are a society of people with too much to do and too little time to do it.
For nonprofits, this statement is often made around 15 minutes into any presentation I give about integrating social media into a marketing or communications strategy: “We just think we have the time for this kind of a thing.”
I feel your pain. I do. But luckily technology has advanced along with us and our hectic lives to help make things a little more efficient for us. Below are two of the tools that I have found to be the best time-savers in my social media day-to-day listening, communication and analysis of online activity.
HootSuite: is a website and online brand-management service that publishes to websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, MySpace and WordPress. It is also a Twitter client.
This tool is hands down my ultimate time-saver. HootSuite is designed for people who manage multiple pages across multiple social-media platforms. It has a lot of perks; here are just some:
- It’s free.
- The ability to schedule tweets or posts in advance (perfect for tweeting over the weekend or later at night for those of us who want to “unplug” after leaving work).
- Clean and easy to use interface/dashboard.
- Analytics that in my opinion are unmatched for a free tool with all the bells and whistles HootSuite incorporates. HootSuite also allows you to integrate your website’s Google Analytics into the HootSuite platform, allowing you to obtain a better overall picture of where you traffic is coming from and what content is most popular.
Netvibes: is the first personalized dashboard publishing platform for the Web including digital life management, widget distribution services and brand observation rooms. Interactive agencies, businesses and brands rely on Netvibes Premium Dashboards to better monitor the real-time Web.
Netvibes helps me keep all of the Google Alerts, RSS (really simple syndication) feeds, news stories, and any other relevant information regarding an organization or brand organized and up to date without me having to do a thing. I come into the office in the morning, open up my dashboard and all the latest results for my searches are brought to me. Some of Netvibes' perks:
- It’s free.
- Organized! The dashboard is chaos-free and simple to use. The ability to have multiple tabs allows the user to separate topics. For example, say you are the Red Cross — you could have a tab for “Red Cross Google Alerts” and one for “Red Cross in the News” in separate sections within the same dashboard.
- You can share the dashboard with multiple people within your organization. I share my organization's dashboard with our editorial director, the vice president of marketing and communications. This can come in really handy when a news story about your organization breaks or a Google alert pops up by preventing 10 staff members from e-mailing each other throughout the day asking, “Have you seen this story?” Everyone who needs to know is finding out at the same time in the same place.
I know that without seeing the tool this information can be hard to visualize, so here is a great free webinar on how to use Netvibes and other news aggregators for nonprofits by Amy Sample Ward. Truly a great presentation with worthwhile tips on getting the most out of this tool.
If your organization is already out there on Facebook, Twitter etc., I hope these two time-saving tools help you to manage your social media more efficiently. If you are still on the fence about the reality of having the room to fit it in, check out the sites mentioned above. The efficiency of these technologies may shock you into realizing that we all need to make time for the important things, and in the world of marketing, social media is on everyone’s “to-do” list and may take up far less time then you think.
Christina Johns is online media manager at International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.