As I mentioned earlier this week, this posting is the second in a series focused primarily on social media and how to use 2012 as your year to “get control” of the various platforms that you are working on. One of the most effective ways to “get control” over the your social presence is to take advantage of a number of tools that are out there that can both help you manage the flow of content (which can at times be overwhelming), but also help maintain one of the keys to overall success with any social media platform… and that is consistent activity and posting.
Before I get to the breakdown on the tools, one key item I’d encourage you to keep in mind is that one of the most important success factors when it comes to any social media strategy is that it’s like exercise… when you do it consistently, you’re successful… when you ‘dabble’… not so much! And now without further ado… on to the tools!
Flipboard: My #1 tool for managing social media is a product called Flipboard. Available only on iPhone and iPad at the moment (and I’d argue that the iPad implementation is easily one of the best apps that I’ve ever seen… with the exception of Path – which I talk about below) this product is the place where I start each and every day. Designed as a “social magazine”, this exceptional app allows you not only to look at Twitter feeds in a much more useful way, but enables you to post interesting content you find to a variety of platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
The only drawback to Flipboard at the moment is that it is missing a connection to Google+ (which as those of you who have followed me for more than 5 minutes know I believe to the biggest thing to hit the Web since HTML), but I’m confident that Flipboard will resolve that in the coming months. For those of you who are “Android only” users, I’d recommend that you replace Flipboard with the Google Currents app. Not as powerful as Flipboard.. but then of course you could just have an iPhone AND and an Android device….
Hootsuite: Another free platform, this product runs entirely “in the cloud” and allows you to synch up work that you do on your desktop device, phones and tablets and takes the “reader” concept that Flipboard provides and takes in to the next level by providing the ability to follow different streams of content - if you wanted to follow certain terms (say marketing, technology, apple, Google) or individual people (which might include @HilzFuld @GuyKawawaki @mvivio @steube @MariSmith @valpakcoupons – yes those are all real people… and yes you should check them all out on Twitter) this product gives you the ability to do that… and to do so in a format that makes consuming large amounts of content fairly easy. Separately, this product also has a terrific scheduling tool in it that allows you to not overwhelm folks that follow you with content all at once… but also allow you to curate content as you run across it… and post it at a later time.
Paper.li: One of the tools that I’ve found the most useful since I started publishing Tech Daily has been Paper.li Built entirely around the content in your Twitter stream, this product creates a digital “newspaper” each morning (you set the time that it is created and whether you want a single edition each day or more than one) and is another product that makes it very simple to extract interesting information from your Twitter stream. A completely free product, this is an incredibly useful product… .even when you don’t have 8000+ followers like my friend and collaborator @steube!
Twylah: Very similar in operation to Paper.li, I include this site/application in this listing as I’m completely in love with the interface. One of the challenges of sifting through large amounts of information each (which is certainly part of my job, but isn’t something that bothers me that much) is having different ways of looking at data and this interface does just that. Don’t feel like anyone reading this needs both this and Paper.li (unless of course you’re curating content for others – and there are several of you on this list), but from where I sit Twylah was worth mentioning on this short list.
Path: Last but not least of this listing of key tools is actually another social network called Path. Several important things got Path on this list. For starters, this app (it is ONLY available as an app and does not even have a website to speak of) is that it is simply the single most elegant application that I have ever seen. While it’s got limited audience as a native sharing app (you can only have 150 followers), from a picture sharing perspective as well as a “starting point” of your day (for all of you “over sharers” out there this app actually lets announce when you are sleeping and awake), this app is unlike anything I’ve ever used. Most importantly however it starts to move towards a “unification” of applications by allowing you to post content only to Path (as I mentioned for a truly limited audience) or to extend your posting onto Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or even to checkin on FourSquare. If for no other reason than to see what the real power of the future of mobile apps looks like… check this one out!
Hope you find this listing of tools useful, but more importantly take away from today’s posting that as you “get control” of your social presence in 2012, that more involved you are in this exciting and innovative space… the more you’ll see how technology can impact you and your business for the better. In the coming days, I’m going to start focusing on individual social platforms (Twitter, Google+ etc) and outline some of the ways that I’ve found these powerful platforms can contribute to your business success, without taking up too much of you time.
Did I miss some apps that you use (I guarantee I did)? Know of a particular approach or company that you think I should know about? Drop me a line or post a comment on my blog… I look forward to hearing from you!