Working with multiple social media accounts and multiple social media profiles require a social media management app to keep your accounts and scheduled posts organized. Once you see how easy it is to manage multiple profiles / social networks within a single interface you’ll not want to venture back to doing social media management any other way.
Like TweetDeck, HootSuite uses a column-based setup for managing your various social media accounts:
Every stream inside your tab is self-contained. So you can monitor the Tweets, Facebook photos, and YouTube searches related to your Tab title.
Social media monitoring is where HootSuite shines as you can have each tab named after the topic you’re following and have one column within that tab for Google Alerts on your keyword, and then others for keyword search streams / RSS Feeds (via the HootSuite Syndicator app) Twitter lists or hashtags (install the Nexalogy app in the HootSuite App Directory to see the latest trending hashtags).
Each column could be a social account that you’re tracking or an rss feed of a particular topic you’re interested in.
HootSuite can manage probably the largest number of different social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, FourSquare, Instagram and Tumblr. These are either built-in to your dashboard or can be added through HootSuite’s app directoy.
Scheduling posts is no problem with Hootsuite and allows for setting the exact time you want to send it out. HootSuite allows you to upload a CSV and auto-schedule up to 350 posts on their $15/month Pro plan. (The free plan only allows you to schedule one social media post per day). One difference with other apps is that HootSuite uses its own custom ow.ly URL shortener as opposed to the more common bit.ly URL shortener. Bit.ly gives you more integrations and in-depth analytics as opposed to ow.ly which is proprietary / closed and only available to HootSuite customers.
Oktopost looks like a great competitor to HootSuite. It has the slick, easy-on-the-eyes interface reminiscent of Sprout Social with lots of powerful features for managing your social media personas. The social networks you can manage using Oktopost include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. This includes Facebook pages and LinkedIn company pages:
The interface is really well designed as can be seen with their scheduling dashboard which features drag-and-drop post rescheduling and easy photo attachments straight from your device:
The scheduling features of these social media apps are sophisticated enough that you don’t need to rely on a single-use tool like Buffer. Oktopost’s scheduling also includes an Autoposter module where you can save a bunch of messages to be delivered on a scheduled drip across all your social media profiles. It forms the basis of your social media campaigns, and Oktopost includes Google Analytics integration to chart the effectiveness of these social media campaigns:
Oktopost also has many features for monitoring social topics, but the real attraction is the post scheduling / analytics backend to plan out entire social media campaigns. Imagine setting up all your tweets / status updates ahead of time and watching your social media marketing machine work on autopilot throughout the month. The $9 Solo plan allows adding up to 10 social profiles, but you’ll need the $49 Starter plan to use Autoposter, post to LinkedIn company pages and use Google Analytics. $49/month can be a bit steep if you need those extra features: I tend to favor social media management tools that are affordable for small businesses and solo site owners. For example, Sprout Social looks nice with it’s pretty interface, but I chose not to review it because they keep jacking up the price. First it was $10, then $40 a month, now as of late 2014 it’s $60/month for their cheapest plan with no free plan available.
Tools for Managing Twitter
TweetDeck is a free tool from Twitter for managing multiple Twitter profiles, reading tweets of people & topics you follow as well as scheduling tweets. Tweetdeck of course only manages your Twitter account(s) so it’s not a social media manager, but it has quite a few nice features for a free tool. You can for instance choose to not show tweets if they have a certain hashtag, useful for sifting the wheat from the chaff in the Twitterverse.
A great way to gain a larger audience is to follow people who are following your competitors and then unfollow them if they don’t follow you back. You can do this process manually – either using the official Twitter Desktop app for Windows or Mac or the cross-platform/iOS/Android Janetter. Just search a competitor and hop over to their follower tab and start adding promising people manually. Here’s what it looks like in the Mac official Twitter app:
You can’t tell easily who is following you back, so to cull the people who aren’t following you back automatically you should opt for a tool like ManageFlitter (free for up to 1,000 unfollows a day, $24/month for up to 5 profiles for premium) or JustUnfollow (free users can follow/unfollow upto 50 users per day, otherwise $10/month for premium). JustUnfollow also handles Instagram and paid plans have the ability to direct message people automatically once they follow you (useful for sending them a link to a resources page or even an opt-in page):
Another cool trick to do with Twitter is to tweet out links to your old posts in an effort to bring traffic to your site. Keep in mind that less than 10% of your followers will see any one of your tweets, making it generally ok to tweet out the same link two or three times a month. For WordPress users, they can use the Tweetily plugin to automatically gather up all the links to all your posts and tweet them on a set schedule (like one tweet per 3 hours).
For finding interesting things to tweet on your account, you can use HootSuite / Oktopost / Tweetdeck or even just browsing around the web to find interesting topics to share with your audience. Another trick is to use If This Then That and one of their RSS feed to Twitter recipes to tweet media-rich rss feeds in your own timeline with a TwitPic attached:
Note the @@Jalopnik – you need the double ‘@@’ in the recipe for them to receive notification that they’ve been mentioned by you. This just helps add some color / multimedia to your Twitter timeline with little effort. If you don’t always want to be hitting the same feed as a source, use Yahoo Pipes to combine a bunch of your favorite content sources into one.
Choosing the Right Social Media App
It’s hard to tell which of these apps are going to work for your particular needs without testing them. This is a preliminary review as I plan on testing the above social media managers alongside other tools for managing my social media presence. These include:
- Assessing the tools for how well they work for social media monitoring / content curation. Besides the free TweetDeck, Scoop.it, Feedly and/or NetVibes look useful to run alongside either HootSuite or Oktopost.
- Rolling your own social media management app: Buffer for scheduling, IFTTT | Zapier | Dlvr.it for complex triggers (i.e. a WordPress post triggers posting to various social networks). Feedly can also publish your curated RSS feds to Buffer either directly or through IFTTT.
- Other tools gaining popularity for broadcasting content, like RebelMouse.com.