How to Corral Your Social Media Cattle Into One Pen [Guest Post]

Social media keyboard

The Social Media Marketing Rodeo

If you’ve ever been to a rodeo, you know that one angry bull can be a lot to manage. For a business owner or marketing director, juggling handfuls of social media outlets and accounts can feel like trying to rope a herd of bulls — each has their own quirks and personalities, and keeping them in line and relevant on a daily basis is a never-ending challenge.

Fortunately, as one social media outlet after another grows in users and importance, so do the tools that help lasso them all in. Of course, yourself and qualified staff should have the ability to post at will and keep your social conversations lively, from publishing Instagram photos to creating Pinterest pages to launching Foursquare campaigns. At the same time, it’s best to build a solid foundation and plan for your social media marketing outreach, guaranteeing daily content that’s kept fresh and timely by those ‘at will’ posts.

To get started on an organized social media marketing outreach plan, by week, month, or year, consider finding a service that will consolidate your posts, updates, tweets, and pins into one portal. Without having to constantly log-in to various accounts, you’ll increase your capability and likelihood of ensuring that each account stays updated. Here are some of the best:

HootSuite

If you want to manage multiple social media accounts and measure the effectiveness of your posts through each medium, HootSuite may be the current reigning king (with a client list that includes Sony, Virgin, and Lamborghini). They helped secure that reign by purchasing competitor Seesmic in September.

By including access to WordPress, Constant Contact, and Flickr, (in addition to Facebook and all the expected SoMe players), it’s easily the most comprehensive, allowing clients to send and schedule updates to each outlet, including syncing one message across multiple platforms. You can thus measure the effectiveness of e-newsletter outreach (i.e. Constant Contact) against your Twitter feed. Android and iOS apps allow mobile control, and the pro version runs $10 a month.

TweetDeck

Self-dubbed as “air traffic control for Twitter,” this useful service creates a unified portal for following messages and feeds and posting updates to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and FourSquare. Although it’s not an analytical tool like HootSuite, it’s free and easy to use, making it an excellent choice for small businesses looking to simplify and shave a few minutes off their daily social media marketing routine.

SproutSocial

For business owners that like seeing clear results from social media campaigns, SproutSocial offers those in the form of easy-to-read charts and graphs. Instead of deciphering confusing numbers about click-through rates and readerships, this service makes it simple, consolidating the major SoMe outlets (including LinkedIn and Foursquare) into one portal to post and read results. It also wins props for its clean and simple mobile app for control on the go. For a small business with 10 or less profile pages, the Standard package at $39 a month will cover all their needs.

VerticalResponse

For an internet marketer looking to launch multi-faceted campaigns including surveys, event promotion, e-newsletters and social media updates, VerticalResponse provides a central location and package for managing each type of marketing. Updates and posts can be plugged in and scheduled for an entire month and synced across multiple platforms, with plans starting as low as $9 a month.

Have you tried any of these social media marketing aggregators at your business? Do you feel that pulling all of your social accounts into one dashboard compromises effectiveness or eases the task and broadens your ability to reach new and existing followers?

Erin Schwartz manages social media programs for 123Print.com, a leading provider of custom holiday supplies like holiday cards, folding and flat cards, and other holiday needs.

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