Twitter Tools That Will Change Your Life

My headline might be a little over-dramatic, but it got your attention, didn’t it?

Twitter is such a powerful social media tool.  At some point, though, it can become overwhelming because of the sheer volume of information you have to look at each time you log into your account.  Here are a few tools that can help you streamline your Twitter account, build traffic, and enable account management collaboration with other team members.

1.  Hootsuite
Hootsuite has been a total game changer for me.  It has helped me manage multiple social media accounts in one location (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook), and I don’t want to remember what my life was like before pre-scheduled tweets.

Hootsuite is a web-based application.  You can use the free version, but there is also a paid version that is especially useful if you have more than one person on your team who will be managing your social media accounts.  The following features make Hootsuite ideal:

  • Scheduling function: Schedule your tweets in advance.  You can use this to post event announcements, links to key sections of your website, quotations, etc.
  • Team management: Hootsuite will tell you who sent/scheduled a tweet, and it will also tell you when a team member has responded to a tweet.
  • View multiple streams at once: Instead of having to click around to view mentions and direct messages, all of these streams are available in one screen.

Hootsuite also offers statistics reports and a whole host of other features – I’ve only listed my top three favorites.  Mashable has a very useful guide for getting the most out of your Hootsuite account. [Read more...]

A Social Media Primer

I recently blogged about the power of social media. Today I want to skim the surface of how you can adopt a social media campaign.

The first step in adopting a social media strategy is to develop a clear goal of what you are trying to accomplish. For example, one of the organizations I help has a three-pronged goal:

  • Promote the organization’s services
  • Educate people about legislative issues that affect the organization’s mission
  • Activate supporters to become donors and volunteers

This straightforward approach is a guide that I refer back to with every blog post that I write, every tweet that I send, and every item I post on Facebook. Having a clearly defined goal helps ensure that social media doesn’t become a time suck, and sticking to your goal also ensures that your messaging is consistent with your organization’s mission. Whether you are a nonprofit, a business, or an independent trying to establish your professional reputation, having a clearly defined social media strategy is a must, especially if you plan on outsourcing the task to someone else (more on that later).

The second thing you need to ask yourself is “who is my target audience?”  You can answer that question several ways (i.e. potential customers, voters, legislators, media), and you may have several answers to the same question.  However, your answer will help give you a clue about the best social media outlet you should be using.  I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of social media demographics, but in a nutshell, aim for blogs, Facebook, and Twitter as your primary social media outlets, since they have the broadest reach.  [Read more...]

Why You Need to Get on the Social Media Bandwagon

This past weekend I presented a workshop to social activists in Phoenix about how to incorporate social media into their activism strategy. I knew even before the workshop that this was going to get a mixed reception, since this particular organization doesn’t have a website, let alone social media accounts. However, I fully believe in the power of social media, both for businesses and nonprofits to be able to connect with their target audiences. So when I received the invitation to speak to this group, I accepted.

Before the discussion even got started, one audience member stated her concern about internet privacy and said that she would never get on Facebook because she’s concerned about identity theft. I politely redirected the focus and kept my rants about the intrusion on civil liberties to myself. But here’s some info to chew on: you have no privacy. Every phone call you make, every e-mail you send, and every book you check out from the library is being monitored by the government thanks to the USA PATRIOT Act. Google it – and bear in mind that Google will store a record of your search.  Next time you see a photo radar camera, think about your lack of privacy. Whether you get involved with social media or not, you don’t have any expectation of privacy. So unless you want to wear a tinfoil hat and live in your basement for the rest of your days, you may as well get over your fear of government intrusion. Because let’s face it . . . even after your corpse is buried under six feet of dirt, the government probably has ways to intrude upon your rest in peace, too.

Now . . . back to the discussion of why you need to get on board with social media, and what you can do to start cracking that nut. [Read more...]