7 Tools to Automate Your Social Media Management


There seems to be two types of people who use social media: Those who use automation tools to multiply their presences across the Internet and those who think auto-anything is a sin against nature.

That may be simplifying things a little, but it’s not too far fetched.

As for me, I fall somewhere in between the extremes – and I’m betting I’m not alone. Sometimes we need some tools to help us manage all our social networks. I understand that using some tools is considered obnoxious behavior by some people. But it’s a free Internet. You make your choices and live with them.

So if you think you can do this responsibly, here are seven social media management software tools to automate your updating and following:

SocialOomph

This website offers many free and premium services to help you manage your Twitter account. And by manage, I mean you can  schedule tweets, send automatic messages to those who follow you and follow all your followers automatically (Which I’m sure can cause a rip in the space-time continuum) for free. The full list of features will take a couple minutes to read.

Sending canned direct messages to welcome new followers is a bit controversial. To many, it’s Spam. Plain and simple. Others don’t mind and appreciate the contact. Those who do employ it swear by it. They say it helps them achieve high numbers of followers. The same goes for automatically following those who follow you.

My favorite though is the e-mail that rounds up all the tweets that manage any of my Twitter handles. Yes, it’s an exercise in ego gratification. I don’t care. I like it.

Hootsuite

Like SocialOomph, Hootsuite will automate your tweets. But it’s most useful feature is how it juggles multiple social media accounts. Not only can you create a dashboard that gives lets you monitor your Twitter accounts, but you can add your Facebook (this includes Facebook pages), LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress blog, MySpace and FourSquare accounts. This is so integrated that you can write one update that goes to any and all of those social media timelines/pages.

I don’t want to do that, but I do use it to monitor and update accounts one at a time. It saves me time to round up all my social media activity onto one page.

TwitterFeed

One of the best ways to get people to read your blog is to send updates to your social networks when you write a new entry. But some people are lucky to get the blog post written. Then they have to write a tweet? Never fear. TwitterFeed comes to the rescue by monitoring your RSS feed and updating your Twitter and Facebook accounts when you update your blog. It’s not pretty but it gets the job done.

I do use this to update @CarlNataleRSS with all the feeds from various blogs I update. Basically, I made this account for my mother who doesn’t know about RSS but wants to keep track of what I write. So it doesn’t hurt my feelings that the account only has three followers.

Ping.fm

This is the granddaddy of updating every social media account in the world. One stop for all your accounts. And it will accept your SMS texts and e-mails for updating.

To be honest, I’m not that interesting that I would need this.

TweetBeep

TweetBeep rather modestly only sends you an e-mail when you – or keywords of your choosing – are mentioned on Twitter. So it’s like Google alerts. It’s great for reputation monitoring, keeping track of what people say about your competition and following specific interests.

Gist

Social networks are like potato chips. You can’t have just one. So if you want to keep track of what your friends and contacts are doing on their multiple networks (assuming they don’t have Ping.fm accounts), Gist will let you know about their latest tweet, post or like.

I consider it a light-weight contact resource manager. Since it also connects to my e-mail accounts, it keeps track of when I communicate with them. I know there are more powerful options out there, but this may be just enough for me.

RSS

OK, this isn’t a specific tool but a technology. One of Twitter’s nicer tendencies is to create RSS feeds for updates. If your RSS reader is how you keep track of the Internet, then add Twitter feeds. Not only can you monitor what any specific tweep posts, but you can have a feed of search results. Again, you can track any keyword.

This works very well for me in Google Reader. I can organize different feeds into categories. This all adds up to a very powerful dashboard. The big drawback is that the updates are delayed. The RSS feeds seem to update on a schedule so it doesn’t give real-time monitoring. Which is fine for me. Your mileage may vary.

For what it’s worth, I don’t see the value of using any of these tools to duplicate messages. Why would someone follow me on Twitter and Facebook if they get the same messages twice? I try to use the networks for specific purposes. But most of the value I get from these tools is in monitoring. There are some very powerful ways to sift through all of those streams.

How do you automate your social media management?


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Carl Natale is a freelance blogger who writes about tips and advice for small businesses. He runs the site Expensiccino.com - a site about how top brands set their prices.
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Discussion

  1. I do not automate my social media management.

    Though, I sometimes use TweetDeck to manage my tweets better.

    Nabeel

  2. Derek on the 5th July

    I’ve been a HootSuite user for a long time, but I’m becoming a fan of http://mediafunnel.com – it’s got some very cool features, such as keyword/brand monitoring alerts sent to you via email or SMS, and a guest posting widget to let others contribute to your stream (great for events!).

  3. Martin on the 5th July

    Another tool to add to the list – Sendible.com. It lets you engage with people across multiple channels at any time. Offers things like scheduling, social media analytics and brand monitoring.

  4. Chris Duell on the 5th July

    Another site for automation is http://twithawk.com

    Lets you do automated marketing on twitter, that or it can just find the best matches for you to look over and confirm / reject before sending a reply.
    Pretty powerful!

  5. Thomas on the 27th August

    I’ve seen this website that coming soon…it looks fab.

    It’s called http://www.mibubbles.com

    I’ve pre registered looking forward to checking out all of the features.

    Tc.

  6. Michelle on the 4th September

    This http://www.Mububblesm.com looks amazing…the discussion above points toward the wanting for a site where you or I can manage all our social media profiles in central place. Well this site mibubbles does exactly that. It seems we can also manage our email accounts too.

    I think this is the solution. Let’s see

  7. Tony on the 11th April

    Hootsuite for me is the best, not only does it let you track, analyze, post updates, schedule updates, manager all networks, auto RSS posts. Best of all its free, unlike pretty much all of these mentioned above in the comments section.

  8. seo mauritius on the 3rd August

    Great collection thanks for sharing this i just bookmarked and share it on twitter you can follow me on http://twitter.com/#!/MAUSEO_seo

  9. Sydney on the 27th October

    I agree, great collection, thank you for sharing.

  10. Sendible on the 30th December

    Another social media automation platform that’s worth including in your list is http://sendible.com.

  11. Patrizia Corriero on the 12th January

    I’ve been using Hootsuite as a photographer to plan my twitts and facebook status, and as a social media manager for 3 companies. Wow!It’s so useful and simple to use!

  12. daniel on the 22nd March

    i will like to know how to use this tool well and also to have more followers

  13. bestfbcover.com on the 9th June

    I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website. I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own blog now ;)

    • Pooja Lohana on the 12th June

      We’re glad you find the resources useful! :)

      -
      Pooja

  14. Muhid on the 9th July

    Excellent post, i love all these social sites.
    it makes my life easier.

  15. Maria on the 11th July

    I really want to find something free like Ping.fm. But thanks for this post nonetheless.

  16. Peter T Stewart on the 4th August

    automated tools are pretty much boring these days and tend to de-pride urself. smh

  17. Andy on the 11th August

    Thanks for the list, I completely agree a balance of both manual and automated is best. Theres nothing wrong with using automated services to send good content to a wider audience. I’ve been using ping FM (now seesmic) and hootsuite for a while, but now I’m spreading to new social sites I’ll see if the others cover more. Thanks again

  18. Convurgency Inc on the 18th August

    Thanks for the list, ping. fm is not working its redirecting on another site which is not good as ping. fm. I need an automated tool through which I can spread my message to all popular social media sites.

  19. Per Lind on the 2nd September

    We are currently introducing Falcon Social, an agency centric SMMS platform. We are one of only 10 platforms which have received 3 out of 4 badges from Facebook PMD program. Have a look here: http://youtu.be/y9NrzTSd6ZU Beats the socks of off HootSuite and Wildfire any day! :)

  20. Shree on the 4th September

    I like Hootsuite and i use it to monitor my social world at one place as well.. It really saves my time and energy!

  21. Skelly on the 10th September

    Good review. I like BufferApp for scheduled tweeting, and in1.com for single click sharing to multiple networks. Both of these offer just the right amount of automation without social spamming.

  22. Tyler Murdock on the 8th October

    I’m surprised nobody has mentions my favorite way of automating social networks! I really love Gremln! Its was simple and even in the Free version it has a lot of features. I wrote about even more services on my blog. I really liked the set up of this article! There was a lot of great information that was easy to get to. Thanks for writing it!

  23. Michael on the 18th December

    Ive done a little reading on this and Im liking your article the best so far. Ive been using Hootsuite for about a week and cant figure out Foursquare. Any help on that one?

  24. Chandra on the 5th January

    Great selected tools

    Thanks for posting

  25. Bournemouth Web Agency on the 25th September

    Hootsuite does a great job posting to social network sites, we have it setup to use an RSS feed of our wordpress blog. When we post on the blog it automatically goes out to facebook, twitter, google plus and linkedin. Hootsuite also lets you define how often it should check RSS feeds (i.e. by the hour) and you can configure shortened URL’s back to the original post.

    IFTTT.com is also highly recommended for posting content on other social sites like Tumbler, Delicious, Blogger and Instagram.

    These two tools combined are very powerful!

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