Joseph Parker highlights three automation and tracking solutions that might help you be more efficient with your social media efforts.
For your social media engagements to be successful, your company should be consistent in its efforts, which include maintaining Twitter schedules and chat rooms, running Google+ hangouts, and creating Facebook posts. Given that each social platform has different posting times for prime engagement, the average tweet trends for more or less time depending on the topic, it's difficult to know where to start or how to scale. Fortunately, there are tools that can aid in your social media posting efficiency and consistency.
Buffer can be connected to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and can schedule internal content for sharing across all platforms at once, allowing for the right type of engagement on each one. In addition, there is a Buffer icon on the top right side of the browser that allows the user to mark articles and other content for scheduling.
With Buffer, you can see how many people clicked, favorited, and retweeted your post. In the event of a retweet, it shows the extended reach and how many people were impacted from the post.
Scheduling is key on all platforms, since each one has its own prime time. Buffer's Schedule feature allows the user to pick as many posts as they like, and schedule them whenever they like throughout the day. Unlike HootSuite and TweetDeck, this is a one-stop-shop for scheduling and planning; Buffer promotes consistency while measuring engagement. Buffer can also be used with App.net.
There are various pricing plans. There is a free option; the Awesome Plan is only $10 a month per user; Buffer for Business offers varying options (including a custom option) depending on the size and scope of your business.
TweetDeck is identical to HootSuite with one exception: It's a downloadable and free app that exists in a separate window and not as a tab on your browser; this grants you accessibility that doesn't exist in HootSuite. In addition, you can conform TweetDeck's columns to fit whatever you like, from being part of a Twitter chat that uses a certain hashtag to simply seeing who direct messaged you. The user can schedule, tweet, and manage interactions from the main platform.
If you're a die-hard HootSuite fan, then use TweetDeck just for Twitter chats. There are hundreds of such chats, ranging from business and marketing to technology and app development. Companies that join the ongoing social conversation will be in a better position to dictate future conversations and understand trends.
TweetDeck can be used in conjunction with Buffer and is an excellent tool for social monitoring.
IFTTT (if this then that) allows users to connect multiple applications using 68 social channels. The free app operates on "recipes" that the user can create for themselves and/or their company. The Recipes let the user only employ the apps they deem necessary, while syncing them together for better organization.
For example, Topsy is a Twitter tracking tool that can track keywords (hashtags, conversations, etc.) across the social spectrum. Topsy can be connected to Evernote, so each tweet that includes the desired keyword is categorized within one folder; this allows you to monitor the social conversation surrounding the keyword. A simpler example is connecting an RSS feed to your email, so that every new piece of content is delivered to your inbox for review.
These tools can help with automation and tracking engagement, but like most things in marketing, there is no such thing as a silver bullet. Automation is just a tool and should not be confused with the power of personal engagement.