Here are some of the tools that we, at Cerebra, use to make our lives easier as Content and Community Managers on all kinds of social media platforms. Bearing in mind that the average Jane will be reading this article, I’ve tried to focus on tools and applications that could create better efficiency when engaging on social media networks and have chosen to concentrate on the most popular platforms here in South Africa.
As a means to update a WordPress blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page and a LinkedIn from a central location, Hootsuite.com is one’s best bet. The recently upgraded web tool that is based on html 5 (mark-up language for the Internet), meaning it provides better, speedier performance when accessing these various social networking sites. One can configure the tool using a variety of different themes and you are able to do geographical searches on any of the above-mentioned platforms all from a single website.
The biggest advantage that one gets from using such a platform is that as opposed to utilizing multiple tabs on one’s browser to access your social media accounts, you are now able to access popular sites like LinkedIn, WordPress, Twitter and Facebook from a central location.
This not only saves you time and bandwidth, but also promotes an efficiency for a user whereby users can post different types of targeted content on each of their social media networks in order to reach niche audiences. Businesses are starting to use tools like Hoootsuite more and more for the above-mentioned reason.
Mobile applications are becoming an extremely popular way to access social networks when you’re on the go. Apple iPhone and Blackberry users are the leading downloaders of mobile apps like Twitter, MXit, Youtube and Facebook, which are applications that have been developed specifically for mobile devices. Mobile applications provide a wonderful user experience as opposed to a person trying to browse to social networking websites via the phone’s mobile browser. This is due to the fact that many websites have not been made mobile-friendly yet. Companies however are realising that they have to cater for an all-round user experience and that means that marketing departments are now including creative and efficient ways of promoting their brands via both web and mobile social media.
Mobile apps that are a must-have for anyone with a need to communicate and be sociable 24/7 are the following: Twitter, Facebook, Skype, MXit, Foursquare. Most applications can be installed via the mobile device’s app stores like Nokia’s Ovi store and Apple’s Appstore.
Freeware or open source applications that can help users make their web experience simpler, faster and improve their bandwidth usage usually get the biggest votes because social media is meant to be by its very nature – accessible by all and freely available, meaning that no one wants to fork out cash in order to socialise on the web.
Video uploading tools like Vidnik and other freely available file upload applications come in very handy if you’re a regular contributor to video-sharing sites like Youtube or Zoopy. These apps allow you to upload your content to various sites easily and without the painstaking slow uploads speeds experienced by many South Africans who are regularly faced with bandwidth connectivity issues.
I don’t use any other search engines other than Google, but what I can advise is is that users needs to know at least three key words or search terms to describe what it is they’re looking up via a search engine. This helps by taking the time out of sifting through pages of results and allows for a better, more targeted search. One may find it useful to use a few synonyms along with the primary keyword in a search, as this sometimes helps the search engine recall more relevant hits. Also remembering to use localised searches can help one find the sites or information you’re looking for within a particular locale easily as opposed to doing a generalised search on Google for instance.
Lastly in terms of harnessing one’s creativity no matter what situation you’re in, a mobile device or laptop seem to be the biggest arsenal a person has, in terms of having a space to create, develop or publish content easily to the World Wide Web. It could be as simple as taking a picture while at a restaurant with your friends and posting it there and then to Twitter or Posterous where there it will remain for posterity, and thereby becomes a piece of content that can lead to further social engagement.
So as one can see, social media networks are not meant for geeks alone but human beings because by our very nature, we are social entities at heart.