4 Ways to Manage Social Media

By Renee Revetta | Aug 24, 2009
More Articles by Renee

Social media tools are always evolving and updating, it’s sometimes a challenge to keep up! So to make your job a little easier, here are my reactions and reviews of four social media management tools. Some that I’ve used include Flock, Digsby, Ping.fm and TweetDeck. Here’s my take:

1. Flock

What the Flock Is This?Image by Patrick Haney via Flickr

Image by Patrick Haney via Flickr

Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, the dreaded IE6, why not add another browser to the table? Flock. Catherine Potts actually wrote about her reaction to it in May.

Immediately you can load in your Facebook, Twitter and Gmail accounts – and Myspace, Youtube, Flickr, Truveo, Bebo, Digg, and Yahoo! or AOL mail along with a range of media and blogging sites. With Flock you can browse the web and still easily monitor social media in a sidebar. There’s options for the sidebar that include media, e-mail, RSS, a blog editor, a photo uploader, and a neat “drag and drop” clipboard, which is awesome for collecting multiple clips of info as you browse the web. Flock has some extensions, too. One is Clikball, which is Twitter compatible. It’s an additional way to share links with followers.  Another extension is Screenshot, which is like Firefox’s Screengrab.

I found myself using Flock as a surveillance tool, and then leaving the browser to go to TweetDeck or another social media program to actually respond. Although I was impressed by the long list of social network options, I wish it included LinkedIn. The next tool does include LinkedIn and isn’t a browser, but more like an Instant Messaging program.

2. Digsby

Digsby Buddy ListImage by Jeff Hester via Flickr

Image by Jeff Hester via Flickr
Image by Jeff Hester via Flickr

As with Flock, Digsby gives you a quick overview of social media activity and combines Instant Messaging, e-mail and social networks.

A great feature is the ability to update your status to any and all networks you choose that are supported by Digsby. The program allows you to monitor all of your social networks within a single column of updates. There’s also a URL shortener, which assists when making updates to Twitter. Digsby works well, and is useful especially if your company uses an instant messaging service to communicate in the office. There’s definitely some room for improvement, but overall, a good free download.

3. Ping.fm

Redesign for ping.fmImage by jyoseph via Flickr

Image by jyoseph via Flickr
Another service you can update your status with is Ping.fm. It updates your status and doesn’t provide any monitoring capabilities like the others. However, if just updating your status is what you’re looking for, then you’ve found your service! Also, another plus is that there’s no download required; you simply go to Ping.fm when you want to update. The networks that sync with Ping.fm include Twitter, Facebook, AIM status, LinkedIn, Plaxo, e-mail, Gtalk, Yahoo, Skype, Seismic video, and more. A great option is to create a group that only updates to the networks you choose. You can connect as many networks as you like, but have exclusive groups that only update to specific networks. For example a Twitter and LinkedIn group for professional use and a Twitter and Facebook group for personal use.

4. TweetDeck

TweetDeckImage by Tojosan via Flickr

Image by Tojosan via Flickr
This last program only updates to Facebook and Twitter, however it is a favorite of mine. TweetDeck allows users to survey activity on Twitter and Facebook in an organized fashion. With TweetDeck, you can see all of your friends updates, your mentions, direct messages, and Facebook status updates all at once. You can create groups, which form separate columns, making it easier to review activity. Within each group you can add Tweeps that focus on that topic – for example, you could have social media, SEO and blogging groups. This way, all discussions about these topics are in separate locations making it easier to follow conversations. TweetDeck is based on the Twitter API and does require a download with Adobe AIR.

Bonus: Bebo is another tool you might want to try out – it claims to be “your one-stop-shop for Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Delicious, Twitter, AIM, AOL Mail, Google Mail and Yahoo! Mail updates.”

All of these products are free, so my recommendation is to try them out for yourself. I’ll do my best to keep you filled in with the latest tools. Good luck managing all of your social networks!

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