2 tools for maintaining your Social Media Garden

  photo by randysonofrobert 

If you want to use social media for your business, you’ve got to be consistent.  Your social media presence is a garden and if you want your garden to look good and grow, you’ve got to routinely maintain it. 

You need to water your garden, trim and prune the plants, create new beds, add more plants – there’s lots of work to do.  But to keep that garden healthy and growing, you can’t do a burst of work, then wait a month before you do something else and expect to have much staying alive.

The first thing you have to do is have a social media plan that you can live with – don’t sign up for more than you’re going to be able to live up to on a regular basis.  The other thing you need are some tools that can help you stay on top of things.  The good news is there are a lot of tools that can help you maintain that consistent presence.

Here are a couple that I use:

Keep profiles in front of you

One tool that I’ve found to be really helpful is Xobni  (www.xobni.com ).  It’s great for helping out with email – the search tool is invaluable, but the other big benefit is that the tool pulls profile information from LinkedIn or Facebook on whoever sent you an email.  It’s a quick way to research someone and get quick additional background – all triggered from you in-box.

It’s also a good reminder that other people can see your information for any email that you send (another reason why it’s important to have a quality professional photo and updated information).

There’s a free and a paid version of Xobni (inbox backwards by the way), but either way it’s an easy way to build consistent access to social media into your day to day routine.

Pull it all together

The other tool that I’ve found to be really helpful is Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com ).  Tweetdeck is a free desktop application (or for the iPhone) that was initially developed as an easier / better way to interact with twitter.

If you’ve only tried to use Twitter using the web www.twitter.com interface, then you have to give it another try with Tweetdeck.  The default online twitter interface is terrible – it’s difficult to use, it’s not convenient and a huge reason that a large percentage of people don’t make any headway with Twitter is because of that interface.  If you’re interested in getting started with Twitter (or giving it another try), then you should check out this quick Twitter Guide.

Tweetdeck on the other hand is very convenient.  It runs in the background on your desktop, and you can segment people you follow into convenient categories (i.e. friends that talk about sports in one column, local business owners in another…whatever works for you).

The other big change that Tweetdeck made recently is also including updates from LinkedIn and Facebook.  You can add your profiles to tweetdeck and have separate columns that show you those updates all in one place.  It makes it a very easy way to check up on all of your social media activity from one place.

What tools have you found to be helpful with Social Media?  I’d love to hear your thoughts (or questions) – just post a comment below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

3 thoughts on “2 tools for maintaining your Social Media Garden”

  1. Jerry Smith says:

    Hi Shawn
    Those are good tools for sure, and there is no doubt that consistency of effort is really important. However I have noticed, a week into 2010 that a number of people have said – “I can't see how having a social media presence translates to business bottom line.”

    In other words, have the tools and cool stuff become an end in themselves and once that twitter following is built, the FB friends are there etc. then…..now what?

    Interested in your thoughts as to how social media can really help bottom line growth. There seems a disconnect that leads to either hard sell messages on SM that put people off and don't help connections, or connections and conversations but no real way of turning that into real business revenue.

    What do you think?

  2. skinkade says:

    Jerry,

    It's a great question – I see a lot of people (even those that have been using Social Media for a while) stepping back and trying to figure out where to go from here. I don't have all the right answers, but I'm looking at it the same way I look at 'real world' networking.

    It takes a long time to build a networking presence, find the right kind of partners who will refer you (and who you can refer), but if you can get established with the right network, you can drive a lot of business in the door.

    However if you stop attending networking events, don't see people for weeks at a time, don't follow-up or follow through with opportunities and referrals they give you, then your connections will dry up.

    On social media, I think you can make a push for events, activities, new products that are more like campaigns, but I also think there's value in just letting people know that you're out there…still doing stuff, still thinking about things and ready to help them out.

    If you get wrapped up in the tools and the number of followers, you're likely to lose your way…but if you continue just trying to connect and let people know who you are and what you're about, then there's still a lot of value.

    Just like continuing to attend networking events.

    I'll have to give some thought to a more complete answer – maybe a different post. Thanks for the question.

    Shawn

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