Every second, 9,100 tweets are sent. In a given day, 55 million status updates are made on Facebook. Those are just two examples illustrating the volume of content and activity occurring in social media. By the time you are finished reading this, those statistics will probably have changed.
People often ask me about my activity in social media and how I manage all the content that I see and share, as well as how I manage my networks across a number of social channels. Let me be clear that I can’t handle all of the content and I can’t engage everyone in my networks all the time. Nobody can. You have to adopt the mindset that you will read, share, manage or engage with whatever and whomever you can and not trouble yourself with the overflow.
The best analogy I have ever heard came from Jaap den Dulk in describing Twitter:
Twitter is like a stream that runs through your garden. Each day you go to the stream and take out just enough water for your garden and the next day and the next.” Don’t worry about taking more than you need, missing something, or worse, missing out. What goes around comes around. Much of what transpires in social media today will linger or repeat itself tomorrow.
However, putting worry aside still does not address the management of the volume you are interested in, want to capture and curate, or the people with whom you want to engage. The following list, in no particular order, are some of the tools I use to consume and curate content as well as manage and interact with my community. I hope you find some of them useful:
This is usually where it starts for me. I have connected my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn feeds to Flipboard, enabling me to scan each post in the feed as if they were articles in an electronic magazine. I see the first paragraph of an article, a thumbnail for a video, or an image without having to click on any links. I get a pretty good idea of what the post is about just from my scan. This enables me to scan quite a bit of content and take action only on what I deem important. I can reply, retweet or save to Pocket.
Flipboard is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones.
I received an email from Pocket regarding the number of posts I have saved to it; let’s just say that I have save a lot there.
What I love about Pocket is the integration it has with browsers and apps like Flipboard. For example, I can right/command click on a link from a Facebook post and save it right to Pocket. I can click the Pocket extension in Safari or Chrome to accomplish the same thing. From within Pocket I can share the post to one or more of my social channels or send it to Buffer to be shared later.
I often tell clients and anyone who will listen that content is the beast that must be fed, and Feedly makes it easy to maintain a steady stream of content for the communities with which I am involved.
I have an extensive list of RSS feeds categorized by topics such as business, entrepreneurship, design, fun, and more. I can check the feeds within each category on a daily basis and identify which posts will resonate with the various communities. Content comes in, gets organized, and I scan it and post it to Buffer to share later across one or more of the social channels. All it takes is a few minutes and a few clicks.
I manage a number of social accounts for myself, clients and non-profit associations I am involved with. From Pocket, Feedly or via browser extensions I can post articles and blog posts to Buffer and the posts are automatically scheduled to go up at a later day and time based on a schedule I have set up for each social account. The number of days and posts per day are set and can be adjusted based on tracking how content performs via the analytics that Buffer provides.
This is a new one for me and I have just started playing around with it. Like Pulse (now owned by LinkedIn) and Zite, it aggregates content and allows you to organize or categorize by interests. I like it for being an alternate source of content.
I have also used Pulse and Zite and like them as well. As a side note, now that Pulse is owned by and integrated with LinkedIn, my concern is that everyone is sourcing their content from one place to share on LinkedIn. I don’t think that this can be sustained, and it certainly runs the risk of becoming tired. I am always checking out new apps and services and Prismatic just happens to be in that evaluation phase right now, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
I have used almost every Twitter app under the sun for mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop. While I am an exception and still continue to jump around to different ones to accomplish different tasks, Sprout Social is one I keep in my toolkit. I like it for its scheduling, analytics, and insights, to name just a few reasons. I also like its integration with Feedly, making it easier to source and schedule content for sharing.
Like many of the applications discussed here, Sprout Social runs on mobile, tablet and computer, so I can manage things from home, the office, or when I am out and about. I also like the way it supports multiple social accounts.
This is an application I have been using from the very early beta days. I love it. I love the analytics and insights I can capture about my communities, client communities and their competitors. I love the simplicity by which the engagement within Twitter communities is tracked and the Best Time to Tweet by days and times can be generated and synchronized with Buffer in a click. There is more that I love about Socialbro, but check it out for yourself.
If you are sharing content and you want to know who is sharing it within your community and beyond, Topsy is the perfect solution. Topsy makes it possible to search Twitter right back to when Twitter first began.
Twitter used to tell journalists to use it as a resource; Apple realized its value and acquired it for $200M. I like it because I can paste in keywords, an article’s title or the link to a blog post or article and see who has been sharing it. This is especially important if I want to find out who has been sharing blog posts that I have written. It enables me to reach out and thank them for sharing my work and add them to my community if they are not already a part of it.
Specific to Twitter, commun.it gives gentle prompts and reminders regarding who to engage, follow, unfollow, get back in touch with or acknowledge for the level of interaction and engagement you have had. They keep improving it, too. Although I am on the free version, they still provide a lot of features and functionality.
Nimble takes what commun.it does for Twitter and carries it across LinkedIn and Facebook. Furthermore, it merges the feeds from each into one centralized inbox. When you add a contact from LinkedIn into Nimble, it automatically checks to see what other networks it is on. It prompts you in much the same way that commun.it does, but also adds the conversation or engagement triggers like birthdays on Facebook and job/career-related updates from LinkedIn.
You can also set reminders to get back in touch with key contacts, follow keywords and hashtags, and create a deal list and sales funnel. Nimble’s founder, Jon Ferrara, knows a little something about contact management and CRM from having founded GoldMine.
I know this is number 11, but I wanted to give an honourable mention to Execnote – hey are a new entrant just coming out with a beta version of their offering. It is an overlay to your LinkedIn network and suggests the four things you need to do to engage your network on any given day, and you can take those actions in just a few minutes via mobile. I will be trying it out in the coming weeks so you will be hearing more from me about it later, but I wanted to highlight it here in case you want to check it out yourselves.
That’s my list. Not a finite one, because I will continue to add to it. I only highlighted some of features and functions of these tools; you may find other attributes that you like.
I am sure you have your favourite tools as well and I would love to hear about them. Add them in the comments below or tweet them to us. We look forward to learning more.
A recognized senior social strategist, speaker, and blogger. He has held senior strategy roles with wireless, e-business, financial, and social CRM service providers, helping clients remain competitive by embracing social media and digital technologies.