Social Media Time Savers
 
Hoot Suite    
Because no one has time to check everything…
There are a ton of social media sites on-line.  I think everyone is aware of that.  What people may not be as familiar with is how quickly people can access their social media profiles through mobile devices, and how important it is to your business or organization to consistently communicate to your potential clientele via social media.  People are communicating  about you, your business, the category of goods or services you provide, what consumers want and where customers can find certain items locally.  Simply put, if you aren't part of the conversation on social media, you aren't helping your cause.
  
The downside to social media for business or organizational use is that it can take A LOT of time for those that don't have the discipline to simply have media Google Alertsrunning in the background.  Posts, responding to posts, forwarding, sharing, liking, tagging, favoriting…  It can all get overwhelming very quickly.  But, if people say kind things about your business on Yelp, or they offer suggested improvements for your restaurant on Urban Spoon, don't you want to know?  If people are looking for products that they pin on Pinterest, and you happen to carry those items, how would you execute a sale without knowing a person was interested?  If someone wrote a blog mentioning your business, or an event you were participating in, would you hear about it?
  
How can you post, monitor and gain feedback from social media without it consuming your entire day?  Luckily, there are a lot of social media assistance tools (some call them dashboards) that can help you maintain a social media presence while still letting you run a business.
  
Google Alerts provide some basic on-line media passive research abilities.  Simply type in the key words that may be associated with your business, cause or event, and Google will send you an e-mail notifying you of any mentions on-line.
 
Two of the best known "dashboards" are "Hootsuite" and "TweetDeck".  Both of these programs allow you to monitor and maintain multiple types of social media from one application.  These programs can also help schedule social media posts and cross apply posts across multiple social media formats.
 
Many of you use Constant Contact, and they have a coordinated social media piece called "Nut Shell Mail".  At the very least, you can use Constant Contact to magnify the impact of your e-mails by enabling social media buttons.  These buttons allow fans, customers, board members or volunteers to share your e-mails on a variety of social media.
 
Digsby was once an e-mail notification and instant messaging service, but has now morphed into a platform to keep track of friends or clients amongst a rotating news feed.
 
Nut Shell MailMedia managers like Buzz Spice help you with the "what do I post" questions by matching your social media profile with suggested media you can repost.
 
Some new programs allow you to make connections or associations between different on-line information.  This could allow you to post an ice-cream special if the temperature hit 90 degrees, or a movie rental special on a rainy day.  If someone mentions a certain key word in a social media feed, it may provide an e-mail.  You create your own "if", "then" scenario.  An example of this type of amorphous dashboard program is IFTTT.
 
As many businesses want to collect more analytics via social media.  "Pay" dash boards have sprung up all over the web.  These programs go beyond reading messages and scheduling posts or tweets.  Many of these programs allow you to track link clicks from your posts, identify key word usage and obtain detailed information about your social media audience that allow you to improve your brand message and target your market more effectively.  Some of the more popular dashboards that fit this category (some have "free" and "pay" options) are: Crowd BoosterSprout SocialSocial BroBundle Post, and Argyle Social.
 
A little bit of research can allow you to gain a deeper understanding of your Main Street Logosocial media consumers while saving you time and money.  Remember, your consumers, advocates and potential volunteers are on social media whether you are or not.  Take a little time and search through the social media devices that are best for you and your organization.  If you still need help, remember that Emporia Main Street offers free consultations to members.  We are here to help your business by providing a variety of different types of assistance, including updates on new technology trends.  Simply contact the Emporia Main Street office if you need help.