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How to manage multiple social media channels

Social media gives businesses the opportunity to interact and reach existing and potential customers globally, and promote their products and services in a cost effective way. If used well social media can be a powerful marketing tool, but using social media or indeed any kind of online communications can be a double edged sword!

With the number of social media platforms increasing at a rapid pace, managing multiple social media accounts concurrently can often be an overwhelming task and can easily go spiralling out of control.

As a first step –you need to decide which Social Media platforms best suits your business (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest YouTube etc) in terms of return on investment and reach.  The main factors one should know when establishing a presence are that, being present in many takes additional time, money and skill; and in addition to that, one needs to understand that having a strong presence in a few is always better than having a mediocre presence in several.

One of the main ways to save time and efficiently manage a host of social media channels is by using a social media management tool. The type of package may vary depending on the amount of accounts one needs to manage, and of course your budget.

As we see it you have three options:

Manage each social media channel separately

Although using individual social media channels separately has its benefits, it can be frustrating and confusing managing multiple tabs in your internet browser and flicking between apps

Link your social media accounts together

This approach would work well if you only have a few social media accounts and it’s possible to link the content between them

Use a dashboard 

See and post to many of your social media networks from one central dashboard. This approach would best suit a business with at least a few social media accounts that are very active, with regular content updates.

There are many social media dashboards on the market. One of the leading platforms and one we strongly recommend for small to medium sized businesses is HootSuite which offers a flexible social media management solution  It is initially free and then has different levels where you incrementally pay for more functionality.

Some of the other social media management tools you may consider:

Sprout Social: Combines easy to understand statistics across all of your Facebook pages and other social media accounts with the ability to post content across all channels.  Easy tracking of ‘tasks’ are used to remind you to respond to comments.

Buffer: Is designed to be used as you are browsing the web on your smartphone or tablet.  It’s free and is ideal for sharing and scheduling externally generated content easily.  There are a number of extensions to integrate with your web browsing regardless of what device you are on.

IFITT: Stands for ‘If This Then That’ an d is not strictly a dashboard, but it allows you to use a series of recipes that link your social media together.  Over 3000 links can be created between most social media channels.

Others worth a mention include Tweetdeck, Bottlenose, Postling and MarketMeSuite.

Advantages of using a Dashboard such as Hootsuite include:

  • Dashboards arrange information in simple columns for each social media channel
  • Easier to monitor what customers are saying and how they are interacting with you.
  • You can filter your streams to only receive posts relating to a certain topic
  • Useful when maintaining a constant ‘voice’ across all channels
  • Easily select which posts will go to which social media channel
  • Easily allocate posts which need responding to by staff
  • Schedule posts ahead of time

Another important part of social media is the content you post. Drafting posts for several accounts can be a time consuming affair. To overcome this, it is best advised that you write status updates in advance and schedule them using social media tools at one go which would be a useful time saver.  However, be aware of what posts you have coming up and be mindful of local, national and international news and trending topics, an innocent tweet may be misunderstood in light of new news.

Lastly, do bear in mind that customers expect prompt responses when faced with an issue or for an enquiry they have made. Therefore, we recommend you keep an eye on your social media accounts regularly to avoid letting down your online audience.

With the power of WOM (word of mouth), social media is not a waste of time, but a valuable and effective tool to add to your marketing arsenal – so make the most of it!…