As I’ve been getting more involved in using social media like Facebook and Twitter to market business services, I’ve been spending more and more time inside each site, keeping up with my various “presences” there. Meaning I have less time to actually create those services and content that I can sell to my clients. Familiar story, right?
It’s crazy. By the time I’ve finished the circuit of going to each Facebook page or LinkedIn group I’m monitoring, and trying to contribute a little something when I can, the ones I began with have comments or replies that need my attention, so I need to circle back and take care of those. Rinse and repeat a couple times, and I look up at the clock and it’s time for lunch. I always feel like I’m performing one of those plate-spinning acts, you know? (What? You don’t know? Here’s a video of a great plate-spinning act.) That’s why I’m now looking at and testing different ways to streamline the spinning, to manage it all.
Ideally, I’d have a butler. This butler would gather all the high points of what’s happening with my business and personal social media accounts, write out the names of each account’s latest Twitter followers and such on heavy card stock, and bring them to me on a silver platter for my perusal … oh, let’s say twice a day. Then, at each visit, I’d go through the small, neat stacks he’s gathered, and then I’d tell him, “Jeeves, please tell these new followers thank you with a Direct Message. And answer that question in my LinkedIn group. Oh and welcome the new Likes to my InDesignSecrets Facebook page, and post a link to our latest podcast. That is all.”
And then I’d turn my attention to other things, until Jeeves came back later that day with a fresh stack. Wouldn’t it be loverly?
I have discovered something that comes close to Jeeves, named NutshellMail. He’s not perfect but he’s interesting.
Even though I just discovered it a month ago, NutShellMail has been around a while. Constant Contact, the HTML email service provider, bought the company in 2010 and has been adding new features to it ever since. They still call it “beta” and so it’s still free, and I like “free.
Instead of bringing me neat stacks on silver platter, NutShellMail emails me a single compiled summary of what’s happened in each of my social media accounts since the last time it emailed me. It sends me the report on whatever schedule I tell it to: once a day at 9:00 a.m., or every other day, or every couple hours (I set it to twice at day).
Here’s the top of a recent NutShellMail report; it scrolls at least five or screenfuls more. The icons across the top next to “New Items:” indicate how many are included in this report for each account. (The series of 0’s are for my Facebook Pages, nobody posted any comments or anything since the previous report 12 hours ago. Your mileage may vary!)
Even better, if while I’m reading the email I want to reply to one of the Tweets it shows or post a Facebook Page message, I can just click the link in the email and I’m brought to NutShellMail’s own interface where I can do so. I’m not distracted by what’s happening in Facebook or LinkedIn or wherever. (This is also a boon if you’re working in a place that disallows you from logging into those services, because you’re just going to NutShellMail’s page … ssshhhh don’t say I told you that.)
The service can report on however many accounts you have on
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp (you *have* claimed your
business page on Yelp.com, haven’t you?), FourSquare, CitySearch, and
MySpace. For Twitter, you can even have it tell you who “unfollowed” you
(they call it “Quitters”) since their last missive. I like how the
service goes beyond just reporting the latest posts, but also account
activity—new follows and quitters on Twitter, new Likes and page views
counts on each Facebook Page, and so on.
There is actually an entirely new, burgeoning field called Social Media Management, and venture capitalists are all over SMM companies like flies on honey.
You’re probably familiar with (or at least heard of) the Big Kahunas like HootSuite and Seesmic, but there are dozens more. If you’re tired of the plate-spinning, I found this blog post on Web-Strategist.com to be one of the best summaries of what solutions are out there. (It’s from March of 2010 but the author has kept it up-to-date.)
List of Social Media Management Systems
by Jeremiah Owyang, Web-Strategist.com
Are you using Nutshell, Seesmic, or something else to help you keep up? Share what’s working (and what’s not) by commenting on this story below,