A flurry of social media management tools has arrived to help you consolidate and keep track of your social media updates. Four social media experts weigh in on what they use and why.
Pro: Sarah Evans, Sevans Strategy, Chicago
Why: There is both a desktop capability on PCs and Macs and a supplemental or complementary iPhone app. So if you're an iPhone user like me, it really makes things quite easy. While some people prefer HootSuite because you can access it on a web platform, I like that I can actually download and have an application that runs on my desktop.
Caveat: TweetDeck can update Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, but that's about it now. It can't update to blogs or other social networks and doesn't allow prescheduled tweets or updates.
Pro: Jeff Widman, BrandGlue.com, Bellingham, Wash.
Why: Since my company runs fan pages for a lot of different companies, we had to be able to plug in multiple Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts. We wanted an app that was based entirely in the clouds--desktop applications can be buggy. We also wanted the ability to delay postings, scheduling them in advance, and we wanted a link shortener.
Caveat: I try to recommend the best solution for clients' needs. Sometimes, that means HootSuite, but it could also mean TweetDeck or Seesmic--you have to look at the features that are best for the problem you're trying to solve.
Pro: Jason Smith, Arcos Interactive Marketing, Arlington, Texas
Why: Ping.fm supports one of the most comprehensive lists of social media of any platform [42 at press time]. The others don't provide the breadth of access to various social networks. Everyone can do Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, but we use more than that. We want to make sure that we don't have unclear, ambiguous messaging across social media. With Ping.fm, we can more directly access the people who will respond to our messages through the various networks it supports.
Caveat: Ping.fm may be overkill for those social media lite users.
Pro: Pete Czech, New Possibilities Group, Rutherford, N.J.
Uses: Multiple platforms
Why: I recommend that people set up a daisy chain between the core social sites. For example, using Ping.fm to send text updates to Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, Tumblr, Brightkite and MySpace, then using Posterous to e-mail photos to Flickr and Picasa, or use it to send videos to Facebook and YouTube. You can create a system from various tools that offer the best options.
Caveat: Multiple tools can be more time-consuming, but there's no one perfect management platform yet.