Being Bruce -: Business Social Media Tip #29 - Use Utilities

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Business Social Media Tip #29 - Use Utilities

Third party utilities are programs that are created to help you get the most from other programs. Used judiciously with social media, third party utilities can save you time posting and even creating content, increase your presence by posting data in multiple places, and give you a higher level of control and extra features than you'll often get from using standard social media sites.

Many of the earlier business social media tips and strategies I've written about can be completely controlled by, assisted, or even augmented by third party utilities.

Presently there are utilities to help you set up sub-groups, create separate windows or columns to track search terms such as your company name, your personal name, or anything you desire, and there are also signaling devices that will alert you with visual and audio indicators when specified activity occurs.

You can take it too far with third party utilities and spend inordinate time trying to know about every utility available and also seek the very best ones. I suggest you find a reasonably strong utility suite and stick with that until you hear others bragging so much about another suite that you can't resist. Why waste time searching for the perfect utility suite when "good" will be good enough.

The trend now is for utilities to bridge multiple social media sites - for example a utility suite called TweetDeck works with both Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. The concept of a utility "deck" is similar to a console or a dashboard that has indicators, readouts, or alerts for a variety of content or tracking data.

Unless you have a lot of time on your hands (and that likely leaves out most of us), I wouldn't advise switching social media third party utility suites more often than every 6 months - that's probably sufficient time to allow the fast changing list of utilities and menu of services and features to make significant leaps.

Another word of advice on the subject of utilities is it's best to let others work with the very first versions of any new program while the bugs are being worked out. Also, when new version of a program or utility is announced or launched, hold off for a month or two before switching or upgrading - it's not uncommon at all to hear people speak of new versions causing problems with old data, at least at first. So let others be pioneers so you can stick with your primary business, but still be on the lookout for the third party utilities for your social media management and creation.

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