Social Media For Location Independent Parents – Automation
In the last post we looked at some of the main social and business networks that location independent parents can use, but those are not the whole story when it comes to social media.
Many location independent parents running a business will maintain profiles on other sites and will also run a blog or two. However, you still need to make sure that you are not spending too much time on social media.
To do that, you need to introduce some automation. Using my own setup as a case study, let me tell you how I do it. You already know the three networks on which I interact most, but since I love trying out shiny new web stuff, I have accounts on around 50 or so social media sites.
There are three key tools that help me to maintain these and other tools that help me with management…
I use Friendfeed as my all in one aggregator for public view. (I also have a couple of other tools that I use to aggregate my lifestream for my own use, but those are less important).
Thanks to the magic of RSS, I can import virtually anything I do into Friendfeed. My current setup includes my comments collected by Backtype, Disqus and IntenseDebate , the feeds from the five blogs I write for regularly (I still need to add this one), my bookmarks from Delicious, Digg,Google Reader, StumbleUpon and Twine, and my status updates from LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
The beauty of this is that most of my online interactions are collected here and I can use it to comment on and share anything I find interesting, copying those same updates to Twitter and – by the use of hashtags – to my connected sites.
Note: Friendfeed was acquired by Facebook earlier this year, so there’s always a possibility that one day it won’t be around any more. Some people has suggested Streamy as a replacement, and there’s also a list of alternatives in this Friendfeed thread.
Twitterfeed is exactly what it says – an online application that feeds Twitter. I use Twitterfeed to publish updates from the blogs I write on regularly to the related Twitter accounts. I can also use that same tool to publish the feed to Facebook and to Ping.fm, another important tool that I’ll look at in a while.
I can also post updates from my Delicious and StumbleUpon accounts. One of the reasons I like Twitterfeed is because it uses a variety of URL shorteners, including bit.ly, which means that you can track the clicks for each of your posts – making it a great business tool.
Ping.fm lets you update dozens of social networks at once, making it a real boon if you want to let not only your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn connections know your news, but also your chat buddies from Google Talk, hi5 and Friendster.
It’s as simple as adding your networks and giving Ping.fm the permission to publish. For added oomph, you can post updates to Ping.fm from Twitterfeed too, as well as from Hootsuite, another popular Twitter tool for business.
Since many location independent parents have different Twitter accounts for different aspects of their business, it’s also worth having a multiple Twitter account management tool, such as Hootsuite (which has its own analytics). Tweetvisor, Brizzly, Seesmic or Tweetdeck – they all do pretty much the same thing so you can take your pick.
So how do you put this all together in a sensible manner. Here’s my social media flow.
- I feed everything from my blogs and other social media accounts into Friendfeed, taking care to avoid duplication
- I feed blog posts to my Twitter accounts via Twitterfeed and also use Twitterfeed to update other social media accounts via Ping.fm
- I interact mainly on Twitter, which I use to update LinkedIn, Facebook and Brazen Careerist by using hashtags.
Now that everything is set up, all I have to do is spend time on Twitter daily and check in on other social media accounts once a week for the important ones and once every couple of weeks for those that are less important. It’s a snap!
Have I got the perfect social media workflow? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that when I am busy, as location independent parents usually are, it only takes a few minutes to maintain my presence online.
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