Social network automation should never be a substitute for interaction and engagement – but, that being said, used wisely for specific purposes, it can really help you make the most of the social arena.
Social networks are vast online places that can easily take up far too much time for little results – but Twitter in particular has inspired a surfeit of automation apps and sites. This guide will help you quickly decided which ones could work the best for your specific Twitter goals, objectives and needs. It will also help you decide why and when to automate.
- Twtrland – Possibly the easiest of all the online Twitter tracking tools, this is the app for those who shudder at the thought of deciphering stats. You can instantly find influencers and people to follow – who may follow you back. (Or at least interest your)
- Crowdbooster – This particular manager combines visual presentation with heavy-duty stats. It is not free, but paid plans start at $9.00 per month and there is a 10% discount if you pre-pay annually.
- TwentyFeet – This “ego tracking” service uses a unique model whereby you sign up and add tracking “bundles” as you need them. (The smallest bundle is $12.45.)
It also offers a basic free account on sign up, which may be all you need for quite a while.
The down side: May not be a down at all. TwentyFeet itself was easy to use and refreshingly well laid out, but it has been acquired and absorbed by SumAll. So far it seems that you may give up the familiar, easy-to-read interface but gain access to more tracking opportunities.
Best advice: Check it out for yourself and see if it’s for you.
- Twitalyzer– Another popular industry-standard stats manager. Efficient and packed with data. (It even incorporates Klout stats into its measurements.)
You can refresh Twitalyzer data and demographics in real-time; export “everywhere”, since Twitalyzer for easy integration; and monitory your Twitter stats “from anywhere”.
Paid plans start at $19.95 per month, and include hashtag tracking and “watchword” tracking.
Even if you decide not to sign up with a social media manager or app, follow their Twitter feeds to find out the latest changes, tips and updates. (And you can see whether or not they answer their followers!)
But while the apps and services we’ve just viewed can serve up stats instantly, there are apps, social media managers and services that can help you automate your Twitter account even more.
Step 2. Using Social Media Managers
One of the biggest advantages social media dashboards and managers offer is the ability to pre-schedule tweets.
While pre-scheduling all your tweets is sometimes frowned upon – it decreases engagement if you are not there to answer questions when they are posted, for example – pre-scheduling can also be a powerful and effective tool if used wisely.
When you should pre-schedule:
- If you would otherwise miss your target audience’s online window
- If you need a straightforward announcement to be repeated a few times during the day
- If someone else monitors and answers your pre-scheduled tweets as they are released
It can be a real time-saving, focused strategy to write a main batch of tweets for the week, pre-schedule them – and let your social media VA monitor and respond for you (or alert you if a particular tweet needs your personal judgment).
Be careful when signing up for social media managers: You don’t want to inadvertently enable one which is going to post ads in your feed! (Most don’t – but always check each one out thoroughly first – and read the Terms of Service.)
- TweetDeck – Twitter’s own native social media dashboard, it truly provides an overview of what’s going on in all aspects of your Twitter feed and interaction.
You can choose between:
- Signing in
- Downloading TweetDeck’s dashboard to your desktop
- Installing the app for Google Chrome
While it is a great idea to keep on top of your Twitter feed activity in real-time, be warned that downloading the dashboard to your desktop and activating it means you will be subjected to popups for every single tweet in your feed while you are working. This can be distracting and disrupt concentration.
It is, however, great for monitoring particular types of tweets – for example, if you are watching a trend or monitoring your own event or product launch hashtag tweet).
- HootSuite – This social media manager has been going “forever” and is one of the most popular. Its ease of use is often cited as a big reason for this – though the interface has changed over the years (like everything else on the net).
You can manage up to five personal accounts for free; after that, prices begin at $8.95 per month. Unlike many other paid plans, however, HootSuite doesn’t just offer extra features; it also offers exceptional value and unique bonuses with its paid plans, including a free Ow.ly custom vanity URL and free social media coaching.
Even with HootSuite’s free account, you have access to:
- Message scheduling
- Basic analytics reporting
- Basic app integrations
- Brand mention tracking
Its easy message-scheduling capacity is what attracted most long-time users initially, however: And it is also what keeps them loyal.