YourABA November 2011 Masthead

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Time management tips for social media

Post once, update many simultaneously

Social media tools can be a great way to communicate, collaborate, share, and connect with clients and colleagues. Many lawyers are starting to see real implications for networking and client development tools, and have added social media to their marketing arsenal. However, many are also overwhelmed by the time commitment, and the occasional writers block.  Below are some tools and tips to use to effectively manage your time commitment on social media.

What to say?

One of the reasons people will follow you, friend you, like you, link in with you, etc., is that we are all looking for help with getting useful information, at the right time. Those most successful in social media are those who give more than they take.  Keeping this fundamental in mind, there are many ways to easily gather and share content through your social media channels. Many sites you visit have a “share this” icon or a button to add a link to Twitter, Facebook, Digg or other social media.  One click and you’ve just shared an article, as a matter of course in your daily current awareness reading.  If you haven’t started using an RSS feed reader, such as iGoogle, Bloglines or Alltop, check out our article and a video tutorial on using iGoogle to get up and running.  RSS feed readers let you create a place where all the news of interest to you is filtered into one location, rather than you going out and checking multiple websites. Other tools add more social media to the mix, such as Paper.li (in alpha), which lets you view the hyperlinks (lists, pages and hashtags, too) referenced by your tweeps and Facebook friends—in one spot, organized in a friendly “newspaper” format.

Tool box

TweetDeck is social media dashboard that allows you to view and interact with your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and other accounts, all on one screen. And it is free! Tweetdeck has a desktop version (Windows, Mac and Linux), and also a Google Chrome application, a web version (beta), and apps for Android and iPhone. HootSuite is a similar, and similarly free, program.

Ping.fm uses the tagline, “post from anywhere to anywhere.” This free web-based tool provides an option to create a message that can be distributed to many channels—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, WordPress, TypePad, Blogger, Google Reader and the list goes on.  To compose Twitter posts, which are limited to 140 characters, the service has a character counter and will automatically shorten long hyperlinks. You can create posting groups, thus sending a message only to LinkedIn and Twitter, or only to Facebook and your blog. You can also send posts from email, text/SMS, RSS feeds or Google Reader. Of course, there is the requisite suite of mobile apps for you to take the tool on the road.

Keep it simple

Without using any external applications or websites you can still take advantage of the “post once, update many simultaneously” concept.  You can selectively send tweets to Facebook by using the Selective Tweets Facebook app and then add “#fb” to send selective tweets to your Facebook personal or business page.  Likewise you can also post LinkedIn status updates to Twitter, and selective Twitter updates to LinkedIn by adding “#li” or “#in” to your tweets.  You can follow these easy instructions from LinkedIn’s blog.

Remember that a tweet that is part of a Twitter conversation will look rather one-sided on LinkedIn or Facebook, and that tweets full of hashtags look a little out of place when they appear in other social media.  The same holds true from truncated Facebook posts or blog post updates in Twitter.

Are you a blogger? You can use TwitterFeed to send new blog posts to Twitter or Facebook using your blog’s RSS feed. This tool also lets you track click-throughs to get a sense of what people like, re-tweet and click on.

Conclusion

Social media can be fun and rewarding, but requires some time to be successful. Think of the audience you intend to reach when using each of these tools, as well as what looks most professional and most useful. While there are plenty of tools to make managing all of these accounts easier, it does require some care and feeding to put you in the best light possible.  Also remember, if you are linking up, friending or tweeting with colleagues and clients, time management is essential, as they are likely not to be favorably impressed when you tweet about how beautiful the weather is on the golf course when you still haven’t responded to their last voicemail.

A version of this article titled “Social Media Management Tools,” co-authored by Jim Calloway, originally appeared in the "Site for Sore Eyes" column in GP Solo, June 2011

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