How Facebook Can Drive Sales and Donations
Francine Kizner, Entrepreneur
Listening to your customers on social sites isn’t just a trend; it’s crucial to establishing your brand as connected, helpful and hip.
But with accounts on multiple social sites connecting you to disparate groups of friends, colleagues and contacts, keeping an eye on their updates and managing your own can become an unwieldy and time-consuming process. Thankfully for the time-strapped entrepreneur, there has been a surge in apps that can help manage your contacts and updates, and keep you abreast of new activity.
An aggregation tool that will let you manage all your sites seamlessly is still a ways away. Developers are still defining what a social media aggregator should do because people use social sites in different ways. As a business owner, your typical day may consist of reading your contacts’ updates, retrieving your messages and comments, and listening in on others talking about your brand. You’ll also want to reply to your messages, update your status or profile, and share links and photos. And don’t forget about friend requests and event invites in addition to each site’s unique forums, such as MySpace’s Bulletins and LinkedIn’s Answers.
Minggl, a browser plug-in that streams updates from multiple social sites, lets you update one or many site statuses and lets you send group e-mails to contacts across multiple networks. It can help you maintain a presence across multiple social sites by letting you monitor your networks in a browser sidebar so you can be where your customers need you at a moment’s notice.
“I don’t like the term aggregation,” says Dewey Gaedcke, CEO and founder of Minggl. “What I care about is socializing. I have friends spread across multiple sites and having to pool them together is going to turn out to be an artifact of social web architecture.”
Though Minggl lets you choose how frequently to get updates, other apps that blast them as they come in can be overwhelming for the busy business owner. “For marketing professionals, it’s fantastic to have a live stream. But for entrepreneurs it’s more distracting than anything else,” says Michael Durwin, a social media strategist who has run campaigns for NBC and KaBloom.
Flock is a social media web browser that will help you keep tabs on the buzz around your brand, with an RSS reader to subscribe to search results for your business that adds a broader context to the updates you receive from contacts on multiple social networks.