If your main use of social networking is to promote your small business, then you can’t afford not to read this.
The last few years have seen a social media revolution. Smart businesses jumped on the bandwagon and businesses that were slow to react got left in the collective dust of tweets, feeds, posts, and status updates.
Now, with so many social networks available, the hardest decision for businesses to make is not whether to create a profile on a social network, but which one to spend time developing? The answer becomes a lot simpler with the use of some helpful plug-ins and add-on’s that let businesses update multiple social networks at the same time.
As we speak, companies like Status.net are working on new platforms that will enable users to blast information across all social networks from the service of their choice. This is the natural next step for the social web 3.0.
Right now, if marketers want to create a business presence on Twitter, but feel silly visiting a new site just to “tweet” in 140 characters or less, they can link up their businesses Facebook fan page to Twitter here and perform two updates in half the time.
This is jus the tip of the integration iceberg. Free software such as Yoono, Ping.Fm, Hello txt, and AOL’s Life stream (formerly Social thing), ,allow users to update many of their social networks: MySpace, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and more from Socialized. me, all at one time, from one simple desktop platform or sidebar. Before deciding which service to register with, users should check to see which social media sites each feature is compatible with. Yoono’s collapsible sidebar feature (available as a Firefox add-on) conveniently makes it possible to view status feeds and update one or multiple social networks while the user is viewing something completely different on their browser’s page. Switching between multiple profile options in the browser’s search bar takes some getting used to, but using an add-on like this is far superior to bookmarking social sites. Aggregation is probably the more accurate term for these services, since consolidation of all social tasks is the ultimate goal, rather than just the connection of two or more sites.
Gone are the days of opening up multiple tabs, then copying and pasting information from one status field to the next. Social networking aggregation allows businesses to work smarter and actually post more information across more channels than ever before. However, this means more responsibility and thought should go into each post since the damage of an unprofessional post will be multiplied numerous times over. With real-time search set to become a major player in the areas of customer service, SEO, and corporate reputation, these types of social aggregators are great news for businesses. Not only will it make it simpler to broadcast news across the social web, but it will challenge the social networks to offer more services and further integration to improve user experience.
Many of these services are also available for smart phones. For the best Blackberry and Android aggregation apps, check out Seesmic the company that developed some of the best third party twitter applications ever made. They just acquired the aforementioned Ping.Fm, so stay tuned for further social connectivity for mobile in the very near future.
Businesses should research what each service has to offer, take a few programs for a test drive and find the software that suits their social media needs. The best part is, right now, since social aggregation is still in the development stages, every service mentioned in this article is free.
Businesses cannot afford to stay out of the social game any longer. Once a social networking presence is established, connectivity and aggregation are the keys to managing social reach and staying ahead of the competition.