Thing #8: Social Media Management Tools

I really enjoy using social media. In the past, I’ve been a heavy Facebook user, but in the last year or two I’ve really switched over to Twitter. In fact, I’ve been so frustrated with Facebook that I’m on a current Facebook Sabbatical. In the past, I’ve used Pinterest and Foursquare, and I’ve recently been poking around in Instagram and Tumblr.

Professionally, I’ve worked with a public library Facebook account in the past. I currently don’t do much with social media at work, besides occasionally helping with the Pinterest board for our book recommendation display. If you have a lot of users on a platform, it can be really useful and fun to build up an account. I can see the appeal of any of these tools in helping manage and communicate with patrons on social media.

HootSuite

I played around with HootSuite first. I actually really love the desktop application, the ability to schedule tweets, the automatic updates to my stream, and being able to have multiple Twitter accounts open side-by-side (I have my personal Twitter account, @knsievert and also keep an eye on my group book blog’s account, @TheBookOwls) I’ve been using it with varying levels of success all week.

screenshot of HootSuite app for iPad

I set up HootSuite so that the Home Feeds for both accounts were right next to each other, which is great for browsing, but less great when you keep using the wrong accounts to respond or favorite tweets–a mistake I made over and over this week!

TweetCaster/Buffer

TweetCaster grew on me as I used it. I still prefer HootSuite’s interface-it feels cleaner and more spacious. Also, you can multiple accounts open on one screen. With TweetCaster, you have to  TweetCaster is darker, and also has really annoying autoplay video ads (at least they are muted). I’m assuming these would go away if I forked out money for a paid version.

screenshot of TweetCaster iPad app

There were two features I really liked about TweetCaster. First, TweetCaster allows you to mute certain people, hashtags, or keywords. Tired of the posts from the three people live-tweeting #TheBachelor, or don’t have time to keep up and filter through all the posts coming from that awesome conference you weren’t able to attend? You can silence all of tweets using that tag.

screenshot of temporarily silencing a hashtag on TweetCaster

You can also using TweetCaster with another app (iPhone only) called Buffer. While HootSuite allows you to schedule posts, by sending tweets to Buffer, you can schedule them for the future. However, Buffer analyzes your followers to determine when the best times to schedule your tweet to maximize the number of people who see it. This is so cool!

how to schedule a tweet using Buffer

example of three scheduled posts in Buffer app

So, in this case, I sent my very interesting sample tweets to Buffer. As you can see in the second image, it automatically scheduled them to post at 12:21 PM, 5:53 PM, and 8:08 PM. I can go in and change this time, if I wanted.

There’s all sorts of other great search options and stats features in both apps. I’m sure I could spend hours exploring both of them!

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