Anyone who told you that you can handle social media in 10 minutes is a liar (yes I'm talking to the guy who wrote that book). Social media marketing is extremely time consuming. Why do you think people are doing it as a full time job? Sure, there's many internships (hello, look at me) but usually if it's part time, there's multiple people doing the job. No matter what, it is not something that can be done as a quick fix. If you do, you will not be yielding the results you're looking for.
Instead, you need a handy dandy toolbox. It's not enough anymore to just automatically set up your tweets, post a link on Facebook, upload a video on YouTube. You have to get people engaged in your content. Here are some tools to help you out.
- Social media dashboard: The last thing you want is a bunch of tabs open, switching back and forth trying to figure out if you posted something, if your search updated, etc. My personal favorites are Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, but another good one is Postling. This is your main command center, where the information is put out there. You can also monitor searches and truly get into conversations with people.
- Content management system: Also known as a CMS. I prefer WordPress because that's honestly the only one I dove in to. It's easy to use with lots of plug-ins to make your life easier. What does it do? It's all in the name: It's a system that manages your content. This is what you use to update your blog or even your website. Try to include some social sharing buttons to encourage spreading the word.
- Instant messenger: I've always thought that this was an extremely useful tool when it came to customer service, and not enough companies, in my opinion, use it. You could truly get one on one conversations going with your customers and potential clients, answering any questions they couldn't find answers to themselves. Also, social media managers use it for some friendly link swapping, asking people to check out their links on Digg and other sites (don't kill the messenger; it is happening, and it's not a secret).
- Smart phone: These are for those people who are extremely dedicated to the social media playing field. There's plenty of apps that allow you to do your work away from a desktop or even your laptop. If you don't feel like finding a wifi connection, nothing's stopping you from posting on various websites through either their mobile websites or their nice apps. If you don't have a smartphone, consider an iPhone (at your own risk, ha), Blackberry, or Android device. I'm sure there's plenty of other wonderful phones out there, but the majority of the apps are made for these phones.
- Notebook: Even though this is the digital age, some of us still need our thoughts written down on paper. Makes it more "real" for us. Or, if you're avid about saving trees, use my favorite tool, Evernote, where you can make as many notes and screen shots as you need to. They have a web version, desktop app, and phone app, so it really comes in handy.
- Google Analytics: There's other analytics sites out there, but this one is so much simpler for me because I'm already using Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, etc. It allows you to really break down your traffic, where you're getting it to, where you're getting it from, and even includes AdWords campaigns. Check it out if you haven't already. Also useful for exporting charts of your data.
- Internet plug-ins: I use Google Chrome (and I love it). It's on my laptop as well as work computer. I have multiple extensions that I use to help aid me in my process to become a social media master. Explore some of them like the Stumble Bar, Facebook extension, and try out some of the SEO tools as well.
These are just some of the things in my virtual toolbox. I'd be interested to hear other programs and apps people use. Just know it's not enough to push information; work on pulling people in.