At least several times a day, I hear folks asking about how to get started with all this social media stuff. What tools they need, what sites they should look at so as not to get overwhelmed. This is the nuts and bolts stuff, not so much the "why" (we'll cover that more in depth next week).
Throughout this week, I'll put up a post today focusing on a different tool or set of tools, along with some of my tips for each. At the end of the week, you'll have a collection of what I'd consider the main components of a social media system for yourself, and I'll wrap it up with a PDF ebook with all the information you can download.
This is individually focused, but many of the same things can apply in a business context if you use your business goals as a guide. I hope it's helpful! Feedback or questions you'd like me to answer along the way? Email me or send me a ping on Twitter.
Last caviat: These recommendations are clearly biased in favor of the way *I* use social media, because that's what I know best. Your viewpoints are more than welcome and encouraged; this is meant to be helpful guidance and suggestions, and your mileage may vary.
Hardware and Software
Any good social media system requires a few key tools to manage it. These are my can't-miss tools, but by all means, suggest your own and tell me what works for you to manage your online world.
A smartphone. I love my iPhone and I'm a recent Blackberry convert. The mobile web alone makes it worth it, especially when I can browse the web on the 3G network when I'm stuck in an airport and too chinsy to spring for wireless. But if having mobile web isn't important to you or something you'll make heavy use of, a BB is a power email workhorse (I had the Curve and liked it a lot).
Cost: $199 for the phone (8GB iPhone), about $45/mo for unlimited data plus whatever phone plan you sign up for.
A Twitter desktop client. In my personal view, the web interface for Twitter is limited and cumbersome, so I recommend using a third-party application. I'm a fan of Tweetdeck, and I make great use of the groups option to manage my large stream of connections.
Twhirl is also a popular option, and takes up less screen real estate. For me, the real estate doesn't matter because I'd never have it running alongside another application, anyway, so I just flip windows (command + tab on my MacBook Pro). If you're an iPhone user, I like Tweetie as the mobile app, and used TwitterBerry on my Blackberry.
Cost: Tweetdeck, Twhirl, and TwitterBerry are free. Tweetie is $2.99 at the iPhone app store.
A blog platform. I'm a big WordPress fan, and it's the platform I use for my blog. If you're going to start a blog, you can host it easily on WordPress.com, but it's cheap and easy to buy your own domain name, get web hosting, and have your blog there. Many hosts offer one-click WordPress installation and you can get a blog up and running in less than 30 minutes. Other options for a blog platform include Blogger (free), TypePad, and MovableType.
I registered all my domains with GoDaddy, and I host with InMotion Hosting. This blog and theme was customized by the fabulous guys at Men with Pens, and I use the Thesis theme for my personal blog (which I love and recommend. Well worth the cost.)
Cost: GoDaddy domains are $10 each. Hosting packages vary, but usually between $7 and $10 per month. Thesis theme is $87 for a single personal use, and way worth it.
So those are the things that keep me connected to my social media platforms at a basic level. Tomorrow, we'll drill down into Twitter and my starter tips for making the most of it.
This is a post from the Social Media Starter Kit Series. To see all the posts from the series, click here, or click here to download the PDF e-book version. Like this what you've read? Consider subscribing to the feed and never miss a post.
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