Do you Tweet? Have a Facebook profile? MySpace? LinkedIn? How about your own blog? Like many, you probably have at least two or three social profiles and, like many, are wondering how on earth you’ll find the time to manage them all.
Some people suggest you should only have one profile and focus on that. But others recommend separating your personal and professional profiles. Many users want to spread their presence and extend their network beyond one or two profiles. So you may need several social profiles, depending on your needs and circumstances.
Here are five suggestions for helping you manage multiple accounts (and your time!) to get the most out of your social media presence.
1. Use disseminators to post to multiple accounts across platforms
Ping.fm Push microposts with one click to more than 30 of the most popular social platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Supports SMS messaging so you can update from your mobile device.
Posterous A “life-streaming” application enabling you to post multimedia to multiple platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger and others. You can update Posterous simply by emailing your post — no browser needed!
Hootsuite The best application (IMHO) for managing multiple Twitter accounts. Includes a scheduler to Tweet any time in the future, one-click URL shortener, stats for your posted links and dashboard for one-stop management.
2. Use aggregators to monitor conversations across platforms
Think of aggregators as the opposite of disseminators. You are pulling in information which you monitor for conversations and mentions. The simplest aggregator is an application that reads RSS feeds, say from a blog.
You can manage multiple RSS feeds through desktop aggregators but I have found the most efficient way is to use the iGoogle browser interface. Use the tab feature to build multiple pages around specific topics, then add RSS feeds from Web sites featuring those topics.
Friendfeed is the leading social aggregator. Use it to pull in posts from your friends and followers on up to 58 social sites including Twitter and Facebook.
3. Choose one or two platforms and do them really well
Rather than running around with a Tweet here, a Digg there, then a Facebook post, use the aggregators to make your life easier. But choose one or two platforms to focus your energies. For example, I focus on my Twitter activity and use Hootsuite to manage my multiple profiles. But I could decide to use Tumblr or Posterous if they better suited my communication needs.
4. Check in occasionally to your less-used accounts
The downside of having so many profiles is that you will inevitably miss some of the conversation. Include your FriendFeed feed (sorry!) in your RSS feeds to make sure you catch at least the main conversations. On the profiles you visit the least (say Plurk), put a message in your Plurk profile saying you are mostly on Twitter or whereever and will not likely respond to posts on Plurk. The idea is to point users in the direction where you are most active.
5. Practice to your strengths
If you are good writer, blog. If you like making videos, do that. I’m good at understanding complex issues and boiling them down to a few words, so I like to Twitter. By practicing to your strengths you will build your online reputation and personal brand.