With a dizzying array of social media initiatives to monitor and maintain, what's an already swamped college PR practitioner to do? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace, Vimeo, Flickr, PhotoBucket ... it seems difficult just to keep track of all the places your brand shows up, or maintain the multitude of "official" sites that have sprung up in these channels.
I've found an easy way to keep an eye on our campus' social media efforts, all from one computer screen. The trick is to install a secondary web browser and configure it to automatically open a set of your most important social media sites.
For me, the weapon of choice was Mozilla Firefox, but you could choose any secondary browser you like, for either Mac or PC. I installed Firefox and added a quick-launch button at the bottom of my screen.
Then, I set up Firefox to open a set of social media sites. (This configuration for Firefox is under Tools --> Options --> General --> Homepage.) Here's my current list of tabs:
Tab 1. HootSuite
. This is a great web-based utility for managing multiple Twitter accounts and RSS feeds. At a glance, I can see what's been sent or received at our university's four official Twitter accounts, and my own personal account.
Tab 2. Facebook
. Based on research into student usage, we've placed most of our social-media emphasis on creating a quality fan page for the University, plus some additional groups for various constituencies. A click on this tab shows me what's going on.
Tab 3. LinkedIn
. A few years ago, one of our enterprising grads created an "Alumni and Friends" group on LinkedIn. Later, he graciously added me as a manager of the site. Clicking this tab earlier today showed me two more requests to join, awaiting approval. In seconds, that task was done.
Tab 4. This blog. It's a gentle reminder to post something, or to see what the co-authors are up to.
Now, any time I want to check what's happening with these social media sites, I just launch Firefox rather than my usual web browser. I can quickly scan these sites, without the clutter of my usual web browser. (Again, I use Firefox this way, but you could configure almost any tabbed browser to do this.)
My next steps are to add tabs for YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr. We have a university-sponsored presence on each of these services, but I think I'll configure those tabs to find anything that's been tagged with our name.
How would you use a system like this? Got an idea to share?