by Eric Pudalov, Community Events Coordinator
Back in June, we signed up for HootSuite, another great social networking tool that I feel we haven’t used to its greatest potential.
If you’re unfamiliar, allow me to explain: HootSuite gives you the opportunity to integrate all of your various social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.), and check out RSS feeds from your friends on each. It’s very similar to TweetDeck (designed by Twitter), in which you can see, in a simple interface, whom you follow, who’s following you, and all the latest tweets your friends have made.
Mark Brimm, author of Marcana Internet Marketing Guides, suggested using HootSuite over TweetDeck alone, simply because you can schedule when to tweet (or “hoot,” in this case) and which networks to reach (while Sherry Heyl of Concept Hub, Inc. had initially informed me about HootSuite, I believe I let it slip my mind until recently. We’ll be taking advantage of it from now on!)
While switching from one social networking tool to another can be an adjustment, the more versatility we have, and the greater our network, the more people we can reach with our message.
This, I’m learning, is where the real challenge comes in…which social networking tools are best to use for which organization, and why? For instance, while MySpace is, in and of itself, a social network, it doesn’t seem appropriate for most nonprofits and charity-based organizations. Musicians and comedians, on the other hand, can thrive there if they play their cards right.
Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter, however, if used effectively, can all serve as not only casual social networks, but great marketing tools. After all, would we see such major companies as Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Apple, and MTV on these sites if they weren’t doing something correctly?
However, having just thrown out a random sampling of names…each one bears closer inspection. The kind of Tweets you see on MTV’s page, for example, are entirely different from those you would see at Microsoft’s.
The latter, for example, recently tweeted: “Zune software expands to more than 20 countries, including the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain,” followed by a link to one of their press releases.
MTV, on the other hand, is much more casual, frequently Tweeting pop-culture related headlines, as well as chatting informally with fellow music, fashion, and entertainment bigwigs.
So where does a local nonprofit like GCSS fit into all this? On our Twitter page, we do our best to promote disability-related news, happenings in other nonprofit organizations, and on occasion, technology-related headlines (that we believe may serve other organizations in similar fields).
Like any company, it’s best for us to determine how to market ourselves, and what works for MTV certainly won’t work for us in every instance. The place where we cross paths, however, is finding those certain words or images that draw the casual Web surfer to our message.
Is that worth re-tweeting?