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Boiling Your Social Media Marketing Down Into One Pot (Guest)

EMG Guest

Erin Schwartz manages social media programs for 123Print.com, an online resource for holiday necessities like holiday cards and greeting cards, holiday labels and business holiday stationary.

On the user end of social media, aggregators are quickly becoming a popular way to manage multiple accounts and services into one easily consumable interface. An app called Flipboard is the current reigning star, bringing everything from Twitter and Tumblr to SoundCloud and Flickr accounts into one dashboard.

But what about the marketing professional, whose job isn’t so much to read through the feeds and content of others but to create posts and updates for their own company, across a dozen or more platforms with their own systems and interfaces? It’s a task that can quickly become overwhelming. Devote too much attention to Facebook and your Pinterest page or Instagram feed may start to suffer.

To alleviate that challenge for business owners and internet marketers, a number of aggregators focusing on the content production end of the spectrum have emerged. These range from simple, free services that blend Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ into one interface, to sprawling, all-encompassing services that can manage email newsletters, consumer surveys, and Foursquare contests all in one platform.

If you’re ready to consolidate and ease your daily schedule of posting to one platform after another, the following services and sites offer a good place to start:

VerticalResponse
One of the major players in this burgeoning industry, VerticalResponse tries to do it all, combining e-newsletters, contests, surveys, and social media posts into one platform. Tweets and Facebook updates can be scheduled to post daily for a month in advance, creating a base for your on-the-go spontaneous posts to ensure constant new material. A handy iPhone app ropes it all together to manage in the field, and pro options start at $9 a month.

HootSuite
For consolidating every thinkable social media outlet into one portal, HootSuite is the reigning champ. Going well beyond the usual suspects, this service integrates Digg, Foursquare, and even Constant Contact, Tumblr, and WordPress. In September, they gobbled up competitor Seesmic, guaranteeing an even bigger piece of the social media aggregation pie. Offering built-in analytics that let users compare the effectiveness of different campaigns (i.e., email vs. tweets vs. online contests), the pro package runs $9.99 per month.

SproutSocial
For aesthetic purposes, SproutSocial certainly deserves recognition for its clean and easy-to-digest analytical data, offering feedback on social media campaigns in the form of attractive graphs and charts. Like others, it consolidates major social media outlets into one platform and includes an impressive mobile app for on-the-go control. If you’re an Internet marketing manager tasked with demonstrating the results of your campaigns, this service does much of the heavy lifting for you, providing daily, visual graphic reports that are ready to be shared with coworkers, clients, or supervisors. To manage up to 10 profiles and accounts, SproutSocial starts at $39 per month. EMG has also written about SproutSocial before here.

Digsby
For another free option and alternative, Digsby works by creating a unified homepage for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn. Originally designed as a consolidation tool for multiple chat accounts, it’s also useful for marketers who are available to clients and customers via chat on Facebook, Google Talk, Yahoo, AIM, and others. Finally, it’s an alternative to Outlook or Apple Mail, bringing Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and any IMAP or POP accessible account into a single inbox.

Have you tried any social media consolidation services for your Internet marketing campaigns? Which would you recommend?

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