If you’re often logging into multiple social networks to monitor tweets and walls, and even find yourself reposting a lot of the same content, there are numerous tools that let you update several networks with a single mouse click.
Social networking clients take the hassle out of following and managing your social media accounts. By integrating a variety of sites and services, these applications allow you to keep track of followers and friends, share media, shorten links and update multiple profiles from one location.
Most social networking apps are inexpensive or free to use, so they’re some of the best tools available to social networking addicts and social media professionals alike.
Here are four of my favourite clients to help get you started on your quest for social media domination.
Free (basic); US$5.99/month (Pro)
HootSuite is a social media manager oriented towards a team working with social media, featuring multiple tiers of access to the social networks. (One person administrates and others can update, for example.)
It has a tabbed system which can be used to quickly switch between profiles with one click and also provides tracking of mentions, WordPress support and scheduled updates. Its also easy to monitor @replies, @DM and also reply from a specific Twitter profile to any feed.
The basic account is free and allows you to manage five social networks with 30-day stats history. The US$5.99- a-month Pro account offers unlimited social networks and stats history as well as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights integration and also the ability to add a team and delegate feeds and tasks to them.
TweetDeck is another social media application that makes good use of multi-column layout. You can easily customise TweetDeck to display just what you want to see, including wall updates, Twitter mentions and more.
If you sign up for a free TweetDeck account you can also synchronise your settings and layout across computers and devices. TweetDeck supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Buzz and others.
The ability to view YouTube videos and share pictures via a variety of photo sharing sites turns TweetDeck into a multimedia experience. In addition to easy cross-network updates and monitoring, TweetDeck also supports scheduled updates, making it easier to have a constant presence online.
Free (ad-supported); US$19.95 (Pro)
Socialite monitors and updates Facebook – including Fan Pages, Twitter, Digg, and Flickr – and also supports Good Reader and manual RSS entries. The accounts appear in the left-hand column, with the option to access specific parts of each account (Messages, Retweets and so on), get an overview of all account activity or – for information junkies – see new items across all accounts (use with caution!).
What Socialite lacks in volume of supported services, it makes up for with tools for organising the flow of information across your social networks including timelines and filters to help drill down to what’s important to you.
If you need a desktop application with a broad reach, try Seesmic Desktop. It offers plugin support and is available on nearly every operating system and mobile device under the sun.
Aimed at helping both casual users and businesses manage various profiles, Seesmic gives you control over which social networks you want to post to. Update just one, all at once, or only a few without having to visit multiple individual sites.
All versions of Seesmic support the core social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but the desktop versions really shine with support for plugins that expand the support to over 50 services – you can even track your bids on eBay!