Once you’ve figured out exactly what you want to do as far as social media, it can seem like a chore to implement a plan. You may have several different social media networks you want to update at once and you’re not always near a computer. Ping.fm provides a service where you can update all (or some) of your social networks all at once from multiple different types of devices and sending methods.
Ping.fm will accept text and image messages from mobile phones via MMS (multimedia messaging service) or SMS (short messaging service), instant messaging services, email and various third party applications (there are over 100). Those messages will then be posted to whichever social networking sites you want (they support over 40) including Twitter, LinkedIn, Identi.ca, and Facebook. With both straight forward and more custom posting methods you can also control which messages go to specific sites.
Signing up for their service is quick and free. In the dashboard, you can setup your accounts from various social networks, as well as the services you’ll use to submit updates from. Groups can be created so you can control which posts go to which sites. As easy as the service is to use, they also provide fairly detailed help and instructions. Support is via a Get Satisfaction forum.
Example - At a Conference
Now that you have a Ping.fm account, what do you do with it? Well, let’s say you have Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Flickr accounts. First, you should add each of these into your Ping.fm account. Next, you might want to create a few types of posting groups so you can filter what posts go to which sites. You may want to create a photo group and then send photos only to Facebook and Flickr. You might want micro-blogging (or short updates) only to go to Twitter and Facebook. You may want blog posts only to go to WordPress.
Let’s say you’re at an industry conference which is covering some great information that your customers might be interested in. Using Ping.fm, you can send short updates to Twitter and Facebook about what’s going on (live blogging). You can also send photos to Flickr and Facebook of new products and speakers. When you have time to write a longer, more in-depth post, you can use Ping.fm to email it to your blog at WordPress. All of this can be done without having to be at a computer and without having to post individually to every network.
Example - Daily Use - Featured Product
For daily use, you can update your customers with useful information, sales, product news, etc. If you have a daily featured product, it would be a good idea to let your customers know what the new one is every day. By using Ping.fm, you can send a short update with a link to sites like Twitter and Facebook. You could also send a photo to Flickr and post a short blog post to WordPress.
Social Networking Doesn’t Have to be a Time Sink
Using tools such as Ping.fm, you can focus on providing helpful and useful information to your customers without having to spend hours on various social networking sites. One caveat - Ping.fm allows you to post to various sites, but does not currently let you see what’s going on there. You’ll need to utilize other tools to monitor and engage your customers in the conversations they’re having (more on that next month). Remember, social media is not just a broadcast medium, it’s a social one, which means listening and engaging as well as speaking.