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Social Aggregation: Simplifying Social Networking

From a business standpoint social media is, at its best, an exciting and often entertaining development in the world of business.  At its worst, social networking is a necessary evil.  Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, you have to do it to succeed.  When we say do it, we don’t mean slap together a LinkedIn profile, tweet a couple of bland blurbs, then forget about the whole social media craze altogether.  Like with most things in life, if you are going to do it, then you want to do it right and do it big, or not at all.

However, there is a tipping point when your involvement begins to outweigh any benefit you receive from it.  That is to say, with so many outlets out there, if you try to utilize every single resource you’ll end up spending all of your time on maintaining your accounts and have no time left over for your businesses.  Every person, every business has a different tipping point, but it’s always there.  The fact is this:  the internet is way bigger than you or your business.

So what do you do?  You either end up scaling back, or you end up setting up a social media department.  You don’t want to scale back your efforts, since social networking et. al is some of the most effective and least expensive (more often than not, free) marketing out there.  You don’t want to be forced into taking on additional hands, because, again, that eats into any benefits you might glean from utilizing social media in your business.  Let’s face it, help isn’t cheap these days.  Whether you hire on a team of fresh, young, tech-savvy go-getters, or pay your unemployed brother-in-law to run your social networking accounts from his tricked-out computer in your in-laws’ basement, it’s going to cost you one way or another.

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that none of those options really strike you as ideal (unless you’ve been sleeping on the couch and need a way to get back on the wife’s good side, in which case go with the brother-in-law thing).  This is where social aggregators can save your bacon.  They allow you to consolidate social accounts, shotgun update and maximize your use of time and energy.

Chances are, if your business is succeeding, then you are already pretty confident in your multi-tasking capabilities.  If so, then social aggregation isn’t going to be a stretch for you.  It is exactly what it sounds like: a means of bringing your various accounts together so that instead of post the same thing manually to two dozen different sites, you can post it once and BAM there it is for all of your connections to see across the board.

Of course, there are dozens and dozens of aggregation tools out there.  I personally like Profilactic.  Not just because the name makes me cackle like I’m 15 again, either.  It seems to be one of the easiest to use and supports the most networking sites.  Explode.us is also great if you are doing market research.  This one isn’t for posting, but rather for perusing – allowing you to simultaneously search all the major sites from Twitter to LiveJournal.

There are plenty of other powerful aggregation tools out there, but seeing as this post is intended mainly to introduce those who were unaware of social aggregation to the concept, we’ll leave the in-depth analyses and recommendations for another time.  The bottom line is, if you are looking for a way to save time in managing your social media accounts without giving any up and losing your edge, then this is absolutely the way to go.  And let’s face it, if you have time to handle it all without streamlining, then your business is in serious trouble.

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