The discussion about whether or not to use Social Media Marketing has died down. By now, the business community agrees that social media is a must for every business. But using online networks is not an easy and fast solution, as previously thought. In fact, a recent study has found that people who use social media successfully spend an average of 6.5 hours a week on it. That is a long time to be successful. Now the problem is finding a way to better manage the networks to make up for some of the time. Let me introduce you to 3 secrets on how to manage your networks effectively. You will be more successful and also save more time.

The first secret of success is to link your social networks effectively.

It will not be beneficial for you to link all your networks together. The result will be that you will have a lot of double (or even triple) content on each of your networks. You really want to have each piece of content only once on each network. To achieve this goal, you need to think carefully about how to link your networks online. Also consider in which network it is most present and in which it is not. Another important point to consider is the question of whether all your posts fit into each network. You may have a more personable approach on Facebook and Twitter, but a more entrepreneurial approach on LinkedIn. I link my Facebook Fanpage to Twitter, Twitter to LinkedIn and my Blog to my Facebook Fanpage. It works fine for me because I'm mostly on my Facebook fan page. This way, I do not have double posts, but everything I put on my Facebook Fanpage will be distributed to all my social networks. But like I said before, consider your particular strategy first before linking your social networks. Once you have linked your social networks effectively, you should use a social media management tool.

The second secret to success is using a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

The main reason you need a social media management tool is to save time. You don't have to log in and out of each network every time you want to check your messages or want to post something. Instead, just log into your admin tool and you can do everything right from that platform. That alone is a huge time saver. In Hootsuite, for example, you can put your Twitter account, your Facebook profile, and your Facebook Fanpage on different tabs. Just switch from tab to tab to see what's happening on your network. You can also post status updates to all of your social networks that you have registered with Hootsuite. But be careful with that, you don't want to have double content on your networks. Remember how you have your networks linked before posting. Give it a try and you will be amazed at how easy it can be to manage your networks. Now, let's go to the third secret.

The third secret to success is to use automation without losing authenticity.

Social media can only be effective if you are authentic. That is a fact. Now, you could argue that automation is not authentic and runs counter to this all-important fact. The solution is that it depends on how much and what you automate. Spending 6.5 hours a week to be successful on social media is almost a full workday of the week. That's a long time to use for effective social media. To better manage your time, you have no choice but to automate certain steps of your online network. Some of the tasks in online networks lend themselves perfectly to automation, like sending DMs (direct messages) to new followers on Twitter. Also, you can schedule just a couple of Tweets a week to be posted automatically. As long as you check your Twitter account in person and reply to your direct messages, it will remain authentic. Another area that lends itself to automation is sending your blog post to all of your social networks. You should not automate more than 20% of your social networks. If it's more than that, authenticity just doesn't exist anymore,

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The first secret of success is to link your social networks effectively.