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On Amalgamating Social Media….

How amalgamating social media might be able to help you get more from your feeds and highlight those networks which aren’t delivering on value

There has been much written recently (this post and this one at Econsultancy are good examples) about the difficulties businesses, marketers and individuals have in being able to quantify and analyse the actual value of social media as a marketing or promotional tool.  In simple terms it is still very hard to see whether 100 ‘likes’ on Facebook leads to a worthwhile number of conversions on your site, and even if you do have 1000+ followers on Twitter does the ROI come anywhere close to that of more traditional (but less sexier) online marketing methods such as email and search?

It is unlikely that any ‘social media expert’ will admit that the benefits of email, search and most other online marketing is a darn sight easier to see than social.  He/she will also not be likely to highlight the experimental and largely trial-and-error nature of social media marketing – and without being aware of this nugget of truth from the outset, anybody with a fledgling online presence can easily end up with a confusing mess of distracting feeds, fruitless cyber-buddies and half-maintained profiles scattered across the web.  So is social media amalgamation a viable route back towards order, and value?

Introducing social media amalgamation – making things more manageable

When thinking about making our social feeds more manageable, tools which offer us an overview of the activities of those across our networks are the ones that usually spring to mind.  Friendfeed, launched in 2007, was something of a pioneer of this.  It gives users a real time overview of Facebook updates from friends, tweets, posts from blogs they have subscribed to and countless others, as well as a simple front page in which you can interact with everything without having to open numerous tabs and logging into separate channels.  The growth of Twitter during 2008 saw the emergence of more microblogging orientated amalgamation tools both in-the-browser (such as Hootsuite) and as standalone programs (such as Tweetdeck).

Getting around distraction

Getting all your most important feeds in one place is a great way to save time that might be spent flitting between profiles.  The tendency to be distracted by social media, however, can still be a problem – and new services are striving to address this.  Launched in 2010, Rockmelt is an entire browser dedicated to getting the most from your social media networks.  By allowing the user to amalgamate feeds direct into the architecture of the browser, they do not even need to navigate away from pages in order to network.  In addition, the service also provides a customizable quiet mode to minimize distraction at the user’s request.

Amalgamating on your site, to help your site

Social media value can also be improved by how we amalgamate our networks on our websites.  Including your feeds such as Twitter and Facebook directly on to your homepage can not only increase the likelihood that visitors will want to connect, but it also helps deliver the freshest content to your site – a positive thing in the eyes of Google and other search engines.  The evolution of this comes with services such as Flavors.me which seamlessly integrates the social networks of its users as a basis for a simple and useful website.

More valuable?

Like all that is social, precisely how valuable amalgamation can be to your overall campaign is difficult to quantify exactly.  Yet, being able to see all your networks side by side is a great way to gather insight into where the most worthwhile conversations are happening and via which channels followers and fans are being most receptive.  In addition, working to cut out as much of the distractive elements of social media is no doubt a step toward value.  And by ensuring as much of your network action is assisting the relevancy of your website in both the eyes of your visitors and search engines is certainly a positive thing.  With decent amalgamation, users are likely to be in a far better position to tweak, amend and refine their social media activities.

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