The Search for the Perfect Social Network Aggregator

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Earlier in the month, I posted Strategies for Managing Social Networks and a Full-Time Job, and one of the strategies I mentioned was using a social network aggregator to stay on top of activity in your networks. I decided to take my own advice and recently started a search for the “perfect” aggregator. I’m just in the beginning stages of the process, but I thought my research might be useful to others, so here is a list of what I’m looking for and the apps I plan to try out.

The Criteria

Despite it being a staple of most aggregators, I don’t need to be able to post one update across multiple networks. I tend to use each network differently than the next, so this functionality would be lost on me. Having said that, I do have an optimistic wish list. Here is some of what I want the aggregator to do:
  • Provide one place (app, web site, etc.) where I can catch up on all network activity
  • Allow me to post (different) updates to all of my networks in one location
  • Condense status updates of my connections across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Show people I am connected to in more than one network
  • Present data in a pleasing and easy-on-the-eye interface
The following items would be amazing to have, but I haven’t seen them at work in any of the aggregators I’ve taken a preliminary look at:
  • Ability to track drill-down activity, such as Facebook Fan Page posts and LinkedIn Group discussions
  • Mobile access
  • Integration of RSS feeds

The Contenders

  • A social network browser developed by Mozilla.
  • FriendFeed: A popular application that allows you to share content across Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other social networks.
  • HootSuite: A web-based social media aggregator for tracking and posting updates.
  • Netvibes: A web-based start page that lets you personalize the information you want to see, including blogs, weather, email, social networks, and more.
  • Tweetdeck: An app that provides real-time social web access, allowing users to connect with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.
  • ???: What do you recommend?

The Test

I will be installing/signing up with each of the services listed and trying them out to see how they work for me, measured against my wish-list criteria. I plan to report back on my findings over the coming weeks after I give these apps a test drive, so stay tuned. Do you use an app to aggregate your social network activity? What do you recommend I add to my list of possibilities?

Frequently Asked Questions about Social Network Aggregators

What is a social network aggregator and why is it important?

A social network aggregator is a tool that combines updates from multiple social media platforms into a single feed. It’s important because it simplifies the process of managing and monitoring various social media accounts. Instead of logging into each platform separately, you can view all updates and engage with your audience from a single dashboard. This not only saves time but also ensures that you don’t miss any important updates or conversations.

How does a social network aggregator work?

A social network aggregator works by using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) provided by social media platforms. These APIs allow the aggregator to access and collect data from your social media accounts. The aggregator then organizes this data into a single feed, which you can customize based on your preferences.

Can I use a social network aggregator for personal use?

Yes, a social network aggregator can be used for both personal and business purposes. For personal use, it can help you manage your social media presence and stay updated with your friends’ activities across different platforms. For businesses, it can help manage multiple accounts, track brand mentions, and engage with customers.

What are the key features to look for in a social network aggregator?

When choosing a social network aggregator, consider features like the number of supported platforms, ease of use, customization options, analytics capabilities, and customer support. Also, consider whether the aggregator supports scheduling posts and monitoring keywords or hashtags.

Are there any risks associated with using a social network aggregator?

While social network aggregators offer many benefits, they also come with potential risks. These include the possibility of data breaches and privacy concerns. Therefore, it’s important to choose a reputable aggregator and ensure that it follows strict data security protocols.

How can a social network aggregator help with my marketing strategy?

A social network aggregator can enhance your marketing strategy by providing insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences. It can also help you track the performance of your social media campaigns, identify trends, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Can I schedule posts using a social network aggregator?

Yes, most social network aggregators allow you to schedule posts. This feature can help you maintain a consistent posting schedule, which is crucial for keeping your audience engaged and growing your social media presence.

Can a social network aggregator help me monitor my brand’s online reputation?

Yes, a social network aggregator can help you monitor your brand’s online reputation by tracking mentions of your brand across different platforms. This can help you respond to negative feedback promptly and capitalize on positive mentions.

How can a social network aggregator help me save time?

A social network aggregator can save you time by eliminating the need to log into each social media platform separately. It also automates tasks like posting updates and tracking mentions, freeing up your time for other important tasks.

Can a social network aggregator help me engage with my audience?

Yes, a social network aggregator can help you engage with your audience by making it easier to respond to comments and messages. It can also help you identify popular posts and topics, which can inform your content strategy and help you create posts that resonate with your audience.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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