Cool Apps: More Help for Twitter

We have a theme running through these weekly Cool Apps posts: making the most of your social media efforts without killing yourself. We all have limited hours in a day, which is why it's so important to maximize our social media marketing and make what we're doing count. The bottom line: If you're spending more time tweeting or facebooking than selling homes, then you're not doing social media right. This can be tricky since a lot of social media in the beginning is a try-test-adjust cycle.

The good news is that there are many tools out there to help you. In fact, there are almost too many. We've already covered a few like: Social Oomph, ManageFlitter and Seesmic Desktop. But let me spotlight an old favorite in case you haven't come across it yet: TweetDeck.

If you thought Twitter was a noisy mess the first time you used it, and also the tenth time you used it, then do yourself a favor and try TweetDeck. It's a downloadable application that sits on your desktop (and of course there's also an app for iPhones and Androids).

With TweetDeck, you can manage your Twitter conversations, set up columns for searches, follow specific conversations via hashtags, and even pull in your Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn and other social streams. It's meant to be your social dashboard – an easy one stop for sending out tweets, a quick glimpse at conversations you're interested in, and checking any replies or retweets you may have missed.

By far, my two favorite business uses for TweetDeck are:

Multiple accounts: If you find yourself managing more than one Twitter handle (an account under your own name, for instance, plus maybe one that is more vertical or branded to your neighborhood), TweetDeck makes it easy to send tweets from each account without having to log out and log in under a new name each time.

Ear to the ground: As a real estate agent, you need to know what's happening in the neighborhoods you serve. TweetDeck makes it easy to set up a search that pulls in related conversations. For example, you can set up a column for the key phrase "San Jose housing" or "San Jose real estate" or even a hashtag like #realestatetech. Then every time you launch TweetDeck you'll see a stream of the latest tweets containing these terms. It's a cool way to find people on Twitter who are talking about things you're interested in.

Give it a try!