Is Email the True Social Media Killer App?

NutShellMailSocial media was supposed to replace email as a communications tool. It's been said that "email is for staying in touch with old people." (And by that they mean anyone who watched Seinfeld during its original run.) And yet, almost every social media site relies on emails to keep their community up-to-date. Let's face it: it's easier to ignore a Twitter feed or a status update than it is to ignore an email. Even if you don't read the email you still have to take the action of deleting it.

So it's no surprise that there are a number of email based tools to monitor and manage your social media activity. Recently I've been playing around with NutshellMail. For business owners and marketers who can't constantly monitor Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace because, say, they're running an actual business, Nutshell is a great solution. In fact, even for active social media users Nutshell has enough cool features to add it to your social media toolbox.

NutShellMail is free to setup and use. Just provide your email address and social media credentials for any of the sites NutShellMail currently supports. You can even specify how often you'd like your email digests sent, and what time they should arrive. If you don't have a second monitor dedicated to TweetDeck, this is the app for you.

Once you start using the service you'll want to tweak the information you receive. On Facebook you can receive updates from specific groups you create, or from your Facebook fan page. Since Facebook doesn't let you know when people are active on your page via email, this is a nice feature. If you're currently inundated by the number of Facebook emails that clog up your inbox, you can choose to just receive alerts in these email digests.

For Twitter, you can change the number of DMs and mentions you receive, but by far my favorite feature is the recent quitters. It's nice to see everyone who stopped following you recently, complete with an "unfollow" button if you're currently following them. Since Twitter recently made auto-unfollows and even bulk unfollows illegal, this is one way to keep up on who's quitting you.

You can also pull in searches, such as your company name, industry terms, or even the names of American Idol contestants, and have those populate your email as well. If you're trying to stay on top of late breaking news or trending topics, but still have to make sales calls and get your accounts payable work completed, you may like this feature. Email digests will also help clandestine marketers avoid IT firewalls that make their job more difficult. Get recent changes and conversations sent to you via email, then respond on your smart phone (and off the company servers.)

Whether you're struggling with social media time management, or you just can't dedicate hours every day to Twitter and Facebook, the email digest approach that NutshellMail offers can help you take control of your day again, without giving up on social media marketing.

Rich Brooks is a small business owner, co-founder of Social Media FTW, and active on Twitter.

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