If there was ever a time saver invented for Social Media Managing then this is it! But choosing the right social media dashboard for your needs can become just as daunting as choosing which social media sites to have profiles for your business on. So I’ve covered a few that I think are well suited for various levels of use.
Which you choose comes down to how much as a business you intend to do or monitor on social sites and how much you want to hand over to a social media assistant or other staff member to do and monitor.
Most commonly used dashboard is Tweetdeck. This allows you to have multiples of the same social media type such as more than one twitter account. It also allows you to customise what you see in columns – so if you want a column to show new followers or those mentioning you, to respond to easily and quickly then this is good. Unfortunately it doesn’t allow you direct posting to Facebook Fan Pages and is limited in what social media sites you can add. Tweetdeck is a great place to start for the single business owner who may not be using a Fan Page but his Facebook profile, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. It allows you to send the same message out to a multiple amount of sites at the same time or schedule posts to go out at a later date.
Hootesuite is very similar to Tweetdeck but does allow direct access to Fanpages. The free version does limit the number of profiles you can add but for $5.99 per month it allows you too have unlimited. Another bonus to Hootesuite for businesses is that you can allow access to the dashboard of profiles by a team of staff, assign tasks or track results. For most small business’ this dashboard is ideal.
For Mac lovers, there is Socialite which has all the same features as Hootesuite except the statistics tracking. What I do think is a very cool tool in Socialite is the ability to create twitter search lists built around keywords. It means you don’t have to go outside your dashboard to do your research for content. Socialite also allows you to sync with Google Reader, Digg and Flicker to share content. If you don’t use Google Reader to store your RSS feeds then Socialite can do that directly too. This can save you time in going to bookmarked sites or opening Google Reader to go through the latest news looking for content on your business area – therefore saving you time.
Another dashboard that also allows you to create multiple dashboards under one profile is Netvibes. The idea of these dashboards is that they are keyword based and then you add from a list of many suggested sites where you want to access information from based on those keywords. It does allow you to import your basic profiles such as Facebook and Twitter to then share the research you have found. This dashboard is very useful for doing your research and finding content – especially since it will track the latest news from video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo too.
Lastly is Yoono. The Google owned dashboard is still very new and some of it still in Beta stage but very versatile since it allows you to add your own YouTube account as well as the other big social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Flicker and FriendFeed. The list of Beta sites still being tested are AIM, Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. It’s dashboard is simple to follow and opens up you profiles much like a browser page so therefore I tend to prefer using the Chrome or Firefox Add-On rather than downloading the dashboard as I find it a lot easier to use it while I’m on the internet researching other sites and then posting the content out by opening up the Add-On version than having to wait for the dashboard to open.
I hope this has helped you begin to understand how to create a quick shortcut to monitoring and posting information from various profiles regularly. Not one is better than the other and I don’t have a favorite, in fact I tend to use them all for various reasons. There is also a stack more dashboards to be found if these don’t suit you either, such as Seesmic.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you need and then growing on from that as your knowledge and skills improve and your business’ needs get greater. So enjoy playing – they’re all free to use, have some fun! If you need assistance to set you up or don’t have the time contact me to set it up for you or consider one of my management services starting at as little as $10 a day.