Social media “dashboards” allow you to post and monitor many of your social media sites all from one convenient place. Even better, you can upload and schedule your tweets and posts so that you can keep a more consistent social media presence, which is important to friends, fans and followers.
There are a lot of programs out there to help you organize your social media life. Here are a few of my favorites:
HootSuite is one of the best-known dashboard programs. It’s a powerful, user-friendly site that offers levels of membership ranging from a basic free service to a more robust Pro level. The heart of HootSuite is the ability to enter posts in advance into the dashboard and program when your content goes live across multiple social media sites. This works especially well if you are using a virtual assistant to help you load the content you’ve written, and it makes it easy to keep track of what you’ve said and where you said it. HootSuite also has a convenient mobile app for smart phones, so you can keep an eye on your account when you’re on the go.
SocialOomph is another dashboard with many of the same capabilities as HootSuite. As you’d expect, SocialOomph lets you pre-load and schedule on Twitter, blogs and Facebook, and provides both a basic free level of service and an extended professional level. You can track keywords, view your @Mentions and Retweets, purge spammy Direct Messages (DM), and monitor multiple accounts from one dashboard. The professional level offers blog integration, profile filters, and some interesting ways to assess which of your followers might be your most valuable prospects. While SocialOomph leans heavily toward Twitter with a nod toward Facebook and blogs, it does enable Ping to send your information to LinkedIn and MySpace.
TweetDeck is another of the well-known dashboards. TweetDeck offers connectivity with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Buzz, and Foursquare. It makes it easy to create and manage Twitter Lists and helps cut down on Twitter spam. Another valuable feature is the ability to follow Twitter Trends, real-time topics and TwitScoop to stay abreast of the most popular topics. TweetDeck is available for iPhone, Android, iPad and a new Web-based interface, as well as the original desktop version. At the time of this writing, TweetDeck is free, which is good for a solid, basic dashboard. However, if you’re looking for a pro version with additional features or you want more analytics, at the moment, they’re not built into TweetDeck, so one of the other dashboards may do a better job if those elements are important to you.
Regardless of which dashboard program you use, remember that it’s your content that matters. If you’re creating content that is highly targeted and meets the needs of your ideal audience, then how it gets posted is a back office issue of no consequence to your online network. Remember also that while these dashboards have the ability to increase your reach, poor quality content will hurt your brand and over-posting with hard-sell copy will lose you friends and followers, and may get your account suspended. These are power tools; use them with caution!
Excerpted from 30 Days to Virtual Productivity Success by Gail Martin. Order this book at http://amzn.com/1601632266