July 3, 2015

Top 5 Social Media Management Dashboards for Your Small Business

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social media dashboardsLet’s face it, in this day and age, in order for your business to have a successful online presence you must be engaged in multiple social media channels. But managing all of your social media accounts for your business can be daunting as well as time consuming. Who has time to log into Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, etc. multiple times a day to interact and engage with your followers while creating posts for all of these accounts? You can’t be online 24/7!

Before you start pulling hair out or pull all-nighters, enter the world of social media dashboards.

What is a social media dashboard?

A social media dashboard is a tool that will help you manage ALL of your social media accounts at once allowing you to maximize your exposure while giving you more time to focus on your work. Social media dashboards sync all of your social media accounts in one convenient place. You can also view all your social media analytics in one place as well, avoiding the need to separately log into each account.

Benefits of using a social media dashboard

  • A dashboard will increase your productivity by allowing you to schedule posts on multiple accounts without getting lost in the mire of each separate social media site.
  • Many of the available dashboards will allow more than one user, so you and your team members can collaborate and divide duties and tasks.
  • You can track what’s going on with your competitors by seeing who’s following them and what their engagement looks like by using a search function within the tool.
  • Analyzing your analytics is easy with a dashboard. You can see what your followers have clicked on so you can tune into what your followers want to see.

Let’s take a look at five popular social media dashboards tools:

Sendible

Sendible can schedule future social network posts to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn & Blog sites, as well as manage emails and SMS marketing (CRM). They also offer brand marketing for Yelp and reputation monitoring.

The Sendible dashboard looks more like an email client on the inside. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial and upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at anytime.

Pricing: $59.00 per month for their startup plan which includes, but is not limited to: management of up to 30 services, two team members, two branded reports and Google Analytics integration. Larger plans are also available.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is certainly one of the more popular dashboards used with over 10 million users and available in 13 languages. Hootsuite connects with over 35 popular social networks. Hootsuite offers enhanced analytics reports, message scheduling, team member collaboration, app integrations, RSS, security features, Hootsuite University for training and help, along with more advanced features like dedicated account reps and geo-targeting.

The free version is scaled down to 3 social profiles, analytics reports, message scheduling, app integrations, up to 2 RSS and the Hootsuite University.

Once you sync your profiles, you can add streams in the form of columns and then add tabs to separate each group of streams by social network.

The Hootsuite dashboard is easy to navigate and well organized.

Pricing: Free for up to 3 social profiles, and $9.99 per month for 50 profiles and other options. Larger plans are also available.  

Cyfe

Cyfe touts itself as the “all-in-one dashboard” that connects all your online activities, not just social media. You can set up multiple dashboards for social media, marketing, clients, web analytics, finance, sales, project management and IT.

Cyfe also has available a myriad of widgets for different uses, including: SEO, email, blogging, advertising, social media, etc. You can also add a competitor dashboard to keep track of your competitors’ SEO and social media growth using widgets.

Pricing: They offer a smaller forever free plan, $19.00 per month for unlimited everything or $14.00 per month for this if paid annually.

Sprout Social

This social media dashboard carries many of the same features as Hootsuite, but its layout is in rows instead of columns. You must also connect your Twitter account before you can proceed in signing up. Social Sprout also asked you to set your time zone upfront which can be very helpful when dealing with social media.

Sprout Social syncs all your social networking accounts and it is easy to set up for brand keywords for monitoring. When you set up these keywords for your brand name, you will receive messages in your inbox from Facebook and Twitter every time someone mentions your name even without using the @ tag.

One interesting feature is that you can search for people who you are not following currently but do follow you under their Discover Tab. You can also Clean Up any silent, irregular or Do Not Follow Back accounts.

Pricing: Unfortunately, Sprout Social does not offer any free version. Each plan does come with a 30 day free trial, and you can cancel or change plans at any time. The smallest plan offered is the Deluxe, at $59.00 per user, per month with a limit of 10 profiles. Larger plans are available.    

Buffer

If you want to really keep things simple without all the fancy features, Buffer may be for you. You can login with either Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or your email. The interface is very simple, fresh and easy on the eye.

Buffer has a “Suggestions” tab which lists various post choices from categories like marketing, inspiration, lifehacks, etc.

Pricing: Buffer’s free account will let you connect to one account per social network (one Facebook, one Google+, one twitter, and one LinkedIn). With the Awesome Plan, $10.00 per month, you can connect to any combination of 9 social media accounts and up to 10 profiles. Buffer also has a business plan at $50.00 per month.

Which one is right for my business?

When looking into optimizing the management of your social media accounts, there are many tools to choose from. Finding one that fits your needs will result from asking yourself a few simple questions. How many accounts do I need to manage? Do I need to manage more than just social media? Will there be other team members I want to task with posting and scheduling? What is my budget?

Also, check out their websites to see which one has a more pleasing look and feel to you. Sometimes that can make a difference as well. Need assistance setting up of managing your business's social media presence? Contact Tree Top Web Design at (831) 425-4505 and we will be happy to help you.

Ross McClenahan

Ross McClenahan is co-owner and Lead Developer at Tree Top Web Design, a Santa Cruz Web Design firm.

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