Why Use a Social Media Dashboard?
Have you tried a social media dashboard for managing your various accounts? If you have more than one social media account, your life will be much easier…. You’ll only need to go to one location to manage your activity on all your accounts. In addition, social media dashboards know the “right time” to post so you don’t need to know recommended times to post and/ or need to be online at the time you want your post to publish.
First of all, did you consider even having more than one social media account? I covered that topic in Why Have Several Social Media Accounts. If you’re willing to entertain this idea, go read the post and then come back. I promise not to go anywhere.
Okay. Now you have more than one social media account, but you’re concerned about how you could possibly keep up with them. That’s where social media dashboards come in. Just like a car’s dashboard, you glance at the information on the dash, respond to what you see, and move along the information highway.
I’m quite happy with how much I’m able to do with Hootsuite’s and Buffer’s free versions. I use both for different purposes; I suspect you’ll probably want just Hootsuite, but maybe you’ll like what Buffer has to offer. I hope the rest of this article will spark some ideas for you.
How I Use Buffer
I’d read that using Buffer links (buff.ly) increases the chances your links will be shared, so using their app is a great way to be more effective in cyberspace.
Buffer’s free version limits my accounts (three) and limits how many posts I can schedule. I chose my Twitter profile and also eQuipping for eMinistry’s pages on Facebook and on Google+ (newly updated today). That’s fine for the level I want for sharing (and at the level that you want me to be sharing!)
Sharing with Buffer
- I check Buffer’s suggestions tab. After reading a handful of recommended posts, I add them to the Buffer queue for one, two, or all of my accounts.
- If I write a blog post that I think could be especially helpful to people, I’ll use Buffer to share that post.
- I also use their Chrome extension to add an article to the queue when I’m browsing the web. I recommend adding this extension to your Chrome toolbar if you often read things that you’d like to share on social media.
The Paid Version of Buffer
Besides having more social media accounts, paying for Buffer would also allow me to have a feed for my blogs and/or for up to 15 sites per connected profile. I already share from my blogs directly from WordPress to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so I don’t really want to pay just to have “buff.ly” in all my shares. However, this would be a very handy way to share older posts from your blog, so you might think it’s worth considering.
Watch this “Getting Started on Buffer” video, but be prepared to use the pause button to take it all in at a slower pace. They’ll tell you a lot in less than two minutes. Sign up here for Buffer.
How I Use Hootsuite
Actually, I won’t tell you all the ways I use Hootsuite. It’s amazing to me how much you get for free from them. This dashboard will probably do everything you need. I even have two Twitter accounts and two MailChimp accounts. Hootsuite lets me manage all of these. I’m not limited to one account per social media site.
You set up the tabs anyway you want. Put your most-visited sites on the main tab.
- On my main tab for Hootsuite, I have an RSS feed of blogs I’m following. I could read the blogs right in Hootsuite and then share to my accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and eQuipping for eMinistry’s Facebook page.) I’m not in this habit yet.
- I also have our WordPress.org posts (MikeandSus.org) on the main tab, plus Evernote, and my MailChimp lists and campaigns.
- My next tab is for my Twitter activity. I have scheduled tweets, direct messages (in and outboxes), mentions, home feed, my tweets retweeted, new followers, and sent tweets. (Have the boards you want in the order you want.) Generally, I rarely go to Twitter itself to do any of these activities.
- My tab for the eQuipping for eMinistry Facebook page has wall posts, events, and scheduled posts.
- I have another tab for LinkedIn with all updates and my updates.
- I have tabs I’m not using yet for YouTube and for eQuipping for eMinistry’s Flickr photos.
I also have Hootsuite’s Hootlet Chrome extension on my toolbar so I can share while surfing the Internet. Learn all the amazing things you can do with Hootlet in this video. I haven’t even scratched the surface of what you’ll be able to do.
Using Both Hootsuite and Buffer
Buffer and Hootsuite show what’s waiting to post, however, if you scheduled anything in Buffer, these won’t show up in scheduled posts in Hootsuite and vice versa. An advantage for Hootsuite is seeing your history of posts whether they were scheduled in Buffer or Hootsuite; Buffer shows a history of Buffer-only posts under the Analytics tab.
I also have both free dashboard apps for Android for my Kindle Fire. I’m hoping to have a new habit of reading web content on my tablet, using these apps, so I can read and share easily.
I’m also learning and growing in using Hootsuite and Buffer. I love posting to Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more in a minimal amount of time. I actually still prefer to go directly to my Facebook account for posting there.
Just having the ability to schedule a post may be a big incentive for you to try one of these. (Or you can override the scheduling and post when you want to.)
Are you using a dashboard? Which of these dashboards fit your ministry best? Will you take one out for a test drive?
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Visit the Table of Contents for the You-Can-Too series posts. This post is the last in the social media series. Keep following the series for posts on databases, communication, websites, and social media.
NOTE: You might like Seesmic or SocialOomph or another app. If you don’t know about these various dashboards, read 10 of the Best Social Media Management Applications to do some comparisons or do a Google search to find out what others recommend.
About the You-Can-Too series Giveaway: