Top Posts of 2011 – #10 Youth Work Q & A: Social Media Dashboards

Originally Posted: October 11, 2011

Q:  I’ve set up my Facebook and Twitter profiles for my youth work, but how can I keep up with them all?

A:  Maybe you have a personal Facebook profile, personal Twitter handle, then there is your professional LinkedIn profile, not to mention your youth work Facebook profile and page and Twitter profile…  It can be exhausting signing in and out to each social media site, sending updates, finding time to keep up with everything that is going on within them, it goes on and on.  Thankfully, there are social media dashboards which, just like the dashboard on your car, allows you to see everything important that’s going on all in one place.  You download the program, link to your various social media accounts and go to one place to send and receive updates.

There are 2 reasons why I use a social media dashboard:

  1. To see all my social media profiles in one place for ease of access- I have access to 2 Twitter accounts, 2 Facebook accounts and my LinkedIn profile all in one place.
  2. To schedule my updates when I am unable to be online- I can schedule updates including links throughout the day or days in advance, it allows for some downtime when producing 6 days of content a week.

Here are 2 articles that suggest the top 10 or top 6 social media dashboards.  There are two sites that turn up on both lists, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.  I tried both of these when starting this site.  In my opinion both have their advantages.  You can read more about their advantages and disadvantages here.

Based on the 2 reasons I was using social media dashboards for, I started out using Tweetdeck but then switched to basic Hootsuite because it met my needs better.  I switched for 3 reasons:

  1. Access to profiles:  Tweetdeck is very comprehensive but to view all my social media profiles I had to scroll left and right and wait for it to update. On Hootsuite, each profile is it’s own tab so you can switch between profiles very quickly and easily.
  2. Scheduling updates: Tweetdeck does have a scheduling profile but it was not very user-friendly. When I switched you were unable to type in your time and date in, however they have since updated this feature.  You also need to shorten your links, then copy and paste them into Tweetdeck updates.  Hootsuite has a time selection tool for scheduling updates and a built-in feature for shortening your links.
  3. General Use and Aesthetics: Tweetdeck is black, with yellow font and has a pop-up for every tweet you receive.  This was distracting as I tried to work on other things on my desktop, even when I turned off the sound.  Hootsuite allows you to choose between a white and blue (lighter, but similar to Facebook) and white and light green.  It does only update every 2-minutes but you can click the manual refresh button at any time.  Overall, I found Hootsuite more intuitive to set up, easier to use and easier on the eyes (plus, I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for a cute owl logo)
Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and other social media dashboards have their advantages and disadvantages.  The best thing I can suggest is that you try different ones until you find the one that best suits your needs.

Question: If you already use a social media dashboard, which one do you use and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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