Recently, I have been using the social media dashboard Hootsuite to post a lot of my social content on my social media sites, especially Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I also follow my other social media accounts including Instagram, Foursquare and WordPress. The main reason I got a Hootsuite was for class purposes, but now that I am using a lot I am starting to see the amazing benefits of using a social media dashboard.
A social media dashboard is a site designed for users to view all of their social media accounts in one centralized web page. It is a great way to post the same link, message, image or video to multiple accounts from the same location.There are many benefits so far that I have noticed since my introduction to social media platforms, specifically Hootsuite:
1. Organization: Social media platforms are constantly growing in number. The average person today uses more than two social media platforms daily and that number is expected to grow rapidly as social media becomes the main focus for breaking news and peer to peer interaction. Social media platforms allow users to organize all of their accounts in one location without having to waste time logging onto different accounts constantly and switching web pages. Hootsuite in particular uses one web page with a series of tabs for users to create their social media streams. I am able to check all of my social media platforms without the stress. Organization is key today to avois the growing topic of social media fatigue.
2. Analytics: Want to know how many people click the links you sent out to your followers and friends? How about the amount of retweet or favorites you have received on a particular tweet? Most social media dashboards offer great analytical tools for figuring out how much engagement on different platforms you are receiving. By being able to see how many times my links have been clicked in a particular tweet or LinkedIn post, I can see what kinds of content my users are most interested in viewing and I can focus on what kinds of articles I want to share in the future to get the most feedback and engagement. Hootsuite even allows me to create different reports using Google analytics to track a lot of my social media use and engagement. It is a great tool for those looking to connect with other social media users who share the same interests.
3. Scheduling: A lot of social media dashboards allow users to schedule certain posts at different times of the day when they are not able to log onto their social media profiles. These scheduled messages work great for when you are in a meeting, class or traveling. For me, it is great to use when I am sometimes unable to post updates to my profiles when I am in certain classes or attending practice. Nobody likes a social media user who sends out content multiple times within a certain timespan, so scheduling content to be sent throughout the day at different intervals is great for giving your friends and followers content periodically throughout the day. Hootsuite in particular also has a great feature called AutoSchedule in which users can schedule to send their content when Hootsuite feels it will reach the most users. This tool is key fr engagement and getting the most out of your engagement and analytics.
4. Streams: On many social media dashboards you can view multiple streams for each particular website and even create multiple tabs for one platform. For example I have two tabs I currently use for my Twitter account on Hootsuite and in one tab I can view a stream for my main feed, tweets that I have sent, and tweets that my personal friends have sent that I created in a Twitter list so I can view different groups of social circles without their content getting lost in my constantly updating home feed. I have also found tabs extremely helpful for viewing my Facebook updates and photos in different streams and following my news updates and connection updates in my LinkedIn streams. With streams, reading a lot of content and updates becomes very easy to do and makes it a lot easier to manage, especially if you are well connected and follow a lot of different users.
5. Toolbars: I am uncertain of other social media dashboards having this option, but Hootsuite has a great toolbar you can install to almost any type of web browser that you can use to post content without even having to be on Hootsuite. If you want to share an interesting article from the web all you have to do is click the Hootsuite icon in the tool bar of your web browser, and it will bring up a pop up with an already shortened link for you to write a message and send to all your friends and followers. It is really easy and simple to use and saves a lot of time and typing.
There are still some issues I have with Hootsuite that I hope will be addressed in the future. One of these issues is Google+. Google+ profiles can be connected to a Hoosuite account but users are still unable to create tabs and streams for this platform, the second largest social media platform in the world. This is probably due to the fact that Google wants to keep its dominance much like users not being able to view their Instagram posts within tweets.
I also am not a huge fan of the design for certain social media platforms within Hootsuite. I find Hootsuite most useful for Twitter and LinkedIn, but when it comes to platforms like Instagram and Facebook, viewing photos and news feeds are very unpleasant to look at and I would much rather view these platforms on their apps or websites. Their practicality at this point in time on Hootsuite is solely convenience, but I think Hootsuite has a lot of room for improvement in changing the views of certain platforms on their site.
I would definitely recommend anyone using multiple social media platforms to take the time and set up a social media dashboard. Although they cater mostly to small and large businesses to monitor engagement, they are very helpful for individuals when it comes to reducing social media fatigue and keeping everything organized and manageable to read.