5 Top Social Media Dashboard Tools to Manage Your Social Accounts

5 Top Social Media Dashboard Tools to Manage Your Social Accounts

Let’s face it. Social media marketing is hard work. Sometimes you feel like a one legged man in a kickboxing competition.

Over the last few years it has become an integral part of your business and marketing.

You use social media to source leads, keep in touch with your old clients and even serve your current customers.

The only problem?

The Internet never sleeps.

But you can’t be online 24/7.

On top of it, there are multiple social media platforms fighting for your attention at any give time.  (I can think of at least ten from the top off my head!)

If you’re a blogger or a small business, you cannot imagine hiring dedicated staff for social media management. Even if you can afford it, you may still not want to.

Where 40% of small business owners are most likely to outsource TV/radio ads and 35% are likely to do the same with SEO only a measly 5% want to outsource social media marketing and email newsletters.

So how on earth are  you supposed to manage staying on top of things; interact and engage with your followers while scheduling all those posts on each of these accounts?

Before you decide to go on a digital sabbatical, here’s some good news.

Enter social media dashboards.

If you’re an avid social media marketer, you’ve probably heard of a social media dashboard before. These online tools help you combat the time-sucking vortex that social media can sometimes be.

What is a social media dashboard?

Simply put, a social media dashboard makes social media management super-easy. It syncs all your social media accounts in one convenient place.

In its truest sense, a dashboard also allows you to see all your social media analytics at one place, thus eliminating the need to manually go into each account and check what happened in the past week.

A robust dashboard will let you connect with all major social media platforms out there. At the bareminimum, most good tools will sync Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.

5 benefits of using a social media dashboard

1. Productivity

Let’s be honest. How many times have you logged in on Facebook to schedule posts on your business page only to find yourself lost in the sea of posts after 30 minutes? And suddenly, you realise you haven’t retweeted something you were meaning to. You rush to Twitter and the same story repeats. A dashboard will save you ton of time. Because on its own, each social media platform can be a time-suck. With a dashboard, you are keeping things in perspective.

2. Tracking

You want to keep a tab on what your competitors are upto. Who’s talking about them? Who’s following them? How’s their engagement? All tracking-related questions that you can answer with simple search inside the tool.

3. Scheduling

Only a few social networks allow you to schedule your content. It’s a headache to go inside each account and schedule every post manually. Granted, networks like Twitter operate in “real-time” but you can’t be online all day long. Plus, no one likes being bombarded with string of posts within a given span of time, so scheduling is a smarter way to be present without really being there. A dashboard comes to rescue!

4. Analytics

You’ve probably wondered: What type of posts are a “hit” with my audience? Which ones get the most shares and engagement? How do I get more leads through social channels? Thankfully, with a dashboard, you can stop the guesswork. By seeing what your audience clicked on, you can fine-tune into what your followers enjoy. Dashboards make it easy to analyze everything at once.

5. Collaboration

Most dashboard tools will allow you and your team members to collaborate. You can also divide roles and duties and allocate social media tasks to each member so you know who’s accountable. Works like a charm especially when you’re remotely-based.

With that, let’s look at the pros and cons of five popular social media dashboard tools.

5 social media dashboard tools

Here are 5 top dashboard tools that can help you manage your social media marketing.

1. Cyfe

Cyfe is a full-blown business analytics tool that connects all your online activities, not just social media.

Signing up with their Forever Free plan is easy. Just enter your name, email and password and you’re all set.

The tool has a myriad of widgets for different purposes, such as:

  • Advertising
  • Blogging
  • Email
  • Monitoring
  • Sales and Finance
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Web analytics

Each widget supports many different services that you can sync. For example, the Sales and Finance widget lets you add Freshbooks, Paypal, Xero, Salesforce etc.

The Social Media widget allows you to add different profiles as shown below:

5 Social Media Dashboard Tools

You can also add a Competitor Dashboard in Cyfe where you can monitor their SEO and social media growth using widgets.

Cyfe is not just limited to social media – think of it as an integrated dashboard.

For example, if you use multiple Gmail inboxes – one for personal emails, another for client work and still another for guest blogging – keeping a tab on each one could be a pain. In Cyfe, you can easily create a Gmail dashboard for ease of management and boost your productivity.

Of course, not everyone needs all these features, so you can only use what applies to you. When compared to other tools out there, you’ll notice Cyfe comes in free and premium plans that aren’t all that expensive.

Pricing: Forever free plan.

$19/mo for unlimited everything (includes unlimited team members, dashboards and widgets) or $14/mo if paid annually.

2. Hootsuite

Hoosuite is one of the more popular tools out there that has grown to over 6 million users. The dashboard is available in 13 languages.

You can create a new account for free or sign in using your Facebook, Twitter or Google account.

5 Social Media Dashboard Tools to Help You Manage Your Social Accounts Better

Once you sync your networks within Hootsuite, you can add “streams” in the form of columns.

Streams can be Sent tweets, Retweets, Mentions, Home, Wall Posts etc. A stream is nothing but your activity on a social network.

You can also add tabs to group streams under relevant columns so you can keep streams from different social media separate.

So your tabs can be for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with each containing streams from the respective platform.

Hootsuite also makes scheduling super simple.

There is also an app directory, a library of third-party free and premium apps that you can use.

At this time, Hootsuite allows the following social networks to be added (for more, you’ll have to try their third-party apps):

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Foursquare
  • WordPress
  • Mixi

Pricing: Free for up to three social profiles with no collaboration.

From $9.99/mo for 50 profiles and +1 team members. Larger plans also available.

3. Sendible

Sendible can schedule future social network posts and bring all your social media interaction under one roof along with emails and SMS marketing integration (CRM).

They also include brand monitoring for Yelp which could be useful for local businesses.

 5 Social Media Dashboard Tools to Help You Manage Your Social Accounts Better

Inside though, it looks more like using an email client than a dashboard.

You can compose and publish blog posts to WordPress, Tumblr and Blogspot also.

You can do a 30-day free trial because Sendible doesn’t provide you with any free accounts after the period lapses. So you have to provide your credit card details although you can cancel, upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Pricing: $39.99/mo for their Start up plan that includes up to 40 services, two team members and two branded reports. Larger plans also available.

4. Sprout Social

I’ve never used Social Sprout before, but I’ve been hearing about it recently. So I decided to give it a try.

Signing up with Social Sprout is a breeze. And they don’t ask you for any credit card details either. On the flip side, the free trial is limited to 30 days.

Personally I don’t like the fact that once you sign up, you’re asked to attach with your Twitter account. Without authorizing, you can’t proceed.

Social Sprout asks for my business name and timezone upfront. Timezones can be tricky especially when dealing with social media, so I like how it is taken care of in the beginning.

Then, I am asked to do one of three things: Add social profiles, invite my team or jump into my inbox.

Sprout Social allows you to sync your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Feedly accounts.

5 Social Media Dashboard Tools to Help You Manage Your Social Accounts Better

Unlike Hootsuite, Sprout Social doesn’t use columns.

Another neat feature is easy setup for brand keywords (for social media monitoring). When you set up these keywords for your brand name, you’ll receive inbox messages from Twitter and Facebook even when someone mentions you without the @ tag.

Once you link your Twitter, you can search for people who follow you but you’re not following them under their Discover tab or “Clean up” any silent, irregular or “do not follow back” accounts. Cool!

The down side is it’s on the expensive end and allows for limited number of profiles that you can connect even with a paid plan.

Pricing: Starts at $59/mo for an individual plan for up to 10 profiles. Larger plans also available.

5. Buffer

If you don’t want any fancy features, are starting out or like to keep it simple, try Buffer. Signing up is pretty simple. They give you four options to login – Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or email.

The interface is delightfully clean with lots of whitespace that’s easy on the eyes. The free trial account can sync major social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

Once you sync an account, Buffer gives you four main tabs as below:

5 Social Media Dashboard Tools to Help You Manage Your Social Accounts Better

I love their “Suggestions” tab that has a list of posts I might like to share with my followers in categories of marketing, inspiration, lifehack etc.

Another plus is I don’t have to attach my personal profiles – I can choose to attach a Group on Facebook or a Page on LinkedIn, for example.

Pricing: $10/mo or $102/yr.

Business plans starting at $50/mo for 25 accounts, 5 team members and 15 RSS feeds pulled into your profile. Check their website for larget business plans.

When it comes to social media tools, there is no right or wrong pick, only what is right for you.

  • Are you going to use the dashboard only for social media or something more than that?
  • Do you have a team that will be posting?
  • Is the number of profiles connected important to you?
  • Perhaps you have a budget of less than $25/mo?

Such criteria will help you make a choice and eliminate anything that’s not a fit. J

Each of the above tools has a different look and feel, features and pricing. Choosing the right type depends on your business needs.

Your turn! Is social media slowly becoming a time-suck for you? Are you staying on top of things? If not, give one of the above tools a try and let us know how you go!

Guest Author: Pooja Lohana is an Online Business Coach + Writer & Editor. She helps entrepreneurs shine their blog and copy, and simplifies online marketing so they can make more sales and live the Un-9-5 life. Check out her step-by-step course on breaking into freelance writing.

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Comments

  • http://www.rivaliq.com Margaret Dawson

    Love it if you’d give Rival IQ a shot, too, Jeff! Happy to give you a demo.

    • http://www.wellpaidwritersclub.com Pooja

      Hi Margaret,

      I haven’t heard of it, but will give it a shot!

      Pooja

  • http://melissalgill.com/index/ Melissa Gill

    Great article Jeff. As always, you’ve summarized something that I’ve been trying to figure out very succinctly.

    • http://www.wellpaidwritersclub.com Pooja

      Glad you liked it, Melissa. :-)

      Pooja

  • http://www.oursocialtimes.com/ Luke Brynley-Jones

    We use Hootsuite and Sendible, but I’d also add MarketMeSuite (http://marketmesuite.com) – which has a nice location search feature where you can search for Tweets mentioning specific keywords within a radius of 1 mile up to 1000 miles. [Disclaimer – I’m an advisor to them].

  • Caterina Vidulli

    Thanks for the article Jeff! I have only one question: I’ve noticed that you also use SocialOomph, can you explain me why do you prefer it over Hootsuite or other scheduler services? I’ve tried myself but I don’t like it at all! Thanks :)

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      I use socialoomph professional for just one thing. To post recurring tweets without having to load my evergreen bog posts. Saves me about 100 hours a month!

  • http://www.dmcsoftware.co.uk/ DMC Software

    Interesting read. Have been looking at alternatives and this article sums each dashboard brilliantly. thanks.

  • http://www.marcuspadulchick.com MarcusPadulchick

    Great information. For some reason I am being directed to a industrial appliation site for heat controllers when I click through on Buffer. Goes to http://www.buffer.com/

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks and will get that fixed! :)

  • https://engagor.com/ Cameron Joye

    Interesting list, Jeff! If you ever write an article about platforms for brands looking to monitor, analyze, and engage on a global scale, think about including Engagor :)

  • Connor from HootSuite

    Great list Pooja, thanks for the kind words about Hootsuite.

    If anyone here would like help getting started, I’m happy to help and answer any questions.

    -Connor from Hootsuite

  • Jane T

    Nice list, Pooja! We are long time Cyfe.com users and it’s great to see them on the list. It’s the perfect “all-in-one” tool for our business.

  • Andy Willis

    Excellent post Pooja, I use Hootsuite and it certainly does make life much more efficient

  • http://paradisesocial.wordpress.com/ Mike Poynton

    Hi, Jeff. I’ve been using Sprout Social – not Social Sprout – for 3 years now and LOVE IT! #SproutLove

  • http://www.webZunder.com/ Dirk Spannaus

    We would like to add another alternative. From our perspective, most tools are easy to use for people who live the internet. For people who run a business and do marketing on top, most of them are still to complex. Thats why we developed a Tool, that helps to update your WordPress based website as well as Facebook and Twitter.

    Its currently productive in German, but English Version starts very soon!

    If you’d like to test it, please contact me or register at our page: http://www.webzunder.com/en/

  • Jeremy D Kobler DC

    Very helpful since I do all of this stuff by myself it can get overwhelming at times!

  • http://www.inventorsportfolio.com Inventors Portfolio

    Information that is needed and appreciated! Thanks Pooja :))

  • Vince

    I’m using HappyMetrix.com for my clients, they really like the realtime shared reports i’m sending. Also very easy to use. Will try sendible for managing some social accounts.

  • Jayson Gurney

    A great post Pooja. I’m a long term #Hootsuite user which I couldn’t live without! The app directory that you mentioned is jam packed with some great 3rd party add-ons.

  • Apurva

    Thanks, Pooja. I have been using DrumUp (www.drumup.io) and it works great for me. The application can make for a great addition to this list as it saves a lot of time spent in looking for content and posting it on social media pages.

  • Onlypult

    Where is onlypult.com ? The best tool for scheduling Instagram posts

  • Bob Page

    I would love to find one that would sync my blogger posts to my linkedin, facebook, twitter,and google+ accounts. Any suggestions?

  • ProcessMyMedia

    There is another tools : ApiFlow (http://www.apiflow.net).

    With ApiFlow, you can easily develop workflow-based applications with no coding that use Social Media Apis (twitter, google, facebook…) and meet the exact needs of your business.

  • Nikhil Tiwari

    Great article..
    I am a newbie in social media. This is an awesome article to go through with good and brief description on social media management and tools. Even I have number of accounts but did not realize that they can be so beneficial in my marketing campaigns. However my management tool, Sociota enables automatic postings and bulk scheduling. So once again thanks for building up my marketing
    strategies through this article.

  • http://eventwriting.blogspot.in/ Mamta Yadav

    Thanks for Sharing
    How to Post on all Social Networks at once

    Great List … I am trying to find something like your article
    about How to Post on all Social Networks at once. Very well summarized product
    and well written content.

  • http://www.ccefinland.org Heramb Kulkarni

    Thanks for a great post. I have one issue with Hootsuite – When I post any link (URL) – It gets truncated and looks bad while posting on FB through Hootsuite. Any solution?

  • http://www.dashthis.com/ Paul Dumas

    Hi Jeff, I saw you tweeted this post today. As an update, you may want to test drive DashThis (dashthis.com). Dozens of data sources and a tool that is uber-easy to use. While we want to keep things simple with some pre-defined templates, we nevertheless have a wide variety of KPIs you can add on to your dashboards. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want a demo or require more info!

  • netsoul

    Suggestion: http://new.mobitile.com – a new generation cloud platform for social
    media. The platform is an aggregator of Internet services, allowing the interconnection of social networks, blogs, news resources, etc. to filter and segregate their feeds into customized topical streams. … and much more.

  • http://arlette.com Arlette Newbury

    Truly, “social media dashboard allows you to see all your social media analytics at one place, thus eliminating the need to manually go into each account and check what happened in the past week.” It is a relief from a headache of managing numerous social media accounts and it saves time and energy. By putting all your accounts in one dashboard, you can easily monitor, check and schedule post ahead of time and it will increase your productivity. Along with the most popular social media management tools discussed in your article, I think this post will also help you analyze the benefits of having said tool – http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/meloniedodaro/2015-07-07/top-19-social-media-management-tools . It doesn’t focus on managing social media accounts only but it has a checklist on how to track your favorite tool and be able to monitor it easily.