For my first blog post, I will be discussing social media dashboards and social media management tools. Over the past week, I have been researching which social dashboards would be best for a high amount of clients and profiles. I started with just looking at Google+ scheduled posts. After a quick search, I came across a Google Chrome extension called Do Share. This extension is not only free, but is also user friendly and easy to schedule Google+ posts with. There are a few drawbacks to this extension. While it is easy to use, it only connects with Google+. As I have many social profiles across many networks, this is a problem. Another thing that I did not like was that you had to have Google Chrome running while signed into your Google+ page for the extension to work. That means, that if you close your Google Chrome browser or sign out of your Google+ page, your scheduled posts will not be posted onto your Google+ page. This becomes problematic when you have multiple accounts that you need to post from.
After ruling out Do Share, I posted a question in a social media forum asking what types of dashboards people like using (you can see the conversation here: Social Media Dashboard Discussion). An overwhelming amount of people suggested HootSuite. I looked into HootSuite and was surprised to see how cluttered the dashboard looks. I have approximately 40 clients with multiple pages, so my dashboard on HootSuite was hard to look at. I like that you can add multiple profiles to HootSuite, but I don't like that you have to manually check each profile you want to post on. This may become problematic when you have to post something simultaneously on four or five profiles on different networks. The chances of you not selecting a profile increase with each profile you possess. I did not dislike HootSuite, but I was not to fond of it either. So, after some consideration, I decided to keep HootSuite in the back of my mind and continue searching.
I then looked into Sprout. Instantly, I fell in love. The dashboard is neatly organized and it is very easy to use. Scheduling posts across multiple networks is key for me, and Sprout allows me to do this. I decided this was the dashboard I would like to use. So I looked into Sprout's pricing and what comes in each plan. As I said before, I will be managing a lot of profiles. Sprout's premium plan costs $99 dollars per month and you can only manage 50 profiles. Once I saw this, I knew Sprout was out of the question.
As the discussion in the social media forum continued, someone recommended a site called BuzzBuilder. I am so glad that they recommended this site to me. I downloaded the free version and soon was on my way to scheduling posts across multiple networks. BuzzBuilder allows you to build up to 100 personas, each with unlimited profiles under them. This is amazing! It is exactly what I was looking for. After researching it more, I came across the keyword integration. What a great tool this is for not only social media, but also SEO. You enter in the keywords and then you can create buzz around those keywords. BuzzBuilder will pull up all relevant items related to those keywords, making content easy to find and share. BuzzBuilder has a one time cost of $97 dollars. After even more research I came across there support plan. The support plan is relatively inexpensive depending on how many months you want to use it.
Do Share - Great to use if you are just on Google+ and have a limited amount of profiles.
HootSuite - Great to use with a respectable amount of profiles and is relatively cheap. Just remember to check every account you want to share too.
Sprout - An amazing tool to use if you have up to 50 profiles. I would recommend doing some cost analysis with other products though as this one is a bit pricey.
BuzzBuilder - Perfect for a large amount of profiles. The one time cost of $97 is a plus and the support plan is pretty inexpensive. I will be choosing this dashboard as my main dashboard for all my social media clients.
If you have any suggestions, ideas, experiences or just want to voice your opinion on social media dashboards, feel free to comment below!