A social media dashboard allows you to view all your social networks on one page and to post to all of them simultaneously, beyond this basic function there are other features that can help you make the most of your social media.

I’ve concentrated on 3 of the most popular dashboards, HootSuite, SocialOmph & TweetDeck.

All of these dashboards offer a free basic account which will give you the main functions you need i.e.  ‘Keyword Search’,’ Direct Messages’, ‘Scheduling Tweets’, ‘Tracking Mentions’, ‘Retweets’ and ‘Replys’.  Once you have been operating your social networks for a while you’ll begin to get a feel for which of these functions are really useful to you and this will determine the programme you favour.

For me the column based interface of HootSuite & TweetDeck is very user friendly.  You can select the columns you wish to see such as ‘Homefeed’, ‘Mentions’, ‘Direct Messages’ & place them in the order you choose across the page.  You can also have columns for your lists i.e. those you follow closely and then a second column for those you just like to keep an eye on and you can create columns for your ‘Keyword’ searches which is very useful.

The layout of SocialOomph I find much more confusing than the other two, but once you’ve become familiar with it there are some great features such as ‘Saving & Revising Drafts’ and ‘Extended Twitter Profile’ and if you upgrade to the Pro account you get the brilliant tool of ‘Automated Direct Messages’ this allows you to automatically welcome new followers, this is a brilliant tool especially as you begin to grow your followers and you just don’t have the time to reply to each one.  There are some that would choose SocialOomph above the others simply for this function.

The other feature that becomes increasing important as you grow your social media is ‘Analytics’  I love HootSuite’s reporting system, it is very simple to set up and you can have a weekly report emailed to you containing the statistics that you select.

This is a basic overview to help you on your way and as I’ve said before, start small with your social media and grow it gradually learning as you go.

If you need help with your social media email me at lindsay@reddesk.co.uk

Find me on Twitter @reddeskVA

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