Hootsuite As Your Social Media Dashboard

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There are several different options available to help you manage multiple social media accounts at once. Among the most popular are Tweetdeck, Seesmic and Hootsuite. Depending on your needs and desire for access, then you might consider  each one of these for different reasons. All of them have a web version and apps for iPhone. Tweetdeck and Seesmic also have downloadable desktop versions.

For everyday non-mobile use, I have found Hootsuite to be my preferred social media management tool. Hootsuite provides you with a comprehensive social media dashboard for managing multiple social media accounts and platforms all in once place.

First built as a Twitter management tool, Hootsuite has grown to include the ability to post to LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook pages, Ping.fm, MySpace, WordPress, Foursquare and importing RSS feeds.  With Hootsuite, you can pull in multiple Twitter accounts, multiple Facebook profiles, multiple LinkedIn accounts, etc.

For Twitter accounts, you can quickly and easily view your Home Feed, your @ mentions, your sent tweets, your direct messages, plus add columns for any of your Twitter lists, columns to monitor keywords or key phrases, and a pending tweets column for any scheduled tweets. You can have up to 10 columns for each twitter account showing at one time. I typically add a few columns for monitoring keywords and a few more columns for lists of specific twitterers for different purposes. For example, I might like to keep up on the tweets of my colleagues, social media people and local friends.

Hootsuite makes it easy to reply, re-tweet, send a direct message, add a tweet as a favorite, reply all (for tweets with multiple twitterers listed) or send a specific tweet to email. Another nice feature is the amount of information available about each twitterer including their Twitter bio, a link to their twitter account, their website, how many they are following, number of followers and the ability to report them as a spammer. What I really like about this feature as well is that it includes easy access to their timeline, their mentions, their favorites and links to their other social network accounts. You can easily follow, unfollow, direct message or add someone to one of your lists from this window as well.

Hootsuite Window

For LinkedIn or Facebook, you can monitor the news feeds of your connections in Hootsuite and schedule status updates to go out to each of them. For Facebook pages, you can see all of your posts to the pages and schedule updates.

Hootsuite offers a handy link shortner that makes it easy to shorten a URL and include in it a tweet. There are analytics available for each link shortened using ow.ly so you can track how many times a link has been clicked or you can select a specific tweet and see that stats for that tweet. This is a great way to gauge what types of content your followers are interested in and respond to. Hootsuite recently added the ability to bring in your Google Analytics making it easy to monitor yet another piece of your online activity from one place.

You can also bring in the RSS feed for your blog so that when you post on your blog, it will automatically post to any of your social networking accounts. Other RSS feeds can also be pulled in and set to automatically post to your accounts. For example, each Delicious account has it’s own RSS feed. I set mine so that when I bookmark something in Delicious, it will automatically post that article or website with a link to Twitter. I preface these tweets with “Bookmarked:” This lets my Twitter followers know that I’ve just bookmarked something that I found interesting and that I thought they might like too.

Hootsuite Window2

Hootsuite allows for multiple users to manage different social network accounts from their own respective Hootsuite accounts. Hootsuite confirms who is the “owner” of an account and then you can give access to someone else to that account as a team member. This is very helpful when multiple people need to manage an account and especially in the work that I do. This means when I reply to something in another account or if I schedule a tweet to go out, then the other person with access to that account will see that I’ve already replied or can see what I have scheduled to go out.

Update: Hootsuite recently announced they will start charging for different plans with different levels of features. They will have one plan that remains free with limited features. You can find more information here about the new Hootsuite plans.

Image via CrunchBase

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