At the end of June, Twitter announced the arrival of the Twitter Dashboard, a tool to help business owners better manage their Twitter account. Should you try it? What about other tools like Buffer and Hootsuite? In this article, we’ll give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
What is Twitter Dashboard?
Twitter Dashboard is a free tool for monitoring Twitter account activity, connecting with customers, and gaining insight. Some of the perks:
The tool includes a dashboard that will allow you to view all mentions of your company, including when someone mentions your Twitter handle (@), your company name, or your website. You can also set the dashboard up to monitor specific keywords or hashtags – for example, branded or event hashtags or important keywords in your industry.
The Twitter Dashboard includes the ability to schedule your tweets in advance (which you can do through the website or even through the free iOS app). Just enter your message and choose a publish date and time. When finished, you can view scheduled tweets in your queue calendar and edit as needed.
Finally, through Twitter Dashboard you can analyze the performance of your account as a whole and individual tweets. The Analytics section of the tool shares charts including the number of tweets you’ve posted, mentions, profile visits, followers, and impressions. You can also see analytics for individual tweets, such as likes, retweets, replies, and impressions.
All in all, Twitter Dashboard is packed with features that will help you minimize the time spent managing your Twitter account yet maximize results.
What about Other Social Media Schedulers?
If you’ve been following Smart Hustle for a while, the capabilities listed above may sound familiar to you. For example, we had a special section for social media tools in our “50 Powerful Tech Tools to Help Create a Successful Small Business” article, and several of our other social media-related blogs mention similar resources like Buffer and Hootsuite.
The creation of Twitter Dashboard is a way for Twitter to compete with these other platforms, which is something Twitter has been trying to do for years. In May 2011, Twitter purchased the third-party app Tweetdeck for $40 million. However, with expanded tools (such as stats and reporting), other social media tools continued to grow, with Buffer announcing 1.32 million users in 2014 and Hootsuite announcing 10 million users later that same year.
Twitter Dashboard may, therefore, be a new direction for Twitter – a platform with more advanced capabilities that can better compete with the big names in social media management. So how does it stack up against Buffer and Hootsuite?
Twitter Dashboard Pros
Price = Free!
As a small business owner on a budget, you can’t beat that! We don’t know much about what the future holds, but it could involve the expansion to paid versions that have greater capabilities.
Simple to Use
We tried Twitter Dashboard out before writing this article and found it to be quite intuitive. You should be able to jump in right away, but if you need help, we like this “how to” post by Social Media Examiner.
The Analytics section provides you with all the basic things you need to know about your account (in easy-to-digest graphic form). We also love the ability to set up and monitor specific keywords and hashtags!
Twitter Dashboard Cons
Only for Twitter
The biggest issue for many small business owners is that Twitter Dashboard works only for Twitter itself. On the other hand, Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to monitor business social media accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other platforms, all in one place.
Only One Account at a Time
Another issue is that your Twitter Dashboard is connected to your specific Twitter account and so you can only access one account at a time. Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to add multiple Twitter accounts so that you can monitor them all from one place. This is particularly important for those that have more than one business or brand, or people who want to monitor their business and personal accounts without having to log into each one separately.
As always, you get what you pay for. Hootsuite and Buffer offer some advanced analytics in their paid plans. Buffer also integrates with Bit.ly for your links, and Hootsuite has the capability of creating vanity URLs.
In the end, whether Twitter Dashboard, Hootsuite, Buffer, or some other social media management tool is best will depend on the needs of your small business. Whichever you choose, we stand firm on the belief that small business owners should use third party apps to simplify social media marketing and improve efficiency.