Social media is now crucial for small business marketing and branding. But managing your business' Twitter account, let alone a number of social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, can be confusing and overwhelming.
Luckily, new social media dashboards have emerged, allowing business owners to control and respond on multiple social media platforms on one screen. The two leading social media dashboards currently are Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Both of these are available for free, and Hootsuite has pro accounts available for less than $10 per month. Tweetdeck was recently purchased by Twitter.
First, here are the benefits of using a social media dashboard in general, and capabilities that Tweetdeck and Hootsuite share. Both allow you to view your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts simultaneously in one place and check for updates. Both allow you to easily update your social media accounts and to schedule tweets ahead of time.
The single biggest difference between Hootsuite and Tweetdeck is that Tweetdeck is an application that the user downloads and installs, while Hootsuite is web-based. Because of this, Hootsuite runs "lighter" resource-wise on the user's computer, and can be used on any computer without having to install software, which ideal for a shared computer. Also, scheduling future tweets is easier on Hootsuite.
To Tweetdeck's advantage, it is slightly easier to search and can post tweets faster than Hootsuite. Tweetdeck also has instant updates, while Hootsuite updates every two minutes at most. In addition, Tweetdeck allows unlimited accounts, while only Hootsuite's pro version offers unlimited accounts.
Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are both very good at managing social networks, and your preference may depend most on look and feel, and not the features, which are relatively similar and always changing. Try them out: either of these social media dashboards can ease and increase your customer interaction and engagement over social media networks.