Now that you have been introduced to a few of the many social media options, it is time to introduce an application designed to help manage multiple social media applications at the same time--Hootsuite. A free version, as well as more powerful subscription options, is available. The free version permits creating channels for up to five social media platforms with multiple streams per platform. For example, my Hootsuite Dashboard free version includes my website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as four social media channels and for each of the channels I have set up multiple streams which appear as columns within each channel. The example below illustrates the two streams I have set up for my website, Better Than The Alternative:
The Hootsuite Dashboard allows me to see both my recent posts (in the "Sent" stream) and the recent posts of those I follow (in the "Following" stream) at the same time. WordPress allows site owners to schedule the publication of posts in the future in which case a third stream for "Scheduled" posts would be appropriate.
In the case of my Facebook channel, I can check out my personal account, the SDW/EG Facebook page and my Toastmasters club page at the same time. See below.
For my LinkedIn channel, I can view my Home updates, my own updates, and scheduled updates on the same screen. See below.
The free version of Hootsuite allows up to three social media channels at this point. I have been using the free version for several years which may explain that I have a fourth stream on my Dashboard which I use for Twitter. Again, I have three streams so I can view them at the same time: Home, My Tweets, and Mentions. In fact, I have two more streams for Messages (Inbox) and Pending. To see all five streams, I must scroll to the right as only three streams will appear on a screen at one time. See the two screenshots below.
The more advanced, subscription-based options allow managing all posts to social media networks from Hootsuite, a time saver that may well be worth the $9.99 (or higher) cost. Note that each of the screen shots above includes a button for easy upgrade to the Pro level which allows up to 50 social media networks and scheduling of 350 messages in advance with even greater flexibility at additional cost. For an individual just getting started with social media, the free option may be sufficient. And the price is right.
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