What is the best social media dashboard to manage your business?
This is certainly a loaded question because it really depends on who you ask.
But one thing is clear. Consumers are using social media more than ever. They’re being influenced to purchase products. They are influencing others to purchase products. They’re publicly expressing their love for the brands they have an affinity for and screaming from the rooftops about the brands they hate.
For the last 15 years, Consumer, B2B and healthcare brands have been investing heavily into building social media programs meant to influence purchase behavior, conversation, and overall brand reputation. Some do it really well and others can improve. In either case, this level of investment into B2B social media marketing should also include an integrated social analysis and measurement component.
Sadly, this is not always the case.
Most social media intelligence platforms have off-the-shelf dashboard capabilities. Some are more flexible than others. As someone who prioritizes storytelling with data–the look, feel, flexibility, and scale are all critical factors in my purchase decision but that’s just me.
The problem is that most of these social media dashboards are created for and by highly technical teams like developers or analysts. They do not necessarily understand that a social media dashboard should be able to tell a story without someone walking through and explaining what the data means.
Thankfully, there are several data visualization software platforms available on the market that can help solve some of these problems. The top platforms that come to mind for me are Google Data Studio, Tableau and Datorama. All three of these platforms have unique characteristics and some also complement one another and integrate really well together.
Supermetrics is also worthy of discussion. I have never built a social media dashboard using their tool, but I have explored a few of their templates and the feedback that I have heard from others has been stellar.
Below is an example of Supermetrics and their LinkedIn templates. I believe this one was set up as a Google Data Studio template, which means it’s easy to customize so you can add context and insights.
These are just the basic metrics but that’s what templates are used for. The point is that when using a 3rd party social dashboard like this, you can integrate data from multiple sources-web, sales, social and channel-specific like below making stellar social media data visualization dashboards.
If you are in the market to purchase software to build a social media dashboard and broaden the diversity of your marketing tech stack, consider these three things before making that investment – cost, access and ease of use.
(1) The Best Social Media Dashboard Can Get Expensive, Fast
This is kind of a no brainer. This should always be a consideration before purchasing any type of software. But sometimes there are hidden costs that you need to factor in before deciding. Sometimes there are data limits, so you’d have to prioritize which data sources you want to integrate into your dashboard. Most of these data platforms are based on a cost per user model. The more users you have, the more expensive it gets, obviously.
(2) Easy Access Equals Agile Decision Making
One thing I love about Google Data Studio (GDS) is that any person can access any dashboard at any time. However, just because something is free doesn’t always mean it’s the right tool for your business. We use GDS a lot for a lot of clients that we work with. It is easy to use, and viewers don’t have to pay for a license just to see the and explore the data. This means that decisions can be made quickly and with purpose. In today’s real time world, this should be a priority.
There are some social listening tools that have direct exports through APIs to GDS. I know for certain that Digimind is one of those platforms that has a one click publish directly to the GDS. I believe they are the only platform in the market that has this capability.
(3) Easy to Use Social Media Dashboards Win All the Time
I am a power user of many software applications–everything from Google Analytics and Google search console, to Cision, Brandwatch and Audiense. In fact, I often get asked about the “Meltwater vs Cision” comparison but they are pretty much identical. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Luckily, I am a patient person and love learning how to use new platforms. I am probably the outlier though. Most people don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes learning how to use a piece of software.
This just means that any type of data aggregator, data visualization software, or just a plain social media dashboard software, must be easy to use. One thing that is often forgotten is that marketers and PR pros are now using data to inform their programs and campaigns. Sometimes they don’t have an analyst to help them with data extraction and data mining. Social media dashboards should be built with this in mind.
What’s Next For Social Media Dashboards
There seems to be a lot of innovation in the social media technology space. For the last couple of years, Forrester has recognized them as consumer intelligence platforms pivoting away from social listening vendors. In either case, it’s good to see a lot of competitors launching new capabilities and mergers and acquisitions causing disruption in the marketplace.
I really hope you enjoyed this video. I do my best to create content that’s actionable and provides value to the work you do.
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