Social Media Dashboards

Are you still using a spreadsheet to collect your social media data? Me too. Here is how I’m trying to automate marketing analytics.

Every morning I manually calculate metrics like the number of Shopify orders, the number of Facebook likes, and the number of Twitter followers (to name a few). I started to wonder, “How can I view all of my social media stats in one place automatically?” I wondered if there was a program or web site that would provide me the information I was looking for automatically, something like a “social media dashboard”?

Sprout Social

Sprout Social

After hearing a lot of business marketing podcast guests talk about Sprout Social, I decided to check it out. It boasts, “Unlimited reporting & exporting across all of your accounts. Profile, group and roll-up reports for high or low level performance data,” in short, “Integrated analytics across all of your social properties.” While Sprout Social has the social media dashboard functionality I was looking for, at plans that start at $39 a month, I wondered if I could get that functionality elsewhere? Enter Ducksboard and Geckoboard.

Ducksboard Dashboard

Ducksboard

Ducksboards are “Real time Dashboards” to “Visually monitor all your metrics at a glance.” I tested it out by loading in Google Analytics for one site, a Facebook Page, my Trello account, and my Twitter account data. The process was relatively easy and while the displayed data was slightly different than the data I was manually collecting, it did a good job of showing me a real-time “snapshot” view of what was going on. One neat feature of Duckboard dashboards is their “TV mode” feature where the data is meant to be displayed on a flat panel in your office or waiting room. Starting at $16 a month, if all you want is social dashboarding, it’s a nice alternative to Sprout Social.

geckoboard

Geckoboard

Geckoboard is “Your Key Data, In One Place. Stop spending time checking services and start monitoring your business in real-time.” After using Ducksboard, Geckoboard seemed much more granular. It asked many more questions when setting up a “widget” than Ducksboard did. If you want to be more specific, use Geckoboard. Similarly, Geckoboard lets you control how big each widget is displayed, whereas Ducksboard did not. So if you’re anal retentive, use Geckoboard. As far as the dashboard view, I found Geckoboard less appealing and one of the widgets just didn’t work. Pricing is very similar to Ducksboard: it starts at $17 a month, making it a another dashboard alternative to Sprout Social.

Summary

One thing both Ducksboard and Geckoboard have in common is a public link to your dashboard so that you can share the information with someone without an account. This makes it easy to share with say, a client. I manage a lot of different client’s marketing campaigns as well as my own sites, so a single dashboard view wouldn’t necessarily work for me, but setting one up for each client might work. It could be a nice upsell that could potentially benefit the client, but like all information, the data is only as good as what you do with it. If you’re looking for a more detailed review, GetApp has a nice Geckoboard vs. Ducksboard review page.

Update

I just got an email from Matt at Geckoboard that shows how they can be used on a TV just like Duckboard:

Hey Erich,

It’s great to see that you’ve been adding some widgets to your Geckoboard. Now if you haven’t done so already, you should really think about getting your dashboard displayed on a big screen TV for all to see.

2 in 3 of our customers do this and they tell us that having Geckoboard up on their wall has meant that everyone has access to this important data. It also starts conversations about data – what they’re seeing and why that might be!

The screen is best placed where people regularly come together (we have one of our own above the water machine) and just focus on the metrics that really matter – you don’t need to display everything.

Since you’re just starting out, you might want to get creative and add in a few fun widgets – this encourages more people to stop and look at it and as they say, nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. If you’re stuck for how get your dashboard on to a screen, then consider the following options that we blogged about recently.

As ever, if you have any problems or questions then let me know.

Thanks,

Matt at Geckoboard

Visualize WordPress Categories by Post Count

This is a cool WordPress charting tool to visualize your WordPress posts by category into an auto-updating chart. It works by querying WordPress for its posts counts and then using the Google API for creating charts to create and display an image. The JPG that is returned is actually stored on Google’s servers, but displayed on whatever post or page you add it to. The plugin currently uses a shortcode (category-chart) to display and doesn’t work in the sidebar, nor does it have a widget. And if you want to change the charts title, width, and height, you’re going to have to manually edit the one PHP file it uses to run. It’s simple enough to figure out where to make changes, but here is what the pie chart looks like by default:

Thanks to Elvin Haci for making this neat WordPress post charting plugin.