Everyone wants to engage with users on social media, but with 350 million updates on Twitter alone, how can anyone keep track of what's happening?
Instead of being flooded by social media data, you need to surf the wave. That's where engagement dashboards come in.
Here are three tools worth considering:
If you're mainly active on Twitter, try Commun.it. Sign up for an account (the free account lets you manage a single Twitter profile) and input your Twitter credentials, and Commun.it will work its magic.
You will see a three-column dashboard every time you log in.
The left column is your navigation, while the center column contains your feed. The third column provides more detail based on what you select in your feed.
In the example below, I selected "influencers" from the navigation column and am viewing the details of the influencer.
For each update, you can see how Commun.it tagged each person (as an influencer, supporter or engaged user), which of your lists he or she belongs to, the person's Twitter bio, followers, and number of engagements.
You can also see mentions you haven't replied to and whether that person is someone you should follow. Click on the "consider to follow" button, and the third column will show you more detail about the user. You can follow the person from the Commun.it site.
Beyond the dashboard, you can use the navigation in the left column to track relationships (influencers, supporters, engaged and high value), followers and unfollowers (with recommendations on who you should follow and unfollow), and groups (based on your Twitter lists).
You can find leads based on keywords you choose, and refine these by location, language and sentiment.
Finally, you can search for particular Twitter users.
Activity and engagement reporting
To complete the package, Commun.it provides activity and engagement reports. The activity reports cover mentions sent and received, retweets sent and received, reach, the names of people who mention you or people you mention, follower growth, and your most retweeted status.
If you have a free account, the report only covers the last three days. The report tracks some of the same items for particular areas, and you can input a URL if you want to track that, too.
Running this report brings up a table with a rating, follower count, engagement count, and follower metrics for the users, including status updates.
Commun.it provides exactly what it says on its home page: easy Twitter management. But what if you also want to monitor sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and others?
Give a tool like Cloze or Engagio a try.
Let's look at Cloze first.
Cloze also provides a dashboard for you to track your interactions, but it's not confined to Twitter.
You can add Facebook, LinkedIn and email—most people's most important networks. Cloze uses the data from these to create a profile for you that is surprisingly detailed.
When you first go to Cloze, you get a homepage that shows the number of missed messages you have and your Cloze score. (Your Cloze score measures the quality of your relationships based on dormancy, frequency, responsiveness, privacy, freshness and balance.)
The home page also shows the number of messages and contacts it's tracking and the number of strong relationships it has discovered.
Every contact has a Cloze score based on his or her importance to, and interaction with, you. All you have to do is click on a name to get a detailed view of that person's interaction with you, their contact information, people related to them, and recent messages.
In this example, my connection with this person is positively affected by how recently we talked:
The next important page is the "what you may have missed" page.
This shows your contacts and their updates with options to share, mark or mute them. You can filter the view to only see emails and direct messages, profile updates, new connections, or shares and comments. You can also change what you see for targets, muted targets, and everyone else.
Cloze automatically suggests targets based on your interactions, but you can mute or pin different targets to get the tailored view you want. You can even choose whether to show personal relationships, co-workers, other relationships, or everyone, and can track up to 100 key relationships.
Reply and share options are appropriate for the original source. For email, click the paper plane button to send a quick email or one of the message templates ("call me," "I'm on the road," or "I'll reply soon").
Here's an example of the options available for a Twitter status update I missed:
Cloze provides a great way to communicate with the people you want to reach on different networks from a single place.
The third dashboard is Engagio.
Founded by William Mougayar, the site started as a social conversations network-a way to converse with others on social media without having to go to each site to find out what's happening.
That is still at the heart of Engagio.
Sign up, add your accounts for 14 social networking sites, and track your conversations either in a unified inbox or site by site. You can follow users, see what they are talking about, and even track the top people you interact with.
All of this happens in a Gmail-like inbox interface:
At the start, the Engagio aimed to let you transform your online interactions into relationships, and recent changes have improved functionality and design.
Engagio tracks comments and discussions from 14 networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Disqus, YouTube, StackExchange, StockTwits, Angel List, WordPress, Hacker News, Tumblr, Google contacts, and Foursquare.
Engagio aims to end the fragmentation of the social Web.
At the heart of Engagio is the engagement discovery dashboard. On the left is a small navigation panel.
The middle shows discussions from people you follow, with a small icon indicating on which network the update is. Click on the update and a sub-menu appears to allow you to reply, share, follow, view, like or see the update. Some of these functions happen in-line, while others take you to the social media site to complete the action.
On the right side of the dashboard there are lists of sites and articles where your contacts are active.
All users also have an editable profile that lists their networks, Klout scores, links (pulled mainly from Google+), bios and recent discussions. You can also get an at-a-glance view of how active users are on the social networks they use, the top sites they comment on, and the people they interact with most.
Here are some of the other major features of Engagio:
- When you follow a user on Engagio, even if it's just on one network, you can see everywhere a user participates-as long as he or she is signed up for Engagio.
- Engagio has a new search feature. Look for conversations on a topic of interest and drill down to the people, articles and sites talking about it. This is an excellent research tool for writers and bloggers. You can even set up email alerts for your searches.
- Follow conversations and discussions from your Engagio dashboard-you won't lose a conversation again.
Which tool is best?
Which engagement dashboard is right for you?
As always, it depends on your needs.
If you only use Twitter, then all you need is Commun.it. If you just need the big social networks, Cloze has a lot to offer and, since it's still new, you can expect it to add more features.
As an active user of multiple social networks, Engagio is the best choice for me.
What social media engagement dashboards do you use?
Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. A version of this article originally appeared on The Daily Egg.