By @TheMarkDalton

Following the launch of their new Engage app which is designed to help influencers and celebrities manage their Twitter accounts, Twitter has now launched another new app to help small businesses which is called Dashboard.

The new Dashboard service is available on both the web and mobile and it is aimed at helping businesses connect with their customers. There is a range of tools on offer such as customised feeds of tweets, tools to schedule posts, suggestions on what to tweet, analytics and more.

Dashboard is targeted towards brands and businesses who want to have more power and control over their content but don’t want to spend money on more sophisticated tools which are only really needed by larger corporations. This is Twitter’s idea of a basic set of business friendly tools for a broader audience provided for free.

Dashboard allows users to set up feeds to monitor specific keywords and phrases. Social listening tools are an important part of social media, it enables you to keep an eye on what people are saying about your business when they are not including your handle in their tweets.

Businesses can also schedule tweets and the iOS app will also allow you to schedule, edit and reschedule tweets on the go. Scheduling on Twitter is a hot topic with social media marketers either for it or against it. I personally don’t schedule tweets due to the “live” nature of the platform as I don’t want scheduled tweets going out if there is big breaking news that everyone is talking about on Twitter. My promotional tweet in the middle of all that conversation just doesn’t look good.

However scheduling on Twitter can be a handy way of keeping on top of content if you are a business and you are managing your own social media so I can completely understand why people choose to do it.

Another cool feature is that Dashboard will help you with your tweets. There are plenty of times as a business when you think “I really need to tweet something” but you have no idea what to tweet. Twitter will now help out by making suggestions. Twitter’s blog post explains this by example, so Twitter might suggest you retweet some praise for customers or if you are running a restaurant Twitter might suggest you tweet praising the staff.

It can be useful to help you keep the flow going when you are trying to think of something to say. There is also Twitter analytics present in the Dashboard app. This will allow businesses to see a range of data about their account, there is nothing really new here. You will see things like top tweets, mentions, top media posts ect.

Now for the annoying part, Dashboard is launching as beta in the U.S. only at the moment. Annoying right? Well don’t worry, if you want to get your hands on the Dashboard app asap instead of waiting (and if you are a business I highly suggest you do) then you can create a U.S. iTunes account and download the app from the U.S. App Store for free. The Dashboard website is not U.S. only and you can gain access from anywhere by simply visiting the following link – dashboard.twitter.com

Setting up a U.S. iTines account is easy, and don’t worry you are not doing anything naughty or violating laws by doing this. Simply follow the steps below:

https://support.unblock-us.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1439404-how-to-register-for-an-apple-id-without-a-credit-card-

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