Hootsuite – The Ultimate Twitter Toolboxby Anvil on March 26, 2009Tool Review
By now you’ve heard of Twitter (if you haven’t, go sit in your corner for 20 minutes because you’re in time out) and are probably using it for personal use with a bit of business mixed in, or vice versa. However, if you’re like me, you are managing multiple accounts on a daily basis that include your own personal and client accounts. A slick, efficient tool that allows you to manage every aspect of Twitter is a must in order to keep your sanity.
I have just recently come across such a tool. It’s called HootSuite. It allows you to easily manage multiple Twitter accounts from within one interface. The interface uses drop downs to switch back and forth between accounts and tabs that allow you to perform different actions depending on what you want to do. Very simple. HootSuite recently won Best App at the Shorty Awards, so I’m not the only one who’s seen the value.
OK, let’s get started. Once you create an account and log in you’ll see that you can set up multiple administrators or editors by account, which is great for allowing others to use the tool as well (i.e. your client may want access). You’ll also notice several tabs that you can navigate between. First, the “Home” tab. This tab shows the tweets of those you follow, just like the main page on Twitter does. Nothing mind blowing here.
Next, the “@Replies” tab shows everyone that has replied to your tweets. There have been a number of times where I haven’t been following someone that’s following me, so if they reply to one of my tweets, I may not catch it right away. For my own personal account it’s not as big of a deal (though I do work hard to reply to those who take the time to reply to my tweets), but when we’re talking about managing client accounts, every @reply counts. For example, say my client was a local restaurant and we tweet our special of the day. We get a @reply back asking if we have a vegan option, but since we aren’t following this tweeter it won’t show up on our page. We’ll never see the @reply, which means we may have just lost a customer. We could be using Twitter Search’s RSS functionality to alert us anytime someone uses our Twitter name, but that would require checking your RSS reader. The whole point of this tool is simplicity and efficiency.You can see those who have @replied to you very quickly, making your @reply back more timely and effective.
The DM (Direct Message) tab is the next in line. Within this tab you can see any DM you’ve recieved or sent and actually DM directly from within the tool. In order to DM someone, you both have to be following each other, and HootSuite gives you the option to follow someone if you aren’t already. Very nifty.
HootSuite also allows for tweet scheduling. This a really handy feature if you are managing multiple accounts and want to get ahead by scheduling tweets to publish automatically throughout the week, or month if you are really organized. Setting the more standard tweets to publish on their own frees up time for you to monitor @replies or DMs and respond accordingly. I always find if I block out 30 minutes to an hour I can hammer out a good number of tweets, but don’t obviously want to publish them all at the same time. They’ll lose their value as my followers will be inundated with tweets and may stop following me. No one wants to be labeled as a spammer.
Finally, the feature that really sold me on HootSuite, URL shortening and tracking. Previously I was using Twhirl and Tweetburner in tandem. I used Twhirl to manage my multitude of accounts, and Tweetburner to create my shortened URLs for tracking. This was a hassle as I had to have separate Tweetburner accounts for each client (and myself). I found myself logging in and out of each account numerous times each day. Really annoying. With HootSuite, as you create a tweet, you are provided with the option to shorten your URL and have it appended at the end of your tweet. The shortened URLs appear as ow.ly/xxx. Once you’ve published tweets with the shortened URLs, you can track the clickthroughs from within the tool by clicking on the “Stats” tab. The Stats show Clicks by Region (broken out by country), Top Referrers (by click), Most Popular Tweets and a click graph. All data can be filtered by date range as well, which is really helpful when preparing client reports.
HootSuite also has a Search feature, so you can still perform Twitter searches from within the tool, and it even saves the keywords you’ve searched.
Of the tools I’ve used to manage Twitter, HootSuite has been the best so far at making my life simpler and allowing me to be more efficient, and more effective. I highly recommend checking this tool out, whether you are managing 1 account or 10.