Twitter Management Tools: Get Your Tweets in a Row

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Using Twitter management tools allows you to create systems and be more effective in your goals. Twitter has been a whirlwind in the social media world and provides endless numbers of opportunities for a unique connection with communities. However the Twitter website is difficult at best. Enter desktop applications and third-party software that you can install on your computer to interface with Twitter and get more out of your microblogging activities.

There are a number of Twitter management tools that have been created (mostly free) to make your life easier, ensure your presence on Twitter is consistent and growing, and that the most critical conversations are not being lost in the crowd. You have a variety to choose from but the three below are the most popular with the most extensive functions. From apps for groups, Mac and PC specific clients, and apps that let you do a whole lot more than tweet, you can use this guide to help you find one of the Twitter management tools thats right for you.

Hootsuite, why it’s good

Hootsuite is a free app that integrates multiple social media accounts. Like many of the other tools, you are able to create multiple columns to filter the view within any one of your accounts. For example, within your Hootsuite account you can create a column based on a specific search term such as “law firm marketing” that will constantly update with any related Tweets. You can also create a single post that can be posted to one or all of your various social media accounts.

One of the strongest features of any of these Twitter management tools is the ability to schedule Tweets. By spending a few minutes a week you can ensure that you have a minimum number of Tweets being sent through your account on a regular basis. HootSuite is also great at giving you visibility into link stats right within their dashboard view of tweets.

Hootsuite mobile

Hootsuite has a free app for iPhone and Android. This mobile version of Twitter management tools integrates the desktop version of Hootsuite by allowing you to carry over columns and views.

CoTweet, why it’s good

CoTweet is similar to Hootsuite in that it is also free and allows you to schedule Tweets in advance. CoTweet is the Twitter management tool of choice for BestBuy, JetBlue, and Ford because it addresses the needs of a business with multiple users.

Yes, you can have multiple accounts, but the key with CoTweet is allowing multiple people to safely manage the same account so there’s no duplication of effort. When users within the same account sent a Tweet, CoTweet will insert they’re initials at the end of the Tweet to identify and track each tweet. Additionally, when responses come to that Tweet, that particular user is notified by email. Some other unique features include assigning tweets to coworkers and adding notes to certain user accounts.

CoTweet mobile

The biggest disappointment of CoTweet is that it does not offer a mobile app for general users. Because the company is focused on enterprise level clients, the only app available is for their current enterprise customers.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is number one of all the Twitter management tools, according to Twitsat. Like the other tools mentioned here, you can update your accounts, follow topics with saved searches, and manage conversations with @ replies and direct messages from within TweetDeck. But the social media management tool offers some more advanced features as well. TweetDeck allows you to record, share or watch video clips, and view YouTube videos, from within the tool (shown above). Plus, you can share and view photos, as TweetDeck now supports Flickr, Twitgo and mobypicture.

TweetDeck mobile

TweetDeck also happens to have a complementary iPhone app that syncs with your desktop columns and allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts.

What I Use, How I do It

I use CoTweet for the large majority of my Tweets, however the big piece that CoTweet is missing is an iPhone app. This is a significant negative for me since I spend a lot of time sending, scheduling and managing Twitter on the go. As a result, I end up using HootSuite as a backup since I find their iPhone app to suit my needs. The only reason I am not using HootSuite for everything is CoTweet’s superiority in managing an account with multiple users.

Schedule your tweets

Not everyone agrees with the idea of scheduling their Tweets with the argument that it lessens the conversation since it is not happening in “real time” and it seems more robotic. My argument for scheduling my Tweets is that many of the things I am sending out are informational and building awareness of interesting things I have found. I also like to be systematic about most of my activities and find that scheduling Tweets accomplishes this goal and avoids the potential time suck of wasting time on Twitter too regularly. If you choose to schedule your Tweets, keep in mind a few best practices.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevegarfield/4247757731/)

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  • Great overview of the top tools, Karin. I’ve tried ’em all and still go back to the website, though I occasionally use web-based Hootsuite. To use effectively, I have a private list of around 150 users who I value the most and which I check (almost) daily. Then have targeted searches and lists. I’m glad you added the caveat about scheduling tweets at the end. Not a fan. Besides the whole conversational aspect, I say that if too busy to hop on to Twitter, it’s okay to skip a day or two. I’m not sure that being ALWAYS present in someone’s stream is a good thing.

  • Leo Widrich

    Great post, Karin. I totally agree, these 3 are definitely the top 3 twitter clients. As for myself, I am an avid tweetdeck user and really love it’s vast amount of features.

    Great point you are making on Tweet scheduling too. I think it’s not a big deal as long as you remain genuine and don’t simply tweet one of your RSS feeds. For scheduling, I don’t feel the 3 tools do a very good job, as scheduling individually is quite a hassle. I use Buffer instead, which is way easier. You have fixed tweeting times and simply add to your Buffer, which will send one tweet at a time out at the fixed times every day. The best thing is that you can do it right now from the page you are on, via the browser extensions and “add to Buffer”.

    many thanks for this post, let me Buffer it :).