I currently use HootSuite mostly to manage Twitter conversations. I track my “home” stream (all the people I follow on Twitter) as well as mentions and certain keyword topics I like to keep an eye on when I have a minute. (For more info on HootSuite and streams, click here. Based on that blog post and other plus this info graphic from HootSuite, it’s clear many social media addicts use the tool to track and manage Twitter and other social networking conversation like I do.
I used to use TweetDeck and, in fact, still have the program on my desktop. But I switched to HootSuite for one main reason: the web interface. I really like being able to access my management tool anywhere, something I can’t do (or at least don’t know how to do) on TweetDeck. I have other reasons for using HootSuite over TweetDeck and the original Twitter or other social network page:
- Customized, multiple tabs. I’m a collector. I love to follow conversations even if I don’t actually say anything. For this reason, I have multiple Twitter-related tabs on HootSuite. My dashboard opens with my home stream, mentions, retweets by and of me, direct messages and my Bonaventure list. I can easily scroll from left to right (and vice versa) to see different columns. Then I have another tab that is just for hashtag keywords I follow, like #socialmedia and #journchat. My third tab is Twitter lists I follow, and my last two tabs are for my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Doing it in tabs just makes all that information much more manageable.
- Ability to schedule tweets and status updates. While I don’t use this as much for personal tweets, it comes in quite handy when managing social networking accounts for organizations (namely The SBU Career Center and OUT2connect). Sometimes I can’t be at my computer or on my iPod (I’m still working on getting that smartphone!) at the time a lot of the organizations’ fans/followers are. While certainly all tweets or updates can’t be scheduled, it is helpful to schedule things you know are going to happen.
- On-site link shortener. I love that I can shorten my links for Twitter automatically, even though I have gotten a complaint for using the same shortened ow.ly link for Facebook. I feel short links are valid in both places these days as long as you have a broad idea of who you’re friends with or following. But I could have a whole other post on that topic…
HootSuite isn’t perfect, though. I try to have patience because I know it’s a fairly new item, but here are some issues I’ve faced that I hope will improve over the next one million users:
- Wacky Facebook. Sometimes when I try to update a Facebook status for myself or an organization, it starts to go wacky on me. Not exactly sure why and it’s not a huge thing, but it’s always a pain when I try to update Twitter and Facebook at once, but the Facebook update doesn’t go through. Also, maybe I just haven’t figured it out yet, but I don’t like that you can’t tag people in your status updates. That can be helpful sometimes.
- Tracking features. I understand HootSuite needs to make money, but I wish they had some kind of link tracking feature like bit.ly has. I use bit.ly once in a while if I have a link that I really want to monitor, but I would love if HootSuite’s link shortener came with that feature.
- Extras. I have never used Brizzly, but I have heard that you can see the actual photos in the feeds. I like that idea. Extra features like that could really improve the HootSuite experience.
So, what social media management tool(s) do you use and what do you love/hate/feel neutral about with them??