Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: Tweetdeck and Hootsuite – Huh, What?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tweetdeck and Hootsuite – Huh, What?


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Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are two Twitter tools that are useful for marketers, business owners or anyone who is a "Power Tweeter". I think I just made up that term. I started using Tweetdeck several months ago but they recently upgraded their platform and now allow users to send "tweets" from multiple accounts. Hootsuite, on the other hand, I only joined last week and I am stumbling my way through educating myself on the benefits of both. This post will take a look at both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite and provide a comparison and contrast of each tool and why you may find each one useful.

To start off, both platforms merge with your Twitter account. Once you sign up, you log in and both platforms access your Twitter account. Both platforms also allow you to "tweet" from, or manage, multiple accounts, simultaneously if you wish. Many of you may be asking "Why do I need these?" Well, if you are promoting a business on Twitter, even if that business is your blog, you may follow many people and many people may follow you. The web based version of Twitter can be great but these two platforms offer various add-on features that make tweeting and reading tweets a lot easier.

Tweetdeck
Because I am more familiar with Tweetdeck, I will start with the benefits that I have personally found valuable. One thing to mention that is fairly important, Tweetdeck is an Adobe based product and you must download and install on your computer. Tweetdeck is great for managing your inbound tweets – reading posts from the people you follow.

  • Tweetdeck allows users to create columns where they can organize the people they follow. My columns are as follows:
    • Social Media – any social media "expert" from whom I wish to learn or gain information
    • Bloggers – various bloggers whose blogs I like to read
    • Travel – anyone who tweets about travel (hotels, orbitz, travel bloggers, etc.)
    • All Friends – Everyone I follow shows up here
    • Replies – anyone who mentions my handle @leyla_a
    • Direct Messages – where I can read all of my "direct messages"
    • News – this is where I get all my news
    • Chicago – where I follow local tweeters
    • Event Marketing – I set up a "search" column, if someone mentions Event Marketing, sponsorship or something related, they show up here
    • Celebrity – my weakness and yes, I do follow @plusk
  • The greatest part of Tweetdeck (for me) is the ease of the "re-tweet" – if someone posts something I like, I hover over their picture and an option is given where I can re-send their tweet (the re-tweet is a goal for everyone on Twitter, you want your posts to be re-tweeted. The ultimate honor you can pay someone is re-tweeting their post.)
  • Hover over someone's photo and you are given the option to: reply, re-tweet, view their profile, group this person, favorite them, mark as read, block, follow, unfollow, etc.
  • Tweetdeck allows you to follow "search" items in real time. For example, I am notified any time someone mentions "event marketing". This is helpful because I run a business that focuses on Event Marketing, if someone is looking for assistance, I can send them a message and offer my services.
  • Allows for shortened URL service with Tiny URL or bit.ly with the click of a button so you can easily share links (and you should)
  • Connects with Facebook – should you wish to update your status from Tweetdeck
  • Tweetdeck sits on your desktop and it can be minimized. There is a notification (that you can disable) in the upper right hand corner of your screen. When someone tweets, the notification pops up on the screen indicating from which "group" (bullet pointed above) the tweet was received. If I notice that a tweet is an @reply, I read it straight away!
Hootsuite
A newer Twitter tool that seems to be more beneficial for those who are more interested in tracking the tweets they send vs. the tweets they receive. You can manage multiple accounts, you can send tweets as well as track and measure the tweets you've sent.

  • Manage multiple accounts, send tweets and receive tweets for multiple accounts – either simultaneously or individually
  • You can auto-send tweets from Hootsuite – this is a great tool if you don't want to sit at your desk all day sending out tweets. You can set the time and date for your tweets to be released.
  • You can add multiple USERS for each account. If you have a team sending out your Tweets, you can set your account to identify which user is sending the tweet by their initials (called auto initial) – should you wish to make this known. Of these users, you can allow each one access to certain accounts or all accounts depending on your need. If you are managing a personal account and a corporate account, you only need ONE Hootsuite account, you can give access to others for your corporate account but not your personal account.
  • Hootsuite allows users to enable Google Adsense ads with their tweets using ow.ly to shorten the URL (I don't know how I feel about making the waters murky with ads but I am not one to stop anyone from making $$)
  • You can set up an auto-tweet that will send out your RSS feed – great for bloggers who want to send tweets for their latest blog entry
  • Probably the biggest benefit that one can have from Hootsuite is the ability to track your statistics
    • Similar to bit.ly (a URL shortener that tracks your clicks), if you use the Hootsuite URL shortener ow.ly, you can track how many clicks your URL receives
    • The "Stats" tab gives you an aggregated statistic for all your tweets
    • You can filter your stats by date
    • You can dig deeper into your stats by clicking on the Profile tab then the Sent tab, if you click on the bar chart, it pulls up stats on each individual tweet
  • Hootsuite allows you to search your tweets, similar to Twitter search but Hootsuite saves your search keywords as buttons and you can click on the ones you would like to use
  • Hootsuite also has a Ping.fm integration and a bookmarking option – both of which I have yet to check out
  • I did not notice a Facebook Connect option with Hootsuite


Many tools are out there for Twitter users and there are new ones being developed all the time. Ultimately, the platform you use depends on how often you tweet, why you tweet and what your end goals are. If you are interested in organizing and reading tweets from others, Tweetdeck is great for that. If you are more inclined to use Twitter for out-going Tweets and want to track the number of people that open your links, how far your tweets reach - Hootsuite is very useful in that respect. As I mentioned, using bit.ly has a very similar tracking tool, however, with Hootsuite everything is in one place and you can manage various other things simultaneously. One thing I've learned is to take these statistics with a grain of salt, I find that when I look at my bit.ly stats versus my Google Analytics stats, they don't always measure up accurately with one another. Why, I am not certain, but I always think that the actual number falls somewhere in between.

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