When it comes to simple Twitter management, there is a whole host of tools and services you can use. However, before you start to glorify the abundance of the web, you should consider that there are just two prominent tools, CoTweet and HootSuite, specifically designed to help you manage the customer service element of your business. This is not to say that they do not fill the space well, because both are quite effective as Twitter Power-tools, in their own ways.
With more and more companies arming themselves with a quiver full of potent arrows named Twitter, you must be eager to fire your shots before others can. Both CoTweet and HootSuite can help you do this. Nevertheless, before you can decide which of the two tools can serve you best, maybe you should know about the things that both of them offer you.
Whether you use CoTweet or HootSuite, you can:
- Manage as many accounts as you want. Remember that in Twitter-space, the rule is ‘the more the merrier’! You do not have to manage all the accounts yourself and instead provide access to some of the accounts to suitable people in your organization.
- Use both tools to retain password access to all your accounts, because the other users chosen by you simply have to use their CoTweet or Hootsuite logins to use their assigned accounts and interact with customers on behalf of your business.
- Use multiple editors and search for keywords quickly and efficiently.
- Get notified as soon as you receive a message on any of your accounts.
- Program both CoTweet and Hootsuite to send out posts at a designated time later in the day or week. This can be really helpful if you are looking to run a blitzkrieg marketing campaign.
You may also be happy to know that both these tools are free (for now that is).
Okay, but, before you start thinking that these two tools are clones of each other, here’s a brief look at both right now.
If you use CoTweet, you can look forward to:
- A sleek user-interface, boosted by detailed texture. The homepage is nothing much to write about but the spacious layout more than makes up for it!
- Referring to your archived Tweets as and when necessary. You can also create lists and save searches that are easily accessible at any point of time.
- Assign someone in your organization to be the ‘On Duty’ tweeter. This ensures that your business is alive and well on Twitter, throughout working hours. In addition, the Twitter-bugs in your company do not need to waste time in checking their Twitter accounts throughout the day!
- Adding a personal touch to your Twitter posts. If you feel that the posts should be credited to the person making them on behalf of your organization, you can use CoTags. These are short signatures (usually initials) which can be set up to appear automatically along with every post. In hindsight, if you make it a must for every tweeter in your organization to use CoTags, they might be a lot more responsible with the content of their posts!
But there are some downsides to CoTweet too.
- CoTweet does not support Facebook, which may be a vital element of your social media efforts. Social media is not just about Twitter, and the sooner the makers do something to incorporate Facebook usage, the better.
- Finding specific tweets can be tough, particularly when you are in a hurry.
- If you are looking for something within the searches you have saved, you may find it hard to obtain results for specific operators such as ‘near’ or ‘within’ a place. For such geographically specific searches, you have to refer to search.twitter.com repeatedly.
Now that you know a fair bit about the pros and cons of Cotweet, let us take closer look at HootSuite as well! Here are some of Hootsuite’s key features that deserve two thumbs ups and no less:
- If you like multifunctional tools, you will love HootSuite. It allows you to manage Facebook, Ping.fm, and LinkedIn in addition to Twitter. To top it off, you can plug in WordPress blogs and any RSS feed of your choice into HootSuite streams. There is hardly an easier way to promote your blogs through Twitter and Facebook!
- To complete the social media bouquet, HootSuite gives you an iPhone application to post, search and even check user stats.
- Talking about user stats, HootSuite provides you the deepest and most intricate data you may ever need! Use the URL shortener ow.ly to get to know stuff such as who are the most influential re-tweeters of your links.
- You can customize the entire process of profile management by adding and removing columns from the different tabs representing the profiles you are managing. If you want, you can also add more columns for content such as Twitter lists, searches and keywords.
- The HootLet is a mini-bookmark system unique to HootSuite. Marking your favorite sites for tweeting can be really easy thanks to this feature.
- You can start or stop following people on twitter via HootSuite whenever you wish. With the click of a button, you can report spammers to Twitter HQ for appropriate action.
Even though the above mentioned features of Hootsuite sound great, you should keep in mind some of its downsides as well:
- The iPhone app works for Twitter only. For the rest you have to log in to the website. Moreover, the app costs you an extra $2, which makes it a paid service feature.
- More than one person in your organization can access HootSuite, but there are no such features as the ‘tweet assignment’ and ‘on duty’ ones in as is the case of CoTweet.
- Specific searches do not seem to work here either.
In conclusion, while both are great tools meant to empower you while engaging in social media customer service, CoTweet is perhaps the better choice if you run a business with some employees to assist you in your social media efforts.
On the other hand, if you want to keep your social media cards close to your chest, HootSuite may serve you best with its better layout and simple interface. If you want to choose one, what you need to do is to take a look at your organization’s needs and the facilities at your disposal for social media customer service and making the right choice suddenly won’t seem so hard after all!