Managing Your Twitter with Hootsuite
Last week, we reviewed TweetDeck client for Twitter; today, we summarize our impressions of Hootsuite. If you feel regular Twitter user interface becomes more of a limitation than convenience, if you can't find certain features you feel should be there, such as being able to delete all your tweets in bulk, or filter your Twitter timeline, you start searching for apps that let you do more than Twitter itself.
Hootsuite is a lot more than just a Twitter client. It allows you to manage all your social networking accounts, as well as multiple accounts on the same social network, in one dashboard. Hootsuite is free for personal use, while businesses looking for extended functionality can subscribe to $8.99/month plan or check out enterprise plans, but here we will overview the free Hootsuite for personal use.
Overall impression is Hootsuite is awesome, powerful, easy to use and intuitive and has plenty of perks you will keep discovering as you get used to it. First things first, here are the links:
Hootsuite Chrome app (Chrome, Comodo Dragon and other Chrome clones)
Hootsuite for Android
Hootsuite for iOS
Hootlet extension for Chrome
Signing up is easy - you can log in via Twitter, authorizing Hootsuite as a third-party app with access to your Twitter account. If, for some reason, you should choose not to use Hootsuite, you can Revoke access from your Twitter account by going to Settings and Help -> Apps -> Revoke Access next to Hootsuite.
However, it is very unlikely you would want to quit using Hootsuite. Community Forum, feature and Quick Start Guides will answer all of your initial questions, and show you around.
The looks are great - there are three themes (Blue Steel, Classic and Magnum), so two light and one dark theme. There is a little inconspicuous button at the top right-hand corner Stream View - it lets you adjust the width of columns. There doesn’t seem to exist a way to customize font size, though, but you can just zoom in and out by pressing and holding Ctrl and scrolling up or down your mouse wheel.
Navigation is smooth - the menu bar is on the left, and you will find settings, apps, tools, app directory, contacts, assignments, analytic, publisher and streams here. While most of that stuff is for power users, regular users will most likely use Settings, Streams and once in a while Tools.
Setting up additional accounts to manage from Hootsuite is a matter of couple clicks. Find your Twitter user icon at the top-left hand corner, next to Compose new tweet? When you point at it, a compose new tweet message pops up, but under your userpic there is a small + Add Social Network option. Also, there is a + Add Social Network button next to + Add Stream button (the functionality is so abundant you don't always notice the obvious buttons).
You can add Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, foursqaure, WordPress and mixi accounts, and manage them all from one platform. Isn’t it power management of social network profiles made easy and accessible for regular users and beginning webmasters?
Finally, it is worth mentioning the web app is complemented by mobile apps, so you can manage your social networking on the go with maximum functionality and flexibility.
Columns are called Streams in Hootsuite, and you can add as many as you want. Moreover, you can add tabs and organize your social accounts and streams within them by tabs. The streams get updated automatically. You can display a stream for your filtered list, mentions and direct messages, home or re-tweets, scheduled tweets and so much more. You can add streams based on your lists, or specific keywords you'd like to track, or by search.
Scheduled Tweets - creating scheduled tweets is easy. You hit create a new tweet and press the little calendar icon Scheduling. From there, you see a number of options to schedule tweet, attach image or file, add location, see targeting options and most importantly, customize AutoScheduling settings.
Hootlet extension for Chrome lets you share links to stuff from supported services, namely, YouTube, Pinterest, Google search results, Twitter, Google Maps, Instagram, Flickr and Facebook. Even though you still have to manually copy-paste titles and links to articles on other websites, Hootlet is still a great relief and handy tool Twitter-wise. Check out what it does when you click on it while you are on Google search results page - it displays relevant Tweets on the right, next to search results, and lets you re-tweet or reply to them directly from there. If you want to tweet that search page, you can schedule it or send it now, add an image, location and use all the regular Hootsuite options.
When you point at a link on the search page and right-click it, you can find the Share Link via Hootsuite Hootlet.
If you need to manage and analyze social networking campaigns, Hootsuite lets you do that across all your social media profiles, and you only need to sign in once and authorize the app. Premium users can enjoy the advanced analytic, team collaboration and audience engagement features. Also, there are a number of reports available for free for you to analyze your social media activity.
Last, but not least, you have additional apps for managing YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and many more accounts.
Filtering can be implemented when you create a new stream, or when you need to filter a specific stream, by keyword or klout score. For example, you've missed on quite a lot of Mentions of you and would like to see the ones that are questions first. You just enter '?' in the keyword field and filter. Voilà! You can see all the questions addressed to you.
Sharing images is easy - each file gets an ow.ly link and your followers will be able to view it from ow.ly hosted servers. Hootsuite supports MS Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), as well as ODF, TXT, RTF, music MP3 files, and various image files.
Once you add Facebook account, you will see your news feed and allocate a tab or stream to it. You can like and unlike, comment, post, send an email from this dashboard. Viewing photos is not a problem, and Facebook albums are available for viewing from within Hootsuite. Links open in separate windows, including YouTube, as much as events and invitations.
You can have up to 10 streams open for Twitter, with all functionality to reply, retweet, favorite and send a message. Refresh is not even necessary since the streams get updated automatically. Retweeting is a breeze, and you can retweet something to Twitter and your other associated accounts in Facebook or LinkedIn from a single window.
LinkedIn - here you will see new network connections and pending status updates, and links open in separate windows. You can send emails from within your Hootsuite LinkedIn tab, but you get redirected to either Google mail or Outlook.
- Ample for individual and business use
- Management of all your social network accounts, or multiple Twitter accounts, in one dashboard
- Ease of use, modern UI
- 2-step verification option for more security
- Scheduling tweets and posts to other social networks
- Easy link sharing with Hootlet add-on
- Tabbed view lets you squeeze as many accounts and streams as you need in a single browser page
- The ability to create, schedule and post to all of your social accounts at once
- Increases productivity, minimizes time spent on social networking
- Apps - additional apps for managing your YouTube, Tumblr or Instagram accounts
- Targeted messaging lets you send direct messages to target audiences based on location or interest
- Analytics and reports are also partially available for free, and you can integrate it with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights
- RSS/Atom Feeds, unlimited
- Free accounts can add one team member
This is not a Con per se, but connecting and managing all your social accounts and Google account in one dashboard sounds like a surveillance paranoid's nightmare. Other than that, there is nothing to point a finger at.
Hootsuite is a stellar service available for free, and the number of advanced features is jaw-dropping. It can make your social networking a breeze, and minimize the time you spend promoting your identity or website online via social networks, or simply help you stay in touch with everyone everywhere, never missing a single important post, tweet, like or comment. Easy to post, comment, filter, schedule and analyze, Hootsuite is a one-stop solution for both individual social bees, and marketers alike. Of course, you won't use Hootsuite if you are Edward Snowden, but if you spend at least one hour managing your social network accounts on a daily basis, Hootsuite will help you make it 10 minutes work, with all the rest freed for fun and pure socializing.