Manage Twitter Better With Hootsuite
Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on May 11th, 2009
Hootsuite has recently surpassed Tweetree as one of my favorite Twitter tools. Many people who run several blogs for different purposes also have Twitter accounts for each of them. If you are using the normal Twitter interface, then you have to login and logout each time you want to use a new account. Hootsuite is one of many tools that solve that problem. Formerly known as BrightKit, the site provides a suite of tools to help you get more from your Twitter experience.
Settings - Getting Started
The settings tab allows you to set a time zone, add initials to your tweets and monetize the links you share with Google Adsense. You can also set your tweets to feed directly to Ping.fm, giving you the chance to send your tweets to dozens of services if you have a Ping.fm account. That’s a recent addition, which I haven’t tested yet, as I am using Twitterfeed to do the same thing.
In settings you can set up the Twitter profiles you want to manage. This is as simple as entering your login credentials and syncing with your Twitter account. I have only had to do this once. You can also add other users to your account, which is great for a company Twitter account updated by several people. Finally, you can add RSS or Atom feeds to your account and set which Twitter profile the feed will update as well as a frequency. I have five feed going to my main Twitter account, with one feed going to the company account I manage.
Once that’s all set up, you can go to your dashboard. At the top is a text entry box and below that a smaller box where you can paste and shorten URLs. Hootsuite uses its own URL shortener, called ow.ly and using this gives you access to statistics on how many people are clicking on your links and which tweets have been most popular within a given period. From that same area of the dashboard you can click to select the Twitter profile you are posting to.
Below this is a window showing the last three tweets you have sent on each account. You can also look at pending tweets, @replies and direct messages here. The tweets themselves have links allowing you to handle common Twitter functions, such as retweeting, with one click. Click on the profile link to get access to your full timeline, stats, favorites and search. Search works pretty much as you would expect and I have found the results really useful. One good feature is that your search terms are saved automatically, which is useful if you often repeat a search (like my search for ‘wordpress theme’).
Hootsuite works well and the developers add new features all the time. One of the features I like best is that it is easy to follow a whole conversation by successively clicking on the ‘in reply to’ links. However, I would like it even more if there were a simple ‘expand all’ button. In the meantime, I think this is a great tool if you are managing multiple Twitter accounts, with the analytics being a killer feature.
Sharon Hurley Hall
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