Manage Your Corporate Tweets
So your company has started using Twitter. For the first few weeks, you spearheaded the task of updating it, replying to followers and monitoring things. Only the lucky few companies can hire someone to manage social media efforts full-time. Luckily, the Twitter ecosystem has seen a a variety of start-ups and developers build free, Web-based tools that allow businesses to manage their Twitter accounts. These tools can help you manage the success of your tweets, and monitor the community response.
We had one overriding piece of criteria for this slideshow: The app had to be fully Web-based. Web-based Twitter apps let your employees access the account (and its settings) from any machine, on any operating system, at any time.
CoTweet has gained a lot of market share by landing big-name Twitter users from Coca-Cola, Starbucks and JetBlue. The concept behind CoTweet is simple: multiple people might want to update just one Twitter account. A permissions console allows you to set up accounts for the team members you want updating the Twitter feed. You can integrate it with your account on bit.ly, the URL shortener that allows you to track your tweets. You can also schedule a tweet to go off at a certain time or assign them to a specific user. The interface scores points for simplicity, though it would be nice to have a separate category for mentions or replies. Currently, they get rolled in with the rest of the updates.
If scheduling is your primary Twitter issue, and you need a tool that's geared towards sending out tweets at specific times, then Twaitter is the app for you. It has a "tweet calendar" where you can schedule messages to be broadcast to your followers when the time is right. It's tweet editor includes a "twait" button that, when clicked, prompts a scheduler. Like CoTweet, it allows you to manage multiple Twitter handles. Unlike CoTweet, it doesn't allow you to delegate to multiple users (and passwords), forcing you to share a user-name and password for the company account, which is a weakness. Overall, a smart, simple design. The ability to subscribe to RSS feeds is a bonus, but found in other apps as well.
As TweetFunnel does roughly the same things as CoTweet, the decision to use it might come down to design preference. TweetFunnel allows you to invite users to have accounts and access the Twitter handle (or handles) you're collectively managing. You have a publish now or publish later option. This app gets some high marks on having a "mentions" tab, which CoTweet lacks, and you also have the ability to review and publish tweets. One of Twitter's upsides can also be its downside for business: You can publish quickly—sometimes too quickly. Having a feature that allows you to slow down the process and approve tweets in a hierarchical form can stop someone on your team from tweeting something that shouldn't be tweeted.
We give Hootsuite props for not using the "tw" sound in its title. In addition to assigning multiple users (called "editors"), this app has a tab that delivers clickthrough reports on your tweets (when you use its ow.ly url shortening service). You can schedule tweets for later and have them appear in a "pending" tab. It has a very nifty search tab as well that saves keywords you type in for future use when querying Twitter for certain tweets. You can manage multiple accounts for your company as well, and they will be added to a dropdown menu, making it easy to switch between Twitter handles to monitor and update them.
TwitIQ is not nearly as sophisticated as the other ones mentioned, but we include it for a few reasons. The interface is very simple, making it an easy way for people in your organization who are novice Twitter users to understand what people are talking about on Twitter as it concerns your brand or industry. It automatically generates a tag cloud of keywords that your followers are talking about, and a channels tab, comprised of saved searches you make on Twitter. So, as the boss, if you search some topics, your reports can see them later in the tab. While you can add multiple Twitter accounts to monitor, unfortunately you can't provision names and passwords to access the main console. You'll have to share a login and password.
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