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Multi-account scheduled tweet managers

Tue 25th June 2013

I manage a number of Twitter accounts, but until recently they were mostly semi-parody accounts for friends who hadn’t engaged with Twitter yet 🙂 Now I’m involved with a few projects, such as Erica the Rhino and South Hants Lawn Tennis Club, that require a bit more of a professional approach.

Over the past few months, we have been lucky enough to have a group of Social Media Marketing third year students doing their coursework project on Erica. This meant they essentially managed our social media presence for about 3 months and taught us a great deal along the way.

One of the things the group suggested using was a tool to manage the social media engagement, ranging from scheduling tweets (so the effort of daily tweeting can be aggregated to a weekly job, for example) to generating followers in various clever ways. I’ve tried a few and decided to document my thoughts about them, in case others are looking for something similar.

Manage Flitter

While the group recommended Manage Flitter, it had more emphasis on driving traffic to your feed and doesn’t handle multiple accounts side-by-side (though it does allow you to log in as any particular account, though Twitter OAuth).

Because of the lack of multiple account support, I searched around for a few that did this and allowed me to schedule tweets. From those I found I tested the following three.

HootSuite

The HootSuite dashboard and posting dialog

The HootSuite dashboard and posting dialog

I had heard of HootSuite through a colleague, and it sounded massively professional and expensive. It follows the premium business model, where there is a free plan and a couple of paid plans. The free plan allows you to connect 5 accounts and schedule messages, so precisely met my needs! If I get roped into supporting any more accounts it might become restrictive, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

HootSuite has an excellent tutorial for kicking you off, and has a nice tabbed view, so you can have one for each account, or some other grouping. On your tabs, it allows you to add columns for various sources of messages, such as the main feed, @mentions, retweets and DMs for Twitter. It has a Compose message… pop-down at the top of the screen. This has buttons for adding images, locations and importantly, a schedule on which to post. You can also save messages as templates.

SocialOomph

It sounded like SocialOomph had the appropriate feature set, but having signed up and validated my e-mail address, I logged in for real and was faced with a wall of links and menus. It clearly does a lot, but it’s impenetrable and not very fun to use. The interface for posting to multiple accounts is a multiple select box; not terrible, but feels a bit like a 90s Visual Basic application.

The SocialOomph wall of links on the front page

The SocialOomph wall of links on the front page

The SocialOomph slightly clunky posting dialog

The SocialOomph slightly clunky posting dialog

Gremln

The Gremln dashboard and posting dialog

The Gremln dashboard and posting dialog

Formely known as Twaitter, Gremln also supports up to 5 accounts and scheduled messages on it’s free plan.

I recommend selecting the Add a page to my dashboard with panels for this account checkbox when linking your accounts. It is much easier than adding all the columns (or “panels” in Gremln parlance) manually. The tutorial in Gremln isn’t quite as slick as HootSuite.

The columns seem to take a long time to render when switching between tabs (“pages” in Gremln). It’s significantly slower than HootSuite, and might be enough to put me off using it.

The posting dialog in Gremln is a little less slick than HootSuite. It feels like HootSuite has been usability tested for selecting from a handful of accounts (which is my requirement), but Gremln has been optimised for people want to send to multiple accounts across many social networks (for example, posting to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts in one go).

Conclusion

Unfortunately ManageFlitter didn’t have the support for multiple accounts and SocialOomph just has a terrible interface. However, HootSuite and Gremln are both excellent. I expected this from HootSuite, and it’s not 100% as slick as I dreamed. Gremln is a surprise though; I’d not heard of it and it does a really good job.

There’s a few pointy edges in Gremln that just about makes it second choice, but I’d certainly recommend everyone try both. I think for the time being I’ll use both, but I am currently slightly leaning towards HootSuite.

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From → Social Media

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