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Twitter is an awesome social networking tool, if you know how to use it (check out the Complete Guide to Twitter PDF Guide Twitter: Best Practices and Tips Twitter: Best Practices and Tips Read More )!  One of the first issues I ran into in my use of Twitter is how to follow so many people and actually keep up with what they are saying.  Come to find out, there are many tools out there to help sort out the noise and organize your followers and those you follow.

If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, check these posts out:

* 9 Ways To Use Twitter “No Website Necessary” 9 Ways To Use Twitter - No Website Necessary 9 Ways To Use Twitter - No Website Necessary Read More
* 4 Tools for More Productive Twittering 4 Tools for More Productive Twittering 4 Tools for More Productive Twittering Read More
* 3 More Cool Twitter Tools To Do Your Tweeting With 3 More Cool Twitter Tools To Do Your Tweeting With 3 More Cool Twitter Tools To Do Your Tweeting With Read More
* 4 Good Alternatives to TweetDeck & Seesmic Desktop (Twitter Desktop Clients) 4 Good Alternatives to TweetDeck & Seesmic Desktop (Twitter Desktop Clients) 4 Good Alternatives to TweetDeck & Seesmic Desktop (Twitter Desktop Clients) Read More .

One such web-based tool is HootSuite. Yes, it’s web-based, meaning you can sign in almost anywhere there’s an Internet connection, unlike TweetDeck which is a desktop program. These days, there are many different web-based Twitter clients being made so I want to go through what perhaps sets HootSuite apart from the rest.

hootsuite


The first thing that makes HootSuite worth trying out is how easy it is to personalize.

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hootsuite

There are so many ways you can tweak HootSuite to make it suit your needs such as the ability to have personalized columns. Adding columns is as easy as hitting the “Add Column” plus sign.

hootsuite

And up pops the option box!

hootsuite beta

You can have columns for almost anything you can think of including DMs, mentions, sent tweets, and even keyword tracking and  searches.

Keep an eye on your brand! If you ever want to know what people are saying about you, your business or your brand on Twitter, you’d probably head over to search.twitter.com and run a search for your company’s name, your name, or your brand. You’ll then get a list of the latest tweets containing that information. HootSuite makes it a whole lot easier! By setting up a column searching for your name or brand, you can keep an easy eye out for those tweets!

hootsuite beta

One cool way columns can help you organize all of those twits you want to follow is groups. Adding twits to groups is as easy as clicking on the avatar and dragging it into the desired group!

hootsuite beta

Want the columns in a specific order? No problem! It’s as easy as dragging them to the desired slot!

hootsuite beta

Another cool thing you can do with search columns (columns you are running a search for keywords, etc.) is you can embed them into you website or blog!  What I see as a downside is that this option seems to only be available for search columns. I’m not sure why. Still cool anyway, right?

Just look for the code symbol.

twitter client

Customize the widget to your liking.

twitter client

Copy and paste the code into your site.

twitter client

Viola! You’ll have an updating Twitter search widget for your site or blog!

twitter client windows

There is only so much screen real estate that we have to deal with. If you are like me, you’ll end up with many different columns and there’s just not enough room! That’s where tabs come in!  Help organize groups of columns with personalized tabs!

twitter client windows

How refreshing like a warm spring breeze blowing in the window! Organize groups of columns with tabs, naming them any way you want! You can have a friends tab and have columns such as “hometown”, “college”, and “church”. Then you can have a news tab with columns such as “local”, “regional”, and “national”. Whatever you want.

HootSuite also makes working as a team really easy by letting you do things such as assigning others to access and tweet and control several different Twitter accounts, all in one HootSuite account!

twitter client windows

You can choose which twitter account you want to tweet a message with, or you can tweet the same message across several, reaching all of your audiences at once!

twitter clients

I only have one Twitter account, but you get the drift!

There is so much more that HootSuite allows you do such as, URL shortening using Ow.ly, click statistics to see how many clicks you get on links tweeted, and the infamous Hootlet for your link posting pleasure!  It even allows you to set a future time for your tweet to be tweeted! Give HootSuite a whirl! You may actually be able to get a handle on what’s going on in this Twittersphere we keep hearing about!

What tools do you use with Twitter and why?  What makes it better, worse or different from HootSuite?

  1. Tim
    November 25, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Hootsuite can now handle Facebook and LinkedIn accounts!

    HootSuite Integrates Lists, Facebook and LinkedIn

  2. amir
    November 3, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    you're forgetting one of HS's best features, the ability to pre-schedule tweets.

    • Tim Lenahan
      November 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm

      Oh man! I love that feature! I think I made a quick mention of it in the last paragraph but I should have spent more time on it. Thanks!

  3. Tim Lenahan
    October 27, 2009 at 9:14 am

    @Paul: Good observations! Perhaps we can visit the contact page on the site with some of the suggestions. Some companies recognize and appreciate input.

    • Paul B.
      October 27, 2009 at 9:19 am

      Thanks Tim. HS has a good Feedback function (Get Satisfaction, IIRC), and they have staff that monitors and responds. I've made most of these suggestions, but it might help if others add their voices.

      • Tim Lenahan
        October 27, 2009 at 9:56 am

        'Tis true. I believe listening and responding to users is a mark of a good company :)

  4. Paul B.
    October 27, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Good article. Of all the Windows clients, I think HS is overall the best. Tweetdeck's reliance on the mouse is too much for my hands. Peoplebrowsr should be tops, but it's wanton with resources.

    HS has drawbacks, such as auto-scrolling not toggling off when you're reading down-column, inability to search columns, rather basic tweet scheduling functionality, no tweet shrinker, a very drawn-out Stats functionality, etc (I could go on...). But it covers the basics and some not-so-basics splendidly, has a pleasant layout (which needs themes), is very adept at quickly supplying tweeter info, and I absolutely love the Tabs, which add a third dimension to the interface.

    I run HS on Chrome, which itself is quick and good with resources, and the whole package is very lightweight yet powerful. HS is a big winner, and I hope they can address some of the weaker areas. Kudos to the dev team.

  5. Tim Lenahan
    October 26, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    I've used PeopleBrowsr before. I like many of the HootSuite offerings though, like the link stats, tweet timing, embeddable columns, etc. Plus I think the Owl theme is catchy!

  6. Alexander Benker
    October 26, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I prefer web clients versus desktop clients.
    I really like HootSuite, but PeopleBrowsr seems very promising

  7. EjJeo
    October 26, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I use HootSuite and I do like the many features it provides, but I'm not 100% sold on it just yet.

  8. Monica Dickey
    October 26, 2009 at 12:35 am

    I like to use Tweetdeck but maybe I'll check this out. It would be nice to have a web app that gives me similar functionality.

  9. Tim Lenahan
    October 25, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Yeah, I wish other columns other than just searches were embeddable. Maybe sometime in the future, HootSuite peoples?

    • Jason Miller
      November 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm

      Only search columns are embeddable because all other columns require Twitter API authentication for pulling results. HootSuite was smart to keep those columns from being embedded, because it would require you to expose your Twitter username and password just to get those tweets on your own website. In the same vein, that is why Twitter's own embed widget does not support showing only tweets from your followers, direct messages, etc. The only information that can be displayed without requiring Twitter authentication is search.twitter.com results and the public timeline.

      • Tim
        November 7, 2009 at 8:13 pm

        Thanks! That makes a lot of sense!

  10. docspike
    October 25, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I have been using hootsuite since a long time...but i had never noticed the embed column thing...thanx a lot..

  11. Tim Lenahan
    October 25, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I think it all depends on your needs. If you usually use a Twitter client on your own PC, a desktop client may be a good choice. For those who like the flexibility that a web-based client affords, HootSuite seems to be an amiable choice.

  12. RougeCrown
    October 25, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I've always used Digsby to update my tweets... I prefer the stability of a desktop client :)

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