Adventures in … Social Media Desktop Clients

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Adventures in … Social Media Desktop Clients

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As part of my job I manage several social media accounts. This includes Twitter and Facebook (profiles, fan pages, and groups).

From a perfect social media desktop client I need to:

  • monitor all of these accounts simultaneously
  • receive notifications when someone comments or messages – with the option to pick and choose which notifications I receive, and how
  • be able to schedule tweets and status updates
  • I must be able to pick the image that goes with the update, if I include a link

I know Facebook tagging from a 3rd party app is pie in the sky right now but if Social Media Santa is listening, then come on – it would be good.

This is in no way an exhaustive list a- and I would love to hear your suggestions for what I should try next …

I have, until now, been using HOOTSUITE. It does all of the above, (apart from Facebook tagging). It’s an unbelievably powerful site – you can monitor a bunch of accounts (including Facebook) , you can schedule tweets, easily pick the image to go with a Facebook post – it’s wonderful. However, recently Hootsuite has been failing to send a lot of messages. There has been come discussion of this on the Hootsuite forum but as yet, no solutions. So the hunt starts for a replacement for Hootsuite.

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TWEETDECK

I have been using Tweetdeck for my personal Twitter accounts (x2) for a while now. The pro’s are that it is very easy to use, it’s slick and smooth and syncs with your iPhone. It also never fails, unlike Hootsuite, to pick user names when you start typing them in (Hootsuite is a little hit and miss).

However, it only supports ONE Facebook account, which is fine for just me, but not so helpful for multiple account management.

DESTROYTWITTER

Here logic goes out of the window. After all my bitching and moaning about the perfect uber-social media manager, one that can handle multiple accounts, I have actually fallen head over heels in lov with DestroyTwitter. It’s totally inappropriate for corporate use (one Twitter account only and no Facebook) but it’s so handsome and slick and gorgeous that I’ve actually switched from Tweetdeck, now using it as my main personal Twitter account. The workaround for my second, less busy account, is to set up a name search – so if I am messaged, I will see the update in that column. DestroyTwitter has destroyed Tweetdeck for me, and I thought that was perfect.

So after my brief flirtation, and switching to DestroyTwitter, the search continues for the perfect corporate Social Media management tool …

SEESMIC 2

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The first thing that strikes you about Seesmic 2 is that it looks beautiful. It’s kinda interesting (with spinning menus) and generally is a pleasure to use. Unfortunately it falls down on 2 major points for me:

  • you can’t schedule tweets
  • you can’t control which notifications you receive – the only options are “on or off” and “sound or no sound”. I really don’t need a notification when my All stream gets updated – I really don’t. However, but turning it off you are then potentially missing @ mentions and DM’s.

Sorry Seesmic, you just don’t cut it. With those 2 issues, it’s not even worth pursuing.

SENDIBLE

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Now we move into more corporate realms. I am currently testing out the FREE level of account  where I can have up to 4 channels. As I monitor 2 different companies accounts, I have decided to split them using Tweetdeck for one, and Sendible for the other (if Sendible comes good and saves my mind I may consider paying for a larger account and switching them all to it).

I could fully understand why the Twitter devotees would hate Sendible. It’s a corporate, marketing, scheduling machine – it’s all about the message and NOT about the conversation. Whilst you do have the option to read the feed of your Twitter account, it’s not the first thing you come across.

However, it does put all replies and messages into ONE in box so you don’t have to flit around the various accounts to find out what people are saying which is wonderful (See note below) – unfortunately there is no way of knowing, if you are off doing something else, that anyone has messaged as there is no option for a desktop or audio notification. Frustratingly there is an RSS option, but this does not cover the INBOX, only the messages you send out. Work on this, and Sendible may be perfect.

NOTE: The inbox feature is flawed. Messages I was sent last night are in the inbox, but ones that have come in the past 30 minutes are not. I’ve even tried a good ole F5 kick up the butt, but nothing. Sendible – you were looking so good – but you have failed.

So, what do I try next?

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About Author

Caroline Beavon

A communication professional with 12 years journalism experience and a genuine passion for new technologies. An experienced blogger and social media user

4 Comments

Gavin from Sendible

October 17, 2010at 1:41 am

Caroline, thanks for mentioning Sendible in your list of social media clients. Our goal is to make Sendible the top social media management tool for small businesses. We have taken your comments on board and will be adding realtime support and alert functionality to the inbox. We’d also love to hear any other feedback you may have so we can continue to improve our product.

    caroline

    November 15, 2010at 11:21 am

    Thank you for getting in touch Gavin (apologies for the delay in replying). I will check out the changes you have made . Sendible certainly has a lot going for it, so I wish you guys all the best …

Gavin Wray

October 16, 2010at 11:51 am

Really useful writeup of the desktop clients Caroline, thanks. I’ve been on a similar quest recently to try and find a more efficient way of managing multiple accounts, one of which is a corporate account. To not get overwhelmed, and to handle working for different organisations on different days of the week, I’ve been using lists tailored to each organisation’s audience – with a list in each column in TweetDeck/Seesmic etc.

After tinkering with Seesmic Desktop for a few weeks which doesn’t let you control notifications per column, I’m missing mentions and DMs – making it redundant now.

Some other considerations when choosing a client could be:

1) How easy is it to manage lists?
2) Can you see all your required columns for lists and searches without scrolling horizontally?
3) Can you specify your own url shortener? If you’re into your analytics, then you may want to specify the same url shortener in all desktop and phone clients. (I commented on Dan Slee’s blog about this.)

HootSuite, as well as failing to send messages occasionally, seems to fall down on 1 and 2. Seesmic falls down on 2 and 3.

The narrow columns option, notifications tailored by column, and quick editing of lists make TweetDeck my favourite still. If they sorted out the Facebook aspects and scheduling, it’d be a winner.

    caroline

    October 16, 2010at 11:58 am

    It’s finding that perfect mix between monitoring and posting isn’t it? Ones that let you follow and read aren’t so hot on the posting side of things, and vice versa.
    I’m not a huge user of lists, but I know a lot of people are – so, yes, this is something that others may need to look into. Hootsuite is definitely a pain when it comes fo constant scrolling .. it’s all I seemed to do. Plus it notifies you of an update, but when you click back on the screen you have to hunt around to find where the notification came from!
    The URL shortening is a good point. I am a total bit.ly fiend – and use my own personal account to monitor all the activity across all of my accounts – where I can.
    I’ve been using Tweetdeck today and I must admit the scheduling is good (not anything I’ve used before on this). Tweetdeck, are you listening? Multiple Facebooks please. Thank you.

    Thank you for your comments Gavin … I’ll keep searching. If you discover anything of note, please let me know and I’ll do the same!

"Caroline took a complicated set of facts, figures and processes and turned them into something that now only gave them clarity but also brought them to life visually. She was a pleasure to work with through, suggesting ideas and ways we could use and display information more creatively. Very much looking forward to working with her again." Jenni Fryer, Communications Manager, University of the First Age