I got an invitation last week to upgrade my HootSuite account to version 2.0, and I’m really liking what I see.
I’ve long appreciated the ability within Hootsuite to pre-schedule tweets, and to manage multiple Twitter accounts. So, for example, when I was doing an event (such as Tweetcamp III), I have scheduled tweets for various times throughout the course of the presentation, to include links to particular items I was referencing. It’s particularly helpful for highlighting key Web sites or blog posts when part of the group is participating remotely. And in the middle of a presentation I have to stay focused, not taking a minute to send a tweet.
Among the improvements of Hootsuite 2.0 I like the most:
- The “columns-to-go” feature lets you create a widget based on any search in Twitter, to incorporate within a blog post or your sidebar. So I created the widget above based on a search for “leeaase” or “Lee Aase” and put it within my SMUG sidebar.
- The columns for direct messages, mentions or any search term essentially duplicate the functionality of Tweetdeck (which I like a lot, too.)
- The ability to set automatic Tweets from an RSS feed. I used to do this using Twitterfeed for our @mayoclinic account. This is a good way to make sure each of our new Sharing Mayo Clinic blog posts gets tweeted at least once, because I know we’ve forgotten to tweet some of them. I think it’s especially OK given the fact that we are highly personally interactive in our Twitter account. Turning this feature on through Hootsuite was a lot easier than Twitterfeed, which had a complicated OpenID process when I used it, although it may have improved in the intervening months.
- The statistics package seems pretty strong. You need to use the Ow.ly link shortening built into Hootsuite to take advantage of this, but that doesn’t seem to be a major burden. I look forward to seeing how that works.
- Multiple Users. It seems this was added to keep pace with CoTweet, which lets multiple users tweet from the same account without sharing the username/password. This is a benefit because as administrator you don’t want to give every user the master password, because that could enable a disgruntled employee to change the password and lock you out of the account.
Twitter’s open platform that enables outside programmers to add new functionality is one of its best features, and I think Hootsuite has made some significant advances to incorporate a lot of the best features in some of the desktop clients and Web-based platforms for Twitter.
What tools do you find most helpful in making Twitter more productive?