It’s been a little while since I’ve seen a posting with a HootSuite vs. TweetDeck comparison. There have been some updates recently with both products so let’s take a look at what’s going on with them.
What is a Social Network Aggregator?
Aggregators appear when there are multiple services that provide a similar function. The goal of the an aggregator is to help a user of multiple services avoid having to login to each service to perform a similar function.
Often, an aggregator provides additional features that the services themselves do not provide. With more online services provided APIs to access user data and activity, this has become much easier.
The two most popular social network aggregators are HootSuite and TweetDeck. Their primary function is to allow users to post updates to multiple social networks and monitor activity on those networks from a single interface. Both handle this function very well as well as provide additional features that are not available on the social networks.
HootSuite and TweetDeck Similar Features
For posting updates and monitoring activity, the features on HootSuite and TweetDeck are quite similar. The primary difference is just the user interface for each application.
Each aggregator gives you the ability to:
- Post to one or more social networks – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare
- Tweet, Re-Tweet, Reply, Direct Message
- Follow, Un-follow, Add to List/Group
- Shorten URLs
- Schedule updates
- Monitor Twitter lists / Facebook Groups
- View searches on Twitter/Facebook
- Access aggregator via mobile clients
- Synchronize across computers / devices
- Post photos
- Filter columns
Scheduling updates used to be a feature that was only available on HootSuite, but TweetDeck implemented a similar feature in May, 2010. Both aggregators are now on even footing with this capabilty.
Let’s look at some of the HootSuite only features.
HootSuite Only Features
For me, the additional features available on HootSuite give it a clear advantage over TweetDeck. Most people access HootSuite via a web browser so no additional software is required to install and run. This makes it very easy to access your HootSuite account from multiple computers without any additional configuration.
For the data driven, HootSuite gives each users statistics about their Twitter activity with specific detail about clicks and mentions (including Re-tweets). The HootSuite stats can be viewed by account as well as by individual message so you can perform analysis on what topics your followers find most interesting. You can also overlay your Twitter activity with your Google Analytics data for a particular website to identify patterns in Twitter activity and website activity.
Finally, if you have a team of individuals managing a single social network account, you can have them setup up their own HootSuite accounts and grant them access to be able to post updates to the same Twitter account, for example. You can also assign specific posts to an individual for them to manage. This is useful when you want to segment conversations by functional area – customer service, product-related, sales-related – and assign to an individual who has expertise in that particular area.
Here’s a list of the features that set HootSuite apart:
- Web client
- Post updates from browser bookmarklet
- Twitter statistics
- Multiple organization members
- Klout score
- Robust profiles – bio, timeline, mentions, favorites, insights
- Save post draft
- Mac client
TweetDeck Only Features
What TweetDeck lacks in functionality, it makes up for in user interface. TweetDeck must be downloaded and installed using Adobe AIR, and there are multiple options for configuring the way the application looks. Unfortunately, Adobe AIR applications are fairly resource intensive with both memory and CPU, so if you wonder why your laptop fan is running all the time, it may be time to turn off TweetDeck.
Here are the TweetDeck only features:
- Adobe AIR client
- Slick interface with configuration options
- Desktop notifications
- Post video from webcam
- Set location
Like many people, I was attracted to TweetDeck first because of its “shininess”, but once I tried HootSuite, I never looked back. From a features and functionality perspective, HootSuite clearly has the advantage over TweetDeck.