Comparison of Twitter Productivity Tools Part 1 – Team Applications

January 18th, 2010

Twitter Team toolsJust over two months weeks ago, I started at my new job as the online marketing manager at ActiveState. One of my many responsibilities for 2010 is to define it’s social media strategy, roll out the different tactics, grow/massage selected social media networks and to train other staff to participate. And so I was on my first mission, which was to  hunt for my first productivity tool – a tool that a team can use for Twitter.

The situation:
ActiveState already had a large user base of customers that were active on Twitter talking about or to ActiveState. Tweets varied from kudos from it’s many evangelists, questions about how to’s of the various dynamic languages products/services, customer support and a some negative product tweets that can possibly be turned around.

Uncovering Twitter opportunities for ActiveState:

  • I thought it was great that some of the ActiveState team members did jump on board to respond to tweets. But, some tweets were being responded by employees personal Twitter accounts, which was not really enforcing ActiveState as a brand overall.
  • Not all tweets were being responded on ActiveState’s stream, so they were lacking proper tracking and archiving (e.g., interactiveness, sentiment, influence, and conversions).
  • Some Tweets directed to ActiveState needed a technical expert within the company to respond to. Since some members answered under their personal Twitter accounts, it left me to investigate more and do a reverse search if it was answered. It  is a time sucker.
  • When team members did jump on ActiveState’s Twitter account, there was no easy way to see who tweeted what.
  • Some tweets needed a response back thanking them for the support. The stream lacked self promotion with regards to positive tweets and showing others what people are saying about our products.
  • Of all the mentions ActiveState had in the Twitterverse, they were missing a time sensitive opportunity to follow right back and grow it’s Twitter follow base.

So my journey was to find a Twitter team tool that fits our needs (a productivity tool), test them out and invite others on our team to participate.

Here are the six Twitter productivity tools I checked out, their features and how the stacked up against each other:

Tweet Funnel

myrating3half
Website:
www.tweetfunnel.com
Notes on strengths/weaknesses: Can be good for larger teams if you need to monitor, tweak and approve all outbound tweets. UI is a little clunky and not as friendly as CoTweet, especially with profile viewings.
Price: Not sure yet, in Beta.
Free Trial: Yes
Scheduled Tweets: Yes and also has time-releasing.
Identify Author: Yes auto embeds author cotag if defined in settings and checked off.
Tracks urls: Yes, can be integrated with your bit.ly or budURL account.
Multiple Accounts: Yes
Multiple Users: Yes
Monitor Keywords: Yes
Moderation: Yes, three type of accounts: Administrator (admin, review and publish), Publishers (review and publish), Contributor (post tweets but not publish)
Edit Non Published Tweets: Yes, you can edit tweets in “hold” or “review” status.
Assign Tweets to Members: Yes, auto email.
Conversation Threading: Not really (but links to “replies” and takes you out) – not as slick as CoTweets threading.
Support: Via form, Twitter and email.
Archiving Messages & Tweets Published: No
Notes on Individual Tweets: Sort of, can use the assignment feature to make notes and assign yourself.
Keyword Linking: No
RSS to Tweet: No
Spell Check: No
Translation: No
SMS & Email Alerts: Yes, email alerts. Can set alerts by user and alert type (brand, mention, DM, Queue). For SMS, you need to request activation.
Google UTM Tracking: (Appending within shortened URLS) No, you will need to do it manually.
Auto Follow: No

Tweetriver

myrating3
Website:
www.tweetriver.com
Notes on strengths/weaknesses: Can be great for very large brands (or companies that have multiple brands) because of it’s aggregating topics and keywords in streams v.s. just tweets to the brand. It is account account-agnostic. Expensive if you have 10 active users within a small to mid-sized company (the popular $250/month plan)
Price: $50 (2 users) / $100 (5 users) / $250 (10 users) / $400 (20 users) /$750 (40 users)
Free Trial: 30 day, but requires a credit card for trial. They lost me as a trial user because I will not give a CC until after I try a product and trust the company. Also this is a product targeted to enterprise and not a fit for my needs.
Scheduled Tweets: No
Identify Author: Can see who did what posts within admin.
Tracks urls: No
Multiple Accounts: Yes
Multiple Users: Yes, users reflect plans above
Monitor Keywords: Yes, can build multiple streams.
Moderation: Yes
Edit Non Published Tweets: No
Assign Tweets to Members: No
Conversation Threading: No
Support: No
Archiving Messages & Tweets Published: Yes both
Notes on Individual Tweets: Yes
Keyword Linking: Yes have auto-fill linking to product pages and news if defined in settings.
RSS to Tweet: No
Spell Check: No
Translation: No
SMS & Email Alerts: No
Google UTM Tracking: No, you will need to do it manually.
Auto Follow: No

cotweet
myrating4half
Website:
www.cotweet.com
Notes on strengths/weaknesses: Can be a good tool for different departments to respond and if you have no need for monitoring and controlling outbound tweets. Great features to assign tweets, view conversation threads, show who responded to what. Great UI and very user friendly.
Price: Not sure yet, in Beta.
Free Trial: Yes
Scheduled Tweets: Yes
Identify Author: Yes, each account can define a cotag which auto embeds in every new update tweet.
Tracks urls: Yes, can be integrated with your bit.ly account.
Multiple Accounts: Yes, up to 6 accounts.
Multiple Users: Yes
Monitor Keywords: Yes
Moderation: Not really.
Edit Non Published Tweets: Yes, you can go in and edit scheduled tweets.
Assign Tweets to Members: Yes, auto email.
Conversation Threading: Yes
Support: Forum, not sure if very active because I just posted one question up there and never seen an answer yet.
Archiving Messages & Tweets Published: Yes both.
Notes on Individual Tweets: Sort of, can use the assignment feature to make notes and assign yourself.
Keyword Linking: No
RSS to Tweet: No
Spell Check: No
Translation: No
SMS & Email Alerts: Yes, email alerts. Can define team members as “on Duty” and that person will get the mentions and DM`s when assigned.
Google UTM Tracking: No, you will need to do it manually.
Auto Follow: No

twaitter

myrating2half
Website: www.twaitter.com
Notes on strengths/weaknesses: May be a good tool if you are a smaller global company (not enterprise) that requires translation for inbound and outbound tweets. If you also have a very active blog or multi-blog strategy (even user generated blogs), you can leverage the auto blog tweet feature.  Some features seem incomplete and in it’s first stages of beta.
Price: Not sure yet, in Beta. Pro service (vs Personal) is going to break out with different plan.
Free Trial: Yes
Scheduled Tweets: Yes, also can set recurring tweets.
Identify Author: No cotags.
Tracks urls: Yes, can be integrated with your bit.ly account.
Multiple Accounts: Yes, but not intuitive.
Multiple Users: Yes
Monitor Keywords: No
Moderation: No
Edit Non Published Tweets: No
Assign Tweets to Members: Yes, suppose to, but not intuitive.
Conversation Threading: Not really.
Support: Via form (Get Satisfaction) or Twitter.
Archiving Messages & Tweets Published: Yes
Notes on Individual Tweets: No
Keyword Linking: No
RSS to Tweet: Yes
Spell Check: Yes
Translation: Yes
SMS & Email Alerts: No
Google UTM Tracking: No, you will need to do it manually.
Auto Follow: No

hootsuite

myrating4
Website:
www.hootsuite.com
Notes on strengths/weaknesses: Ideal if you mange multiple twitter accounts for small businesses and blogs. Also great if you want to interact on Twitter on the go with it’s new iPhone app. It is the most polished productivity tool for Twitter but does not really have the features to accommodate a team under one twitter account like CoTweet does. I recommend watching Hootsuite for their new features in future, because they just received a round of VC financing last week for $1.9 million.
Price: Free right now and they are working out plans.
Free Trial: Yes
Scheduled Tweets: Yes
Identify Author: Yes, Auto Initial.
Tracks urls: Yes, via ow.ly right in the application.
Multiple Accounts: Yes
Multiple Users: Yes
Monitor Keywords: Yes
Moderation: No
Edit Non Published Tweets: Yes, can go in and edit scheduled tweets.
Assign Tweets to Members: No
Conversation Threading: Yes
Support: Yes, and they rock on this area, because I have used this for my own personal twitter accounts!
Archiving Messages & Tweets Published: No
Notes on Individual Tweets: No
Keyword Linking: No
RSS to Tweet: Yes
Spell Check: No
Translation: No, but you can use the Greasemonky plugins: HS Translator.
SMS & Email Alerts: No, but it’s new iPhone App may be handy for on the go.
Google UTM Tracking: No, you will need to do it manually.
Auto Follow: No

easytweets

myrating3half

Website: www.easytweets.com
Notes on strengths/weaknesses: Ideal if you are managing a lot of Twitter accounts and possibly for growing accounts for small business clients. The auto-follow and Google Analytics tracking (append the utms) are nice features but overall this app lacks team productivity features.
Price: $24 (5 searches, 15 feeds 15 accounts) /$49 (20 searches, 50 feeds 40 accounts) / $99 (50 searches, 150 feeds 100 accounts)
Free Trial: Not really advertised, but a tiny text link gets you in to try.
Scheduled Tweets: Yes
Identify Author: No
Tracks urls: Not sure
Multiple Accounts: Yes
Multiple Users: No
Monitor Keywords: Yes
Moderation: No
Edit Non Published Tweets: Not sure
Assign Tweets to Members: No
Conversation Threading: No
Support: Form for trouble tickets.
Archiving Messages & Tweets Published: No
Notes on Individual Tweets: No
Keyword Linking: No
RSS to Tweet: Yes
Spell Check: No
Translation: No
SMS & Email Alerts: Yes, SMS and email
Google UTM Tracking: Yes (source, medium, content, campaign)
Auto Follow: Yes

And the chosen Twitter productivity tool for ActiveState is…Cotweet!

CoTweet seems to be the best fit for our needs and I have been testing it for a few weeks with another co-worker (Troy,  my Twitter buddy). We both like how it works so far. Now all I have to do is invite others and do a lunch and learn on our social media playbook (which I am just developing, but have to roll out our blogging program first).

7 reasons why I love CoTweet:

  1. It’s in Beta and free for now - Even though I budgeted something for it in near future- just to be safe. I’m hoping it won’t be too steep with enterprise-like pricing.
  2. On Duty Notifications – I have the ability to switch on duty notifications for any mentions or DM`s for the day to any team member or myself .
    CoTweet on Duty
  3. Tweet Assignments – I can push out an tweet assignment for a team member to respond. And CoTweet clearly tags that tweet as been assigned. This will allow us to track and not miss any, especially when we get busier on our stream.
    CoTweet Assignments
  4. Conversation Threading - It has a wonderful conversation threading so that I can see who responded to what and the actual assignment is linked and color coded as well in the threading.cotweet_threading
  5. Easy integration with Bit.ly – when you are in CoTweet, the url shortener can be linked to your bit.ly account and track your Twitter interactivity (clicks), stats show up in the interface and you can also jump over to your bit.ly account to see all your stats and graphs.
    cotweet_bitly
  6. Tweet Scheduling – you can set scheduled tweets and go back an edit them.cotweet_scheduling
  7. Auto Cotags – For every member that is on your team, you can have the system autofil their initials in every new tweet (so you and other tweets  know who is tweeting what). This is a nice feature. At first, Troy and I were doing this manually and I sometimes forgot to manually add in my initials. So it was a nice feature to uncover during our testing.
    CoTweet cotag

Overall CoTweet really rocks!

But there are two areas where Cotweet can improve on:

  1. I think CoTweet needs to work it’s work-flow with regards to assignments that were acted on. Right now they don’t change status or get filtered in another folder (which maybe should).
  2. Also, ability to create and name sub folders and archive any tweets into them, would be super nice.

Next on my to do list, is to find and test a tool that can measure, archive and benchmark our Twitter efforts better.

If you have tried other Twitter productivity tools that can help a team be more productive, please share below in the comments. Make sure you state what you like or dislike too about it though!

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5 Responses to “Comparison of Twitter Productivity Tools Part 1 – Team Applications”

  1. srid on January 18, 2010 10:48 am

    Speaking of the ^XY style signatures, it may be a good idea to show a list of people (at least with their full name, role) in the background image like Translink did: http://twitter.com/Translink

  2. Jackie Flaten on January 18, 2010 4:36 pm

    Thanks, Shannon, this is a great side-by-side compilation of features of “team tweeting” apps.

    I’d like to add some additional capabilities MediaFunnel offers, namely its key differentiator: a role-based editorial review workflow. Users are designated as administrators or publishers who can publish tweets; or as contributors, who craft and send tweets to a review queue where they can be edited or deleted if need be.

    Also, MediaFunnel does archive published (sent) and assigned tweets and brandmonitoring results, and users can tweet by email or SMS.

    They just announced a new “Tweet-to-Lead” Salesforce integration and “Guest Tweet”, a tweeting convention that opens an official Twitter stream to outside contributors (fans, customers, employees). Of course these tweets can be reviewed before being published. Tweet-to-Lead easily compiles contact info from a tweet that can be submitted to a company’s Salesforce, and Guest Tweet (GT) brings a lot of new voices, fresh content and information!

  3. admin on January 18, 2010 9:25 pm

    Good tip and observation Sridhar, that’s already in the plans for ActiveState too!

    :)

    Shannon

  4. Kevin Barefoot on February 26, 2010 5:25 pm

    Did you consider http://birdherd.com/?

  5. admin on February 27, 2010 3:51 pm

    I heard of it – a co-worker told me about it and at that time the beta was closed….I’ll definitely take a look at it in near future. ;)

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