Awhile back we had a knock-out-drag-out between HootSuite and SocialOomph, with HootSuite winning handily. Now, we’re pairing up HootSuite with TweetDeck. Until recently I was an avid user of TweetDeck for keeping track of my Twitterverse. I switched to HootSuite because TweetDeck seemed to be dropping a lot of messages out of my groups and mentions (not cool). Plus, I’m using HootSuite as my Tweet scheduler now (having won over SocialOomph), so it was easier to be in one place all day. But, let’s see how these two stack up:
User Interface: Advantage = Neutral
There are things I really like about HootSuite’s interface, but some of it is preference. It was easier in TweetDeck to keep track of multiple social networks in one window, whereas you have to click to different tabs in HootSuite. And adding a tweet with a URL is much easier in TweetDeck, which automatically shortens any URLs you type in the box – in HootSuite you have to put URLs in a separate field to have them shortened (lame!). On the other hand, updating multiple or one social network is much easier on HootSuite. I always had problems sending tweets to the wrong place in TweetDeck (but maybe that’s just me). In HootSuite, you just check off which networks you want the update to go to – TweetDeck was making assumptions and pre-selecting (trying to be helpful) but they were often wrong. So, I call this one a draw.
Scheduled Updates: Advantage = HootSuite
TweetDeck doesn’t support scheduled tweets, so HootSuite handily wins this category. TweetDeck is great for monitoring conversations and tweeting in real-time. But some of us like to have updates go out periodically when we’re not tied to the desk/laptop. Scheduled tweets is necessary for me.
Speed: Advantage = HootSuite
HootSuite wins this hands-down. TweetDeck is a memory hog and doesn’t update as often. They try to give you control over this by allowing you to change your calls to the Twitter-API, but I don’t think most of us know how to tune that to be the most efficient. HootSuite’s entire interface is much faster (at least for me)
URL shorteners: Advantage = Neutral
TweetDeck allows you to choose between 4 different shorteners and HootSuite uses it’s own shortner (ow.ly). I happen to currently prefer ow.ly because of the awesome stats (see below). But bit.ly (supported by TweetDeck) also provides stats and you can use it for any purpose – making it nice for overall social media strategies.
Photos: Advantage = TweetDeck
Both services allow you to upload photos, but TweetDeck will integrate with your choice of 3 different Twitter photo services. HootSuite just lets you upload a picture file. Most of my tweets with photos are done on the run from my iPhone (where I use Tweetie), so this isn’t really an issue.
Statistics: Advantage = HootSuite
HootSuite’s stats are big, bold and beautiful (not to mention useful). Originally one of my biggest complaints about their service, HootSuite has since updated their stats and they are awesome. Unfortunately the stats only apply to Twitter accounts right now – but hopefully they’ll integrate stats with the other social network soon. TweetDeck’s only stats are through supported URL shorteners (bit.ly’s stats aren’t bad and can be used for other social networks).
Additional Social Networks: Advantage = HootSuite
Both HootSuite and TweetDeck allow me to update several Twitter accounts, my Facebook account, and my LinkedIn account. HootSuite also allows you to update your Facebook business pages and any account you can tie to Ping.fm (win!) – so pretty much anything.
Twitter Interface: Advantage = TweetDeck
As much as I like HootSuite’s scheduled tweeting, the Twitter interface can get a little clunky with the separate box for shortening URLs and 4 clicks required to schedule a time (plus times can only be on the 5s). TweetDeck’s twitter interface is easy and fast – great for normal tweeting.
Multiple Accounts & Multiple Users: Advantage = HootSuite
HootSuite makes it easy to add multiple users and control which accounts they can update. For each user, it also keeps track of their timezone and whether you want initials to show up with updates. TweetDeck supports multiple accounts but since it’s a desktop application, there isn’t really any ability to have multiple users per account.
Twitter User Features: Advantage = TweetDeck
One thing I miss about TweetDeck is the user controls – on any Tweet I can do just about anything I can do from Twitter. HootSuite has most of the features, but not quite all of them.
Conclusion: HootSuite Wins 6-4 (half points for neutral)
HootSuite’s speed, stats and ability to schedule tweets close the deal for me. What do you think?