I recently jumped into HootSuite 2.0 to give it a test drive so I could share an inside review here. I am not affiliated with HootSuite, nor are they an advertiser on SitePoint. I thought this could potentially be a valuable tool, though, especially for those who use Twitter for business.
Signing Up and Upgrading
I didn’t have an account before, but I was able to create my account in under two minutes through a standard sign-up process. Then, in order to get the upgrade to the newly released beta 2.0, I had to send a tweet describing why I am upgrading. Easy! And here is what I tweeted:
You can sign up for HootSuite and upgrade to 2.0 for free. There are also a number of HootSuite video tutorials available to help you get started.
The HootSuite dashboard has some similarities to TweetDeck, although it is a web-based tool, so there’s no local install. From the dashboard, you can sort groups into columns, add tabs, switch user accounts, and drag and drop to reorganize. Here is a look at the dashboard layout:
Standard Features Overview
After poking around for a little while, I can honestly say this is one feature-packed Twitter tool. Some of the standard features (present in the previous release) include:
- Multiple-Profile Management: Add and manage multiple Twitter accounts.
- Multi-User Functionality: Manage accounts with more than one contributor by identifying “admin” and “editor” contributors.
- Ow.ly Social Bar: Share, bookmark and track your tweeted links.
- Ping.FM integration: Update Facebook, WordPress, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. right from HootSuite.
- RSS: Feed your RSS directly into your Twitter stream.
- Hootlet: Share links through the HootSuite bookmarklet on your toolbar.
HootSuite 2.0 Features
HootSuite 2.0 brings a new set of features to help professional Twitter users do more with their accounts, and spend less time managing it. Here is a rundown of the new features:
- Tabbed Layout: Create up to six columns and drag and drop in any order you want them.
- Multiple Columns: Organize your Twitter stream into friends, news, search terms, keyword tracking, etc.
- Auto Refresh: Continuously update without manual refresh requests.
- Improved Stats: Create graphs that show a summary and individual tweet statistics.
- Embeddable Columns: Add Twitter to your blog or website.
- Clickable Hashtags: Jump to a tag search by clicking right on a hashtag.
- View Threaded Conversations: See what people are replying to with threaded conversation links.
As a long-time TweetDeck user, I am pretty reliant on the column view, so that’s a huge plus. But one of the things I prefer about TweetDeck is having a separate installable app that runs outside of my browser (I have more than enough tabs open on a daily basis!). That said, there’s no underestimating some of the HootSuite 2.0 features and the value they can add to your Twitter experience.
Overall, I’m really impressed. If you frequently switch back and forth between multiple Twitter accounts, have multiple people tweeting under one account, like to schedule tweets for the future, or want to take your link sharing capabilities to a new level, HootSuite may be the solution for you. And don’t forget about the stats – they show tremendous potential for providing a lot of useable information to help you maximize your tweets.
Comments from HootSuite Users
Since I’m a newbie on HootSuite and still exploring everything it offers, here are a few comments from frequent HootSuite users on their favorite features of HootSuite 2.0:
Do you use HootSuite? What’s your favorite feature?