Just like everyone else, we here at Letter Eye Media need to stay on top of social media. Because of the explosion of social media sites on the Internet, it is becoming more and more necessary for businesses and individuals to have a tool that combines all your social media accounts into one single app. This is when my search brought me to three companies offering tools that make this possible: HootSuite, TweetDeck, and Alternion.
With all my social media accounts in one place, I can browse or post from one website instead of going from domain to domain, interface to interface.
There are so many great features to these software marvels that it is hard to cover all of them. I am just going to go through a few of the primary features that really changed the way I post and read content via my social media channels.
HootSuite Media, Inc. is based in Vancouver, Canada. As of January 2012, HootSuite has over 3 million users and over 700 million messages sent. This is really the powerhouse of social media management.
Major companies like Sony Music, Virgin, and McDonalds use this software to manage their high-volume social media and team management/communication.
The thing I love about this app is it is packed with useful features for businesses. There are many options on how to customize your feeds and schedule upcoming posts. One feature I didn’t find anywhere else was a scheduling option to make the post publish when it will be most optimal for impressions or reach. I thought this was a really handy tool so I don’t have to even worry about when to schedule.
HooSuite is free to use up to 5 linked social media accounts. Once you require more than that, or if you need to expand your user-base to more than 2, HootSuite offers a Pro option for $9.99/mo and customized enterprise solutions.
I use the free version of HootSuite for my scheduled business posts, but not for any of my personal browsing. HootSuite is geared towards business and functionality so it displays a higher text to photo ratio to make you more productive. But for personal browsing, I like to view real big photos and video, and I want an interface that is ultra simple and clean. This brings me to TweeDeck.
TweetDeck was acquired by Twitter with a rumored $40 – $50 million purchase price including both cash and Twitter stock on May 25, 2011. Twitter then released a new version of the application branded “TweetDeck by Twitter” on December 8, 2011, as part of Twitter’s redesign of its services.
One of the nicer features of TweetDeck is the ability to skin your view to “light” or “dark.” The dark setting makes the feeds real gentler on the eyes for me.
It also allows for easy post scheduling, powerful filtering options to see the content you want, unlimited accounts, and customized notifications. And perhaps the best things about Tweet Deck is that it is offered completely free of charge.
I love the simplicity, user interface, and cleanliness of TweetDeck, but for browsing, I still prefer my next app, Alternion.
Alternion is a particularly interesting one to me. It is still considered to be in the “beta” version, but there are a few things that I thought it brought to the table that they other did not. It has become my preference of these three for browsing, but not posting because of its lack of scheduling.
The main feature I love about Alternion is the “justified” news feed.
There are two ways to view your feed (or combined feeds) called “Justified” (Shown Above) and “Large” (Show Below).
The “Large” setting will display your content vertically post after post and gives you an additional sidebar allowing for easy filtering of content.
The “Justified” setting is more of a modern way to display content. It will arrange your feed in a responsive grid type format from left to right, allowing the user to view many posts at once on a single page.
Both views can filter content by site (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), by update type (Status, Links, Photos, Videos, Comments, Places), and any combination thereof.
This was mind-blowing to me because my favorite thing to do on Facebook, for example, is to look at photos. So I can go into my Alternion news feed, filter out Facebook and Photos only, and there is my customized feed waiting for me to browse.
Another useful feature in my browsing was the “Photos” and “Videos” tab. This will give you a feed of entirely photos or videos only. Since my most viewed content is now images and video as opposed to text, this simple feature is extremely useful for me.
I also want to draw attention to the fact that all of these sites use modern responsive page properties to display well on any browser width. HootSuite and TweetDeck both offer mobile apps as well.
Seeing on how all of these services offer a free option, I would suggest at least giving them a spin to see if it changes your social media productivity. I prefer to use a combination of these depending on my needs.
Please feel free to share if you have a different experience than I did or if you ran into problems with any of them.