When it comes to tools and services available to manage Twitter, there is a virtual bounty—a Twitter-copia, if you will. . . . But when it comes to tools designed to help small businesses best manage their Twitter accounts, there are two major contenders in the space right now that you should consider: CoTweet and HootSuite.
Both are free and offer a number of similar capabilities. For example, they both allow you to:
- Manage multiple accounts
- Use multiple editors
- Search for keywords
- Be notified when you receive messages
So, what’s the difference, you ask? It comes down to a few factors:
Who will use the application?
CoTweet nicely “sums” everything up for you in a consolidated, easy-to-understand interface, but it falls short when you try to do advanced functions, such as see the stats from a link you posted, or if you’re trying to find a particular tweet that you’ve sent out.
HootSuite, while definitely suited for a more technical user, gives you deep usage stats and lets you easily find the information you seek.
Are you security conscious?
While most people may not care, it’s important to note that CoTweet uses Twitter’s “OAuth” connection method. This allows you to log in using the Twitter.com site, and you don’t have to provide your username and password.
HootSuite requires you to enter your full Twitter username and password in order to connect to the service.
Is Twitter where your social networking ends or where it begins?
For better or worse, CoTweet is 100% Twitter-focused.
HootSuite, on the other hand, will let you manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ping.fm (a multi-service status updater). While its functions are firmly situated on Twitter, it also allows you to manage other accounts at the same time.
So, which service do we recommend? Right now, it’s very close, but HootSuite has the edge, feature-wise. That can change as CoTweet evolves. We’ll keep an eye on it and provide an update in the near future.
Have you used either CoTweet or HootSuite? Which service do you prefer? Tell us what you think, or if there is a new service you would recommend.