I love Twitter and I like Facebook. For my day job as a writer of content for business, I use LinkedIn, but not so much for my fiction work. I’m pretty good at Twitter and LinkedIn. Not so good at Facebook, but mostly because I don’t have the time to maintain it at this point.
Being a social media enthusiast, I am always looking for ways to do it better, and for me, that usually means better engagement more efficiently. But, one thing I am insistent on is keeping it real. I do not do any automated DMs, follow/unfollows, or replies. They drive me crazy! And, I don’t measure my success based on the number of followers I have.
I’m writing this post in the hopes that someone has found the perfect tool. If not, at least someone may get value from my comments on the tools I use. Either way, all thoughts and ideas are welcome! (Except for trollish thoughts, but thankfully I don’t get many of those on my blog.)
My current tools:
Twitter – Obviously, I use Twitter, but I also make frequent use of Twitter lists. For example, I have one called “worth revisiting” that has all of those accounts I follow that actually have interesting things to say. I visit this list regularly to look for things to retweet. Some Twitter management platforms give you the ability to see list streams, but I’ve never found one that is as clean as Twitter itself.
HootSuite – I’ve been using HootSuite since forever (maybe 2010?) as a Pro-level subscriber. Mostly, I use HootSuite to manage the publication of promotions for my blog posts, reviews, and books. I’ve tried various frequencies for posting, but 2-3 times a day feels “genuine” to me. (a.k.a. not annoyingly promotional) Since I’m active on Twitter almost daily, these tweets are broken up by retweets and ad hoc posts. Again – keeping it real.
I like HootSuite because it lets me link to all my accounts, including those I manage for business clients. But, I don’t find the various tweet streams all that useful. For example, “New Followers” doesn’t make it obvious who is following me back vs. who I might want to follow. I can get that by clicking on the three dots, but other tools I’ve tried let me just hover over an account to see their profile/latest tweet. For me, the fewer clicks the better!
So, the bottom line for HootSuite (for me) is that it is great at scheduling tweets on bulk or even one at a time; not so great for managing interactions.
Crowdfire – Crowdfire had me a bit hot under the collar a few days ago when they accidentally deleted my account, but it’s back now, and I’m not one to hold a grudge. I was on their base-level paid plan (Pluto), but I just upgraded to the next level (Earth) so I could connect to more than just two accounts.
There’s a lot to like about Crowdfire. It’s extremely easy to use. I can see who followed me and unfollowed me. If I click on the Twitter ID, it will take me to their tweet stream. I have to be careful with this, though. If I’m logged into another account on Twitter, following them there will follow them from that account. I’m sure more than one technology CEO has wondered why they’re being followed by a writer of romance novels.
I can also do some cool things like see who’s following someone who writes similar books to mine to find accounts I might like to follow. (And, by extension, who might like to follow me.) I don’t think there’s a way to follow them all, but I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do that, anyway.
Crowdfire is currently my favorite tool, but it has two main drawbacks. First, it’s geared toward Twitter and Instagram. I don’t have an Instagram account. Maybe I should, but like I said, I need to stay focused. I saw an announcement earlier this year that said they added the ability to connect to a Facebook account, but I don’t see that feature. Maybe they decided to take it away. If anyone has more info on this, I’d love to know what happened or what I’m not seeing.
The other feature that’s missing for me is the ability to bulk upload tweets. As I mentioned, I use this feature in HootSuite. I don’t schedule a lot of tweets a day, but it’s more efficient to schedule them for at least a couple of months at a time. If Crowdfire had this capability, it would be my go-to social media tool, with or without the ability to connect to Facebook.
ManageFlitter – I have had a paid account with ManageFlitter, but right now I am on the freebie plan. ManageFlitter doesn’t have the features to replace either CrowdFire or HootSuite, but even at the free level, it has some features I haven’t seen in other tools.
For example, I can see who is not following me back, but I can also see how long ago I followed them. I have people follow and then unfollow me within the same 24-hour period all the time. Doesn’t bother me at all because I assume they bought into one of those “get 10,000 followers” scams. They probably weren’t interested in having a genuine connection anyway. But I am, so I like to give people at least a few weeks to see that I followed them. Even then, I won’t automatically unfollow someone just because they unfollowed me if their tweets are interesting.
One drawback to the aforementioned feature is that it doesn’t tell you how long ago you followed someone in terms of a date or number of days. It simply gives the order, e.g., the 1021st person you followed. I have 5000 followers, and I probably only follow an average of 100 new people every month, so I’d have to assume I’ve been following that person for a while. Still, it would be nice to see it in terms of time.
Manage Flitter will also tell you which of the accounts you follow appear to be fake. It’s not foolproof, but it does help me clean up my follows. The paid account will also tell you which of your followers appear to be fake, but not much you can do about that. I also like that you can see how active/influential Twitter account are. Finally, there are some interesting analytics, but at this point, they aren’t my style. For me, Twitter isn’t a numbers game.
But other than those features, ManageFlitter leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t appear that I can manage more than one account from the console. I checked the features of the paid plans, and it’s not mentioned there either. I also don’t think I can manage accounts from other social platforms; just Twitter and the Instagram accounts I don’t have. Finally, I can’t use ManageFlitter to schedule tweets, and there doesn’t appear to be a way to engage with new followers.
So, Dear Santa…
What I’d really like for Christmas this year is a tool that has the power-scheduling features of HootSuite, the ease of use and features of Crowdfire with the ability to manage accounts from multiple platforms and the insights found in ManageFlitter. (And maybe world peace.) Anyone have any idea where I can go to get that without spending hundreds of dollars a month just to be a social media enthusiast.