HootSuite v TweetDeck? Who's the King of Social Media Management?

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It's the burning question on everyone's lips: who really is the king of social media management? Well, maybe it's not on everyone's lips...but if you’re at all interested in social and digital media it's something that you should certainly consider. Businesses in this social age understand that a presence on multiple social platforms is imperative and with this increase in presence there comes a need to manage these platforms effectively and efficiently. In the world of 3rd party multiplatform clients, only two giants stand proudly and ominously above the rest - TweetDeck & HootSuite. But which is the best you may ask yourself? Well do not fear, because we at Coup Media have forced them to go toe to toe in a battle of epic proportions. So who will win "The Clash of the Clients"?

Ding, ding seconds out!!

Round 1 - Cost Efficiency

The first and most important issue is of course cost. While HootSuite offers both a free and pro version (for £5.99 a month), TweetDeck is 100% free to use. Both free options offer almost identical benefits, whereas HootSuite Pro provides significantly more useful features including bulk scheduling, basic Google analytics integration, Facebook Insights integration as well as the ability to grant access to an additional user.

Winner - HootSuite offers more all-round features.

Round 2 - Interface

Both clients offer very sleek, if rather similar user interfaces.  The differences become much more apparent when you scratch the surface. Initially the HootSuite interface can seem overwhelming, especially as all your profiles are presented on separate tabs. Nonetheless these tabbed sections do offer useful options for organising profiles and provide a certain amount of focus. You also have the option to drag and drop these profile tabs where you want them and to save custom search columns, unfortunately you can only have a maximum tab limit of 10 active columns.

TweetDeck is certainly more user-friendly, clear and easy on the eye with all profiles visible on one screen. If you're somebody who likes to personalise his or her online experience then TweetDeck should be your choice. With options for colours, fonts, services and other general settings you really can customise the look and feel. Along with you have access to as many columns as you desire and a custom URL-shortener.

Winner - TweetDeck wins with its more intuitive all-in-one interface.

Round 3 - Scheduling

For many the need to schedule future posts and updates is the most important aspect for seeking a third party client. Both TweetDeck and HootSuite give you the option to schedule posts in advance, with pretty much the same interface for doing so. However the game changer is HootSuite Pro and its ability to bulk schedule updates. Its uses for marketing and time management is priceless and the added value of being able to integrate an RSS feed to automatically post makes this feature even more valuable.

Winner - If it came down to the free versions of both it would most certainly be a tie, however the bulk scheduling option in HootSuite Pro gives it a slight edge

Round 4 - Speed & System Requirements

There's really no contest in this category, HootSuite is the clear winner.  Being browser based, it's very quick and apart from a computer and Internet connection requires no resources to use.  TweetDeck on the other hand is powered by Adobe AIR, has to be downloaded to your hardrive and can be a significant drain on system resources.

Winner - HootSuite hands down.

Round 5 - Support

Both applications allow you to update your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles whether you are using the free or paid version.  However, HootSuite supports your Foursquare, MySpace (yes, we'd forgotten about it too), Wordpress and Ping accounts, but beware if you're using the free version, as you'll only have access to a maximum of 5 accounts.  Another advantage that HootSuite has over TweetDeck is its ability to show you a miniature preview of your posts before you update - very useful if you're a company that relies heavily on its aesthetic appeal and professionalism. While neither client includes every platform...providing you're not trying to update your most obscure Xanga page, you'll be satisfied with either.

Winner: HootSuite. For personal use, either client will suffice, but HootSuite offers quite a few more options as far as social networks go, and therefore comes out as the winner.

Round 6 - Multiple Users

Both TweetDeck and HootSuite allow you to add multiple social media accounts to the client so you can manage everything at once.  However the main difference comes when adding multiple users. Due to its browser-based interface, HootSuite permits multiple users to access one account from multiple locations and even allows them to add a personalised signature to each of their specific posts. Being a desktop app, TweetDeck has no such option.

Winner - HootSuite.

Round 7 - iPad

The final round sees both HootSuite and TweetDeck trading iPad app punches. HootSuite works well on any type and speed of connection and the interface is simple and easy to use. It also handles loading articles and videos well and the app opens webpages and articles in a screen that overlays your tweet columns. TweetDeck on the other hand needs some work. It works well on a fast connection, but when it is on a slow connection, it crawls. The customisable refresh rate is nice, but the app still takes an age to update even when set to optimal. The main advantage of the TweetDeck iPad app is that it shows pictures and videos directly within the app, which is always a welcome addition. However possibly the most annoying feature of the TweetDeck app is how it displays any article that you click on directly from your Twitter stream.

Winner: HootSuite. It's smoother, loads faster, and is more stable.

Winner by K.O. - HootSuite!!

 So after a monumental battle, HootSuite has emerged victorious and by quite a margin. We would like to point out though that social media management is certainly not one-size-fits-all. Use our opinions above to make an informed decision for your personal or business needs.

For example, if you prefer a clean, user-friendly interface, use TweetDeck. If you need to access your Twitter stream from anywhere, on any browser, we recommend HootSuite. The most important thing to remember is - use what works best for you!

What 3rd party apps do you use? What do you recommend to your friends and why? Let us know on Facebook or comment below.

Paul Shepherd

I've worked in digital communications for around 15 years, and specialised in social media for the past three. Passionate about new technologies, media, and the impact it has on businesses bottom line, I try to bring that passion to every campaign for every brand we work with.