I recently changed my main Twitter client (more information on that below) and decided to create a poll in my LinkedIn Group to find out what others use. I asked my 2,500 group members: What Twitter client do you use for business? Statistically speaking, the results can not represent the entire user base for those who tweet, and I only gave the poll readers a choice between 5 popular clients: Twitter.com, HootSuite, TweetDeck, CoTweet, and SproutSocial. The leading client in the poll as I write this blog? SproutSocial.
Cibo, a digital agency based in San Francisco, saw my tweet and responded as follows:
— CIBO (@cibostudios) January 15, 2012
I am assuming that Cibo pulled in this data directly from the Twitter API, so I believe these results are a good enough sampling to be pretty indicative as to the top 20 Twitter clients at the time of writing this post. Chances are you are using one of these, but with the changing social media landscape and your potentially shifting objectives and ways in which you and your business use social media, I thought it was a good idea to do a short review of the top clients in hopes that you might want to try a client or app you may have never heard of before.
1. HootSuite is a web-based social media dashboard designed to manage a whole slew of social media platforms above and beyond Twitter — Facebook, Linkedin, and have even begun limited support for Google+ — and multiple social profiles in one interface. It also offers the ability to produce reports based on custom analytics to better track brand awareness, follower growth and other pertinent demographic data. Initially built for internal agency use, we can now say that HootSuite is the most popular Twitter client today.
2. The “web” entry refers to those who send out a tweet from Twitter.com, which underwent improvements and now sports a new interface, is still a relatively simple and elegant approach to tweeting, searching and discovering. If your business only has one account for tweeting, Twitter.com is still an option, and even if you use other clients listed here, you still might be finding yourself coming back here on occasion.
3. Tweetdeck, which was acquired by Twitter last year, is a social media dashboard application for managing Twitter and Facebook accounts, and it is safe to say that it was the leading client outside of Twitter.com before the emergence of HootSuite. Once only available as an Adobe Air application, it is now compatible with several operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Chrome OS and Linux and is also available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future to this application, which is another good reason to search around for alternatives just in case…
4. Twitterfeed is a utility that allows bloggers to “feed” their blog posts or other RSS content to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms thereby enabling publishers to reach a wider audience and while receiving real-time data. Yes, that’s right: The fourth largest client for tweeting is an automated one…
5. Facebook features the ability to sync one’s Twitter account to his or her Facebook page. This allows your Facebook posts to be automatically tweeted and retweeted on your Twitter account. I’m personally usually not a big fan of cross-posting from one social media website to another, where hashtags mean nothing and the @FacebookUsername don’t translate to @TwitterUsername.
6. The Tweet Button is a small widget that can be embedded into websites (such as online magazines and news sites, including this blog) which gives viewers and readers the ability to share articles of interest to their followers. It is fascinating to see the amount of sharing of content that internet users do on Twitter. This means that if your website doesn’t have a Tweet Button, you’re missing out!
7. Twitter for iPhone is the official app that is compatible and can be downloaded to an iPhone, iPad or an iPod touch powered by at least iOS 4 or later. Twitter developed this application by purchasing the creators of the best client for the iPhone at the time: Tweetie.
8. CoTweet is a social media management tool that allows teams to manage one or more Twitter accounts by offering such capabilities as tweet assignments, notes, and on duty status. Similar to a HootSuite or a TweetDeck, I praised the “archive” functionality in CoTweet and announced that it was one of my Top Twitter Applications in a recent blog post. However, CoTweet’s parent company, email marketing software company ExactTarget, announced just recently that the free edition of CoTweet will no longer operate after February 15, 2012. While ExactTarget will be releasing a new social media management dashboard called SocialEngage to replace it, I have already switched to a new client (keep reading!).
9. Twitter for Mac is a desktop application designed specifically for the Mac. It is a sister app to the official iPhone and iPad apps that was originally known as Tweetie. Amazing how many Mac users are also heavy tweeters! This product has evolved into the current TweetDeck for Mac app.
10. The web service dlvr.it allows bloggers to publish, distribute and syndicate their content across various social media platforms. Dlvr.it has become popular recently as a TwitterFeed replacement in that it gives you more robust filtering and analytical capabilities. Once again, though, this is a platform for automation.
11. Paper.li enables people to publish online newspapers based on twitter topics — stories and articles — that they like, giving their readers fresh news daily, automatically, like a personalized broadcast. If you thought you’ve been seeing a lot of Paper.li tweets recently, you’re not alone. As a source of tweets Paper.li is now a huge player, and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues – and how it evolves.
12. Originally known as Tweet Later, offering the ability to back then a cutting edge way of scheduling your tweets to post in the future, SocialOomph is a service, both free and paid, that offers productivity solutions for social media users. Among its many features are the ability to manage many accounts, post scheduling and blog integration. I know many Internet marketers who are still heavy users of SocialOomph, but I don’t know how many enterprises have adopted them.
13. I was happily surprised to see another app that I regularly use and highly recommend, Buffer, make it to the top 20 Twitter clients. Buffer offers a smarter way to schedule your tweets. Plan out all your tweets for a particular day, fill up your Buffer with your desired tweets, then Buffer schedules them for you. While not a true client per say, Buffer is a perfect complement to help you schedule your posting on Twitter and on their recently added support for Facebook.
14. Tweetie for Mac was designed originally for the iPhone and later made available for desktop, but after being bought out it is only available now as the official Twitter client. I assume that these are the diehard Tweetie users who have yet to upgrade to the “official” client for whatever reason, but this obviously isn’t an option anymore for you or your business.
15. Echofon is a client that this available for iPhone, Mac, Windows, and Firefox. It has the ability to automatically sync unread tweets between a computer, and iPhone and other devices. While Echofon has always been a popular Twitter client for the iPhone, it now supports browser and PC environments as well. I was honestly surprised to see it make the top 20, but apparently a lot of you out there are using them!
16. Twitter for Blackberry is the official app specifically for use in Blackberry handsets.
17. Twitter for iPad is another official app that was developed after the release of the iPad and is a sister application to the official iPhone and Mac apps.
18. MarketMeSuite is a social media tool and software created for social media marketing and management. Its creators aim is to turn one’s followers into customers via better online engagement. Unfortunately this tool is no longer available….
19. SproutSocial is another social media management tool for Twitter and Facebook, but this one offers contact management, competitive insight, lead generation and more unique functionality. Since SproutSocial also had the killer archive feature I was looking for, and was also available for the iPhone, I switched over to using SproutSocial as my main social media client and am not looking back. If you haven’t, sign up for a free SproutSocial trial – and discover what you might be missing!
20. The web service bit.ly is a tool that helps collect, organize and shorten links and URLs. It is available via web or mobile. Many users use the bit.ly bookmarklet to easily create tweets with shortened links which they can then analyze the results for later.
When you analyze these top clients and realize how many are for mobile, iOS, automation or are or will be discontinued, it is safe to say that the top Twitter clients for any business to consider come down to:
For any business that tweets, however, they are undoubtedly using Facebook and are looking for a cross platform social media dashboard. Those 5 clients in bold above are what you should be investigating if you are looking for a new Twitter dashboard to use.
I find that active tweeters often have very deep and passionate relationships with their social media apps, so now it’s your turn: What do you use for your Twitter client and recommend to the world? Any surprises in the above results?