Since the birth of The Content Factory back in October 2010, I have been managing Twitter and Facebook accounts for our clients in addition to running the business with Kari DePhillips. Needless to say, I was getting a bit burned out. Thankfully, we recently hired a new social media marketing manager. It’s freed me up to do things like shower, sleep and, of course, blog.
The only tough part about passing the social media management baton over to Caroline was that I didn’t want to just throw my Hootsuite at her and tell her to get on it. I wanted to stay on the Twitter accounts in Hootsuite and work closely with her on social media strategy. We’ve had Hootsuite since the inception our web PR company and generally we’ve liked it. It was originally one of our favorite free online PR tools and then they started charging for multiple social media accounts (which we weren’t exactly jazzed about, but we think it is absolutely worth paying for).
Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts with More Than One Team Member
It seemed simple enough to add an additional team member to the account, but we wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to be a huge expense to do so. We liked Hootsuite, but we wanted to see what else was out there. We didn’t want to miss opportunities to save money and become more efficient when it comes to using Twitter for marketing our clients.
We knew what we were looking for. We don’t use these social media management programs to manage posts to sites like Facebook and YouTube. We just wanted it for Twitter, because we’ve found that updating any other social media accounts from these types of programs results in updates that look automated and spammy. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure. We simply needed a social media management program that was good for monitoring keywords and allowed scheduling.
New social media management tools come out all the time, so I decided that I needed to get my Google on – and boy was I disappointed. Sure, there are plenty of blogs and sites out there that review social media management programs and do a great job of explaining what they do. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find out exactly how much all of it is going to cost.
Hootsuite vs. CoTweet vs TweetDeck – How Much Do They Cost?
We found three social media management tools that fit our basic criteria: Hootsuite, TweetDeck and CoTweet. We are going to break down the cost, customer service and capabilities of each program:
How Much Does Hootsuite Cost and What’s Their Customer Service Like?
Hootsuite makes using Twitter for marketing simple. It was our first choice, not only because we’ve been using it for so long, but because the Hootsuite dashboard is tough to beat (call us superficial, but we’re suckers for a pretty interface). If it was clear that the cost of adding an additional team member to all accounts was going to be under the ceiling we had set at $150/month, we’d have looked no further.
Customer Service: Hootsuite does not take customer service calls, at all – not even if your account is on fire. In order to get in contact with Hootsuite, you have to complete a Help Desk request. When I did this originally, someone responded within four hours. They informed me that it would cost $15/month to add a team member and that it didn’t matter how many accounts we were managing, it would stay the same.
The Cost: For one team member and unlimited Twitter accounts, we were paying $5.99/month, which is a great deal. Unfortunately, it was very confusing to figure out what their pricing was past that. I couldn’t figure out whether they were going to charge me an additional $15/month per account or $15/month for an unlimited number of accounts. We manage an average of 10-15 social media clients on a continual basis, so there’s a huge difference between $15/month to $100-$150/month. The other option was the unlimited $1500/month plan. Straight talk: that’s more than my rent (I live in Pittsburgh, and my apartment is on the nicer side). That plan looks awesome, but not for a company as small as ours.
How Much Does CoTweet and What’s Their Customer Service Like?
The CoTweet website is clean and it looked like this program had it all from scheduling to keyword monitoring, which is does. But of course, there’s a catch. I was immediately put off by the fact that not only was no pricing information available on their site whatsoever, but if you fill out information, you get a free trial. I’m not new to this game — next thing you know, they tell you that someone will be calling you. Still, I kept an open mind, until I talked to a sales guy who sounded like he couldn’t sell Frank’s Red Hot to a bowl of nachos in a frat house (a call that I actually had to initiate, no less).
Customer Service: Trust me — I know how tough that job is. I was actually in phone sales for five years straight (no small feat, right?), but I just don’t know how this guy got hired. Here’s how part of the conversation went (consider this an America’s Most Wanted dramatization version). Let’s call him Chip.
Me: Hi Chip! I wanted to find out about maybe switching over to CoTweet from Hootsuite. I need a program that schedules tweets and allows me to monitor for keywords, but also allows me and one team member to manage 10-15 Twitter accounts.
Chip: Ah. Well, for $1500/month, you can get an unlimited package and have unlimited users. You can keep track of stats, etc.
Me: We’re a small company. Is there something in between free and $1500/month?
Chip: Well, there isn’t really anything in between.
Me: Ok Chip, thanks for your time. It doesn’t sound like CoTweet has what we’re looking for.
Chip: Well there’s one that lets you manage five accounts with five team members.
Me: Ok. How much does that cost?
Me: Ok Chip. Thanks for the info!
I gave the poor guy my e-mail address, but I thought, geesh, don’t tell me there’s no mid-level plan when there is one. Especially when for $600/month, all you get is an extra PDF report. Not gonna cut it. For $600/month, CoTweet should have the wit of Chelsea Handler combined with the work ethic of a child laborer trying to feed his entire family with one paycheck. And, it needs to make me guacamole and margaritas every afternoon as well.
Cost: The only reference I have here is my conversation with Chip. As a follow up to our call, he sent me a lackluster PDF that didn’t really give me a whole lot more information than the website did (or he did in our conversation, for that matter). From what I was told, it was $1500/month for the Enterprise Edition (unlimited users, unlimited accounts) and $600 for Flex Five program, which to quote the PDF he sent me, “gives your team all the capabilities and integrations of the Enterprise Edition for a price that scales to your budget,” whatever that means.
We love that TweetDeck allows you to schedule, monitor keywords and manage multiple Twitter accounts with multiple team members. For a long time, they didn’t allow tweet scheduling, which is why we never looked into it before, but now they do and at first glance they seemed to have everything we needed.
The only downside, and in the end the only reason we didn’t decide on TweetDeck, was the fact that the Hootsuite dashboard blows the Tweetdeck dashboard right out of the water. TweetDeck has one long stream of everything, so with 10-15 Twitter accounts, it looks like a bit of a hot mess. I mean damn, can a sister get some tabs for easy sorting?
If you only have 1-3 Twitter accounts to manage, TweetDeck is a simple, straightforward and effective social media marketing tool. Unfortunately it’s not really designed for social media management companies.
Customer Service: We knew exactly what we were getting so there was no need to call or e-mail them, which is a plus. As far as ongoing TweetDeck customer support goes, you can contact them via a number of Twitter accounts, depending on what the issue is. Sounds like a great idea, especially considering that it’s a social media management tool.
CoTweet vs. Hootsuite vs. Tweetdeck: Which is Best?
When all was said and done, we went with Hootsuite. It’s reasonably priced and we heart the Hootsuite dashboard (have we mentioned that yet?). If you manage multiple Twitter accounts, it’s your best bet.
What tools do you use to manage multiple Twitter accounts? Have you had similar or completely different experiences with CoTweet, TweetDeck and Hootsuite?
Want to know what other things cost and exactly what you get for your money? Check out our recent posts, where we break down the cost of social media marketing and answer the question, “How much do copywriters charge?”
By Joan Barrett