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A Comparison of Social Media Desktop Tools

Comparison of six desktop toolsDo you want to save yourself time, money and resources? Then you need to invest in a desktop tool to help you  manage your social media. Ever since I discovered a desktop tool I’ve been on the lookout for the best one out there.  When you look at them individually they all look great. They all mostly track Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace, however, not all do and not all track Facebook Fan pages.

As they say, there are different strokes for different folks. I’m a heavy user and I like to have all of my social networks and my clients’ in one easy dashboard. But not everyone manages that many. Some only have 2 or 3 social networks that they manage for their company and so, maybe something a little less robust will do the trick.

I took a side by side comparison at some of the top desktop tools out there right now (HootSuite, Sprout Social, TweetDeck,Thrive, SocialOomph, and Tap11) and here’s a high-level snapshot of what I came up with and there’s a pdf at the bottom you can print out so you can actually look at them side by side.

  • In terms of interface, I still think HootSuite and Thrive have the best interfaces.
  • As for analytics, Tap11, Social Oomph and Sprout Social have great analytics but the cost of the professional versions to get access to these are too much.
  • Cost. You cannot beat the cost of TweetDeck – free but I don’t like their user interface and it doesn’t allow you to track Facebook fan pages (which for most companies, it’s essential). HootSuite is also free for up to 3 accounts and only $5.99 for the Pro version $1499 for Enterprise. However, it doesn’t have the greatest analytics and you can only track ow.ly clicks right now (an enhancement in a future release I hope), but it gives you the biggest bang for the buck and has an easy user interface, plus you can now connect to your FB Group and post directly from the interface (as of 8/30/11).
  • Mobile app. If you need to update on the go then only HootSuite, Tap11 and TweetDeck have mobile apps. SproutSocial says their app is coming out later this year.
  • For nonprofits I really like SmallAct’s Thrive option. For nonprofits with a bigger budget, this is affordable. For smaller nonprofits, they are probably better off with going with HootSuite if they have Facebook fan pages, and if not, then TweetDeck. Also, SproutSocial just informed me that they offer a 50% discount to nonprofits – and all you need to do is ask them support@sproutsocial.com

And before you ask if any of these can help you post to LinkedIn as your company/nonprofit – the answer is No. LinkedIn doesn’t allow that at this time. But do check out the pdf and let me know what you think. I’ll be hosting the pdf on the Resources Page for future reference.

Here’s the pdf to the side by side comparison of all six desktop tools. (updated 10/14/11)

Do you have a favorite? Let me know what your favorite is and why in the comments below.

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.