3 New Apps to Manage Your Social Networks

social media toolsAre you looking for a better way to manage all of your social accounts?

With the growing number of social networks, it can be a pain to keep on top of them all.

Below I’ve highlighted three tools to help you manage your various social networking accounts from one neat dashboard.

#1: Alternion

Just recently out of private beta testing, Alternion packs a punch with the number of networks and social profiles you can manage.

alternion add services

Each profile or account is added by logging into the original site and allowing Alternion to access your account.

From blogging to bookmarking, image-sharing to shopping, Alternion will cover more of your accounts than any other dashboard I’ve tried so far. For business and marketing purposes, you’ll find most of the accounts you would need: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Vimeo and YouTube are all here.

Alternion also places an emphasis on user privacy, with sharing options available for each linked account (perhaps having learned a lesson from Facebook’s privacy fumbles). You can decide whether to display a link to each account on your Alternion profile, and who can see your updates from a specific network.

alternion privacy

Alternion's privacy settings are simple and easy to change.

The main dashboard page is a little reminiscent of Facebook’s once-simple layout—the blue and white design and clean structure make it easy to focus on your data and the task at hand.

sidebars

Two sidebars keep your main news feed or message stream uncluttered.

Alternion offers three main viewing options: your social news feed, which pulls in updates from your social networks; messages, which allow you to interact with your various email accounts; and contacts, which is fairly self-explanatory.

One great feature that I was surprised to find is the ability to not only edit your Facebook and Twitter lists, but also to create brand-new lists from within the contacts tab.

Alternion also creates a user profile for everyone with an account. On your profile page, you can see updates you have made to any linked social networks, links to your various social profiles, photos and videos you have shared and some basic stats about your activity (number of profiles, number of updates, etc.).

profile sidebar

The profile sidebar shows an overview of your activity from all accounts across the web.

Final thoughts:

Alternion wins at offering the most variety in the accounts and networks you can pull in. It also offers full email integration, allowing you to interact with email messages without leaving your dashboard.

If the clean-cut simplicity of the design suits you, and you want to manage a wide variety of social accounts from one place, Alternion is worth a try.

#2: LiveGO

Unlike Alternion, LiveGO focuses on a smaller number of popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. It also incorporates email accounts and instant messengers such as Gmail’s GTalk and AOL Instant Messenger.

livego

LiveGO aims to be a simple way to communicate with others through email, social networks or instant messages.

LiveGO has several viewing options, allowing you to get an overview of everything at once or focus on a particular area. The standard inbox view shows your email inbox at the top, with mixed social network feeds underneath. Your instant message accounts live in a sidebar to the right, which can be hidden when not in use, giving you more space for other tasks.

Each of your accounts has its own button on the left, with a pop-up menu that makes it easy to switch to specific feeds; for instance, Twitter mentions or email drafts. A menu across the top of the main feeds panel offers different areas of each network, giving you full, integrated access to your account.

livego facebook view

The Facebook-specific view has menu options for your news feed, photo albums, messages and more.

Each Twitter account has its own panel as well, showing your main feed, your own tweets, favorites, mentions and direct messages.

livego twitter view

LiveGO's integration with Twitter includes the ability to favorite and unfavorite tweets, see conversation threads and follow or unfollow users.

A constant update box sits at the top of the screen, allowing you to update any of your social networks with ease. Choosing the account you are sending from is clear (something I have had issues with in other dashboard apps), and sending the same update to more than one account is an option.

Finally, a couple of unusual features that caught my attention: First, the ability to add special characters (music notes, hearts, arrows) to your updates. Admittedly, this is not something I use often, but is an interesting addition to the update box, especially considering an “add media” button is conspicuously missing. Second, a feature I have never seen before: an automatic collection of updates from the same person. See the image below for an example.

livego bracket tweets

Two recent tweets by the same person were linked automatically by a bracket to show that they came from the same author.

Final thoughts:

The rounded, smooth design of LiveGO is more pleasing to the eye than the plain layout of Alternion, but this may not be enough to win you over. If you want to update many different social networks at once, LiveGO may not be the tool for you.

For keeping on top of several Twitter, Facebook and email accounts, however, LiveGO does a great job of incorporating most of the features of each network, as well as offering instant messaging options to keep you in touch with your contacts in a variety of ways.

#3: Netvibes

Netvibes is more of a monitoring dashboard than an integrated updating tool. With the ability to add several social networking accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (yes, really) and email accounts, it offers a good overview of your networks. Its focus is more on monitoring your brand across the web than communication, however.

netvibes

Netvibes aims to be "everything that matters to you" collected into one dashboard.

With the ability to add several “dashboards” to your account, Netvibes offers a comfortable way to keep different areas of your work separated; for instance, personal and professional accounts or different brands you are monitoring.

netvibes main dashboard

Various widgets allow a huge degree of personalization to your dashboard.

Each dashboard view lets you choose widgets to add, which come as specific as the calculator, weather or to-do list widgets, and as indistinct as standard text or HTML widgets.

netvibes dashboard

Social widgets allow you to monitor your email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

Each social networking widget offers standard functionality, such as replies, comments, retweeting and other sharing options. The email widget, however, is disappointing in its lack of features, offering essentially an inbox monitor and nothing else.

Adding widgets is a fairly simple process, with categories to browse at the top of the page. Each widget can fit into different areas of your dashboard, and change size and shape accordingly.

add widget

Widget previews show user ratings, image previews and the number of users who have installed the widget.

The one thing Netvibes really does differently is the integration of RSS feeds. With RSS widgets, you can quickly get an overview of recent headlines, and open these in a reader view to see the full article.

read rss feed

RSS feeds can be read without leaving the Netvibes dashboard.

This integration makes Netvibes the perfect place to monitor specific topics across the web, without actually “traveling” across the web.

view tech blog

If you prefer to view the actual website, you still don't have to leave your dashboard.

Netvibes also offers the most extensive personalization options of these three apps, with several themes available to choose from, and color options available for each separate widget.

Final thoughts:

If monitoring—rather than engagement—is what you’re after, Netvibes is for you. Although it offers some social networking functions, its strong points are the integration of various tools such as RSS feeds, social network feeds, weather, news and to-do lists, which make it a one-stop dashboard for all of your monitoring needs.

If you like the sound of Netvibes, you can also sign up for a premium account from $499/month to access detailed analytics features as well.

The Verdict

As always with these roundup posts, your needs will determine which app is of the most benefit to you.

Are you looking for a way to monitor and manage your accounts on various networks across the web? Perhaps Alternion has what you need.

If you want an easy way to keep up with several accounts on Twitter, Facebook Pages and your email, LiveGO can integrate those for you.

Or if you need an easy way to monitor brand mentions or specific topics all in one place, try Netvibes.

What do you think? Let us know which dashboards you’ve tried, and what you like best. What features would you like to see added to your favorite dashboard?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Belle Beth Cooper

Belle has spent the past four years as a freelance writer and social media consultant and now spends her days wielding a pencil as Attendly's resident Inbound Marketer. Follow her on Twitter @BelleBethCooper. Other posts by »




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  • http://veight.de/ Fabian

    Great article, but I’ve got one simple question, which one does cover Facebook Pages, and Google+ Pages?

  • http://twitter.com/PaulMarnie Paul Marnie

    They all seem highly functional and each has their individual merits but it will take something else to make me change from using Hootsuite to manage my personal and work related social networks.

  • Yvonne

    I’m with @Fabian, I have yet to find an app that covers my Google+ business page as opposed to my personal page.

  • http://www.socialmediarevolution.ca/become-a-subscriber/ Josaphat DJ Perez

    All of them look great. I am with @twitter-20517421:disqus on this one. But for me is TweetDeck rather than Hootsuite.
     

  • Ybaker08

    @ Paul. Hootsuite is a great tool, however, I don’t understand what ‘unlimited accounts’ mean. I have not been able to create an unlimited amount of accounts.

  • BrendonWalker

    Still waiting for a tool that has Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc etc…

  • Rebecca

    I use HootSuite personally, and SproutSocial professionally – nothing here that would make me switch! Been checking regularly to see who will be the first to get an API for Google+, but it looks like they’re not opening that up to anyone just yet.

  • http://twitter.com/JAQ_avetisyan Jaq Avetisyan

    Do any of these website come with an app for iphone?

  • JEH3

    FYItag.com. great alternative to all the applications talked about so far.

  • Scott

    Is there an app to handle several different business accounts at one location?

  • firefly

    Do any of the above apps generate code that can be embedded in a web page?  Are there other apps/plugins that do this?

  • http://www.crackerjackmarketing.com/ Stephanie Schwab

    Love the first two, new-to-me apps which seem helpful, I’ll check them out. Netvibes, however, has been around for forever; I think I first used it, primarily as an RSS reader, in 2006, maybe 2007. It seems little has changed, though they are valiantly trying to stay relevant.  To me, though, it still feels like an RSS reader with a few other widgets so agreed, best for monitoring, not engaging.

  • http://twitter.com/georgerenfro George Renfro

    Thanks for info – I have been checking out Ping.fm as well.  I opened an account with Alternion but am only able to include my Facebook personal profile – not my business page (multiple attempts).  Any help with this?

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  • Tammy Kahn Fennell

    Would love to see the New MarketMeSuite Social Inbox added to the list :)
    -Tammy, CEO @MarketMeSuite:twitter 

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  • http://www.webyogi.co.uk/ webyogi

    I started to use MultiMi content aggregator but found it confusing. My absolute favourite at the moment is @bufferapp for simplicity & speed. Thanks for review of alternion going to give that a try as it covers more networks – thanks for posting :-)

  • Denisse Marie

    I use both Hootsuite and Sprout Social for managing client’s social accounts. LiveGo does seem pretty interesting but again none enticing enough to switch. All I need right now is a way to manage Google+

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  • http://www.razchorev.com/ Raz Chorev

    With my limited experience with marketmesuite  - it should definitely be included, if not topping this list. 

    Tammy, Corina may need beta access to it :) get her on @corinamackay:disqus 

  • http://www.michaelrurupandersen.dk/ Michael Rurup Andersen

    Really good article livego.com & alternion.com looks like to service I can’t live without – and I didn’t even know before I read this article :) . Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Hi Fabian,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m in the same boat as many people here I think, still looking for a good way to monitor Google+ as well as my other networks! If I find an app that does so, I’ll be sure to pass it on!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Hootsuite is definitely a great tool. I use it often, particularly to keep track of multiple accounts. I find I switch apps often as well, because I like singular features of each. Never pleased, I guess!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m hanging out for a good way to keep track of YouTube stats as well as the rest!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Netvibes has recently created mobile versions. You can see them at the bottom of the homepage.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    What kind of accounts are you looking to manage Scott?

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    I didn’t see that feature on any of these – what exactly do you want to show on your web page?

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Netvibes has definitely been around for a while, but if you need a good way to visually monitor lots of sites, it can be handy.

  • http://www.thereadingtub.com Terry Doherty

    I’m a Hootsuite devotee, too. What I would love is the ability to TAG FB (and Google +) posts from a single tool.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Hi Tammy,

    I recently came across MarketMeSuite and tried it briefly. It was after I had finished this post, but it didn’t grab me for long. The UI really turned me off, more than anything, but perhaps I should take another look.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Bufferapp is definitely a favourite of mine, as well! It really doesn’t do what these tools can, but it’s a great addition to your toolbox.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Google+ seems like a popular request. I’m surprised more people aren’t keen to include their inbox with their social accounts – that’s what led me to try most of these tools to begin with.

  • http://twitter.com/fingersfly fingersfly

    I need to set up a week’s worth of posts timed to fire later. I also use Buffer. Do any of these 3 allow Bufferapp? and let you schedule posts for future so you don’t have to tend all accounts all days? Most important features for me!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Bufferapp works with Twitter and Facebook only. You can use these apps to monitor responses to content you send out through Buffer, if that’s helpful.

  • http://twitter.com/Keys2BSocial Shirley Wilson

    I’m certainly in the market for a social management tool that will “do it all.” I wasn’t familiar with these so thanks for the overview. I too really like Marketmesuite and I don’t know what I would do without Buffer. I’m curious if anyone has any information/reviews on SendSocialMedia?
    Thanks!

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  • Scott

    I work with a few clients who have WordPress Blogs, FB some Twitter, Linkedin.  Not too deep but it would be nice to go to one dashboard to manage about 6 different small companies.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Hootsuite is definitely a good one to try. It includes all of those services, although I’m not sure how well the LinkedIn and WordPress integrations work. It lets you create separate tabs, though, which is a killer feature for me. I’d be using Seesmic if it had that feature! So, each tab can include columns of accounts & search terms specific to that company, and you can switch between them easily. Give it a go!

  • Scott

    Thank you, I’ll look into it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jorgen-Poulsen/100003230996685 Jorgen Poulsen

    I’m have only played with alternion for 15 minutes and I absolutely love it. 3 daus I started using socialbro with buffer apps and I fell in love. I have fallen in love with alternion and will love it forever.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    SocialBro and Buffer are both awesome additional tools to your social media strategy! I’m really glad you like Alternion, I hope you find it useful.

  • http://chamberlaingroup.ca/ Jared

    So many new tools on the internet it’s hard to keep track.  It’s great to be able to read a summary and save time on researching this great tools.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    I know the feeling, Jared! Glad to have helped – thanks for reading.

  • Jamesshanbrom
  • Tlmaurer

    Have been waiting anxiously to see if Hootsuite would be adding Google+ to their applications menu.  Alternion certainly covers a lot of platforms, almost to the point of overkill, but still don’t have Google+.  Not being ‘out there’ and easy to incorporate in members’ variety of social media sites is the one thing sorely missing for G+.  Hope this changes soon.  Thanks for the review, Corina.

  • http://www.socialnerdia.com/ Esteban Contreras

    Google’s six launch partners for Google+ are Hootsuite, Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, Involver and Vitrue.

  • http://www.socialnerdia.com/ Esteban Contreras

    FYI: Netvibes must be at least 4 years old.

  • http://www.IfSimply.com/ Keith Griffis

    Thanks Esteban. That is great info to have.

  • Renée Bäni

    I so agree with the previous comments. Hootsuite stays the best tool for managing my business accounts, only wish it had Linkedin and Google+ business pages… 

  • Stephanie

    Hi Renee, I only started using Hootsuite a few days ago and I have both my LinkedIn account & Group page on

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jorgen-Poulsen/100003230996685 Jorgen Poulsen

    As I mentioned before i think alternion is way cool but there are some privacy issues that I was made aware off last night when I shares this article with ppl. When you connect a ser make sure you read exactly what alternion is allowed to do.

  • Tammy Kahn Fennell

    Hi Corina! Pretty sure you tried our old version. Here’s a quick video about our new version:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWI_wihgnvAWould love your thoughts!Tammy

  • http://w3cinc.com/web W3 Consulting

    None of these are catering to Small Business yet, however. Even HootSuite (who I admire greatly) have yet to release the product outside of its Enterprise edition so it’s not affordable for most of my clients (all Small Businesses, a majority of which are micropreneurs).

  • http://w3cinc.com/web W3 Consulting

    All of these apps look like they have promise for the right user community. Our vote is still for Digsby! If you haven’t tried it out, you can manage the major networks, multiple IM accounts across several networks, and your email within Digsby for free and in a non-invasive format.

  • Bukajcham

    You can also try this new tool: http://www.zoomsphere.com

  • http://twitter.com/KimJosephs Kim Josephs

    I have 2 favorites for social media.  My absolute favorite is Nimble and my second is Hootsuite.  It really depends on how much functionality you need.  Nimble rocks, because you can follow and engage in conversations by contacts on mulitple networks.  So you can see what I am doing across Google+, FB, Twitte or LinkedIn in one screen (my social stream from multiple sources).  I like in cases where I handle multiple twitter/fb accouts for multiple clients (more of a consulting role.

    Full discloser:  I love Nimble so much, I decided to become a partner.  So, my favorites might be a little bias, but I have tried many many tools to improve effiency and help with sales/marketing initiatives.

    Check them out here:
    Nimble (free personal version available):  http://partners.nimble.com/socialsavvy/
    Hootsuite:  http://hootsuite.com 

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  • Servesquared

    As a non profit I am interested in knowing which ones offer free service or cost if any.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Hi Michael,

    I’m glad you discovered some new apps you hadn’t heard of – that’s one of my favourite things about the web these days! I hope they prove to be useful for you.

    Thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    You’re right, Esteban – Netvibes is quite old. Unfortunately I don’t choose the headlines for my posts, so sometimes they don’t quite match the content!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Great point, Jorgen. Especially when you are connecting many different services, and using personal and professional profiles/pages, keep a careful check on your privacy settings.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Thanks for the suggestion! I always thought Digsby excelled in IM integrations, which isn’t something I use much, but email integration with my social accounts is the winner for me, so I’ll be sure to check it out again!

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Nimble is definitely an interesting tool. I have tried it a few times, but didn’t find it met all my needs. Definitely worth a try for anyone who isn’t satisfied with the options we’ve discussed here so far, though.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Hi there,

    All the apps I mentioned in this article have free options. I didn’t pay anything to try them out, so all the features you can see in my screenshots are available at no cost. Hootsuite, which many commenters have pointed out as another good option, is also available in a free version.

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Although it’s not a full-featured solution, I could suggest you try twimbow.com. If you use Twitter a lot, this is a great (and fun!) dashboard to manage your accounts and keep on top of lists, keyword searches, etc. They also released a way to share your posts to Google+: http://blog.twimbow.com/2011/07/26/share-posts-from-twimbow-to-google-with-twimbowplus/

    It’s only available in Chrome so far, but I really admire the effort they put in to integrate Google+ as quickly as possible, considering they don’t have access to an API yet.

  • http://www.brandingpersonality.com/ Marieke Hensel

    Don’t use Alternion listed!! They can do anything and everything with your data. Basically for every network you give ‘em access – to everything! That is just unnecessary. See this video:http://youtu.be/gETazqlHDzM

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    Thanks for this video link, Tammy. The new version looks much, much better! The UI in the video is way improved over the version I tried previously. I’d love to know if there are any plans to include email, as that’s what really drew me to these 3 apps I’ve highlighted, and it looks like MarketMeSuite only includes Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn at the moment?

  • Tammy Kahn Fennell

    Hi Corina, yes you are correct. It’s very much a “social inbox” – hoping to add google plus soon. However, it is made in a way that just about anything can be plugged into it, so if we get enough requests at vote.marketmesuite.com we’ll definitely consider it. :)

     I’d love to chat more and walk you through some of the new stuff we have planned :)  @tammykfennell:twitter 

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  • http://www.digitalclimb.com/ Digital Climb

    Nice compilation. I think I will give Alternion a go.

  • http://twitter.com/donald555 donald ukponu

    Doing every social networking connection in one platform,I have just started exploring the opportunity.Thanks for the updates

  • http://twitter.com/corinamackay Corina Mackay

    According to the Help page, Alternion only supports personal Facebook updates at the moment, but they are working on Facebook Page integration.

  • http://www.b-seenontop.com/ Donna Duncan

    Hey Esteban,
    Do any of these allow you to use a personalized domain for abbreviating URLs?  For example, I want to replace bit.ly or ow.ly for my own URL.  I use Hootsuite now, and it doesn’t.
    Donna 

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    Good stuff in the post. The way that you have explained about those 3 new applications is very interesting to read. Keep updating.

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  • UptownGirl71

    Honestly, I pretty muchconcur with what I think you danced around: that MANY of us look for and often FIND ways to give our brands exposure, build lists, gain new clients,partners,visitors through Twitter , Livego,etc. Seems as though FB lost a whole BUNCH of us with the Timeline and massive “overhaul”. I’m not normally change resistant~ in fact I LOVE switching it up, but FB didn’t allow me to make any choices. I find Twitter to be much more inviting, user friendly and I can pretty much custom tailor it to our needs. I WILL, though , be visiting the sites you’ve mentioned. More(expose) is ALWAYS better! Thanks!

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  • Pingback: Great article if you are looking for something besides HootSuite.  | My Social World

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  • Peter

    http://www.bizzidate the new generation of sharing Platform. You can share all contents (friends, events, videos, photos, music).
    Just in one place Bizzidate dot com

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  • http://prodelica.org/ julius

    thanks for this corina, it’s really good article:)keep it up!

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  • http://motherbabychildblog.com/ LC Hunt

    Awesome review of these three products. Thank you! Alternion looks awesome, though appears not to have an stats / analytics capabilities. Is that correct?

  • Kim Firth

    yes, hootsuite has an app. ;>

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Have you tried Engagio? It has those and Disqus conversations. It focuses on the conversation/reply part specifically.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nusoul.amogetswe NuSoul Ke Amogetswe

    Wow! Just read about Alternion and immediately clicked the link without reading on. It seems too good to be true but the proof is in the pudding. All i can say is thank you, you just helped make my life that much easier. Great stuff

  • Farrah Collins

    You guys hear of http://www.Formvote.com ?

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  • http://twitter.com/writers4within Mary S. Sentoza

    This is a great review for managing social networks. I will be checking them out.

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  • Alin Baraitaru

    1st impression: netvibes not 100% translated, alternation looks decent, livego is down

  • Madri Designs

    For businesses, SalesForce is a great tool for all your social media in one. Plus lead tracking, analytics tracking, etc.







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