social media toolsManaging, monitoring and updating Twitter accounts takes time and effort. Especially if you’re looking after multiple accounts.

You definitely need a great app on your side to make things as simple and easy as possible.

Today I want to examine the best web-based third-party Twitter clients available.

Let’s take a look at what they have to offer and what’s missing.

#1: HootSuite

Like most social media dashboards, HootSuite uses a simple column layout. The light color scheme makes it easy on the eye and helps links and menu buttons to stand out.

hootsuite menu

HootSuite's pop-out sidebar menu keeps the main columns clutter-free.

Options for different-sized columns give the user control over the look and feel of the dashboard.

hootsuite newpost

Profile pictures make it easy to tell which account you are sending from.

The Compose box for new updates finds a nice balance in HootSuite. It never disappears completely, so it’s not difficult to find, and yet it remains compact until clicked.

Creating, scheduling and sending updates are a breeze with HootSuite. My only issue with the Compose box is that the profile pictures are quite small and in a separate drop-down box, which makes it fairly easy to forget to check which account you are using.

hootsuite trends

Keeping an eye on Twitter trends only takes one click.

Powered by What the Trend, HootSuite automatically shows the latest trending topics on Twitter when you click inside the Search box. Searching for a keyword or user will produce a pop-up box showing the results stream. From here you can save the stream to your dashboard or search for other topics.

hootsuite add list

Not only can you monitor your current Twitter lists, you can create new ones.

HootSuite’s Twitter list integration is excellent, allowing you to create new lists and follow those you have already set up.

Most of these features are similar—if not the same—as those offered by the other apps discussed here. HootSuite’s real standout features are the ability to easily share accounts with other team members and set up various tabs. The ability to create reports and have them sent to you automatically also makes this a great tool for monitoring business accounts.

Killer feature: Tabs. It’s almost like having multiple HootSuite accounts set up within the dashboard. Each tab can have different columns and searches that are saved to your HootSuite account.

Biggest flaw: Design. While HootSuite doesn’t look bad, the design is ordinary compared to TweetDeck and Seesmic. With so many unique features, I would use it exclusively if it looked better.

#2: Seesmic

One app I can’t stay away from despite its flaws is Seesmic. The design isn’t perfect, but it makes a nice change from the busy, boxy look of HootSuite. The color scheme is almost the same, although Seesmic does offer a dark option as well.

seesmic design

Although Seesmic's design is very similar to HootSuite, rounded edges and bigger spaces between elements make for a nicer look.

seesmic dark

The option to change color schemes gives the user more variety.

Many social media accounts can be connected to Seesmic, but this platform is best used for managing just one or two. A quick way to switch between accounts like HootSuite’s tab feature would improve the user experience.

seesmic list view

Not only does Seesmic offer different-sized columns, you can also switch to a list view, if you prefer to read updates this way.

Killer feature: Design. Color scheme options, rounded edges, better spacing around columns and less clutter across the top of the dashboard make Seesmic more pleasant to use.

Biggest flaw: Lacks features like tabs and analytics, which would make it a more robust option.

#3: TweetDeck

With Twitter’s acquisition of TweetDeck, several things have changed—some better, some not so much.

tweetdeck main

TweetDeck's column layout is one of the cleaner and simpler dashboards.

The blank space in the screenshot above is one of the “not so much” changes. One of the better-known social media dashboards, and preferred by many Twitter power users, TweetDeck has sadly taken a huge step backwards with its most recent update. Column-sizing issues are a real downer in this version.

On the upside, the addition of two new column types is very handy. The Interactions column shows not only mentions of your Twitter handle, but also retweets of your updates, users who follow you and users who favorite your tweets.

tweetdeck interactions

Having all of your interactions in one place makes it easier to keep on top of your account.

The Activity column includes actions from users who you follow. When they follow other users, add them to lists or favorite tweets, this will all show up here.

tweetdeck newpost

The new Update box in TweetDeck takes a different approach than Seesmic's and HootSuite's pop-out.

Although hidden behind a single button above TweetDeck’s columns, the bright blue square makes the Update box stand out so you won’t miss it. The box has a simple layout, similar to both Seesmic and HootSuite, although it’s bigger and includes larger profile pictures. Clicking the profile pictures also changes the “from” statement at the top of the update box, making it very clear which account you are using.

tweetdeck search

TweetDeck's search function allows you to save searches or add them to your dashboard as new columns.

Without tabs or a similar feature, TweetDeck requires a lot of scrolling to see all of your columns. The column buttons across the top of the dashboard make this a lot easier, though. When you hover over one of the column buttons, its title will be shown, allowing you to quickly find and jump to particular columns. This is one feature I’d love to see other dashboard apps integrate.

tweetdeckk column buttons

Each rectangle links to one of the columns you have created.

Killer feature: New Update box. When managing multiple accounts, the easier it is to send off (or schedule) a quick update and ensure it’s being sent from the right account is imperative. TweetDeck has the most user-friendly update process.

Biggest flaw: Lack of features needed to manage multiple accounts. More than two accounts will make a mess of your TweetDeck dashboard. Especially if you are monitoring hashtags, lists and searches, as well as general account activity.

#4: Twimbow

An up-and-comer in the field of social media dashboards is Twimbow. With a focus on colors and heavy on unique features, users of Android Twitter client Twicca will love this one.

twimbow home

Look familiar? Yet another multiple-column layout.

Twimbow’s feature list is impressive, and it offers the user a lot of control over the personalization of the dashboard. Color-coding is preset but adjustable, as are the items that show up in the Personal Buzz column (shown on the left in the screenshot above). With just a click, the user can select (or deselect) any type of activity within the Personal Buzz stream to show only what’s relevant.

twimbow monitor

Twimbow's monitor stays hidden until clicked to preserve the simplistic layout.

In the monitor, the user can add any kind of column: lists, searches, hashtag streams or even particular user streams. These columns can be moved with a drag-and-drop motion to fit the user’s needs. When not in use, the monitor is shown by a grey bar across the bottom of the dashboard.

twimbow post update

Similar to TweetDeck, Twimbow's Update box pops up over the main dashboard area.

Twimbow’s unique features really make it stand out as a great personal dashboard. The color-coding options (applicable to update types, specific users or whole user lists) could make it a useful tool for monitoring business accounts or related updates as well. Of course, color schemes are available—more than any other dashboard I’ve used.

twimbow music

A recent upgrade to Twimbow's music player is quite an impressive feature.

With the music player, you can listen not only to your favorite songs, but also turn on the radio feature to create a playlist of related tracks, see tweets tagged #nowplaying that mention the artist you’re listening to, share the songs on Twitter and track down a copy of the CD online.

twimbow rss reader

Twimbow's built-in RSS reader makes it easy to find share-worthy content without leaving the app.

Browsing Twimbow’s top RSS feeds or adding your personal favorites will make the built-in RSS reader a handy tool for discovering great content to share.

Killer feature: Personalization. Color themes, color-coding, drag-and-drop columns, built-in RSS feeds and a music player. Impressed yet?

Biggest flaw: Hiding the monitor. Although the option to keep the monitor out of the way is great, not being able to have more columns in the main view makes it hard to manage multiple accounts from this dashboard.

Every app has its benefits and flaws, and of course these are just my opinions. I’d love to hear your thoughts, though. Last time I wrote about Twitter apps, the majority of our readers were waiting for something to trump HootSuite.

What do you think? Are you using HootSuite or one of these others? Or something else? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • I’ve been using tweetdeck successfully on multiple accounts – scrolling across columns is annoying but it works. I haven’t updated to newest version for fear of loosing features but it sounds like they remain so thanks for that! How does it mess up your dashboard with multiple accounts – is that just from the interactive feature so I could have that not running for some accounts perhaps?

  • awesome!
    am not a huge twitter fan but these apps are irresistible 

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  • $44796859

    HI Corina, thanks for such a thorough walkthrough of each client’s pros and cons. I’m a Tweetdeck user at present, but may have to reconsider after this 🙂

  • TweetDeck has been and stlll is the favorite for me and largely because of one feature.  The ability to clear seen tweets (now clear column). This is a must have …  Great article!

  • David M

    Which of these Twitter apps are ad supported?

  • Even with some of its shortcomings post-Twitter acquisition, I still use TweetDeck. I’m a sucker for the interaction column. I hadn’t heard of Twimbow before, but I like the features you pointed out here. I’m going to have to give it a try when I 

    Sidenote: I’m an even bigger fan of TweetDeck since my Buffer article made a cameo in the screenshot! 🙂

  • I prefer HootSuite. It’s easy to manage and monitor 5 different Twitter accounts from the HootSuite dashboard. I also like the functionality of the “post message” bar that shrinks when not in use.

  • Emeric

    Great article Corina, thanks 🙂

  • ISocialBroker

    What about Tweetbot ? Any thoughts ?

  • Janet LoFurno

    Thanks for the article. Looking forward to trying all 4 apps!

  • ILoveMyTrips

    Great article – I’ve been using Hootsuite for over a year now and find that it does everything that I need to handle a growing band of followers. I use the publisher function all the time which allows me to bulk schedule tweets so I can tweet even when I’m asleep!  

  • Thank you Corina for this fabulous list. I am a huge Hootsuite fan and use it exclusively. If it ain’t broke…

  • Denise Cooper

    Great review of these tools Corina!  We have worked with Tweetdeck and HootSuite. I’d like to add one more. We use Social Office Suite.  It is highly useful for not only monitoring Twitter but also Facebook, and Google+ is on the way.  We use it for monitoring, scheduling postings and gaining input from others on the team.  Love the editorial calendar function which allows you to see all posts at once and move them around as needed.    

  • Thank you for that overview, Corina. You’ve got great insight into what makes each of these apps work (and what doesn’t)!

    We’d love for you to take a look at the current open beta of JugnooMe, a new social media dashboard. We offer easy Twitter management, as well as multiple social accounts, comprehensive analytics, and a number of exclusive apps to help bloggers and small businesses increase their reach on the social web. 

    We’re currently in our second iteration, with more improvements scheduled for June, and we’d love to hear your ideas to improve our service.

    Helen Androlia, Community Manager

  • Wow, I thought these twitter apps were all pretty mainstream by now.  Nice recap.

  • laurazera

    I did some research and wrote a blog post comparing HootSuite and TweetDeck a few months ago, and found the same thing, a lot of people preferred HootSuite over TD and other Twitter tools. As for me, I’m still using Hootsuite, but have also found Gremln to be handy for scheduling recurring tweets. 

  • I’m also a Hootsuite fan, perhaps addict is a better term because I can’t seem to find enough about the other options that would cause me to change. Good to see several aspects of the others I hadn’t seen.

  • Pat Rhoads

    Great article, Corina, thanks for writing it. I did want to let you know that Hootsuite does have two other color scheme options, including dark (black & dark gray palette).

  • Lkeeton

    What about facebook? I haven’t found one good app (for ipad) to manage a Facebook page for business.

  • Great post as always here – I manage 3 accounts on Twitter –   TraceTV  – my personal account – TV Film Media Humor Photography Quotes etc.. This one @twitter-528612760:disqus freelancesocial for my blog (The Social Freelancer – Social Media centric, and one for our debut music CD for the band- TraceRelations –  Music centric… 
    Tried Hootsuite long ago, personally found it cumbersome, slow to load but they have probably improved since then… 
    Used Tweetdeck for quite a while and still have it installed, but since I started using Buffer, not bothered with Tweetdeck… I like it, but having to schedule time for each tweet annoys me.. which is BEST thing about Buffer…
    I have become a major Buffer fan. I set it to post to all of my accounts at varied times – including my Facebook page and Linkedin — then all I do is load it up with tweets every few days… and check and respond to recent interactions. It works great, but it is also important to log in to Twitter directly often and respond and RT there, keeping realtime human interaction in the mix… my 2 cents… 

    I have learned A LOT from Social Media Examiner! You have a great resource of knowledge here, so ThankYOU. 

  • Dziri

    je viens juste de me brancher dans ce site je n’ai aucune idée à plus tard

  • Moneyideas09

    This is a great tutorial on twitter tools

  • Kristina Konen

    I liked Hootsuite a lot but it quit working with Firefox on my machine at work, so I quit using it.  Has anyone else had issues with it?  I have a new machine now and may go back to it, but Twimbow sounds very interesting!  I like the color coding idea!

  • corinamackay

    When I say it messes up your dashboard, I just mean that it can get overwhelming to have a lot of columns from different accounts in one place. At the moment I have 3 home streams, 3 activity streams, 3 inbox streams, a list of scheduled tweets and a couple of search columns. Because these are all for different accounts, it can be pretty full on trying to keep track of them.

  • corinamackay

    Thanks for pointing that out!

  • corinamackay

    Good question. As far as I know, Hootsuite supports Twitter’s sponsored tweets. Is this what you mean?

  • corinamackay

    Ha ha! There certainly is a lot to like about TweetDeck. I’m a huge fan of the interaction column, and the option to just have a mentions stream instead if that’s what you prefer.

  • corinamackay

    As far as I know, Tweetbot is only available for iPhone and iPad. This post is based on web-based clients only. Having said that, as an Android owner I’m incredibly jealous that I can’t try out Tweetbot, because it looks awesome!

  • corinamackay

    Thanks for adding that, Denise. The editorial calendar function sounds very useful!

  • corinamackay

    Thanks for sharing that, Pat!

  • corinamackay

    For this post, I only researched Twitter apps but I’m sure the SME team will look into this for a future post.

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  • Naren

    Great article – I’ve been using Hootsuite for
    over a year now and find that it is awesome, i do not mind trying other options
    provided they support different social media channels.

    I am facing a challenge making a separate
    Hootsuite account to handle my personal Social media channels. I am an admin
    for all the twitter & FB pages of my organization, because of which i am
    facing difficulty in synchronizing my personal account with another hootsuite

    Plz suggest..!! 🙂

  • I’ve been using Hootsuite for over a year. I use it on my iPhone and Mac. The only drawback I’ve found on my desktop hootsuite app is…i can’t tell if someone is following me or not? My iPhone shows me under the “Friendship Status” button, but for the life of me, I haven’t been able to find if someone is following me from the hootsuite desktop app. Am I totally missing something here? thanks.

  • I was really hoping to see something new on
    this list. But I have to say that these are probably the 4 worst apps I have
    used. Then again I guess it depends on what you are using it for. If your goal
    is to make a ton of columns to watch spin like the slot machines here in Vegas
    then hootsuite is your best bet. 


    My Top 4


    Sprout Social, 

    Social Office Suite, 

    Twitter for Mac, 

    Twitter (native)


    Twitter for me is about listening, strategy,
    posting, reporting etc, 

    All the apps in this post only do one of those
    really well in my opinion. 


    Organization is key too when managing multiple
    clients and being able to keep separate groups of accounts with that companies
    social media assets without the possibility of cross contamination is vital.
    Sprout Social and Social Office Suite allow you to do that easily with separate
    reporting for both as well. 


    Thanks for reading. 


    Chris K Leslie

  • Hootsuite’s got my vote.  I find the Hootlet (bookmarklet) very useful, as it automatically shortens URL’s, saving you time and giving you more space to tweet.

  • I mostly use Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. I don’t know, but I think these 2 applications are more professional looking thank the rest.

  • jamie9millar

    Sprout Social – not a free app but the basic package is inexpensive. Easy to use; very professional reporting that can be sent to clients; twitter, facebook, linkedin, geolocation progs and soon, we’re told, G+. Fabulous customer service #sproutlove. Makes it so much easier to service the client accounts in one place. Awesome.

  • Leticia Polese

    Hi Corina! I’d love you to try SocialBro on Google Chrome (
    It’s awesome to manage and analyze your Twitter community.
    We’re working on a cloud version, that we’ll launch really soon.

  • 12mass

    The all do some things well but the emphasis is on management.  Our focus is on improving quality and frequency of engagements on Twitter. We have the most sophisticated Search platform out there. It even recommends search terms based on twitter usage. The system facilitates responses and (yes, there’s more) measures engagement levels so users can see which responses are most effective. So ‘manage’ your account or start using twitter as it was meant to be used: for direct, personal engagements. Tweet me or email for more information. Wow, all that and it’s still FREE. Email: morey (@) itweetlive (dot) com


  • Fingersitchy

    I used Tweetdeck till I discovered Tweetcaster. Hands down winner.

  • I must be on the right track. I already have these apps loading and working. But thanks for keeping me up to date on my efforts, It’s comforting to know that you approve of the tools I use. Great post.

  • I was almost certain I would see Sprout Social on this list. I wholeheartedly agree that HootSuite’s killer feature are its tabs, but as a former HS user, design, to me, is equally important as functionality; the reports SS create are lovely to look at and makes even a beginner look like a champ. I’m always up for trying new things and Twimbow looks interesting to try out so I may come back with a review. But to expand on what Jaime said, the most inexpensive plan ($9) Sprout Social offers is well worth the purchase.

  • Thanks for explaining that, Corina. I can deal with that sort of mess (it’s pretty much what I’m used to with Tweetdeck anyway) but can see it getting worse as I add columns – being able to colour code columns to suit linked accounts would be  great feature to solve this issue (are you reading this TweeDeck? LOL)

  • I use TweetDeck to access Facebook but it is limited to one account unfortunately.

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  • David

    Engagor is very good as well, especially for a business. Its focus is not only to manage your accounts, It’s as well a very helpful tool to monitor your results (which is a bit less featured in Hootsuite).

  •  I’m prefer the Echofon, addon for Firefox or Windows software. Simple, fast and clean.

  • Hi Leticia,
    I have actually tried out SocialBro for Chrome, and found it useful to look at analytical data. I didn’t find it a great alternative to these kind of dashboard apps for interacting with a community of users, though.

  • Shane, this is something I find missing in Tweetdeck as well. I’ve recently started using TweetBot on my iPhone and I find it handy to see that following status immediately, especially if I want to send someone a DM.

  •  I use TweetDeck to access Facebook

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  • I’ve been using hootsuite for a long time and this is really helpful for managing my social media site, scheduling is pretty convenient. I also use sproutsocial its also great, where you can get reports based on the preferred duration of date you want. Anyway, this is really impressive application

  • I use both Hootsuite and Tweetdeck but was really annoyed that Twitter ‘broke’ some of what I liked with the new version of TD so I went back to the ‘old yellow one’ (which you can still grab at here  – you will still need Adobe Air of course).

    Social Bro I use to analyse my Twitter accounts. Looking into Sprout Social and Gremln too. Just adding Twimbow to my Chrome browser, thanks for the tip 🙂

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