Looking for CoTweet Alternatives? Our Comparison of Social Media Management Options

If you are a standard CoTweet user, you have probably heard that on February 15, 2012, ExactTarget will be replacing the free service CoTweet with the premium service SocialEngage – with a free trial for 30 days. To help those of you that may be scrambling for an alternative, we did some leg work for you. Below you’ll find a comparison of features and functionality across SocialEngage and other popular social media management tools in the interest of deciding which  alternative is best for standard CoTweet users. The factors considered in this comparison include the ability to pre schedule posts, view messages and replies, as well as multiple user and team members support, and of course, pricing.

SocialEngage http://www.cotweet.com

Billed as the next chapter for CoTweet, SocialEngage has the same general interface (single column display with sidebar navigation) plus many new features. Pricing for SocialEngage is not available online. To find out more about SocialEngage you must provide an email to download a digital brochure and then speak with a salesperson for a price.

HootSuite http://www.hootsuite.com

Creating and scheduling posts are simple tasks with HootSuite. It features an intuitive interface using tab navigation for each profile, multiple columns for displaying streams (feeds, mentions, messages) and a side toolbar to access features. HootSuite also features custom analytic reporting and supports adding profiles from most social networks.

TweetDeck http://www.tweetdeck.com

TweetDeck is available as a web or desktop application and is very easy to create and schedule posts from multiple profiles. It features a simple multiple column interface and a top toolbar. You may add multiple columns and assign feeds, mentions, messages and more from unlimited social profiles. Unfortunately there is no team member support.

MarketMeSuite http://www.marketmesuite.com

MarketMeSuite has an interface that is very similar to CoTweet; and offers similar functionality with the addition of adding profiles from LinkedIn and Facebook, but currently not Pages. MarketMeSuite is in beta with some additional functionality still in development, including analytic reporting.

Roost http://www.roost.com

Creating and scheduling posts is not a quick process with Roost. The wizard-like interface walks you through 4 steps to create a message. The application encourages you to create a campaign for the an entire week and has a feature that recommends content based on sources you choose. Team members are not supported.

Seesmic http://www.seesmic.com

Seemic offers a plethora of apps for web, desktops, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. The simple interface uses multiple column display and sidebar navigation – similar to TweetDeck. Seesmic supports unlimited social profiles, but there is no team member support.

Buffer http://www.bufferapp.com

Buffer is an interesting and different paradigm from CoTweet. The idea is that when you come across something you like, simply add it to your “buffer” – a queue from which Buffer publishes at established times of the day. Adding posts in Buffer is very straight forward, however, you do not have the ability to pick individual date/times for your posts. Adding posts from web or mobile device to Buffer is a snap, with browser plugins available for most browsers, Android and Google Reader.

Recommended Alternatives for Standard CoTweet Users
In consideration of all the factors used to compare these services, MarketMeSuite is the only service that offers all the functionality of CoTweet for the same price: free.  CoTweet users will find the interface to be very familiar, while offering some additional features.  MarketMeSuite is a beta service and some of the functionality is still in development, so some change is expected.  For more information, MarketMeSuite has provided a Getting Started Video.

If you would rather avoid using a beta service and are willing to pay a premium, HootSuite is the most affordable option.  It offers all the same functionality of CoTweet plus custom analytic reporting and support for most social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.

We hope this has been a helpful overview of some of the popular social media management tools available for those standard CoTweet users trying to decide on the best alternative.

So you think you can intern? PerkettPR launches contest for first-ever internships at digital PR agency

If you’ve read this blog you know we talk a lot about the impact that social media is having on the PR world. Recognizing the value of an integrated agency approach, we’ve expanded our services over the last two years to include social media and digital production services – all of which we provide in-house (as opposed to outsourcing, which many agencies do). As a result, Our PR strategies call for a lot of new thinking, digital tactics and technical capabilities. We also recognize (along with the experts that we respect) that the recipe for success is still being perfected. We believe bright people with good ideas and an interest in the future of communications can have an impact right now.

Are you up for discovering new paths to success for clients?  Do you see value in digital communications and social media for marketing and PR? We want to hear from you! We recognize that the newest generation of employees entering the workforce are more naturally inclined to have this skill set in place. Therefore, for the first time in over a decade of business, PerkettPR is looking for interns that are capable of opening our eyes to new possibilities, executing on important communications strategies and excited to learn just how a PR firm helps companies and brands effectively communicate with key audiences.

Think you’ve got what it takes to intern at a virtual agency? Enter our contest for the chance to work with a nationwide, senior-level team in either Boston, Detroit or San Francisco.

Here are the official application guidelines:

  • The paid internship program will be awarded to up to three accomplished students or graduates with studies in public relations, communications, business, video production, English, journalism or marketing
  • Length of internship will be determined with individual contacts
  • We’re looking – ideally – for one intern in (or near) each city: Boston, Detroit, San Francisco
  • Submissions must be sent via video message (Facebook* or Seesmic**), blog post (yours with a link to ours), Twitter pitch campaign, or on our Facebook page. Or, better yet, something you create – show us  something we have never seen before. The submission is open to your creative interpretation – just don’t send us a paper resume. Show us your work digitally.
  • Must have excellent writing and research skills.
  • Must have a fully functional home “office” and be willing to meet and work remotely with co-workers at least once a week
  • Interns will work with PerkettPR’s PR and Social Media teams to study, create and implement social media, digital content and PR programs and services. They may also have exposure to and contact with clients, partners and journalists.
  • Submissions or links may also be emailed to: IWantToIntern[at]perkettpr.com.
  • Finalists will be asked for full resumes.

Applications will be accepted through June 26. A handful of finalists that will then be interviewed for the position in late June/early July.

Here’s what we’re looking for you to answer in your submission:

1.  Who are you, what do you do and where are you?
2.  What is social media?
3.  How does it play a role in PR? How can they both benefit businesses?
4.  What great examples of PR and social media integration have you seen? What makes it great?
5.  Where is the future of corporate/brand communications heading?
6.  List three words people would use to describe you.
7.  Why do you want to work for PerkettPR?
8.  What will you bring to our agency that no other candidate will?
9.  What is your favorite tech gadget or site and why?
10. Who is one person in business that you admire?

*  Video submissions to our Facebook page can be left on our wall after you become a “fan.”

** Video submissions can also be left right here as a reply on this post via the Seesmic widget that is accessible below the comments area. A free Seesmic account is required.

Starry Eyed Over Social Media

The Internet has been ablaze the last few months about social media and business. Everyone is trying to figure out the value of the different sites – from the “oldies” like Facebook and LinkedIn to newbies like Twitter, Seesmic, Plurk, Brightkite, etc. The value of such communities is especially abuzz in the realms of marketing and communications. People are catching on that marketing and PR are now – more than ever – about building relationships (as opposed to spinning news). PR executives who are not engaging with constituents – media, customers, partners, colleagues, competitors – in these new communities are missing a huge competitive advantage and opportunity. But who are the right constituents?

Just like anything – it’s how you yield the sword, not the sword itself, in my humble opinion. While building a fan base, securing thousands of followers or becoming a “top friend” can be fun, when it comes to business, how do these numbers translate? Where does the value lie? Does having thousands of Twitter followers suddenly make you a “social media expert?”

The ability to use – or experience with – communities like Facebook and Twitter do not make anyone a communications expert. Sheer follower numbers do not necessarily mean value – at least not to everyone. I may have 1000+ followers but that doesn’t mean anything to my clients unless I’m gleaming value specific to their goals. And even if one of their goals is to increase their user base, not all – or even the majority – of those followers are going to be appropriate users for my client’s products.

What if the content I’m sharing on these communities is irrelevant or my approach is more personal than professional? For example, some Twitter users don’t actually converse – they just spew updates about their day. That doesn’t actually build relationships. Some don’t recognize Twitter as a business opportunity but just have fun with their followers. (The smart ones do both – personal and professional communications – for reasons discussed in previous posts). Others build corporate entities only to “spam” followers and quickly lose them. So, while having a great following on these communities is important, so is understanding how to participate appropriately and glean the right value from them – and how to combine that with other communications strategies.

A lot of folks in the industry are also abuzz about “social media experts.” We’ve had plenty of six figure-seeking applicants tell us they know everything there is to know about social media. Personally, I think there are very few who can truly call themselves experts in this arena – yet – and I’m not impressed when an applicant just runs down a list of “Twitterati” that they have on their follower list or “web celeb” Facebook friends list.

Don’t spew names. Give me an example of how these relationships have helped add business value to your organization or your client’s business. How did your relationships increase a company’s users? What strategy did you have in place for using social media to build a brand and what metrics have you used to measure that brand awareness? Just using social media does not mean you know how to tie it to the bigger picture. I find this to especially be true with the younger generation of workers. Yes, they know how to use social media and are fully immersed in it. But do they understand business strategy, marketing goals and how to leverage these communities for such? Some do, but the majority may not yet understand the intricacies of business relationships and communication.

When thinking about new media and marketing, don’t get too starry eyed just because social media is a hot topic right now. Just as anyone can put a press release across the wire, anyone can build a massive following in these communities. But if the tools aren’t used properly – and combined with other elements of the business to execute a larger strategy – they become useless from a business perspective. Sometimes they can even become harmful.

What do you think? Have you found value in hiring a social media expert? How do you define “expert?”

Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/19/08

Memorial Day CupcakesMarketing Jobs of the Future
Valeria Maltoni dives into the rapidly changing role of today’s marketer and gives some good incite into where the space is going and the challenges of hiring for marketing positions. She also includes a nice link to my post on SocialMediaToday.com featuring a video of Aaron Strout, VP of New Media for Mzinga (client) speaking about hiring and getting hired in a Web 2.0 world.

10 Green Social Networks You Should Know
With all sorts of people and businesses jumping on the “Go Green” bandwagon, it was only a matter of time until “Green” oriented social networks started popping up. This post lists 10 such sites that will let you connect with fellow environmentally-minded individuals.

5 Quick Tips on Pitching Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists
PerkettPR’s attendance at multiple TechCrunch, TechCockTail and PopSignal events definitely brought to light that there’s certainly no shortage of start-up companies looking for money. This post from Ben Yokosvitz’s Insigator Blog gives some good advice on successful pitching during your fund raising efforts.

Robert Scoble Joins Up with Revision3
There aren’t many details available about Robert Scoble’s newly announced show (called WorkFast.TV) on Revision3, so we’ll just have to wait and see what comes out in the upcoming weeks. However, this post includes an interesting speech from Scoble about his use of Twitter during the recent Chinese Earthquake.

Celebrity tipping point on Seesmic
Video conversation platform Seesmic created a big buzz earlier this week when several celebrities appeared in interviews on the service. Famous names included Harrison Ford, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg to name a few.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Persuasive Picks and for those in the United States – have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Persuasive Picks for the week of 04/21/08

This week brings five picks on a variety of topics to dive into. Enjoy!

Overcoming key resistence to adopting social media
If your company still hasn’t adopted a social media strategy, then it might be due to one of the reasons listed in this post. However, Shel Holtz lends his expertise to show you why these excuses no longer hold water.

Personal Brand Statement Contest – Win The Full Issue 4
If you haven’t paid for a subscription to Dan Schwabel’s excellent Personal Branding Magazine, then this post will allow you to download a sample of the upcoming issue as well as enter into a contest to win the full version when it comes out.

Video Comments? No Thanks – 5 Reasons They Don’t Work
Earlier this week TechCunch launched the ability to leave video comments on blog posts as an alternative to a traditional text comment – courtesy of the new Seesmic plugin for WordPress. At first, video comments seem to be hip alternative to typing, but in this post, Josh Catone clearly reveals a few downsides to adopting video comments on your blog.

del.icio.us as a PR measurement tool
Andrew Careaga of the Higher Ed Marketing blog gives some incite on a recent experience using the social bookmarking site del.icio.us as a measurement tool when keeping track of media coverage. His advice could also be carried over to similar tools like StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit.

Seven Types Of Highly Effective Corporate Blogs
In this post, Mitch Joel covers 6 styles of corporate blogs and provides examples of each. Does your company’s blog fall into one of these categories? Or perhaps one of these blog types will inspire you to get one started if your company still hasn’t joined the blogosphere.