How To: Use Multiple Accounts with Twitter

Posted on January 8, 2009. Filed under: Social Media, Technology, twitter | Tags: , , , |

One of the questions I am asked by clients is how to achieve more with Twitter with the same resources that they already have. Quite often this is one person, who also has a bunch of other tasks they are doing so trying to manage multiple Twitter accounts becomes an increasingly difficult challenge. In these cases you can forget the standard web-interface, that is definitely not going to help you. There are downloadable tools to make managing Twitter easier, such as Tweetdeck & Twhirl. Of these only Thwirl has multi-account capablity but even that doesn’t really meet all the needs of a business user. I recently encountered two tools that have positioned themselves as business user Twitter tools – BrightKit & Spiltweet (thanks to @julialilly for the tip on this one). I took them both for a test drive and this is what I found.

 

  BrightKit Splitweet
Statistics Yes No
“Brand Tracking” No Yes
Ease of Setup Yes Yes
Scheduled Tweets Yes No
Follow from Tool Yes No
Multi-Account Support Yes Yes
Multi-User Support Yes No
Search Yes No

 

Statistics

Any tool that is going to position itself for a business user needs to be able to provide some form of stats.  There are external tools available that can help measure Twitter activity but it is nice to have the capability built into the tool that you are using to message from. Admittedly BrightKit’s statistics only apply to URL’s shortened with their proprietary URL shortener ow.ly but nonetheless the stats it gives you are excellent. Showing geographic data, and referrer link – e.g. whether the link was clicked in Twitter or someone else – this is a great way of seeing when your message is being seen outside of Twitter, e.g. through Friendfeed, on Facebook etc.  Splitweet lacks this functionality or anything similar so definitely loses points for that.  I would like to see BrightKit take their stats further but for now this is a great start.

Brand Tracking

This is a feature specific to Splitweet. Whilst I understand what the intent was of this functionality, to return results on a predetermined search string, I don’t think it is sophisticated enough to be of much use. It is a pretty blunt, fixed phrase search for the most part. I do like the way the results are shown in a sidebar on the mainscreen but I would like to see a much more sophisticated search setup for this.  Twitter allows for geographic, user & even attitude elements to be searched. Its one thing to return the fact that a group of users have mentioned your brand name, but if you can’t immediately see if those messages were positive or negative you still have your work cut out for you.

Ease of Setup

Both tools were very straightforward to setup, and both allowed the addition of multiple accounts easily. Included in this is the UI. They have different ways of dealing with the same issues but overall it would come down to personal preference in terms of the UI’s they are both very clean and uncluttered.

Scheduled Tweets

Of the two only BrightKit has this feature. There is a lot of discussion about automated tweeting. I am not going to get into that discussion in this post. If you want a tool that will put out a tweet at a set time, then this is a great way to do it. Not least of which because unlike some of the other tools that do this, it allows you to include a link that is pre-shortened (and therefore trackable) along with the scheduling.  You can also opt to have a confirmation email sent to you when the tweet goes out (I did have to retrieve mine from the spam folder, but that was the only issue).

Follow from the Tool

This feature I loved.  Especially when used with the search functionality. Unfortunately again only BrightKit has either of these features. Perform a search for a particular phrase, brand name, anything and then simply click the follow button on a particular user – done. Unlike other tools it doesn’t bump you out to the Twitter home page.

Multi-Account Support

Both tools provide this support. Both make it very easy to set them up and to switch between accounts. In Splitweet it is simply a tick box, in BrightKit it is a dropdown. Again this comes down to personal preference in terms of the UI as the functionality is pretty much the same.

Multi-User Support

This feature is only available in BrightKit, and its great. You can setup a Twitter administrator and then appoint Editors to individual accounts.  This is particularly useful for companies managing brand based accounts or for agencies setting up proxy users for clients.  This means that you can use more resources from within the same tool but at the same time retain better control.

Search

Again only BrightKit has a search function, and again its possible to do this outside of any tool that you are using, but the question is why would you want to?  I like the fact that this functionality is included in the tool.

Overall

In conclusion, I think both tools are a good attempt at providing business users with a better Twitter experience. I like the fact that they are both web-based meaning they can be accessed from anywhere.  The fact that Splitweet actually refers to itself as “Multi-Account Twitter Management for Corporate Users” leaves it open to a lot of criticism given the paucity of features, especially when compared to BrightKit.  My recommendation – BrightKit is the clear winner, at least for now.

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7 Responses to “How To: Use Multiple Accounts with Twitter”

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Impressive Review! I noticed these issues with Splitweet, but assumed they were all thes same. It was aggrivating to have to switch back into “log in” mode for these other tools on each of my accounts. While I am now commited to changing over to Brightkit, I am going to miss Splitweet’s brand tracking. That was definitely a nice feature, but not enough to keep me. Thanks for the Twitter mentiion as well. 🙂 Julia Lilly – 360 Admin

You can achieve something similar to Brand Tracking with BrightKit’s search functionality of course it does have be run manually, unlike the Brand tracking in Splitweet but I think that needs a lot of refining to be really useful.

Hi Simon,

Congratulations for the detailed article, although I would like to complete the comparison table with _important_ criteria (I failed in favour of Splitweet, I’ll tell some reasons):

– Update many accounts at once ( Splitweet: Y, Brightkit: No )
– Read ALL accounts activity in the same screen ( Splitweet: Y, Brightkit: No )
– Multiple language support ( Splitweet: Y, Brightkit: No ) … I use Spanish but many other are available as well.
– Mark tweets as Favorite ( Splitweet: Y, Brightkit: No )
– Reply a message while you are in the context ( Splitweet: Y, Brightkit: No )
– Direct message someone while reading( Splitweet: Y, Brightkit: No )
– Favorites navigation( Splitweet: Y, Brightkit: No )
– The Brand’s mention! I love it.

In short, I really like the Brightkit interface and it’s handy when you want to create content for ONE account only. If you, like me, want to publish on all your blogs and personal accounts that you have published a new blog post, with brightkit this is not possible. You have to jump profile over and over. And whats’s worst, it’s not a tool for keeping yourself up to date, since you cannot follow the messages. There is no READ panel, and that for me, is like speaking without hearing first.

I have been using BrightKit for about 24 hours now and noticed that it is missing the option of twittering the same message to all accounts (or just the ones you chose) at one time. Splitweet has this option and I really liked it. Now I am more torn again about which to use. The good thing is that I am set up on both and I can pop between the two programs depending on my needs.

SIDE NOTE: Both need to add the option of being able to see your followers so you can email new followers etc. Basically I am saying I don’t want to have to go over to Twitter and log in for anything. 🙂

SIDE NOTE 2: Why Twitter just doesn’t offer this itself I wonder.

Have a great day. Julia Lilly – 360 Admin

Larry
You make some really good points here. I didn’t even consider the multi-language option, so thank you for pointing that out. There is a read screen in BrightKit, its viewable once you select the account you want to work with.
Simon

Julia
I think that BrightKit is better setup for multi-branded organizations that are using limited resources. Sending out the same tweet from all accounts is an interesting concept and one I hadn’t thought of. I have to think about that.
Simon

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