Now social-media experts can get what they deserve -- certified

Whenever I see a social-media expert, I bow.

Little do they know I'm doing it in the hope they don't recognize me. Otherwise, they'll regale me with their latest homilies -- I'm sorry, I mean theories -- about how to get more of, oh, something on social networks.

Social-media experts are today's witch doctors. They promise they have the requisite potion. All you have to do is believe.

The problem for many of them is that they are self-proclaimed experts/gurus/visionaries. Usually because they've bought themselves 10,000 Twitter followers from an Australian … Read more

Hootsuite scores $165M from top Twitter investor

Hootsuite, a 4-year-old social media dashboard for businesses, has closed a $165 million round of funding at an undisclosed valuation. The round was led by Insight Venture Partners, a seasoned New York-based firm that pumped late-stage money into Tumblr and still holds a substantial stake in Twitter.

Hootsuite plans to use its excessive cash hoard to hire, expand internationally, and make acquisitions in the social ads and analytics space, CEO Ryan Homes told CNET. In addition, the exorbitant raise includes a secondary component of an undisclosed amount, meaning that a portion of the funds will go directly to company insiders … Read more

Hootsuite flub reveals users' e-mail addresses to other users

Social media management company Hootsuite has managed a social faux pas by sending e-mails to users that included the names and e-mail addresses of other users.

The personal information was included in thousands of e-mails sent yesterday warning users that the free 60-day Hootsuite Pro trial was about to expire. Many of the e-mails contained the e-mail addresses of other users in the "To" field.

Affected Hootsuite users took to Twitter to voice their displeasure:

Thank you @hootsuite for sending me 1624 emails and sharing my email address in the clear with 971+ people I don't know.… Read more

Hootsuite swoops in on Seesmic

Social media manager Hootsuite has acquired its one-time rival Seesmic, and it hopes Seesmic's customers are ready to come on board.

The Seesmic brand will eventually fade away as Hootsuite decides which of the social media client's features best fit Hootsuite's goals, the company revealed today. That means Seesmic users will have to switch over to Hootsuite in order to access their Seesmic accounts.

"We've always been big fans of Ryan Holmes and the HootSuite team, since the days we were all pioneering the Social Media landscape," Seesmic CEO Loic Le Meur said in a statement. &… Read more

Give a hoot

It's not easy to keep up with social networking sites, especially when you don't share the same information across them. You might use Twitter for business and post more personal information on Facebook, or you might want to share something on your WordPress blog that you don't necessarily want on LinkedIn. HootSuite is a handy extension for Google Chrome that lets you easily share updates, links, and images on multiple social networking sites, but only when and where you choose.

The extension appears in Chrome as an icon to the right of the address bar. Users can … Read more

Professional management tools for Twitter: HootSuite and CoTweet

What's happening in meetings I've been in here is likely similar to what's happening in other corporations: People are gathering to figure out how to use, exploit, or simply not get their companies embarrassed on Twitter. But no matter what we agree to in these rooms (which, in my experience, isn't much), one thing is sure: You can't manage a major corporate Twitter presence on Twitter.com itself. Nor, for that matter, can you in one of the popular client apps like Tweetdeck or the current Seesmic Desktop. You need something built for customer service or brand management. New tools are emerging for just that.

The two I recommend are Invoke's HootSuite, which is in open beta right now (version 2.0 is in private beta), and CoTweet, which is still closed. I've tried them both.

Common features

The products have much in common. Both allow you to control and monitor multiple Twitter accounts, and give other people access to those accounts as you see fit. In both, you can maintain password control of your Twitter accounts -- users need only know their HootSuite or CoTweet login to see their assigned accounts and reply on your company's behalf. You can add or take people off accounts without having to get into the weeds in Twitter itself.

Both products let you post from any of your configured Twitter accounts, or all of them together if you like. And the both support the automatic addition of "cotags," like the short, signed bylines (example: "^RN" for Rafe Needleman) you're beginning to see in multi-person corporate Twitter accounts. You can also set up posts to go out at future times in both products, nice for running rudimentary marketing campaigns.

Both give you stats on links you share from the service. HootSuite uses its own shortener, ow.ly, and its stats are very deep. CoTweet uses the capable Bit.ly but displays only the most rudimentary stats from that service, unfortunately.

HootSuite: Power tool with torque

HootSuite is the geekier tool, and it's more powerful than CoTweet in some ways. The 2.0 version (due out by July) supports multiple columns, like Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop. Its statistics, as I said, are deep. It can show you things like the most influential re-tweeters of your links.

HootSuite will also monitor RSS feeds and send headlines out in your Twitter feeds automatically. That's a pretty slick feature. I've used Twitterfeed to do that in the past (that's how the @Webware feed works), but like the idea of integrating the RSS harvester into a more comprehensive tool.

In the user management category, HootSuite lets you follow or unfollow people from within the client, as well as report spammers to Twitter HQ with one button click.

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