The Solo PR community has spoken, and the reports are in! During the June 12 #solopr chat, the day after Twitter changed its service, our community experimented with a variety of tools to see how well they stood up to the fast pace of a real-time Twitter chat.
The verdict on the three tools we discussed last week follow, along with a few additional contenders – two of which are the winners of the Solo PR road-test:
1. Tweetchat – Tweetchat has been acquired by OneQube and was to be operational last week. A few solos attempted to use the product for the Wednesday chat but had difficulty getting the stream to load. This may just be a hiccup as the company switches over, but the initial feedback does not put this chat tool at the top of the list.
2. Hootsuite – Hootsuite does not offer a specialized chat function, but you can create a column for a specific search (e.g., #solopr) and follow the tweets there. Though participants in other chats report good results using Hootsuite, during #solopr it was inordinately slow, making it difficult to keep up with the fast-moving dynamic chat. In addition, you have to manually add the chat hashtag when composing response. For those who have used Tweetchat and Tweetgrid for chats, the lack of an auto hashtag is significant.
3. Tweetdeck – Twitter now owns Tweetdeck, which is both good and bad (an upgraded version of Tweetdeck for the desktop is available for download). It kept up reasonably well during the chat, but was not the fastest and – like Hootsuite – requires the user to remember to add the hashtag.
4. SproutSocial – Like Hootsuite, SproutSocial allows you to create a stream using the hashtag (e.g. #solopr). However, there is no way to preserve or auto-refresh the stream. Verdict: Good for managing social media across multiple channels but not for live chats.
5. Twubs Winner (tie)! – Twubs is a robust twitter chat tool that has a chat room-type appearance – once you enter a hashtag you can join that “twub”. Twubs has a browse and chat mode. In chat mode the screen widens to give you more room to chat, and it also allows you to determine the refresh speed from Slowest to Fastest. Your chat or event hashtag is automatically added to your tweets and you can pause if things are moving too fast. The refresh speed was excellent on twubs and it was easy to log in with your twitter account and begin chatting. The simplicity of the dashboard and speed made this one a winner with solos who tested it out.
6. tchat.io Winner (tie)! –Tchat.io is another real time chat tool, reminiscent of Tweetchat and Tweetgrid. Elegantly simple, you sign in, enter the hashtag, and start chatting. Our savvy solos that tested this tool found it to be much faster than Hootsuite, with no learning curve. Note that if you neglect to sign-in, composing a tweet is done through a pop-up window, which slowed users down. So if using this tool, sign in using your Twitter account with the link at the top of the page, and enjoy an easy chat experience.
This analysis is based purely on performance during a Twitter chat, and (as with everything in social media!) is subject to change. For general monitoring of hashtags, there are many different options (Danny Brown lists a few in his post today).
What do you think of our verdicts? Do you have any differing opinions or additions for the list? Please let us know in the comments!