For the last year or so we have been using Cotweet at work to allow a small group from different teams to all contribute to our corporate Twitter account. This was a key element of us moving from the RSS powered robo-tweets to some attempt at having a human voice coming through (albeit still a pretty corporate and dull one!).
It had been going well though and we are looking to ramp up our social media activity across a couple of channels this year with a particular focus on Twitter (with an account name change and hopefully verified status upcoming) but the fly in the ointment with these plans is the upcoming closure of Cotweet to be replaced by SocialEngage – a product that is very more complex than we need and certainly considerably more expensive than we could justify.
This has led to a bit of a scramble to find a replacement product. I have no qualms about paying for a product – in fact I tend to think that is the only way of ensuring they stick around – but finding something at the right price point has proved challenging.
Our needs are pretty simple – a product that allows multiple team members to contribute a single Twitter account. We don’t need any significant social media analytics but some basic reporting is helpful.
Hootsuite is very much the leader in this space but its pricing structure is less than clear and when you do burrow down into its forums for some explanations it doesn’t make enjoyable reading. An additional $15 per team member per month is pretty excessive and it is clear that they are aiming for big corporates and shiny PR agencies who bill big. There is no way I can justify a $75 a month cost to manage our Twitter account so that is a loser straight away.
I looked at SproutSocial but while it is a very nice looking product it actually works out even more expensive than Hootsuite and like that product is packed with features of little utility to us. Again their goal is clearly to bring in the big agency accounts who can pass on the costs to their clients. The public sector is clearly not a priority!
The third product I checked out is MediaFunnel. This product is a long way from as slick looking as the previous two and has less features but in its favour it does have a relatively sensible pricing structure as well as a focus on team management of Twitter accounts rather than creating a ‘social media marketing dashboard’ which seems to be the goal of the other two. The $1 per month per team member pricing makes this the run away winner for the time being and I am going to trial it for the next month or so at least.
If anyone comes across any other options please feel free to let me know.