Not too long ago, using a third party URL shortening system for Twitter was essential. With tweet’s only 140 characters long, a URL could easily take up a good chunk of those characters. So free services popped up offering the ability to shorten your link into a shorter Twitter-friendly format.
As of July, Twitter automatically shortens any links to 19 characters. So the sites that just shorten your link aren’t much use these days. However, others offer the ability to time your tweets – you can time a full week’s worth of tweets if you want – and/or track the amount of clicks a tweet receives. URL shorteners Su.pr and bitly are especially popular.
However, some of you may prefer a more robust social media management system. Third party tools are available that offer all sorts of options. For example, they allow you to divide what you follow into easily scanable columns, such as: who has mentioned you, your past tweets, tweets of others, and words or phrases you’re following.
These systems often offer a more in-depth analysis of how your tweets fare and allow you to set up tweets for other social network sites, such as Facebook. Many have mobile app versions and most, but not all, require a fee for using their services.
I asked some Twitter-holics about their favorite social media management systems and this is what they came up with.
- UberSocial (formerly UberTwitter)
- Bird Herd
I have personally used both Su.pr and HootSuite — both are currently free in their most basic form. HootSuite charges for the premium packages. Su.pr is affiliated with Stumble Upon, and I’ve enjoyed seeing my Stumble traffic grow since I’ve been using it. However, HootSuite offers better metrics and a customizable system that makes it easy to organize the information that’s most important to you.
If you use any of the systems or a different system, please tell us your likes and dislikes in the comments!