Social Hunt was an application developed to enable Twitter users to keep a close watch on five accounts of particular importance. As their sorry final tweet tells us, their service ceased running after the 19th of May 2016. We’ve decided to keep their legacy alive and look at why the tool could have succeeded, but, ultimately, why it didn’t.
So what did Social Hunt app do?
The app enabled users to gain email updates of the Twitter activity of five chosen accounts without those accounts knowing. A little bit like a Twitter list on steroids. The old site even suggested equivalent tools for Facebook and Instagram were on the way.
Here’s what the app had to offer customers according to its old homepage:
The now dormant social media accounts of the business suggest it was a Turkish tech startup. Turkey, incidentally, is one of the countries in which enjoys relatively good user and activity levels. For the development team, this perhaps created an elevated sense of the importance of the app on a global scale.
So what’s in a name? The word “hunt” is closely related to the work “stalk” but with less negative connotations. The imagery of the cross-hairs and the sleuth integrating the Twitter birds gives users a sense of spying on key accounts. The sense of finding out information to your advantage is certainly appealing, although this may have also pigeonholed the tool as more of a competitor watch-type app, where secrecy is a USP.
So why did it fail?
The app sent its first tweet in January 2015 and it seemed like the app gained some good initial traction with coverage in a range of tech-business news outlets. It appears as though the initial buzz did little for the business, itself and the account gained only several dozen followers.
There are two key reasons as to why Social Hunt may not have captured the imagination. The first is that Twitter lists already give users the power to keep an eye on certain accounts. These lists can be public and private and can contain as many accounts as you wish.
The second is the number of emails one would receive from Social Hunt. Think about all the heavyweight and influential Twitter account you follow. How often do they tweet? Even if each of your five accounts tweeted just three times a day, you’d have 15 emails landing in your inbox around the clock, every day, if you wanted them in real time.
From a post on Entrepreneur.com, we can see that it was an option to set how often you received a ‘digest’ email from the accounts you wanted to keep a close eye on from as often as hourly, down to a daily digest. However, at a glance, users may have been put off by the fact they expected to receive emails too regularly.
The power of Twitter lists
Twitter lists can be incredibly well leveraged by businesses to segment their market, keep an eye on competitors and collaborators, and even as a form of CRM or sales management system. Whilst you won’t be emailed about their activity, list members can be easily viewed whilst on the platform. Having private Twitter lists maintains your privacy and you can decide how often you check out each list.
In March 2013, Twitter set a limit of Twitter lists of 1000 and a maximum of 5000 accounts per list. Yes, that’s 5 million accounts you can have segmented and be keeping watch of.
Social media training
It’s unsurprising that social media management tools arise on a regular basis. The prospect of having to both manage your own social profiles as well as monitoring others can be overwhelming. Many social media tools like Social Hunt are developed in an attempt to increase productivity on social media activity, however, the scope of the platforms themselves is vast, if you know how to use them effectively.
Whilst Social Hunt was free, there any many paid-for tools out there, many of which make a convincing case to less experienced marketers. Always consider upskilling using a reputable social media training company, who can help you increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. With the right knowledge and skills, you may find you require only the social networks, themselves, or a small handful of management tools to help your business.
Twitter tools that no longer exist
Social Hunt is one of the thousands of apps with good intentions that have played a small part in Twitter’s so far short but eventful history. There’s no way of telling what’s on the horizon with social media and Twitter’s relative stagnation may have also contributed to the lack of growth for the app.
One of Twitter’s most well-used tools in the early days was Tweetadder (tweetadder.com). This tool automated the following and unfollowing of dozens of accounts on a daily or even hourly basis. This meant that for several years, accounts could build huge followings (easily into the hundreds of thousands!) because of the ‘follow-back’ culture so prevalent in Twitter in the early days.
Topsy is another Twitter management giant that no longer exists. Topsy was described as the “Google of Twitter” enabling users to search virtually anything they wanted. However, the tool switched off in December 2015, leaving thousands of social media managers on the hunt for alternatives.
Whatever is written in the stars for Twitter over the coming years, it’s down to today’s developers and entrepreneurs to have the vision and foresight to create tools of value.