iPhone App Review: Viralheat

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There are so many social networks to have fun with, it can be difficult to keep up and maintain an active account, even if you only use three or four of the major players. While apps such as TweetDeck and HootSuite are excellent solutions to your social media problems they’re perhaps not as streamlined as they could be, and can feel cumbersome and slow to navigate. If you feel the need for a small, lightweight app with cross network support, and a few features for taking care of several accounts, then take a look at Viralheat.

Viralheat may be familiar to some due to its desktop app, but it has recently launched an iOS app which promises to also provide an all-in-one social media management experience. The desktop app is aimed more at the professional social media user, but there’s no reason why it can’t be used by the casual Twitterer or Facebook sharer, who is keen to schedule some posts and get fast access to the latest interactions.

Here’s what Viralheat can do. Upon opening, you can sign in using your Twitter or Facebook account, then you can add in networks for it to monitor. You have a choice of adding multiple accounts for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and updates are either published in a single stream or you can view each account individually. The stream shows, on average, four Twitter messages on the iPhone 5’s screen before you need to scroll, and the font sizes, avatar pictures and display names aren’t customizable.

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Switching streams is performed using buttons along the top of the screen. Each network is signified by its common logo, which when lit up means it’s active, or can be removed from your main stream with a tap. Depending on how many updates you have, this can at first be confusing, as it’s not always obvious the stream has altered. The stream also behaves in a bizarre manner, as it shows around 20 updates, then blends into replies to tweets or messages on Facebook. This is unfortunate if your Twitter feed is busy, as 20 replies can come and go in minutes.

However, as the app is designed to make it easier to reply and monitor interactions, and not as an everyday Twitter client, this can be forgiven, even if it is a bit annoying. So, let’s get on with scheduling some updates. This can be handy regardless if you’re running a marketing campaign or not, especially on a worldwide platform such as Twitter, where it’s easy to lose track of followers who live in a different time zone.

A swipe to the side reveals an operations menu, much like the actions used in the official Facebook app, and a tap on Scheduled takes you to a new screen. A compose button lets you write your message, then you can add a picture, set a time and date, then finally chose the network on which you wish to share it. In our tests, Viralheat did a great job with Twitter and LinkedIn, but refused to work on Facebook. As there are so few settings to mess around with in Viralheat, and it worked on the other two, its inability to post there was baffling.

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The app has a minimalist design, and is operated with a combination of gestures and button taps. It’s intuitive enough, but does feel a little feature-light, and power users will almost certainly feel more at home using a complete solution such as HootSuite, or individual apps to manage their accounts. The app promises analytics, but as there was no obvious way to add trackable links, the follower counts on Twitter didn’t update, and nor did the connection information for LinkedIn, it couldn’t be tested.

Viralheat didn’t really impress. We were drawn in by the app’s simplicity, but as some of the advertised features didn’t work for us, Viralheat won’t become our go-to social app anytime soon. It’s free to download though, plus we’ve alerted Viralheat of our problems, so if there are a few bugs hanging around in the app, they should be fixed soon, so it could be worth a quick download in the near future.

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