HootSuite

HootSuite social media management tool

HootSuite social media management toolIt can often be intimidating for social media managers in charge of handling the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts of their employers (or clients) to toggle between the multiple social accounts. Also, if you are dealing with a global audience, it becomes necessary to be active all hours of the day in order to engage with users from these different countries.

HootSuite is a social media management tool that aims to make this process simpler. It was founded in 2008 by Ryan Holmes and over the past several years has grown to become the leading “social relationship” platform. The product is used by more than 10 million users and its big ticket customers include 800+ Fortune 1000 companies including Monster, Orange, MailChimp, Wiley and the City of New York.

Features

Multiple Social Profile Management

The basic objective of Hootsuite is to help users manage multiple social media profiles from one place. Users can connect their HootSuite account with as many social media profiles as they would choose and this includes profiles from nearly 35 different global services like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.

Bulk Scheduling

Businesses that do not have a dedicated social media manager might want to schedule all their future messages in one sitting so that they do not have to log into their networks every time. With HootSuites, users can either schedule the message for one time into the future or can opt to post the same message periodically several times in the future.

Analytics

Understanding what works and what doesn’t is critical to the success of any social media campaign. HootSuite comes with a suite of analytics and insights features that helps users understand the demographics of their followers as well as benchmark various content pieces in terms of the likes and retweets received for each of them. In addition to this, HootSuite also lets you identify specific influencers and brands driving engagement and conversations who you can reach out to for growing your brand.

Integrations

HootSuite has an exhaustive app directory that connects the service with your various CRM, helpdesk and marketing tools. This includes tools like MailChimp, Microsoft SharePoint, Salesforce, Zendesk, SurveyMonkey and Marketo. This allows businesses to display their new email marketing leads from MailChimp directly on their HootSuite dashboard or allows businesses to manage all their helpdesk channels via this platform.

Miscellaneous

Other features on HootSuite include support for iPhone and iPad using a native iOS app, access to API for developers to bring HootSuite within their software products. HootSuite also has a new ‘Suggestions’ feature that provides recommendations on new messages to share with your social followers.

Pricing

There are four different plans to pick from. The smallest startups looking for a basic social media management tool can get started with HootSuite for free. The Pro plan costs around $10/month per user brings additional features like bulk message scheduling and support for a larger list of social profiles. There is also a ‘Business’ account that is targeted at small businesses and agencies and includes real-time analytics, social media certification, priority support and up to 50 social profiles. Businesses that have multiple teams that operate out of different regions and departments may instead choose to go with an Enterprise plan.

Free Pro Business Enterprise
Price $0 $10/mo/user custom custom
Social profiles 3 50 50 custom
Reports Basic analytics real-time analytics real-time analytics
Message scheduling single bulk bulk bulk
Number of users 1 1 up to 10 minimum 5 custom
Social media certification no no no yes
Vanity URL no no no yes
Integration no yes yes yes

Reviews

User-friendly: While there are a number of social media management tools in the market today, one thing that HootSuite does well is in the way it groups and organizes the social media streams. In a matter of clicks, you can create groups with all the relevant social media streams, assign conversations to team members or even schedule all your broadcast messages in bulk.

Learning curve: HootSuite has a wide array of features and elements for users to benefit from. But what this also means is that it can be quite overwhelming for a beginner to get started. A number of users write that the interface is not quite intuitive as you would like and so it can take a while to get used to the workings of the tool.

Not entirely seamless: Using one app to manage all your social media accounts seems like a great idea. However, given that all these different tools have their own terminologies and access systems, it can sometimes be difficult to have a seamless system. According to one user, managing photos is a pain and it is sometimes quicker to independently post it over Facebook and Google+ natively instead of using HootSuite to navigate. Another user points out that Instagram often requires to authenticate each submission individually through the app which could mean you would still need to log into Instagram each time and thus it makes the management process inconvenient. HootSuite is not to be blamed for any of these issues, but this is still something one must be aware of while evaluating a social media tool.

Brings lower engagement: If you are absolutely sure about using one kind of a social media management tool or the other, then this post is not for you. However, if your alternative to HootSuite is posting on these social networks independently, then you should know that a number of recent studies have shown that using third party tools to post on Facebook is likely to bring down the engagement levels by as much as 89%. Again, this is not a point against HootSuite in particular but social media management tools in general.

User experience: While HootSuite does what it is intended to do, there are a few things that makes user experience not the best in class. The tool can sometimes be sluggish. Other times, it can be confusing – both as a beginner as well as an established user. There are minor differences in the way the app behaves with different social tools which makes the entire experience a little cumbersome.

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