Hootsuite Review: The Ultimate Social Scheduling and Management Tools
Managing and optimizing your social media marketing campaigns can be a tedious without tools like Hootsuite. Here’s our review
Social media has taken the world by storm. For small businesses, it has leveled the marketing field enabling them to compete with the ‘big boys’ at reasonable costs.
Traditional marketing methods like print and media can be beyond the reach of many startup companies. Opening a social media account is simple and you should be engaging with customers in minutes.
However, for your marketing campaign to be effective, you may need to open multiple social media accounts. Managing all these can be a herculean task – especially if you have a limited workforce.
Here is where Hootsuite enters the picture. The application allows you to have all your social media accounts on one application. You can efficiently organize your posts, updates and receive crucial notifications.
Many organizations will often rush to open social media accounts only to realize that managing them is such a burdensome task. This is the case when followers start following you. Hootsuite has built themselves a reputation across the globe and have marketed themselves as having had over 10 million users.
Their headquarters is at Vancouver, Canada and this has enabled them to be available in many languages. Their reach expands to over 175 countries. What has made the application popular is its ease of use. Integrating your accounts is easy once you have logged in.
Simple signup process
What makes Hootsuite outstanding is its simple login process. Firstly, it is free. All you need is your email mail id and password. Once logged in, you can add your various social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram among others. Hootsuite then becomes your social media manager.
The application is accessed directly from your web browser and does not need any installation. The other thing you will need is to login to your social media accounts. The free version allows you to add up to three accounts. For up to 100 social media accounts, you will need to upgrade to the Hootsuite Pro.
Once logged in, you will not need to re-enter the passwords again.
This is where all the action takes place. You will need to get used to using the dashboard for the first time as it looks a bit complicated. You can launch the self-help ‘Hootsuite help center’ and get a crash course on how to use the dashboard. Once you are familiar with most of the features, you will realize that Hootsuite is pretty easy to navigate.
When it comes to social media marketing, clients expect fast response to their queries. This is why Hootsuite allows you to set refresh times. You can decide to do this after every 2, 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes. Another button allows you to stream your newsfeed from various social media platforms.
One of the biggest problems small business owners face it trying to view newsfeeds from various social media accounts. Hootsuite gives you the ability to customize the newsfeed so that you can only view that which matters to you. This happens through popups which you can forward to your teams for more action.
Filters like hashtags, keywords, locations help in finding what competitors are doing. You can even narrow it down to your specific industry. On the left side menu, you will get access to your product controls, main tool groups and other added services.
When Hootsuite started the dashboard looked outdated and had a lot clutter, but since then many improvements have taken place. The top screen features profile, places to compose and post. To help Hootsuite perform more like a help desk they introduced Twitter’s customer feedback. This helps a lot in enhancing customer integrations.
This is where most people fail when it comes to social media marketing. For your post to make maximum impact and receive more views then you need to post consistently and in a timely manner.
With Hootsuite this has being simplified. When you want to create a post, position your mouse to the desired social media account on the left side of the dashboard. Here you can choose the type of post you desire – graphic, text, or video. The auto-schedule feature lets you time the day and time the post will automatically be updated to the social media account.
If you are not sure what time is the best then you can try out Hootsuite auto-scheduler. There various customizable options when sending messages like by geographical area. To market your products efficiently, you need to engage with your customers.
Hootsuite helps you accomplish this by aggregating all your social media posts on the dashboard stream. This lets you determine which posts to re-share or use. You can also narrow down the streams you receive through various hashtags. This comes in handy when you are trying to analyze which of your posts are receiving the most engagement.
As stated earlier, Hootsuite allows you to automatically schedule posts. The dashboard will also display a character count on the social media platforms you are posting. If Hootsuite encounters a problem when posting, you will get a notification – this happens in some social media accounts that require one to establish a connection.
This notifications ensure that your automatic scheduled posts go as planned.
At Hootsuite you can use CSV files for bulk scheduling. This means listing hundreds of messages at the same time. Loading the Hootsuite calendar allows you to check out what is scheduled for viewing the next day, week, or month.
Reporting and Analytics
You need to re-evaluate your social media posts constantly to know which are making an impact and those that need re-adjustments. Hootsuite comes with various KPI metrics to track performance of posts.
It is consuming analyzing results from several social media accounts. Hootsuite helps you gather analytics from all of them. You can narrow down to specific tweets or posts. Once done viewing, you can export the metrics to Excel, PDF or CSV files or PowerPoint.
However, to realize the full power of Hootsuite analytics, you will need to upgrade to the Hootsuite Pro. In the report builder, you get the ability to customize your reports through selection of headers, charts, reports, logos and labels.
Hootsuite Package plans
Many users are often town on whether to go Pro. If you have many social media accounts and they all have constant engagement, then it makes sense to upgrade to the Hootsuite Pro.
Here you can allocate various streams and messages to individual employees. This is done on the assignment section of the app. The Hootsuite free version is great for those who do not plan on scheduling more than 30 posts all at one. It gives you basic analytical tools and you can post across three social media platforms.
However, it is limited to a single user and as your business advances you will find yourself with multiple accounts hence the need to upgrade. To take your social media campaigns a notch higher through various social media contests then you need to upgrade further to Hootsuite campaigns Pro.
Depending on the size of your business, you can choose to go with either the business or enterprise version. With Hootsuite business, you have access to all functionalities of the plus with additional features like ability to publish approvals, real-time analytics, 5 users, custom set-up & training, and 24/7 customer support.
The Hootsuite enterprise is for large companies or agencies. Here you have the ability to customize your features and plans. With the application, you can scale up along the organization with ease and manage intensive social media accounts with large followings.
The application has gone out of their way to enable users learn the loops easily. Firstly, when you login to the site, you will be directed to a link ‘get started with Hootsuite for free’ that gives you basics on how to use the application. Access to the Hootsuite podium opens up your world to a host of various online social media courses.
This lays the foundation for your role as a social media manager. In addition, they have a social media marketing course that comes with certification. Those on Hootsuite Pro or Enterprise have access to 24/7 support system.
While Hootsuite does an impressive job in making the signup process easy, many new users find it hard understanding the dashboard. Some find it complicated but you get accustomed to it with continued use. If you do not find what you are looking for through the FAQs you can contact the Hootsuite Helpdesk for assistance.
Third party integrations
You can customize your Hootsuite dashboard as you deem fit and connect to hundreds of third party apps. These allows to have all your need within your grasp. Integration is done through the Hootsuite app directory. However, be careful to check whether these third party apps have subscription fees.
Hootsuite has done an amazing job to bring out content from integrations like Microsoft OneDrive, Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, among others. All this are accessed on the dashboard.
Hootsuite comes in an easy to use mobile app that makes it easy to manage, edit, and schedule post. It is also available as an extension for chrome.
As your company grows the number of engagements on various social media platforms also increases. This means you cannot respond to every customer query – especially when they are coming in every 5 to 10 minutes. Hootsuite allows you to use the application for enhanced teamwork.
You can have employees working on various social platforms without you necessarily sharing your passwords. On the application you can set custom permissions to individual employees, assign tasks and monitor them. To avoid duplication of tasks, everyone can see what the other is doing.
Social media marketing is not all about posting; you have to establish an emotional connection with your customers and encourage them to like, comment or share your post. Above all, social media is a great way for conversion through CTAs.
To boost the response of posts, social media managers, will deploy the use of contests across various platforms. Users get to win a variety of prizes and this creates a ‘buzz’ in the social media scene concerning your brand. However, running contests across multiple channels can be impossible if not for applications like Hootsuite.
The app has various wizard custom forms that can be used for contests. You can moderate the performance of the contests through various in-depth analytics and adjust them for maximum impact.
While the growth of social media in marketing has being welcomed by many SMEs, the challenge lies with the widespread cases of data phishing and theft. Many companies have found themselves at the mercy of hackers due to identity theft.
In this regards, Hootsuite has active account monitoring, that notifies you immediately something suspicious occurs in your accounts. It also integrates with various industry specific applications like ZeroFOX, Proofpoint, Smarsh, Actiance, and Global Relay.
With the applications, you can remain compliant in heavily regulated industries like Finance, or medicine. You can also notify the team at Hootsuite of any security breaches through Twitter, live chat, or customer support requests. The support team is available 24/7 and open to all subscription levels.
Hootsuite has also taken the time to educate their members through their video courses on the need for account security. You can also reach to their large community base for more answers on frequently asked questions.
Several things work out well for Hootsuite. Firstly, is its ease of use. The dashboard is simplistic with easy to access icons. When joining you are given a free 30-day trial before settling to their affordable packages.
You do not need to download the app as it is web-based. You can also access most of the functions on your mobile iOS and Android. The other great thing about Hootsuite is that you have access to a large apps library. This helps in boosting your social media marketing skills.
However, Hootsuite has some downsides like you are limited to just three social media accounts in their basic plan. This is a serious shortcoming that forces you to upgrade to Pro. The reports are also not as comprehensive as those in Sprout Social.