If you’re a social media manager, you’re effectively wearing the hat of a content creator, content writer, copywriter, media strategist, crisis management specialist and more. You’re definitely a Jack of many trades and an expected master of all. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so good at what you do. And thanks to social media management tools like Hootsuite, getting your job done is a lot easier.
What is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is a social media management application that covers nearly every part of the job of a social media manager. It’s loaded with features that amplify your social media managing mojo, helping you complete tasks smoothly and seamlessly.
From your Hootsuite dashboard, you’re able to do anything from curating material that’s both interesting and relevant to the brand you’re representing to scheduling articles, managing team members and calculating return on investment on promotional efforts.
A Run-through Our Hootsuite Review
Hootsuite is a complete toolkit you need if you're monitoring your brand's or business's social media performance. At the heart of the app's functionality, is the stream. It's an arrangement of vertical columns or feeds that show you what's happening in specific aspects of your social accounts. You can add multiple streams to your Hootsuite dashboard.
While it's true that some social media platforms provide insights on the performance of organic and paid posts, Hootsuite brings all that information, from different accounts, together in one dashboard. So that at one glance, you can tell what's happening on at least three different social accounts. This comes in very handy if you're managing multiple accounts.
In addition to the major social networks, Hootsuite also integrates with Google Plus, Blogger, Disqus, Channelview and over 140 other apps. This means that the usefulness of Hootsuite is nearly limitless.
While the functionality of the Hootsuite dashboard might remind one of a mission control monitor, it does have its downsides; one of which is the learning curve that you might have to go through before finally getting a hang of how it works. But when you do, it's worth it.
How to Use Hootsuite
We’ll start by listing out the social media platforms that Hootsuite supports or integrates with. They include:
Scheduling and Publishing Social Media Posts
You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that it’s important to post on social media at the right times. If you put out a tweet when your target audience isn't online, the chances of them receiving your messages are slim. On the other hand, if you tweet, say, 15 things at once, you'll most likely swamp people's news feeds and because nobody likes to feel like they’re being spammed, you could lose followers quickly.
Timing is very important when it comes to putting out content on social media. Using a tool that helps you determine the optimal times for your posts is the best way to go about timing them correctly.
Scheduling posts is a great way to maintain consistency in your social media interactions. And many algorithms reward consistency by putting your organic posts in front of more people. So this is one hack you want to take advantage of if you're a new brand or business without a huge ad budget.
It's a straightforward process with Hootsuite. Simply go to your Hootsuite dashboard, select which accounts you'd like to post from, enter the text and any relevant media, and then click “Schedule for later.”
Social Media Monitoring
This is the process of ascertaining or finding out what is being said about a company, individual, or product via various social and internet channels. It’s about gathering as much data and information as possible, keeping track of what people are saying about you on social media. It also involves keeping track of what you've already accomplished and what's going on in your industry's social sphere.
If your business is going to go anywhere near the top, building a strong social media presence is something you must consider. Hootsuite makes it easy to do all of this. Just add a stream in your Hootsuite dashboard and you’ll be able to keep tabs on conversations about your company, industry, and products. You can track all these based on keywords, hashtags, locations, and even specific users.
And just in case you’re wondering, “What’s a Hootsuite stream?” It’s a feed that shows content from your connected social profiles. You can add up to 10 streams and use them to monitor activity across all of your accounts and interact with your audience. Streams can show your own posts as well as the amount of engagement they're getting.
For instance, you can set up a stream for your mentions or tags, another for your feed, timeline or homepage and yet another for your scheduled posts. And you can set these streams for all your linked social accounts and manage them from your Hootsuite dashboard.
Social Media Analytics
Hootsuite’s Analytics comes with a lot of built-in features that can be used to track the general performance of your social media efforts across numerous platforms. On Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, analytics keeps track of organic, owned, and earned data.
If you’re on the Enterprise plan (more about Hootsuite plans and pricing later), you can also track indicators of customer service performance like average response times and interaction volume.
Types of Data You Can Get with Hootsuite’s Analytics
The type of analytical information you can access with Hootsuite’s Analytics is super dependant on the plan that you’re on. Bearing that in mind, from your Hootsuite dashboard, you may access any of the following:
Quick views: This lets you see the general performance of your post and team. It also suggests the best time to publish your posts. And if you have the Amplify feature in use, it’ll help you see how your company’s employees are engaging with a post in a single glance.
Thanks to the Post Performance feature, your published content is displayed once it has been performed, along with an overview of how it was received by your audience.
With Team performance, results for critical parameters including team productivity, reaction time and resolution time are displayed. And based on the performance of your previous post(s), the Best Time to Publish feature provides recommendations for the best days and times to publish on social media that are customised to suit your business.
The Amplify Leaderboard displays engagement numbers for your Amplify posts as well as a leaderboard that allows you to compare your results to those of others in your company.
Impact: Analytics allows you to track the results of your efforts on social media and the return on investment it’s bringing. You can see the outcomes for all of your organic, paid and dark social media posts and focus your resources on the activities that get you the most results, the ones your audience enjoys or responds to the most.
My Reports: Create reports that are personalized and shared for your company. For Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, you can get a mix of overview reports and customisable reports. It all depends on how ready you are to take advantage of user-generated data and how much you’re willing to invest in it.
Apps – Analyze engagement and content with the powerful Unmetric Twitter stats
Hootsuite Plans and Pricing
Like most SaaS products, Hootsuite charges users on a per month basis. However, these charges are billed annually. That said, there are five Hootsuite plans – one free and four paid plans – for you to choose from.
- Free: This might be a limited version of the app but for small businesses, it’s a great place to start. It allows you to add and manage 2 of any of the social media accounts that Hootsuite supports. You’ll be able to schedule up to 5 posts for each account and integrate any number of apps you like from Hootsuite’s app directory.
- The Professional plan is the least expensive of all 4 paid plans. At $19 per month, you can add and manage 10 social media accounts, enjoy unlimited post scheduling functionality and analytics reports across all 10 social accounts. On the downside, you can only add one user and the amount you can spend on ads (boosting posts) is limited to $500/month.
- With the Team plan, you’ll be charged $99 per month for access to add 20 social media accounts, 3 users and manage team members. You’ll also be able to suspend posts that you’ve scheduled (you can’t do that on the free or professional plans), enjoy a $2000/month ad spend limit and get analytics reports that can be customised to best serve your business’s purposes.
- When you upgrade to the Business plan, you get everything that comes with the Team plan plus 35 social accounts and the ability to add up to 15 users. You’ll also get access to premium apps, ROI reporting and social listening service via add-ons, $5000/month ad spend limit. You get all of these and more for a whopping $599/month.
- And the biggest of them all, the Enterprise plan. There’s practically no limit to what you can do, social media management wise, with this plan. You can add more than 50 social media accounts and an unlimited number of users. Needless to say, in addition to all the VIP extras that come with this plan, you also get all of the functionalities of the other plans. Payment for this plan is also customised based on your business' needs.
Hootsuite is the result of the innovative mind of Ryan Holmes, founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Hootsuite. He first launched the software in 2008 as a freemium product that would manage the social media aspect of his clients’ businesses at Invoke (Ryan’s digital media agency where Hootsuite was born). The product was so effective and successful that it attracted $1.9 million in an earlier Series A funding and became a separate business.
Today, Hootsuite has grown not just in functionality but in popularity as well. It’s a leading social media management company that has gained the trust of millions of customers worldwide and a pretty large chunk of the Fortune 1000 market.