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7 Reasons NOT to use Hootsuite


7 Reasons NOT to use Hootsuite

Please note, although I wrote this article some time ago, it is being updated regularly. (February, 2014)

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Hootsuite is one of the most popular and comprehensive social media tools out there. Yes, there is Tweet Deck and cotweet, but Hootsuite is considered the “crème de la crème” of the Social Media Tools World. I’ve used it for many years and I’ve recommended it regularly for my clients and still do.

It was launched back in December 2008 by the digital agency Invoke Media. With a list of features as long as, well, something long, it’s hard to see why you’d never want to use Hootsuite.

Hootsuite Pros

Here are some of Hootsuite’s many features:

  • Manage multiple Twitter, Facebook (profiles and pages), LinkedIn, ping.fm, Word Press, Foursquare and Google+ networks all from one place
  • Schedule updates (including on a calendar and even upload from a spreadsheet (csv file)
  • Collaborate as a team (delegate replies, tweets, mark as done, track messages etc)
  • Mobile apps (iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry)
  • Customised analytics (including scheduled reports)
  • RSS integration (post updates from an RSS feed)
  • Helpful and comprehensive support pages and friendly customer support team

Hootsuite Cons

However, this post isn’t about the reasons why you should use Hootsuite, this is a post on why you should not! I know the title of this post is a little provocative, but I don’t mean to be overly negative. Hootsuite will be the right product for a lot of people– this post is about a few issues that may be a deal breaker for some people. I’d be really interested in your thoughts, so please let me know in the comments. To get a more balanced view, you should also have a read of my more recent post entitled 7 Reasons why you SHOULD use Hootsuite.

It boils down to 2 main reasons and only affects (mostly) small businesses and individuals. The 2 points are cost and lock down. Although Hootsuite has a free option, and the pro option isn’t exactly expensive there are some very expensive parts to Hootsuite which you may need. When I originally wrote this article Hootsuite Pro cost $5.99 per month, then it increased to $9.99. Also, from May 2013 Hootsuite started to offer prices in different currencies and discounts for paying yearly, so effectively you can get Hootsuite Pro for $8.99 per month.

Anyway, here are my top reasons for NOT using Hootsuite…


#1 Hootsuite Analytics are REALLY expensive

Don’t get me wrong, Hootsuite have gone out their way to produce some awesome analytics reports. These can in great detail how your social networks are doing.

You buy reports using points. Assuming you are on the Pro plan (now $8.99 per month if you pay yearly as of May 2013) you get 50 points to use every month. There are some free reports but most reports are 45 points which will cost you $50 (or $45 if you pay yearly)  on top of your 1 free report each month. If you are serious about monitoring your social media performance then this is simply not going to be enough.

Yes, there are free reports like the ow.ly one (more on this later) but the others are $50 per report. Hootsuite analytics reportsAs a medium-to-large size business with a large social media team this may well be fine, but for smaller businesses or individuals this is just going to be way too expensive. Some may say that these reports are worth it, and in some regards I’d agree. The Google analytics integration is just awesome and the Facebook report is a massive improvement on what Facebook give you. As I said, if you can afford these reports then great.

Perhaps the ow.ly report is enough for  some– this gives you the number of click throughs, which location they were from and the referrer. However, you are forced to use Hootsuite’s ow.ly url shortener, which brings me on to my next point…


#2 ow.ly is Compulsory

(Forced to use the ow.ly url shorteners)

Of course, where would we be without url shorteners? They started as a result of people wanting to add links to their Tweets without using up as much space. Later on, url shortener providers offered tracking services, as they also had the advantage of tracking how many clicks were made on the link (and tracking information of the person who clicked the linked link like location and what browser they were using). Hootsuite have their own url shortners– ow.ly and ht.ly. That’s fair enough, but you are forced to use them (unless you add your own custom url shortener– more of that in a bit).

As well as broadcasting to everyone that you are using Hootsuite (which, to be fair, happens with any non-custom url shortener) you can only track any click throughs that have been added from within Hootsuite. This is a real problem, as if like many, you use other services such as Buffer, Social Oomph, Twit Pic or even Tweet Deck, then you can’t track the links you’ve added here. The Hootsuite reports that you’ve paid for won’t give you the whole story. If you use other analytics services such as Twenty Feet, bit.ly or Buffer App then they won’t show the click throughs from the Hootsuite links. You could of course monitor reports from each, but that’s no easy task.

Perhaps, that’s what Hootsuite want. They want to lock you in– they don’t want you to use other services. For some, this isn’t a big issue. For the big companies out there, offering customer services via Twitter, Hootsuite will be the best option– they don’t need to use Buffer or Twit Pic. However, if you use multiple services on your Twitter account then you are out of luck. Finally, although only a temporary blip, there was an issue when Facebook blocked all ow.ly urls. Hopefully that won’t happen again.


#3 Expensive Custom URL Shorteners

This isn’t going to put everyone off. How many people actually use custom url shorteners? I use a custom url shortener for the links I share on my social networks– to.iag.me. This personalises my links, makes them more clickable and more professional. I use bit.ly  for this, which allows me to add a custom url for free. Of course you have to pay for the domain, but in my case I didn’t have to pay any extra as it’s a sub-domain.

If you want to use a custom url shortener (or an ow.ly custom vanity URL as Hootsuite call it) then it’s $49.99. Well, I suppose that isn’t too bad, except that that is the cost per month. That means using a custom url shortener will cost you $588.88 per year on top of the cost of the domain! You get a slight discount if you pay this in one big chunk per year– $539.88. This is madness, especially since when you consider you are still locked into only using Hootsuite’s reports.


#4 Facebook Image Problem

(No Thumbnail & Summary previews in Facebook in Certain Situations)

Hootsuite to FacebookIf you are posting or sharing a link to your Facebook page, ones with photos and a summary are far more likely to be clicked than ones with just a short text status. When you post a single update or use the standard scheduler in Hootsuite, it does post the thumbnail and summary. It gets this from the open graph tags on the web page or tries to have a good guess. However, if you use the bulk scheduler (uploading from a csv file) or use the RSS feature (posting directly from an RSS feed) you are stuck. Facebook is only going to get the text in a Tweet-like status (see the screenshot on the left).

Hootsuite Twitter responseI did contact Hootsuite about this, and to be fair they were quick in responding “Yes that is correct, if you schedule a post you can choose the thumbnail and it will post. However this is not a feature yet with Rss feeds and Bulk schedule, we invite you to submit this idea to our feedback forum here: http://feedback.hootsuite.com”. Hootsuite Help also replied to a Tweet saying that it probably wouldn’t be added in the future due to “logistical reasons”.


#5 No Data in Facebook Insights

Barbara Karnes (in the comments) came up with a 5th reason:

When posting new content to Facebook via Hootsuite, those posts do not track the, likes, shares, and comments that you received in Facebook’s Insights analytical data for that post. The likes, comments and share do exist when viewing from the front end Wall and Feeds, but the “credit” for getting them is not recorded in any way by Insights.


#6 Facebook EdgeRank Issue

This doesn’t just affect Hootsuite, but bear in mind that some people have seen a drop in the visablity of Facebook page posts when using a 3rd party app such as Hootsuite. Although the EdgeRank score (which determines how likely your post will appear on your Fan’s newsfeeds) isn’t supposed to be affected, many say it is. Now that Facebook have their own scheduling system, it may be better to use Facebook instead.


#7. Expensive for Teams

Team users is one of Hootsuite’s killer features. It allows multiple members of a social media team to access multiple social media channels without needing to know the password for each one. This is very important for a security point of view and is why so many big companies use Hootsuite. If you use Twitter for customer service, being able to delegate tasks between team members is going to be integral to your way of working. Hootsuite Pro and Enterprise should be affordable by the big businesses that work this way. For smaller businesses however, Hootsuite users are going to be expensive.

I was under the impression that extra team users (on the pro account) cost $9.99 per month but on close examination but it’s not quite as simple as that.  You get 2 user free per month on the Pro account (and one of these users is you). The 3rd user costs $9.99 per month, and then each one up to 10 users is $14.99 per month. 10 users is going to cost $1,800 per year. If you want 11 users, you’re going to have to sign up for Hootsuite Enterprise which costs an eye watering $18,000 per year as the maximum number of users for Pro accounts is 10. Here is a table that summaries the user cost (since it’s far from obvious from Hootsuite).

In 2013 Hootsuite started offering a discount if you pay yearly. Please note that Hootsuite now offer prices in different currencies, so if you are in the UK you will now be offered prices in £s.

Total UsersDescriptionCost/mthCost/yr
(If paying mthly)
Cost/yr
(If paying yrly)
1Included in Free Plan$0$0$0
2Included in Pro Plan$9.99$119.88$107.88
32 are included in Pro Plan + 1 extra user at $9.99/mth$19.99$239.88$215.88
42 are included in Pro Plan + 1 extra user at $9.99/mth + 1 user at $14.99/mth$34.99$419.88$377.88
52 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $9.99/mth + 2 users at $14.99/mth$49.99$599.88$539.88
62 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $9.99/mth + 3 users at $14.99/mth$64.99$779.88$701.88
72 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $9.99/mth + 4 users at $15/mth$79.99$959.88$863.88
82 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $9.99/mth + 5 users at $14.99/mth$94.99$1139.88$1025.88
92 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $9.99/mth + 6 users at $14.99/mth$109.99$1319.88$1187.88
102 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $9.99/mth + 7 users at $14.99/mth$124.99$1499.88$1349.88
11+The maximum number of users in Hoostuite Pro is 10, to add more users you will need a Hootsuite Enterprise account.
Hootsuite don’t publish the prices for Enterprises, so this is the last known price. Hopefully it should be cheaper than this.
$1499 (?)$17,988$17,988 (?)

UK Prices in dollars

Hootsuite now offer prices in a few other currencies . If you live in the UK for example you have to pay in pounds (since 8th March, 2013). This is determined by your IP address. Unfortunately the prices are quite a bit more expensive in other currencies. You could try and dodge this by connecting to a VPN to get a United States IPN, delete your cookies and visit the sign up page, but that is trying to trick Hootsuite into thinking you are from the US which may be morally grey. Here are the prices in pounds with the conversion to dollars. Please note that the exchange rate changes all the time, so please do check what it is currently.

Total UsersDescriptionCost/mth
(in £ on
UK Hootsuite)
Cost/mth
(converted to $ from
UK Hootsuite)
Cost/mth)
(in $ for US users on
US Hootsuite)
1Included in Free Plan£0$0$0
2Included in Pro Plan£7.99$12.38$9.99
32 are included in Pro Plan + 1 extra user at £7.99/mth£15.98$24.77$19.99
42 are included in Pro Plan + 1 extra user at £7.99/mth + 1 user at £11.99/mth£27.97$43.35$34.99
52 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at £7.99/mth + 2 users at £11.99/mth£39.96$61.94$49.99
62 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at £7.99/mth + 3 users at £11.99/mth£51.95$80.52$64.99
72 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at £7.99/mth + 4 users at £11.99/mth£63.94$99.11$79.99
82 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at £7.99/mth + 5 users at £11.99/mth£75.93$117.69$94.99
92 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at £7.99/mth + 6 users at £11.99/mth£87.92$136.28$109.99
102 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at £7.99/mth + 7 users at £11.99/mth£99.91$154.86$124.99

What should I use instead?

I still use Hootsuite for certain tasks such as displaying multiple streams from multiple accounts. This is something that Hootsuite does very well. Here are some alternatives depending on what you are trying to do…

Displaying Streams of Tweets (and replying)

tweetdeck
TweetDeck
 (free)

Update May 2013– Now Twitter Management Only. This used to be one of my top recommendations, but Twitter have done their best to make this less useful. TweetDeck used to be able to manage your Facebook profile but now it is just for Twitter. Also, as I mentioned in a recent Seriously Social News podcast, Twitter are pulling the plug on the Adobe Air version which had more features


SproutSocial
Sprout Social
 (from $39/mth)

A big competitor to Hootsuite with some awesome features (really snazzy reports, multiple bit.ly url shortener integration, Google+ pages etc)  - it does have a hefty price tag though– prices start at $39/user/month. There is no free account but they offer a free trial.


Sendible
Sendible (from $9.99/mth)

Similar to Hootsuite and SproutSocial with an impressive array of features. It supports Twitter, Facebook profiles, pages and groups, LinkedIn profiles and groups, Google+ pages, Foursquare and more. The prices are very reasonably priced  starting from $9.99 per month. There is no free account but they offer a free trial.


grabinbox
GrabInbox
 (free)

Although fairly basic, GrabInbox is free and allows you to manage multiple Facebook (profiles and pages), Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.


meshfire Meshfire

Social media management tool with team collaboration at its heart. Only supports Twitter. Integrates with both bit.ly and Feedly. Prices based on number of followers– $19/month for up to 20,000 followers to $99/mth for up to 100,000 followers.


musterpoint Musterpoint

A new UK based social media management platform which is geared primarily towards medium to large teams of social managers, although smaller businesses are supported. Many of the team and collaborative features on offer would only be available on the expensive HootSuite Enterprise plan. Prices available on application.


oktopost Oktopost

A social media management tool primarily built for Business to Business (B2B) marketing. Supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles, company pages and groups), Google+. Oktopost shines by allowing scheduling across multiple social networks including LinkedIn groups and by using a scheduling calendar. There is a free account and paid accounts range from $49/mth to $249/mth.


Posting Tweets (including scheduling)

buffer
Buffer App (free or $9.99/mth)

Allows you to post or cross post to Twitter, Facebook (profiles, pages or groups), LinkedIn (profile, groups or company pages), Google+ business pages or app.net. You can either post straight away or create a schedule for each social network. Buffer is an amazing tool and one that I use every day. For more information see my post on 10 Must Have Social Media Tools for Small Businesses.


tweetdeckTweetDeck (free)

(As mentioned above)


Social Media Relationship Tools

Communit

I’d also highly recommend Commun.it which is a full Twitter community management tool or CRM. As well as being able to manage multiple Twitter accounts you can find out who is relevant in your Twitter community. Examples include your influencers or people who support you. You can also find out who is talking about you or your business or who is linking to your website and interact with them straight away.

I don’t have enough room to go into it here, but please see my Complete Guide on how to Manage your Twitter Community using Commun.it together with its walkthrough video.


Other Resources

There are plenty of other tools out there that offer similar services to Hootsuite. Have a look at some of the comments below and let me know if you know of ones that you’ve personally used and would recommend. In particular I recommend reading my latest article (May 2013) on my recommended social media tools for small businesses.

If you need any more help on getting started with Hootsuite or want more advice in whether or not Hootsuite is for you, check out these posts…

Summary

So there you go, 7 valid reasons not to use Hootsuite. Of course, you may well feel these aren’t strong enough reasons, but they are annoyances that I have found with it. Despite all this, I would still recommend Hootsuite to businesses in many situations. If they have the resources to pay for the extra features and especially if they want to use it for customer service.

What do you think? Please do add your comments below.

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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a web developer, social media consulant & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad, geek and runs a monthly tech meet up called Cheadle Geeks and a regular coworkers event called Cheadle Jelly. Find out more


Comments- Let me know what you think!

  • http://blog.hootsuite.com/ DaveO from HootSuite

    Thanks for the feedback Ian. We’re always listening and looking to improve. Keep in mind, you can request specific features (and vote them up) at http://feedback.hootsuite.com — Enjoy!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. Like I say, I think Hootsuite is a fantastic product, perfect in many situations and as I said I’ll be writing a post on the reasons for using Hootsuite at some point soon. This post was to do with some frustrations I’ve had with Hootsuite. I have used the feedback system before, but unfortunately I don’t get the impression that the points I’ve raised in this article are ones that you’ll be changing. For example, bit.ly is a competitor, and it probably wouldn’t be in your commercial interest to integrate it. It’s a shame though, since many of us can’t use Hootsuite in conjunction with other social media tools since it splits analytics across tools and wouldn’t allow us to use a custom url shortener across multiple tools. If that was the case, the cost of the analytics would be less of an issue, since you’d be tracking activity from other social media tools as well. Finally, I’d love it if you could address the thumbnail and summary issue when posting to Facebook using the bulk scheduler or RSS importer. Unfortunately, when I asked your team about this, the answer was that this was unlikely.

      To end on a positive note, I thought the Hootsuite University video series was really helpful and professional.

    • http://dandascalescu.com/ Dan Dascalescu

      Hey Dave, please fix this bug in shortening URLs with apostrophes. I wanted to schedule a post about http://www.o3bnetworks.com/additional-pages/blog/o3b’s-satellites-launch-successfully and ow.ly broke the URL after the apostrophe.

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        Hi Dan. I am not sure if Dave monitors these comments that regularly, so I’d recommend emailing Hootsuite support if you want to get a quick reply.

        It’s best to avoid apostrophes and other punctuation in URLs because they have to be URL encoded to work. An apostrophe in an URL ends up being encoded as ‘%27′. That means your URL will end up being: o3bnetworks.com/additional-pages/blog/o3b%27s-satellites-launch-successfully

        If you link to the URL with an actual apostrophe it probably won’t work. Most browsers will convert the apostrophe to the %27 automatically on the fly. Either way, you are going to cause problems for yourself if you use punctuation in the URL and it is my recommendation to not use them at all. I know that feels wrong, but people understand.

        • King_Anonymous

          Good article. I thought it was just going to be a rant but well said.

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Well, I like to be constructive and measured in my criticisms!

    • رانيا أيمن

      Chapeaux … Hats off (Y)

  • http://www.devonwebdesigners.com/ Elizabeth Jamieson

    Why did you say Hootsuite provides Google+ integration?  For small business it (currently) doesn’t does it?  I thought it was only available on their $1500 per month enterprise option. 

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth. Yes, you’re right– Google+ integration is only available for Hootsuite Enterprise customers which costs $1,500 per month! Unfortunately this makes it out of reach for the majority of people and small businesses. 
      I’ll edit my post to make this clearer.

      • http://www.devonwebdesigners.com/ Elizabeth Jamieson

        It certainly does.   I find Hootsuite unintuitive so I am always hoping something else will come along that I find easier to use.    I am looking at SendSocialMedia at the moment … but if it’s no easier, I’ll end up sticking with Hootsuite.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          To be fair to Hootsuite, after a bit of time working with it, I do find it quite intuitaive, but there are some annoyances with the way it works. I wish working with lists and adding followers was easier. Also, it’s not always as fast and slick as a desktop app would be (javascript can be a bit slow). I also don’t like the fact that many of the more advanced features are just far too expensive– something I’ve mentioned in this post.

          Despite all these things, Hootsuite is still an app I’d recommend for many people– especially now that the new Tweetdeck is just awful. Such a shame as Tweetdeck was great before Twitter got their hands on it.

      • Allan Blair Beaton

        Hi Ian,

        I have a solution to your cost issue with Enterprise. Please contact me to discuss ;-)

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks, will do!

    • HootSuite Team

      Hi guys, 

      just a quick post here to let you know we finally provide Google+ Pages management for Pro and Free accounts. Please read our blog for details.

      Thanks!
      HootSuite.com

      • http://www.devonwebdesigners.com/ Elizabeth Jamieson

        OK — thanks — I’ll go look.

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        Thanks. I had seen the news about this, but haven’t been able to give it a test drive. I think this is very welcome news. Thanks for taking the time to respond. 

        If you have any thoughts on the 4 points that I raised in this post it would be helpful. It seems there are quite a few other people who share my frustrations with certain aspects of Hootsuite, despite it being a very comprehensive product. Thanks!

      • http://Success-Matters.com/ Claire Boyles

        looking forward to getting G+ integration for my G+ profile too– that’s what I mainly use

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Yes, me too! I think this is going to be a killer feature for Hootsuite!

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Just to make it clear, Hootsuite only allows you to manage Google+ Pages– not your personal Google+ account. 

  • http://twitter.com/JohnGirdwood Professor Girdwood

    I like the UI and the support, but the costs associated with uses (like Google+) are really unfortunate.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Just in case you hadn’t seen it, the Google+ service is now available to free and Pro customers of Hootsuite.

  • Pingback: 8 Reasons You Should Use Hootsuite | Out-Smarts Marketing Inc

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  • Allan Blair Beaton

    Hi There,

    Whilst I agree with your shortcomings of HootSuite, the same could be said of my girlfriend. There are parts of her that I could do without, but I mostly keep her around cause I think overall she is  an amazing person. I put this into context with HootSuite as well.

    I am not really sure that by advocating HootSuite’s great qualities and then dissing them in the same post makes any real sense. Again, it goes back to the whole girlfriend thing. If I find something better in one package that does so much for me for free and then at least offers options based on your company’s size and needs, for added benefits, then I’m in.

    I don’t work for HootSuite, but I do rate their organisation and the continued growth and expansion they offer within the dashboard via the apps directory. That too is a comfort in itself, not to mention HootSuite University and various other HootSuite related sub groups. Is there another dashboard out there offering that type of educational assistance, not just about their product, but also about other platforms too?

    I guess that you can’t please everyone all of the time. I really appreciated your points though. 

    ABBII

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment!

      I feel a bit bad to be honest, as this post wasn’t meant to be on it’s own– it was meant to go with an “X reasons to USE Hootsuite”, but I just haven’t got round to that yet.

      I think Hootsuite is awesome, and the team behind it really helpful. However, the post was concentrating on some of the annoyances I had with it. I was going to concentrate on the more positive stuff (and there are lots) in another post.

      I think Hootsuite is definitely the right product for some businesses and individuals, but it is also important to understand the down side– particularly when it comes to analytics and url shorteners. For me, I am unable to use my custom url shortener with hootsuite as I am already using it with bit.ly. For many people these things will be a non-issue.

      I kind of follow your girlfriend analogy, although talking personally I don’t think there’s anything about my wife that I’d change– I love her the way she is! :-)

      So, basically, to sum up, I don’t disagree with you, I hope I can get the balance straight in a forthcoming post.

    • analystolmos

      I think it’s disgusting you would discuss your girlfriend in this forum, as a “package” that you live with because “overall” she is an amazing person. My god man, does your girlfriend know you said this?

  • Pr

    Has anyone figured out how to post links with thumbnail/summaries yet, or is that a problem still yet to be solved?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      I haven’ t tried this recently, but as I stated in the article, posting of links with thumbnails and summaries only doesn’t work for bulk scheduling and RSS feeds. It should work for standard posting though.

      • SH

        Is there somewhere online where I can create custom links that provides click stats? I feel this is a real shortcoming of HootSuite which I love otherwise. $50 a month? Craziness. 

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          I haven’t tried this, but you could always shorten your links using bit.ly and then use this within Hootsuite. That way, you could use bit.ly’s analytics as well or instead of Hootsuite’s. 

          • Bob

            I had thought of doing that. I have Tweetdeck on my desktop but use Hootsuite on my iPad. So today decided to move to Hootsuite on my desktop. I admit, it’s an awesome app. But the custom URL shortener sent me back to Tweetdeck. I could do as you said, but what a pain to have to open bit.ly, shorten my URL and paste into Hootsuite. 

            There were a few other small things that had me wounding if I should switch, but the custom URL shortener was the what broke the camels back. Someday I hope to try Hootsuite again..

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Was it the cost of the URL shortener through Hootsuite that was putting you off? You can get a URL shortener with Hootsuite, but as I said…
            1) It costs $50 per month
            2) It would have to be a different one to the one you use with bit.ly

            My url shortener with bit.ly is to.iag.me, if I wanted to use a custom url shortener with Hootsuite I wouldn’t be able to use this– I’d have to use something like go.iag.me. A shame!

            With regards to having to shorten first in bit.ly and then Hootsuite, I am sure someone could write a custom script (Greasemonkey) that could do it automatically. Any script experts out there?!

        • http://about.me/lanamoore Lana M.

          Use http://dlvr.it/ for a FREE custom URL shortener and FREE Analytics! You get one free custom url shortener per account and their analytics on click through rates are very good. This may not be an all-in-one solution (having a separate account), but it’s a very cost-effective solution!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1504121559 Barbara Karnes

    I love HootSuite, too.  However, I have a BIG #5 reason not to use it (at least for FB posting…).

    When posting new content to FB (not comments, likes — not sure about shares) via HootSuite those posts do not track the likes, shares, and comments that you received in Facebook’s Insights analytical data for that post.  It is like they don’t exist.  The likes, comments and share DO exist when viewing from the front end Wall and Feeds, but the “credit” for getting them is not recorded in any way by Insights.  :(  I’ve reverted to manual posting of fresh FB content.  Everything else seems to work like a charm.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Great points. The fact that using Hootsuite for Facebook posts stops them being tracked within Facebook Insights is indeed a big drawback. I suppose Hootsuite would argue that their Analytics is far more advanced. If you use Hootsuite for all your social media needs and have a big enough budget then this isn’t so much of an issue.

      I think the issue here is that Hootsuite (and to be fair Buffer and TweetDeck) is a 3rd party app. When these apps post on a Facebook profile or page they are treated as 3rd party apps and not tracked in the same way in Facebook Insights. They are also less likely to appear on your fans’ timelines because of a lower EdgeRank score.

      The more and more I think about this, I’m starting to recommend posting manually on Facebook. Now that Facebook have got a scheduling feature for posts (allowing you to post in the future) the need to use Hootsuite is less a requirement. I think Hootsuite can work really well for posting to Twitter and for social media teams (Hootsuite is great for teams), but I think (at least for now) people are best using Facebook itself to manage their Facebook page and posts.

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        Just to let you know, I’ve updated the article to include your point. Thanks again!

      • Guest

        Hi all, this would indeed be a bick drawback if it would be true. We post to Facebook only via Hootsuite for a few weeks now and it shows there in their insights as well as in Edgeranker which we use for statistics.…. Just FYI. Maybe it changed?

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks for your comment and for bringing this to my attention. I’ll have to do some more research into this. I’m not a big Hootsuite user, but I do use it occasionally. Perhaps things have changed, and if so I really do need to look into this. I’d be interested into other people’s thought on this one.

          One thing that hasn’t been resolved is whether posting to FB from a 3rd party app such as Hootsuite affects the EdgeRank score or not. There is a lack of transparency on this one.

          • Jeremy

            Has there been conclusive feedback on this one — posts via Hootsuite appearing in Facebook Insights? It’s always been the main reason we do not use Hootsuite. Checking if it has changed?

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Hi Jeremy, I haven’t tested this recently so I can’t comment– sorry! Anyone else?

  • Rebekah

    Hi, and thanks for the post.  I am not sure how recent this is, but was curious — with the integration of social into GA, would you still consider the Hootsuite GA report as useful?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Good question. I have to be honest though, I’ve not really tried the GA report. I think you are right that the GA report is probably more useful. However– GA can be very complicated and difficult for some people or organisations to get their heads round. 

  • Sharlynes

    Glad I found this and read it and the comments that observed. I am new to the social media as a tool for business. Have zero budget to work with and am looking for all the tools I can to help me grow at a cost that will allow my roof to remain on my head! (this is why I am looking for social media as a means to grow it!!!)  Nothing spreads faster then word of mouth — so I am grateful to hear your views and they sound experienced as do your readership commenting. Thanks for taking the time to blog on it! :)

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your kind comments. I understand where you’re at.

      Hootsuite might well be a good product for you. The free version is still very powerful and a very helpful tool. It’s just useful to know the disadvantages! You might want to check out Buffer App as well– http://bufferapp.com/ which allows you to schedule your updates to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

  • http://www.stepupyourskills.com/ Halima

    Great article ! Really summarises exactly my “beef” with Hootsuite. 

    I recently started using Buffer to schedule my content, and I was wondering if anyone here tried it ? I find it much easier and faster to use for scheduled content than Hootsuite. But I have not yet looked into how that content is tracked, especially on FB which is the key issue with content sent from Hootsuite.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment, Halima. 

      I’m a massive Buffer fan– it’s very simple to use and the cost is very reasonable (either free or $10 per month). I highly recommend it.

      However in my view it’s very different to Hootsuite. Yes, Buffer does allow you to schedule posts, but not in the same way as Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to pick the exact time and day for each post. Buffer will post your statuses at the set times per day as set out in the Buffer settings.

      Personally, I use Buffer for Twitter and very occasionally Facebook. Buffer suffers from the same issue as Hootsuite when it comes to Facebook and analytics in that it won’t show up properly in Facebook insights. It does however use bit.ly which has very good analytics. This means that you can track all your links across multiple platforms (Buffer, Tweetdeck, dlvr.it) as long as you use bit.ly. 

      The other potential issue with using any third party app to post to Facebook is that it could affect your EdgeRank score. I’ve yet to hear confirmation on this. The fact is, it used to affect your score, but then Facebook changed things. Unfortunately there have been reports of things changing after timeline. Facebook haven’t really clarified things or given an update.

      Now that Facebook have a scheduling feature built in, it might be best to use that for the time being. It’s not so intuitive, but you might get better results. For more information see– http://iag.me/socialmedia/guides/facebook-pages-new-features-introduction-to-roles-scheduled-posts/

      • http://www.stepupyourskills.com/ Halima

        Hi Ian, many thanks for your detailed reply. I would actually recommend using both Buffer and Hootsuite. Yes, Hootsuite allows you to pick a different time and date for each scheduled tweet, but I find Buffer to be a great tool to complement it: I use it for times of the day where either I know I don’t tweet much (for example, I’m in South East Asia so when I sleep, Europe is up and kicking), or for the hours of the day where tweeting activity is a bit less crazy. And I keep Hootsuite scheduling for those important hours where I know my tweeps are the most active :)

        I don’t use Buffer for FB (or Hootsuite for that matter) because of all the arguments you mentions. I’m off however to test the scheduling function, but I’ve read somewhere that it might or might not work on all pages, I’ll go have a look on your other poste about it !

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          I think using Hootsuite and Buffer makes a lot of sense– they’re both very different tools. 

          There are, however, two downsides with this (which may not be an issue for most people) is that you wouldn’t be able to use a custom url shortner for both Hootsuite and Buffer. Buffer can use many different url shorteners including bit.ly which allows you to use your own custom url shortener for free. Hootsuite only allows their own url shorteners and if you want a custom one that will cost you $49 per month.
          The other issue is that you will be splitting tracking between Hootsuite and bit.ly since Hootsuite analytics doesn’t track your bit.ly clicks.

          • http://www.stepupyourskills.com/ Halima

            Yeah, agree — I tend to shorten my links first actually, with bit.ly and then use them in the scheduled content. But it’s a pain..

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            It would be great if someone created an addon for Chrome or Firefox that did this automatically. Know anyone who could create one for us?! ;-)

  • http://www.muhid.com/ Where my journey begins

    Thanks for this post, but i still think hoot-suite is the best product for Social marketing considering the price even small sites can pay the price.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment. I agree except I’d change it to the fact that Hootsuite CAN be the best marketing product. I think Hootsuite is fantastic for managing a Twitter account for customer service. the teams feature is just so powerful– with being able to delegate tweets to a particular person. For many companies the $15 per month per user fee for teams is definitely worth it.

      However that might be quite a bit for small companies to justify. I know Buffer is a different type of product, but you can get two team members and unlimited buffers and 12 social profiles– all for $10 per month.

      At the end of the day, each company needs to look through all the pros and cons for each product and decide the best for them. I agree that Hootsuite is a great product, can be the best for businesses, but there may be more appropriate products depending on the situation and the marketing strategy.

  • Simon

    We started using HootSuite for 8 Twitter accounts.  After adding 3 or 4 staff, we noticed the price per user goes up which we thought was a bit odd, but carried on.  Once we’d got the hang of it and decided to use it long term, we found we can’t have more than 10 users without ‘going enterprise’.

    No pricing on HootSuite’s website, so I had to fill in a form to get more information.

    They emailed me wanting to talk about our social media plans.  We’re a small business.  Our plans are allowing 30 users to use 8 Twitter accounts.  That’s it.

    They insist on calling me but being in the UK, I’m not in the office when they are.  They’re cagey about pricing so I did some Googling to find this blog post — $1500 per month.  No chance.

    Since when was 30 users ‘enterprise’ ?
    Why are HootSuite not more transparent with their pricing?

    This way of doing business is old fashioned, HootSuite.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Simon, and apologies for my late response. Hootsuite is superb for people who want to manage multiple accounts amongst many people. I’m using Hootsuite with a team of people for a charity at the moment. We’ve only got a team of 4 people (including me) but the charity really can’t justify or afford $15 per user per month. The advantage of using Hootsuite is that I don’t have to share the Twitter password with everyone (not good for security). I’ve just created one Hootsuite account and we all share that.

      When you say “after adding 3 or 4 staff” you noticed the price per user goes up, what do you mean? I am assuming the price is $15 per user per month, but it sounds from what you say that this price goes up. Can you clarify this?

      I’ve not seen anywhere that there is a max number of users for the pro plan.  If you wanted 30 users then that would cost you $450 per month which although very expensive is not as bad as $1,500 per month!

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        Ah, just found the info…

        1st User (you) is free
        2nd User is free with pro account (you only get 1 user on free account)
        3rd User is $10 per month ($120 per year)
        4th — 10th users are $15 per month ($720-$1,800 per year)
        11th+ users on Enterprise Plan -$1,500 per month ($18,000 per year)

        I am assuming that the unlimited users are included in the $18,000 per year Enterprise plan.

        Thanks, Simon, for bringing this to my attention. The information is on the Hootsuite website but it’s not very easy to find and not obvious that the Pro account only allows a max of 10 users.

        • SImon

          Thanks Ian

          Appreciate your comments and for blogging about this.

          HootSuite need to improve this poor transparency but more importantly, they need a better scaling policy.

          Perhaps Hootsuite see themselves as a big boys club, where the really big brands in social media like Red Bull and Coca Cola will pay big money for a facility like theirs; but they miss the opportunity to engage with middle sized businesses.  Fine, it’s just a shortsighted, stupid shame.

          We’re going to stick with the Pro account and have 10 user accounts which we’ll share between actual users. $1500 per year.

          We would have paid $3600 per year - $10 per user per month for 30 users, but HootSuite don’t allow that.

          We will not pay $18,000 per year.

          Just to examine that more closely, what HootSuite essentially say is:

          1) 0 – 10 users $3,600 per year
          2) 11+ users $18,000 per year,

          Silly.

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Thanks– as you may have seen, I have updated the post accordingly!

          • SImon

            Great, thanks!
            I see in my earlier post, I got the price scaling wrong.  I presume you have to pay per user on top of the $18,000 per year for enterprise.  I don’t know how much, but here’s how the per user costs scale up to 11 assuming you get 10 users free in Enterprise and pay $180 per year per user on top.

            1 — Free
            2 — $120
            3 — $240
            4 — $420
            5 — $600
            6 — $780
            7 — $960
            8 — $1140
            9 — $1320
            10 — $1500
            11 — $18,000
            12 — $18,180

          • SImon

            Oh, that doesn’t layout nicely, sorry!

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Because I’m nice, I’ve edited your comment to make it format nicely! :-)

            Enterprise comes with unlimited user included so I don’t think they charge on top of the $18,000. I certainly hope not!

          • SImon

            cheers !

  • http://about.me/morganiseit Morgan

    I’d agree with those points. I thought hootsuite used to allow bit.ly — but perhaps that was tweetdeck.  It irks me that I can’t choose that though I understand hootsuite does profit from locking you in.  If you use chrome, there is an add on that claims to shorten links with bit.ly instead (or perhaps it sends them to bit.ly).

    I have a pro account and probably won’t use the reporting — custom reporting would be ideal but as you say comes with a very steep cost  monthly cost which would justify hopping across from hootsuite to a product with additional features such as BuzzNumbers or similar.

    *shrugs*. I have been living offline for a bit and have only just dusted off hootsuite and started using it again — the bit.ly thing and reporting/analytics are the only things that have me frowning.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      To be honest, many of the points I’ve raised in this article won’t bother the majority of people. Hootsuite is a really good product and it’s amazing that most of the features are free.

      bit.ly is a competitor so although it frustrates me no end, I can understand why they don’t integrate it.

      For me, personally, many of the points above are a deal breaker. I use a custom url shortener, and I just can’t afford $49 per month for this. Not only that, then I wouldn’t be able to use the same short url on other services such as Buffer, dlvr.it and others.

  • http://Success-Matters.com/ Claire Boyles

    the closing line says it all– “Des­pite all this, I would still recom­mend Hoot­suite to businesses…”  

    I do recommend and use Hootsuite, it’s a great tool, but there are many things I don’t use it for– posting to facebook is one of them– because it shows as a post from an external source, and thus gets a much lower response rate. 

    The main criticism seems to be that it’s expensive… well you know what, you get what you pay for in this world! 

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Claire. I tried to be balanced in my criticisms of Hootsuite. Like I said in the post, I do feel Hootsuite is the right product for many people. Despite this I have to recommend with some caveats attached. Like you, I wouldn’t recommend using Hootsuite for Facebook, but for Twitter it can be very useful.

      At the end of the day, I wanted to explore some of the annoyances I have found with Hootsuite. Price is certainly one of them ($18,000 per year for 11+ users is not something many small businesses will be able to afford), but locking you into the Hootsuite url shortner is one that I find particularly frustrating.

  • Allanblairbeaton

    Ian! Four months is way too long my friend…

    There have been loads of updates and new features, not to mention new integrations too.

    Really looking forward to reading your thoughts!

    ABBII

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      You are so right! I feel really bad that I haven’t done my Pro Hootsuite post. I do have lots of ideas for it, just really lacking the time– particularly as we have a young family and very lively kids!

      I am really excited about Hootsuite’s Google+ service and would be interested in they’re new scheduling service.

      Despite this, all my reasons above are still valid, and are still a frustration. But perhaps now, the new features make the frustrations less so.

      How do you get on with Hootsuite?

  • http://about.me/lanamoore Lana M.

    Use http://dlvr.it/ for a FREE custom URL shortener and FREE Analytics! You get one free custom url shortener per account and their analytics on click through rates are very good. This may not be an all-in-one solution (having a separate account), but it’s a very cost-effective solution!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      I use dlvr.it too and it works really well for me. I used to use TwitterFeed, but got frustrated when it missed tweets and because it didn’t allow posting more often than every half an hour. dlvr.it allows heavy customisation and updates in real time or every 15 minutes. It isn’t an all-in-one solution as you say, particularly as it doesn’t offer proper scheduling like BufferApp or Hootsuite, but it does work very well. I use it to automatically tweet the latest blog posts of some trusted people using an @mention. How do you use it, Lana?

  • Hmdedios

    I really enjoyed this as I am considering using Hootsuite but have heard the same arguments. To be clear Ian, what are you using instead? Looks like you use Buffer and bit.ly, and you manually post to Facebook. Can you tell me what you use for each service like twitter, Google +, Linked In, etc.? Thanks!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi. Sorry for the delay in responding– been away on a well deserved holiday!

      What you say is pretty much true. I use a number of services. I love sharing links with my followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I actually use a combination of Google Reader, IFTTT and Buffer for this. When I see a really good article that I want to share with my followers on Twitter, I star it in Google Reader. IFTTT then adds this to my Buffer which posts it on a schedule. This also uses my custom url via bit.ly. It works really well for me. I also use Buffer to post updates straight away, but that is only occasionally. For updating Twitter, I use a combination of the Twitter website, the Twitter Android app and TweetBot on my iPad.

      I’m a big fan of Commun.It– http://commun.it which helps me reply to mentions and replies on Twitter, and find out who are my influencers and top contributors to my community. It’s a real time saver.

      When it comes to updating Facebook, I tend to update manually through the Facebook app (or use their own scheduler). I do use Buffer App for this sometimes (particularly for sharing links).

      I don’t update my LinkedIn status that often (I was never a fan of linking Twitter to LinkedIn), but when I do, I tend to use BufferApp. It works really well for me.

      I manually post to Google+ at the moment, although I might consider using Hootsuite as I think the new Google+ integration works really well.

      I’m not a heavy Pinterest user, but when I do, the only option is via Pinterest– as they haven’t released an API. I hope they sort that out soon.

      I hope that helps. What do you use?

      • Hmdedios

        Now I am really delayed! :) I use Buffer and Market Me Suite at the moment. I am trying to find either the best platform for all aspects like posting, monitoring etc, or the best combination of multiple. I have multiple companies I work with and want to be able to manage all of their content from as minimal sites as possible. Currently I just log in to each of their accounts and I have expanded so I need to minimize.

        Any thoughts or suggestions for this? I could use Hootsuite to monitor all of their profiles and then log in to the FB accounts to post or use Buffer app for each..? Still want to be able to provide reports to each company as well..

        Thank you for sharing what you have! Really helpful!

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          I completely understand where you are at and I wish there was an all-in solution that would work for you. In fairness Hootsuite might be the best solution for you– but I personally wouldn’t use it for updating Facebook.

          As a side note, one solution that might help you with logging in and out of apps and accounts is the password manager, LastPass. I use it all the time and it enables me to not have to remember the ridiculous number of social media accounts I have. For example when I log out of Twitter, I can choose which Twitter account I want to log in with and it automatically logs me in to that account without me having to remember the username and password.

          If you are going to use multiple apps then try and choose ones that have integration with the bit.ly url shortener. That way you can keep track on your links and click throughs.

          I’ve not used Market Me Suite– are you happy with it? Does it intergrate with bit.ly? I would recommend TweetDeck except that Twitter have ceased work on it as far as I can tell, and it wouldn’t be great for a great number of accounts.

          I currently use a combination of a few mobile apps (the offical Twitter app, TweetBot, TweetCaster), Buffer, Commun.it and even (and I know this sounds bad) the Twitter website.

          With the Buffer Awesome account you can be added as a team member and have access to all of these accounts from the same interface. Commun.it also has a team feature. All of these could help.

          I hope that is helpful, it is a bit difficult without knowing exactly how you work.

          • Hannah De Dios

            Thank you Ian! That was very helpful! I do like Market Me Suite and how it does not show that posts were sent from there on FB or Twitter however, the cost comparison with HootSuite now for just monthly management is too high.

            I appreciate your help and advice and will take a look at all your suggestions.

            Thanks Again!

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Glad I could be of some help!

  • Hootsuite user

    While a lot of what Hootsuite has to offer is really awesome, I have had some issues with the customer service. It is very hard to figure out how to submit a ticket if you have problems or questions as a user of their free service, unless you want to deal with them via Twitter (I assume this also applied to pro users, but am not absolutely sure). I do not prefer to get support that way because of the publicity and the character limitations, and find it annoying. Plus, when I figured out how to submit a ticket, I received a response that said: 
    While we strive to respond to all users as quickly as possible, ticket response times are prioritized by payment plan. Have urgent support needs? Consider upgrading to Pro

    I must say I was put off by the message. I understand the priority for high-paying customers, but this combined with how difficult it was to submit a ticket to begin with did not leave me impressed. 

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your thoughts on this. My experience with Hootsuite has been quite good– quite quick response times and helpful remarks. I was a paying customer (on the pro plan) so perhaps that was one reason. I did get the feeling that (because they are now quite a big company) I was being fobbed off with some of my criticisms– asking me to fill in their customer feedback forms. Hopefully they do read them and take note.

      Whilst I understand your frustrations, it is probably impossible for them to keep up with all the customer support tickets from free customers. Nothing in life is free, and someone has to pay for them. The Pro plan (in my view) is quite reasonable, so you might want to try it out for a few months. I can understand you being put off by the “Consider upgrading to Pro” message– it is a bit like saying “We know the answer to your question, but we will only tell you if we pay”. It probably doesn’t leave a good taste in your mouth– and it creates a bit of a negative feeling for Hootsuite’s customer support. I’m torn really, I do understand Hootsuite’s position– they can’t give everything away for free, but it’s not great for customer relations if you don’t get a good response back whether you are a paying customer or not.

      Let me know how you get on.

  • Lncadell

    What would you recommend other than HootSuite?  I need custom URL shortener and analytics that actually work…

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      What is it exactly you want to do? Do you want to manage multiple accounts and shorten urls with a custom url shortener? You could use BufferApp as I have recommended elsewhere– http://bufferapp.com/ as they allow bit.ly for which you can set up a custom url shortener very easily (and for free). Other than that, there are actually quite a few services out there, so you need to choose one that has bit.ly intergration. I tried GrabInbox– http://grabinbox.com/ which is good in many ways, but as far as I can tell it doesn’t allow a custom url shortener like bit.ly.

  • Anthony Idox

    Great post, thanks for your time in creating it.
    Could you advise of a social media multi-scheduler which allows for posting to Google+, Facebook and Twitter, but also allows tracking through Bitly?Thanks

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Anthony. I really wish I could recommend something that does all that, but I don’t think there is. I definitely recommend BufferApp — http://bufferapp.com/ this does part of what you want– Scheduling, posting to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (currently not Google+ but they’re working on it). It also offers tracking through bit.ly. I personally don’t recommend using 3rd party tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite for Facebook exclusively because of it affecting your EdgeRank score and because of your Facebook Insight stats not including 3rd party updates properly.

      My recommendation would be to use Buffer for Twitter (and sometimes Facebook), use Facebook’s own scheduler for Facebook pages and update Google+ through Google+. They are all different social networks so you do need to treat them differently.

      • Jeff

        I tried setting up a Facebook account with Bufferapp.com, and got this error: he webpage at https://bufferapp.com/oauth/facebook/1441462773 has resulted in too many redirects. Clearing your cookies for this site or allowing third-party cookies may fix the problem. If not, it is possibly a server configuration issue and not a problem with your computer.

        Maybe Bufferapp is that reliable after all!

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Hi Jeff. Sorry to hear you have been having issues. Have you contacted the Buffer team? In my experience they are always very helpful. Let me know how you get on.

  • M Thomas

    Great Information Ian. As someone interested in utilizing HootSuite for my business, I’m wondering if you know if the “HootSuite” tag I’ve seen on some of the post on Facebook are a requirement when using HootSuite? While I’m not sure if it is something that can be removed through the use of the pro plan or enterprise plan, I would venture to say if it cannot, that would surely be an added reason NOT to use HootSuite. Do you have any knowledge regarding the tag?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment.

      The “tag” you are referring to is called the application name. This is the 3rd party app used to post the update to Facebook. Twitter has a similar thing under each update– you may have seen “via Tweet Bot” or “via Hootsuite”.

      Facebook and Twitter do this for all 3rd party updates, so this doesn’t just affect Hootsuite– it affects Buffer, IFTTT, TweetDeck and more. It can’t be removed through the use of Hootsuite Pro/Enterprise because Hootsuite have to use the Facebook and Twitter API which requires an application name. I hope that makes sense.

      If at all possible, I’d avoid using a 3rd party app such as Hootsuite or Buffer for updating Facebook. The problem is, that there is some evidence to suggest that posting to Facebook via a 3rd party app affects the visibility of the post. Facebook scores each post using an algorithm called “PageRank”. The higher the score, the more likely it is to appear on your fans news feeds. Some people have seen that posting to Facebook via a 3rd party app gives a lower EdgeRank score. There is some controversy on this one– Facebook suggest it doesn’t affect the score and other say it does.

      Facebook now has a fairly good scheduling tool built in, so you can schedule a whole week’s updates if you like. I know this isn’t as good as using Hootsuite which helps particularly when it comes to managing multiple accounts, but you may get more engagement.

      Hope that helps. Do let me know how you get on.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Just an update– Facebook no longer show the application name when posting from a 3rd party app. That means you’ll no longer be seeing that pesky “via Hootsuite” phrase anymore! I covered this in a recent Seriously Social News podcast — http://iag.me/podcasts/seriously-social-news-podcast-episode-2/

  • Magias

    Hello!

    I just started using Hootsuite for my Twitter and Facebook Fan Page accounts. I tried uploading an image and it shows as an ow.ly link…
    Since I plan to upload many photos, do you recommend a social management tool that can upload a photo to Twitter and my Fan Page from the same place, and make it look like I uploaded them from Facebook and Twitter itself?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi, thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately, the only way to make it look like you have uploaded a photo to Facebook or Twitter, is to actually use Facebook and Twitter to upload the photo. This is because Twitter and Facebook lists the name of the application that you used to upload the photo.

      What is it that you are wanting to do? What are your reasons for not wanting to use Twitter and Facebook themselves?

      • Magias

        Hi Ian!

        Thanks for answering.
        Now, what I want to avoid is having to post my messages twice (once on Facebook, then on Twitter). That’s why I opted for Hootsuite, thinking I would only need to do it once. Which worked fine, until I tried uploading images…

        I’ve found out you can schedule your posts from Facebook itself and have them appear on Twitter as well. However, images appear as a fb link on Twitter.

        All I want is for my followers to be able to click on my tweet and have the image appear automatically with the tweet, instead of having to click on a link that takes them to a website with the image and stuff around it (comment section, publicity, etc).
        Do you know any social management tool or app that can do that, scheduled?

        Thanks in advance!

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Firstly, apologies for the delay– I have been away on holiday.

          I understand what you want now– I think Buffer App will be your friend! http://bufferapp.com/

          Buffer App allows you to schedule your posts and you can use it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and app,net.

          You can use the web app or one of the many mobile apps too.

          To upload a photo you just click on the “upload photo” button in Buffer and it can cross post to Twitter and Facebook. It does it in the way you want– i.e. you can see the photo in Twitter and Facebook. I would definitely check it out.

      • Magias

        Hi Ian!

        Thanks for answering.
        Now, what i want to avoid is having to post my messages twice (once on Facebook, then on Twitter). That’s why I opted for Hootsuite, thinking I would only need to do it once. Which worked fine, until I tried uploading images…

        I’ve found out you can schedule your Facebook statuses from within Facebook itself, and have them appear on Twitter as well. However, images on Twitter appear as a fb link.

        All I want is for my followers to be able to click on my tweet and automatically see the image with the tweet, instead of having to click a link that takes them to another website with the image and stuff around it (comment section, publicity and so on).
        Do you know any social media tool that can do this, scheduled?

        Thanks in advance!

  • http://twitter.com/cristianethiel Cristiane R. Thiel

    Is there any alternatives for good reports? I use Buffer for scheduling, but I miss a good report that I can mail to my clients.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      That is a really good question! So sorry it has taken me so long to respond (I have been away on holiday). It is something that I am looking into at the moment so I will let you know what I find out. Hootsuite has fantastic reports, but they only work for Hootsuite (the owl url shortener) and they affect Facebook Insights a little.

      Have you tried bit.ly? The new bit.ly has some great reports, but I have to admit I have yet to play around fully with this. I am not sure it enables you to email a report to a client. That would be an awesome feature.

      I also use Twenty Feet– http://twentyfeet.com/ which gives you analytics for Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics and bit.ly

      Let me know how you get on.

  • http://blog.hootsuite.com/ DaveO from HootSuite

    Hi Ian and all the commenters,

    Here at HootSuite HQ, we read everything folks say about us and take all feedback seriously and respectfully.

    BTW, i am Dave Olson – @daveohoots – VP Community and worked with HootSuite since the owl was a wee baby. In my role, we use HootSuite all-day/everyday and push it to the limits. In other words, we’re users too and share our feedback with our product-focused colleagues.

    Each time, i start to reply to all the notes, i hardly know where to start so i’ll reply about as much as i can :).

    First off, re-reading the comments and the original post shows me how far we’ve come in a very short time – As such, i’ll share some of the big areas we’ve moved along in the past few months:

    * Analytics — We’ve released new modules and added better integrations with data providers. For me the Google Analytics integration is especially powerful and the Facebook Insights are beautiful. While purchased points are required for advanced reports, most of the popular modules are free and one of the key benefits for the paid reports allow automated creation and distribution – very handy in business world.

    * Auto-scheduling — A recent big release for us and very popular right off the bat — we first added it in the Hootlet and now in the dashboard too.

    * Apps — The app directory now has 20+ tools including Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, Get Sat, Zendesk and many more – all for free. Each of these integrations requires careful relationship building as well as strategic use of the API. And for community wranglers like me, these are a timesaving joy especially the extensions which allow moving social posts to tickets and other channels.

    * Facebook posting — HootSuite is a developer partner with Facebook and have worked closely with them to ensure posts from HootSuite are treated the same as native posts. We see brands using HootSuite for Facebook enjoying thousands of likes, comments etc. so we’re glad to share this real story rather than the inaccurate “research” floating around suggesting the contrary

    * Linkedin — HootSuite was the first 3rd party tool to allow access to Company Pages and now that feature is available to all HootSuite users at no cost plus Linkedin Groups which are very useful for community conversations without relying on visiting each day or email notifications.

    * Google+ — After working with our friends at Google in the (very limited) G+ Pages trial, we are happy to offer this to all users. Indeed, there is no API for Google+ Profiles… yet… so no 3rd party tool has that on offer.

    * UK — We now have a London office and local support to accommodate this important market. We also have Twitter community accounts for 15+ other countries plus many channels for getting help and finding resources from partner programs to biz dev contacts and so on.

    * Support — Our customer service team has significantly increased in size and scope. We now offer 24 X 5 support and while we prioritize tickets Pro and Enterprise customers, all users can expect a timely and helpful response. Plus, we have over 800 help desk articles for self-service and chat options for some questions.

    * URL shorteners — Think you answered this in your updates but additionally, it’s worth noting that there are reasons we prefer to market Ow.ly. Specifically that ow.ly stats are measured differently than others in that each URL shortened is unique (not shared) and only measures “real human clicks” (not ‘bots, spiders, mouseovers).

    Enterprise — Pricing and messaging is always evolving as one size doesn’t fit all. As such, pricing is unpublished but the AEs are friendly types and worth a demo and a convo. Otherwise, we host live Pro webinars several times a week to get more info and questions answered by a real person.

    Get in Touch — Overall, the best place to stay up with everything HootSuite is the blog — HootSource at blog.hootsuite.com. Feature requests are best posted at feedback.hootsuite.com where others can comment and vote your ideas up.

    You can also ping my community wranglers @HootClub or join HootClub group on Facebook. We’re social folks and love what we do so happy to help.

    Again, thanks for your respectful feedback and participating in the HootSuite culture.

    HootOn!

    @daveohoots

    • camilla

      I’m trying the trial version but I am very disappointed
       – The updates are not in real time. The refresh button does not work. When I logout and login nothing have change. No updates of new comments and like.
       – No sound notification on updates (but the updates are not in real time…)
       – If I use the bulk schedule (.csv) I can’t schedule images and if I use a link the preview image does not appear in the post.
       – Reports more interesting are expensive
      Which utility can have this program?

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        Hi Camilla, thanks for your comment. By the trial version, do you mean the free version of Hootsuite?

        The refresh button should work– what browser are you using? Have you contacted Hootsuite support?

        I’m pretty sure Hootsuite doesn’t make sounds when there is a new notification. It won’t really give you notification windows like the way you want. There are various browser plugins that do the same kind of thing, and of course TweetDeck does this quite well.

        You are right about the bulk csv schedule not doing images or preview images. This is one of the points I raised in the article. It isn’t something I think Hootsuite are looking at changing.

        There really isn’t one programme that offers as much as Hootsuite does. You can, however, use a combination of programmes. Try out TweetDeck and browsewr plugins that give you that notification. Decent reports and analytics do tend to cost– but you could try out Twenty Feet which uses bit.ly. As for bulk csv updates, it isn’t something that I tend to do. However You could try SocialOomph and GrabInbox. Also, do check out Buffer which has an awesome scheduling tool (works differently and doesn’t allow uploading of csv files but is really useful)

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Dave,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to this post– it does show that you guys care. I do appreciate that there have been many improvements on Hoosuite since the time I first posted this article– in particular scheduling and Google+ page management. There is no doubt that Hootsuite is one of the most powerful social media management tools out there and it will certainly be the product for the majority of people.

      I’ll have to look into the Analytics again, as when I last looked you could only have 1 Google Analytics report a month. It looks like the price has gone up for Pro users– it used to be around $6, but now it is $10. When did the price go up?

      Thanks for clarifying the Google+ management. It is good news indeed that you are offering Google+ page management to all users. I had mistakenly thought this included Google+ profile management too– I really wish Google would release the API for profiles soon– and I assume you do too!

      I know you take support seriously, and whilst I was a Pro user I was impressed with the help you offered. Providing support isn’t cheap and I expect this is one of the reasons why Pro has gone up and why Enterprise is so expensive.

      As a matter of interest, what type of business is Enterprise geared at? The prices we are looking at are out of most small business budgets, but there is a middle ground that seems to be missing. For example there could be a small business who want a team of people to manage their account but can’t afford Enterprise.

      I hadn’t realised that ow.ly only tracks real human clicks– that is very useful. Still, being locked in to ow.ly (and not being able to track using bit.ly) is a big problem for me. I like to use other services such as IFTTT and Buffer– and this means I have analytics spread across different services. It would be awesome if links shortened within Hootsuite could have the option to be shortened first in to bit.ly ones before being shortned into ow.ly ones. I expect this isn’t something you would consider as you probably want to lock people in to using Hootsuite. You are after all in the business of making money!

      Thanks again for your reply!

      Ian

  • lefteris

    is there anything like hootsuite that can post images? ie when you post an event is there something that can add the thumbnail aswell?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Apologies for the delay in responding. Can you be more specific. Which social network are you trying to post to? Is it Facebook? If so, I’d always recommend posting using Facebook itself– that way you’re EdgeRank score won’t be affected. Also, in my experience, using 3rd party apps for posting images is a little problematic. Buffer App handles posting images fairly well to Facebook, but you can’t use Buffer to create an event.

  • Marita Steffe

    very helpful, I just checked my google analytics and my ratings had dropped. Last month I posted more than ever and more regular on FB Twitter and linkedIn, using hootsuite to schedule my post. I don’t totally understand, but I thought it might have something to with facebook not exactly liking 3rd party services. What do you think?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Marita. That’s a difficult question to answer without seeing the data. I assume you were posting links to your site on FB, Twitter and LinkedIn. Have you checked the analytics in Hootsuite to see how many click throughs there were?

      What was the difference between this month and last month? Were you posting the same number of links, but this month mainly using Hootsuite? If so, then it could be down to your EdgeRank score not being so high. Facebook isn’t supposed to penalise 3rd party apps, but many people thing it does. If it does, then perhaps your Facebook posts weren’t appearing quite as much to your fans. This wouldn’t affect LinkedIn or Twitter though.

  • Mercedes

    Apart from expensive, Hootsuite is having real issues with scheduling posts to Facebook. It seems to schedule them OK, but the posts never actually post on the Facebook page. What other tool with similar features would you recommend?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi. I’ve not had problems with Hootsuite scheduling to a facebook page. You could try Tweetdeck or BufferApp?

  • rod hillen

    I have free hootsuite and love it, but I don’t always want to post through hootsuite. I am finding that when I post a listing from etsy straight from etsy instead of through hootsuite, the image doesn’t automatically appear. This has only happened since I started using hootsuite so I assume there is some code they have embedded in my fb page which indadvertently
    makes it hard to post without hootsuite .

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Can you be more specific in what you are wanting to achieve. Hootsuite should post the image to Twitter and Facebook, but there are occasions when it doesn’t.
      There are lots of tools out there that could help here, such as Buffer and IFTTT.

  • Guest
  • http://socialmarketingfella.com/ Andre Bourque

    Reason #8 — A bug fix that’s gone unresolved for three months and pissed a lot of people off…

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Can you clarify what the issue is? What were you trying to do? It obviously isn’t posting properly.
      —– Reply message —–

      • http://socialmarketingfella.com/ Andre Bourque

        Hi Ian. There’s an ongoing problem with RSS feeds, both supporting multiple profiles, and in general (
        http://help.hootsuite.com/entries/21448213-i-cannot-seem-to-have-an-rss-feed-published-to-more-than-one-social-media-profile-at-a-time ). What’s great about those HootSuite forum comments is it shows lost customers, and the duration of the issue. Interestingly, when I Tweeted about it today, I got a response (attached).

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks for drawing my attention to this. I’m very surprised that Hootsuite hasn’t responded to the thread yet. I’d tweet or contact them again later this week since it has been a weekend and I think it is Labor day in the US today.

  • http://twitter.com/BlueSageNat Blue Sage Naturals

    Yes Dave, I have found this all to be true also. For small businesses, such as mine, BlueSageNaturals.com hootsuite just doesn’t cut it. There are too many restrictions. While using my precious time on Labor Day, I finally came to this conclusion. It truly feels like ‘bait and switch’ with HS.

    Added to that, the way they set up their pricing page, putting the highest on the left side of the page, instead of the lowest AS is done in the USA, that feels like bait and switch too.

    I’m cancelling my Pro account I signed up for a few days ago. Thanks Ian for confirming what I just discovered.

    Just a quick look at dave wilson’s response below, this isn’t ABOUT how far you’ve come, this is about gouging people’s pocketbooks to line yours.

  • kim

    Wow, I have been looking at hootsuite for about 2 months now. Also hoping that the cost would not break the bank. Being a small business.……dollars mattera a lot! well pennies matter a lot.……I must move on. Bit.ly has been a thought and was refered to us by a friend. I dont want to be married to ow.ly. Being locked in to ow.ly’s relationship just to shorten URL’s in our small business, just begining.…… $$$$‘s do matter.
    Great conversation to follow and make educated decisions.
    Keep the talking!!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Kim. I do think Hootsuite is amazingly powerful but the ow.ly lock in is going to be a problem for some people. As a small business Hootsuite’s Pro account ($10 per month) might be fine with you, but it quickly becomes expensive if you add team members. Was the team facility something you needed?

  • Will

    Thank you for the helpful article. While there is a good possibility that a couple of the mentioned reasons come from misinformation that has, through countless channels of the internet, filtered it’s way here, you make some very good points. In particular, about not including a service like bit.ly. Aside from the complications this causes for users already heavily invested in bit.ly, the fact that this decision is based on the idea of creating a potentially very functional service for users but then using it to leverage and block users from using a competitor’s service that is superior in a specific area, and forcing users to use there inferior service if they want a seamless experience. Then charging ridiculous prices for this service as soon as a user is locked in.
    This irritates me because it robs a user’s freedom to select the best service available, and collectively weed out inferior services, a process that naturally occurs online when restrictions are not present. Hootsuite’s manipulative approach to generate revenues is similar to what media conglomerates are doing by lobbying for ridiculous piracy laws instead of adapting their product. Hootsuite would rather create a quick buck than aspire to provide better service for their customers and I think it will come back to bite them.

  • http://twitter.com/RobeGarza Roberto Garza

    god about the vanity urls what would you recommend me, i already have my own domain saym.co for short urls, but i dont know how to use it! i dont know how to get analytics, i dont know how to generate the urls, whilst this does it for me!!!… please tell me which other way to use the short urls with my own domain!!! thanks

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      If you want a vanity URL then I’d recommend using bit.ly as you can do this for free. Hootsuite charges around $50 per month for the privilege. bit.ly discusses here how it works–
      http://support.bitly.com/knowledgebase/articles/76740-what-s-a-custom-short-domain-and-why-do-i-want-on
      and on this page it tells you how to set it up–
      http://support.bitly.com/knowledgebase/articles/76741-how-do-i-set-up-a-custom-short-domain–
      Unfortunately it does require fiddling with DNS, but your host or domain registrar might be able to help here. My website domain name is iag.me so I decided that my url shortener was going to be to.iag.me. That was just a case of adding a CNAME in my domain name registrar’s panel. Once you’ve done this bit.ly does everything else for you.

      If you want to tweet a link using your custom url you can do so via Buffer or Tweetdeck. You’ll have to enter your bit.ly username and API key into the settings. Sorry if that sounds complicated, but it’s not as bad as it sounds!

  • http://twitter.com/abr721 Alyssa Retallick

    Do you have a suggestion on another social media dashboard?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Depends on what you want to do. Hootsuite is absolutely find for replying to tweets and if you can afford it the analytics are great.

      For purely posting to multiple accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) either in real time or scheduled then I’d definitely recommend Buffer.

      I’d highly recommend checking out Commun.it which aims to prioritise your Twitter feed by showing you the core of your community and un-replied statuses and shows you tweets for people who have linked to your website or have mentioned particular keywords. See my recent review and video walkthrough on Commun.it–
      http://iag.me/socialmedia/how-to-build-and-manage-your-twitter-community-with-commun-it/

      There is grabinbox -
      http://www.grabinbox.com/ and if you can get it, the old version of TweetDeck. The new version after being acquired by Twitter is no longer what it was.

      Hope that helps.

  • http://www.otriadmarketing.com/ Christopher Skyi

    My experience with hootsuite.com’s paid bulk uploader in a word? I’m suicidal. It’s a nightmare. OMG. I can’t see paying for this.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Do you care to elaborate?! ;-)

      • http://www.otriadmarketing.com/ Christopher Skyi

        There’s plenty of comments and discussions about this aspect of Hootsuite in their help forum. It is a nightmare and one of the reasons I never moved forward with paid service. Give the level of unhappiness, I can’t for the life of me understand why they’ve never fixed their bulk uploader.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks for the update. I’ve not really been actively looking through the forum as I’ve given up using the bulk uploader. I just don’t have the time to make it work for me. I wonder how many people actually use the bulk updater and when they feel it is worth their while. The question comes down to the whether a substantial number of Enterprise customers use it– as that’s where Hootsuite get their money from!

  • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

    I love HootSuite, but it certainly isn’t without it’s frustrations. I learned a couple things here myself.

    It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of viable low-cost sollutions for small businesses and tiny agencies that cover all the bases. Every system or tool has a “catch”, some monetization scheme that prices the small guys out if they want to take full and proper advantage.

    HootSuite is imperfect but in terms of getting the most for little, it SEEMED to do the best job. The reporting is scary though, because even if 1 report a month IS all you need, it’s kind of misleading… you can only have so many metrics on that report before it costs more than your 50 points per month allotment and the 50 points wouldn’t ever give me what I needed in a 100 years for a client, assuming they use more than just Twitter or just Facebook.

    I’m forever at a loss. I wish I had the skills to code some of my own solutions or that there were some open source initiatives that were worth mentioning.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment.

      I think a lot of the problems stem from the fact that we want a product to be and do everything. Hootsuite seems to be that product but it does (as you say) have catches. Hootsuite is probably the right product for a lot of people, but for me I use a combination of Buffer, Commun.it, Twitter apps and more. It works for me, but it certainly isn’t an all in one solution.
      As for reporting and analytics, I’ve come to the conclusion that Google Analytics is the most powerful. The social media analytics section is just amazing. Unfortunately it doesn’t track Facebook and Twitter very well, but for these I tend to use a combination of Facebook Insights and Commun.it.

  • David L

    There is only one platform that delivers not only the tools you need to post and monitor your brand efficiently but also delivers actionable metrics. Social Office Suite. I am shocked to see how many people think of Hootsuite as a business tool. I think if you compare hootsuite to Social Office Suite its like comparing gmail to outlook. One is built for a person and one is built for business. Delivering a clearly more powerful posting environment and organized monitoring user interface is where they start to pull away. When you look at the analytics suite and how easy it is to navigate the user interface you will quickly realize that @SOS is build for business owners and brand managers by business owners and brand managers. here is a quick look at their deck http://www.sos.me/why

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, David– you don’t work for Social Office Suite do you?! ;-)

      Either way, thanks for mentioning. I haven’t had the chance to look at SOS yet, but grateful for any thoughts in alternatives to Hootsuite.

      I’m not sure I am shocked why so many people use Hootsuite as a business tool. Like I have said many times, Hootsuite may well be the right product for some businesses. In particular it works really well if you are using Twitter for customer service (I am thinking of @OrangeHelpers on Twitter). However in order to use it fully you’d need a big budget to afford the Enterprise plan.

  • William

    Hi there, great article! I’m currently looking for a analytics tool and I hope to get your opinion on this. I need one that does the following:

    1. Comprehensive report, downloadable as CSV. The FB Insights are giving me a headache and I need something a little simpler that I can use and edit on Excel, as we need to compile them monthly for our clients.
    2. Similar to ow.ly, would be great if the tool allows me to create shortlinks that I can customise like yours (to.iag.me).
    3. Ability to monitor fan/follower comments/activities at once, as we also need to deal with customer complaints. A mobile app that does the same is a big plus (iOS/Android).
    4. Pricing — for obvious reasons.

    These are currently my priority in getting a SM tool now. I don’t really care for scheduled postings as I’d rather use Facebook’s own scheduling system, having heard about how third parties may mess with your EdgeRank.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi William, thanks for your comment and some great questions!

      In what way is FB Insights giving you a headache? I personally find Insights (at least the overview report) fairly simple, but I suppose it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to create your own in Excel then you can download your Facebook Insights as a CSV file– just click on the “Export Data” button when you are on the Insights page. For Facebook that might be your best bet as all other reports and analytics tools I’ve seen tend to be a little more complicated.

      I use bit.ly for my url shortener. It gives very detailed statistics, is free and you can even link to other tools for analysis (such as Buffer and Twenty Feet). You can set up a URL shortener fairly easily by adding a CNAME in your DNS for your domain. I can go into more information if you are interested althouth bit.ly have a great help section. The great thing about bit.ly is that you can use your url shortener across multiple apps– Buffer, TweetDeck, etc. With Hootsuite’s ow.ly shortener you are stuck with just Hootsuite and the custom url shortner costs $50 per month.

      In terms of monitoring fan/follower comments/activities that is a harder task. There are many options available but I’m not sure you are going to find an all in one solution. Hootsuite may actually help here since you can add multiple columns with different searches. However there are more powerful tools out there. My recomendation for Twitter would be Commun.it. I wrote a very extensive article on commun.it with a walkthrough video which I’d recommend looking at. Here is the article– http://iag.me/socialmedia/how-to-build-and-manage-your-twitter-community-with-commun-it/

      I also wrote an article on monitoring your brand and website with a few tools– http://iag.me/socialmedia/5-quick-twitter-tips-to-monitor-your-brand-and-website/

      Don’t forget Google Analytics. The new social report is amazingly powerful and allows you to drop into conversations on certain social networks (Google+ for example but not Twitter or Facebook unfortunately)

      I think using Facebook directly for post scheduling is probably best until there can be more clarity on the EdgeRank situation. However I do use Buffer occasionally for this.

      Hope some of that helps. It was a bit of a long answer, but I fear I haven’t done much more than skim the surface!

      • http://www.prolatic.com/ Prolatic Media

        I recently started using hootsuite, yes the free version, and it has increased my company“s productivity drastically. It has a lot of limitations but what the heck it’s free! I’m happy with the options I have. Everything gets posted correctly, tracked etc. I love it

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Great, glad it works for you. I know plenty of people who use Hootsuite without any issues, and you’re right– the free version is…well…free!

          I’d love it if Hootsuite would fix the issues I’ve raised, but perhaps it’s not in their interests to do so. However, if you’re not fussed about analytics and url shorteners then Hootsuite is probably going to be the right solution for you.

  • @Bernardamus

    Great article, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Currently Hootsuite is offering the Premium license for just 9.99 $ and I could not really track the final price for the Enterprise license. Is it still in the range of 1000 $ monthly? It looks like from the “9.99 $” version you already get everything from workflow, engagement, reports, insights etc. Any clue?
    Thanks
    @Bernardamus

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment.
      When I signed up for Hootsuite Pro I paid $5.99 but it looks like it has gone up to $9.99 now.

      Hootsuite are quite secretive about the Enterprise price. The truth is that I don’t know what the current cost is, but it is likely to be around the same or perhaps more. I have a feeling that they’ll work closely with each company to come up with a pricing structure that works for them.

      Be aware that you’ll be forced to move to Enterprise when you reach a certain threshold of users– see the other comments about this.

      The Pro version probably gives you most of what you need. The Enterprise version does give some cool stuff like security features and advanced team management. If you don’t have many team members within Hootsuite then you’ll probably not need Enterprise. If you are using Twitter for customer service and have a lot of team members (and a big enough budget) then Enterprise is a really awesome product for you.

      • http://alphaefficiency.com/ Bojan Djordjevic

        Did I keep the price as the old customer? Since they are still charging me 6$

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Sorry, I meant $5.99. I signed up as a Pro user over a year back, and then went back to free membership. I upgraded again a month back and have been charged at the old rate– $5.99. It looks new customers have to pay $9.99 per month. This means Buffer’s Awesome Plan and Hootsuite’s Pro plan are almost the same (well there’s 1c difference!) Buffer also has a free plan which is probably fine if all you need to manage is 1 Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

  • gpolice

    a drop in the visablity of Facebook page posts”

  • http://loneprairie.net/ Julie R. Neidlinger

    Hi Ian,

    I enjoyed your article; I used Hootsuite for almost a year but became frustrated with it because I found it increasingly difficult to manage all the social media streams. I’m now working at Todaymade and using their social media dashboard TodayLaunch to manage several social media accounts. I like the simplicity of it, and that you can archive posts you’ve read and responded to, as well as publish, schedule and queue easily to multiple accounts. It works kind of like an email inbox. It’s a pretty good (and affordable) alternative to Hootsuite for some users.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for letting us know about TodayLaunch. It’s not something I’ve come across before. I see from the website that you are the copywriter– sounds like a good job.

      It would be useful if there was a comparison (perhaps a chart) between your product and Hootsuite. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on the TodayLaunch website. I’m sure it works for you (especially since it is the product for the company you work for!) but I like to have a bit more to chew on before I sign up for a product. Can you help me out?

      • http://loneprairie.net/ Julie R. Neidlinger

        Actually, we’re launching a pretty cool update next week, and with that, we’ll have a comparison chart to HootSuite! I think you’ll find it pretty helpful. I’m excited to use the updated version myself, in my own social media. Want me to give you a heads-up when we get the new page and update live?

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks, Julie. Let me know when it’s up and running– it might be helpful for us to see how it compares to Hootsuite and other SMMTs.

          • http://loneprairie.net/ Julie R. Neidlinger

            Hi Ian. We are launching the new version today, and we have a chart available that offers a comparison between TodayLaunch and HootSuite as well as providing information about other features. http://todaylaunch.com

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Thanks for the heads up. I’ve emailed you with a few questions/points.

  • http://alphaefficiency.com/ Bojan Djordjevic

    But I still love it for the simplicity of the tool and integration of everything. Call me a dummy, but Buffer app doesn’t offer me nearly as much as HootSuite pro (and is more expensive). I have my team of two, me and my virtual assistant, and I have tight control, and I can set goals in the app itself. Now let’s not mention that I am using mobile Hootsuite clients, that are a breeze and save my life.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Bojan, You make a valid point, there definitely is simplicity in a tool that tries to do everything. That’s why I still have a Hootsuite Pro account myself and use it occasionally. BufferApp doesn’t try to do everything that Hootsuite does, but I do think that BufferApp is much better than Hootsuite in the area that it does.

      If you are a small business and only need a team of two and you are happy not to worry about url shorteners or analytics then Hootsuite is absolutely the best tool for you. Unfortunately for me I do rely on decent analytics across multiple platforms and although I don’t need a custom url shortener I do rather like it.

      As for mobile apps, I can see why using the Hootsuite mobile app would be useful in that it helps you manage multiple channels, I really wish they would improve them. I know I am not the only one that finds the Hootsuite mobile apps quite a bad user experience. Having said that the Buffer one isn’t much better!

      • http://twitter.com/tommoor Tom Moor

        We’re working on awesome new apps for iPhone and Android, can’t wait to get them out to you!

        Thanks for the many positive mentions, we’re doing everything we can to be the best way to share.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks, Tom.

          Yes, I am aware you’re working on new versions and I like you can’t wait for them to be released. The current Android app isn’t too bad– it certainly works well for me, it’s just a little slow and occasionally crashes. It would also be helpful if you could provide a way to distinguish between social channels that have the same picture on it. I have the same photo on two Facebook pages and it gets confusing!

          I’ll be writing an article on Buffer at some point soon!

        • Paul

          Allow more than ten profiles per customer and you’ll get a helluva lot more revenue.

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Buffer used to have an Ultimate plan where you paid $99 per month for unlimited. They decided to get rid of the plan at the time which is a shame, although for me it was great as they introduced the awesome plan. It strikes me that Buffer aren’t really aiming at the Enterprise market– so in a way Hootsuite doesn’t seem to be a competitor. Have you tried the likes of Commun.it? They do offer more than 10 profiles, although they only allow Twitter for now.

  • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    Hi Ian,

    Great overview, and love the non-partisan approach to what’s great and what isn’t so great.

    I’m very biased, but I’d love to offer you a look and demo of our platform, Jugnoo. We’re currently in open beta, but already the likes of Huffington Post have called us “far more powerful than Hootsuite.”

    As well as a social dashboard, we offer social analytics, social monitoring, video marketing tools (think Animoto), social hub (Pinterest on steroids), social teams, web analytics, a very cool visual data tool and much, much more.

    The best part? Our pricing — you can check it out here:

    http://www.jugnoo.com/pricing/

    As you can see, we don’t leave all the good stuff just for Enterprise users…

    Like I say, would love for either you or your readers to check us out, and i can be reached directly at dbrown@jugnoo.com.

    Have a great weekend!

    Danny Brown
    VP, Partner Strategy
    Jugnoo.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Sorry for missing your comment. I am sure you are very biased, but that’s ok– it’s good to hear about other products too. I will try and have a look at some point!

    • Paul

      You’re off to a bad start, Danny, by posting a dead link.

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        To be fair to Danny, he did post this 7 months ago so they’ll have changed their website since then. It does remind me that I never replied to Danny’s original comment– how rude of me! Sorry about that. How are things going at Jugnoo?

        • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

          Hi Ian,

          No worries mate, this was a well discussed post so not surprised I got lost in the shuffle. :)

          I moved on from Jugnoo in December 2012, but I believe they’ve changed focus now and concentrating on enterprise-level markets.

      • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

        This must be the most delayed response to a comment I’ve seen ;-)

        As Ian mentions in his reply, this was 7 months ago and the company (I left in December) has changed site structure since then.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Yes, the delay was pretty impressive but like you say this post has rather a lot of comments so it’s easy to get lost!
          Are you up to anything exciting, Danny? Perhaps another Hootsuite alternative? Everyone seems to be going down the enterprise route– we could do with a good alternative to Hootsuite free and pro.

  • LeoWid

    Thanks for the insightful post and for the awesome Buffer shout out Ian!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      No problem. I’ll be writing a follow on to this post at some point soon with more positive reasons to use Hootsuite, but as you know I’m a huge Buffer fan and couldn’t do without it. The fact that you have bit.ly intergration which allows custom url shorteners is a huge bonus. I also love the simplicity and flexibility of it. At some point I really should get on with writing a post on Buffer!

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  • Josh

    Hey just came across this and found it very accurate. There is a new tool out there called “Blurtster” http://www.blurtster.com, and I find it way better than Hootsuite. It has a lot more features and there are no hidden ‘report’ fees. I suggest you give it a try. Thanks!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment.Do you work for Blurster then? I don’t have a problem if you do– I like to hear about other tools. I’ll have a look when I get the time. At first glance the Pro costs start at double the cost of Hootsuite’s– but perhaps you get more for your money?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jaredloftus Jared Loftus

    My company used to use Hootsuite to schedule everything. In the last couple of weeks, we started noticing that our posts from Hootsuite weren’t getting the traction that our posts made directly from Facebook were getting. We’ve seen a noticeable difference and are now solely using Facebook. Hootsuite is still great for Twitter, though.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      So sorry I missed your comment– not sure what happened! What you say is really interesting. There is still not clarity on whether the Facebook EdgeRank score is affected by posting via a 3rd party app. Facebook deny this, but a lot of people do notice a difference. My view is that it’s usually better to post via Facebook. I think Hootsuite is a great product for Twitter– particularly if you are using it for customer service as part of a team.

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  • http://blog.tianakai.com/ Tiana Kai

    What irks me the most is the auto ow.ly shortener. This leaves me to upload images separately without scheduling them via instagram or directly on twitter.com. Analytics is not that important to me yet, since I use google analytics to track basic numbers on my blog, but will probably look into a better twitter tracking system when I see that I’m getting increased traffic and subscribers.

    Thanks for these points. It really helps because I have mainly read articles on how wonderful Hootsuite is, but I knew there was a catch, and you expressed them nicely.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      As you will know, I am no fan of the ow.ly fan either. Thanks for your comment. If analytics or custom url shorteners aren’t that important to you, then you could always use Hootsuite for posting updates and use another service for uploading images?

  • http://twitter.com/blurtmatt Matthew James

    Great article! Most of what I see online are people saying good things about Hootsuite and none of their flaws! It’s good to see both sides to it! :) Also. Have you heard of Blurtster.com ? It’s pretty cool!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment. Hootsuite is great in many ways, but it isn’t perfect. I’ve heard of Blurster but not really used it. Have you? From what I have read and the little I have played with it, it looks different to Hootsuite but has some similarities.

  • Tammy Jones

    Also try http://www.AzulSocial.com — it’s a bitly integrated dashboard that allows users to bulk schedule up to 600 posts

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks Tammy for the heads up.

  • Jvan999

    I signed up for HS a little over a month ago & gave the trial pro a go. Unfortunatelt, I didn’t cancel in time and got dinged the $9.99 monthly charge. THAT won’t happen again.

    It’s not that it’s a bad product, it’s just not worth it with the free competition out there. Plus, any company that charges $22/mo to train paying users on use of the software.…‘Nuff said.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment. I feel your pain, I think the same happened to me once. That’s really what the free trial is about– to give you a free play with it– but I guess they are in no rush to warn you about the first payment. I am paying $5.99 for Pro at the moment (even though I hardly use Hootsuite). It’s kind of my job to keep on top of developments in Hootsuite so that’s why I continue to pay.

      There are some alternatives out there, but none are quite as comprehensive as Hootsuite in my opinion. Unfortunately the points I made in this article continue to stop me from using Hootsuite personally.

      Don’t get me started on Hootsuite University. The support videos are good, and I quite like the idea of being Hootsuite certified– but to have to pay a monthly fee for the privilege?

  • Scarlet

    Hi Ian,

    Just read your article…and found it very very useful and informative.…thanks a ton for sharing this piece.

    Also read some of the comments. But the more I read, the more I am getting confused! :-(

    I have been using the Hootsuite free version for twitter updates. But would want to settle with one (free or relatively inexpensive) tool…that allows multiple streams, can give me detailed analytics even if I use any other url shortner and doesn’t add its tag/footer below updates on various channels. Please suggest.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I’ve been blown away by the number of comments for this article, but I am sorry that this has left you more confused. I think the problem is that everyone has different ways of working.

      Hootsuite does many of the things you want, however it’s not going to give you detailed statistics in the free version. There are a few other options open to you. You could use TweetDeck, GrabInbox and Buffer and integrate all of these with the url shortener bit.ly. bit.ly gives you very detailed statistics and you can even connect it with 3rd party analytics tools such as TwentyFeet if you want more power.

      I’m not sure what you mean by the url shortener not adding “its tag/footer below updates on various channels” Could you explain?

      • Scarlet

        Thanks a lot for the prompt response. Did find your reply extremely useful…will have to try the tools that you suggested.

        As of now, I use the buzzlink feature by Leadformix for shortening urls (with the intent of better tracking). But these urls if used with Hootsuite can not be tracked so will have to evaluate other tools..

        Will check on the footer problem that I face sometimes with these tools and will get back to you in case of any doubts :-)

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Not come across Leadformix before. I don’t know how it works, but could you add the shortened url to Hootsuite? That way you could track it on Hootsuite and Leadformix. A real pain but it might be helpful.

  • Former HootSuite User

    Ability to see WHO retweeted your tweet not just the number of retweets per tweet. I personally hate the aesthetics as well. The grayish color hurts my eyes and make it uncomfortable to read. I find myself logging back into Twitter to read my clients news feeds, which is double work. I now use Argyle Social and love it.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment. Having the ability to see who has retweeted your tweet is very important information in my mind– it is a way to see who your community members are. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a massive job for the Hootsuite guys to do– have you asked them?
      I use Commun.it for this kind of thing– it helps me keep on track of who is mentioning and sharing my links.

      I personally don’t have an issue with the way Hootsuite looks, but it’s a personal thing I suppose. It would be useful if you could customise the look and feel.

      Not tried Argyle Social yet– what in particular do you like about it? How does it compare with Hootsuite?

  • http://twitter.com/pamscape Pam

    Thanks for the information about hootsuite, your article is full of information for those of us that don’t follow this information as closely as we should. I was just rethinking my strategy and I actually still have the tweetdeck Adobe air version, hoping it will still work with all the other updates on our pc. Guess I’ll be holding on to it a few more days till I can check it out. I never realized there were so many options but you pointed me in the right direction for my change of programs.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Pam– thanks for your comment and glad my article was helpful.

      I also use the Adobe Air version of TweetDeck. I think you can still download it although it isn’t supported any more. Have you tried the web version of TweetDeck? It’s not as powerful but it does have the advantage of enabling you to work wherever.

      What are you looking to do? Do you have a team or is it one person who manages your social networks?

  • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

    FAO– Rachel who left a voicemail regarding this article.

    Thanks for your message. Rachel was saying that she had read somewhere that there were issues when upgrading from the free version of Hootsuite to the pro version. Apparently there were reports that when you upgraded, settings were lost and you had to reset passwords and settings.

    I’ve not been able to find out anything about this and haven’t seen any reports. I’ve frequently upgraded and downgraded between the free and pro versions without any issues. I don’t think you should have any issues, but if you did, the best place to go would be Hootsuite support. As a paying customer they are there to sort you out. If you can give me more information I can look into this further.

    Thanks!

  • Chris Ratchford

    I provide scheduled Facebook posts for a number of clients on a monthly basis. Currently I use Hootsuite, but I’m not a big fan of how they add their branding to each post.

    Are there any other options out there that allow scheduling of bulk posts to multiple FB and G+ accounts?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      The branding you are referring to is the application name– Facebook displays this for every 3rd party app used to update Facebook. Usually I’d recommend posting directly via Facebook– it gives you scheduling options, has the possibility of a higher EdgeRank score (so some people say) and there are other options such as audience targetting coming that Hootsuite won’t be able to offer. However, I completely understand the reasoning behind using an app like Hootsuite because it saves time. Hootsuite is probably the best tool to update business G+ pages, but I’d use Buffer for Twitter or Facebook.

  • Guest

    Whn I see Hootsuite being used on Facebook by othher businesses I feel that they are not really engaged in dialogue — that it is all pre-streamed for convenience. My impression for small businesses is that it de-personalises the message too much

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think this is a wider issue not just related to Hootsuite. If businesses are just using social channels either with Hootsuite or another app as a one-way communication then they are missing out on the point of social media.

  • Sarah

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for this post. I use Hootsuite every day! But I’m wondering if you could recommend an alternative for the facebook image issue. I am trying to schedule my social media ahead of time, and finding that Hootsuite will not post the image with posts that are not live yet. I schedule posts through blogger at the moment (moving to WP soon, thank goodness) and I can not use Hootsuite for links that are not live yet. I’d love a free alternative if you have one.

    Thank You,
    Sarah

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Sarah and thanks for your comment. Hootsuite is great for some things but I really wouldn’t recommend it for posting to Facebook for some of the reasons I posted above. Facebook introduced scheduling for pages some time back and although it doesn’t allow bulk post scheduling I do think it is the way to go. That way you get the layout you want with thumbnail, and you can even mention other people in the post (something you can’t do on Hootsuite). I wrote about this on another post– http://iag.me/socialmedia/guides/facebook-pages-new-features-introduction-to-roles-scheduled-posts/

      For me personally, I use Buffer App for cross posting to Twitter accounts and my LinkedIn account and then I go on to Facebook and Google+ and post manually. However, if you’re used to Hootsuite then do continue to use it for posting to Twitter– it’s great for that.

      Does that help? Let me know how you get on!

  • http://www.csrwinwin.com/ KALarsen

    Hi. I’ve just started testing hootsuite as I wanted to get into scheduling. As I’ve tried testing posting a tweet though, I’m annoyed that it doesn’t, like the twitter app, notice users and help me confirm I have their address right, e.g. I type @KatieAL and it seems to type it only as text rather than helping me choose the correct one.
    Same for key words (although please correct me if I have this wrong?). I find the twitter app much more useful to know what keywords are the right version to reach people interested in what I’m talking about e.g. if I type #eco-fashion or #ecofashion the twitter app highlights the one which seems to be in use? I believe many of my followers follow my twitter account due to their interest in my posts of articles on solutions to climate change, environmental challenges, etc, so its important to me to use the terminology most helpful to them.
    Thanks for any tips!
    And very useful to know about the facebook points for posting at a later date.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Katie,

      Thanks for your comment. I think you’re right that Hootsuite doesn’t have an auto-correct feature like Twitter and I can understand your frustrations here. Have you mentioned this to Hootsuite themselves? I know they do read the comments here, so hopefully they’ll look at it as a possibility. However I’m pretty sure it would be a difficult feature to add.

      With regards to hashtags, I assume you are talking about when you use the Twitter search box? Twitter gives you suggestions as soon as you start typing in the search box and this is very helpful. Again perhaps this is something Hootsuite could add.

      The advantage of Hootsuite over using the Twitter website is that you can manage multiple social accounts (multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook etc) from one dashboard. You can’t easily do that on the Twitter website.

      Personally, I use different apps for different things. For scheduling, I highly recommend Buffer which posts things out at the optimum times throughout the day. For replying to people and organising/managing your Twitter community I use Commun.it. You can also monitor keywords and phrases and links to your website as well as getting weekly reports– see my guide on using this– http://iag.me/socialmedia/how-to-build-and-manage-your-twitter-community-with-commun-it/

      The advantage of using those tools is that you can intergrate them with bit.ly. Unfortunately you can only use the owly url shortener with Hootsuite which means tracking is difficult. It’s important to see which of your posts generated the most traffic. Keep track of Facebook Insights and your bit.ly or ow.ly stats to see how you are doing

      For posting at a later date on Facebook pages, I would recommend doing this on Facebook itself. You know have a scheduling tool which allows you to do this. See http://iag.me/socialmedia/11-new-and-old-facebook-features-you-may-have-missed/

      Is that any help?

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  • Phil

    Tried to use Hootsuite– never could get it to set up a Twitter account, I Authorize Hootsuite to access my Twitter acount and get to the Upgrade Screen and the software just bounces back to the Authorized screen. Tried Googling the problem but the results lead to Hootsuite help pages that “no longer exist”. I’m still looking for scheduling software: Tweetdeck as limited capabilities, ScheduleTweet works but is difficult to get it running without Apache errors.…..

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      That’s weird. I have had authentication problems with some apps and Twitter before. I ended up getting it working by trying a different browser or refreshing my internet cache. Did you contact Hootsuite support? A shame it didn’t work out for you. Never used ScheduleTweet, have you thought about BufferApp– that works really well for me. There are other more geeky ways like connecting a Google Calendar to Twitter using IFTTT, but that might be over doing it. Let me know what you think!

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  • Allen Edwards

    The reason I found this article is because I went to google and typed in “How to improve Hootsuite post results”. Why am I doing this search? Because I don’t get the Facebook feedback that I used to before using Hootsuite. I’ve been using Hootsuite for about two years. I’m paying $9.99 per month and have my multiple Facebook & Twitter accounts linked to it. I have a total of 25,000 “friends”, “followers”, “fans”, etc linked to it. I post several times a day. Comments on feedback are almost non-existant. If I post directly to Facebook / Twitter, I get more feedback. So now I’m hearing that Facebook is trying to avoid third party apps like Hootsuite. Is this true? If so, is posting directly to Facebook the only option?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment, Allen. Glad you found the article and I hope it kind of helped you.

      The problem with regards to Facebook and 3rd party apps is that we just don’t know. Hootsuite and Facebook both seem to be denying any penalty in EdgeRank score in using a 3rd party app. To be honest I haven’t done extensive testing and I’ve heard reports both ways.

      I presume you are posting separate updates to Facebook and Twitter? Even so, there shouldn’t be any difference between engagement on Twitter using Hootsuite or Twitter itself. Facebook, however is a different case. Facebook no longer attaches the name of the 3rd party app to each post– so you will no longer see “via Hootsuite”, however the jury is out as to whether the EdgeRank score is affected by using Hootsuite. It sounds like you’ve already done some testing, but I would recommend trying some more– particularly with Facebook. I’d be very surprised if Twitter was affected by using a 3rd party app. I’ve used Buffer, Commun.it. Hootsuite, TweetDeck and more to post to Twitter without any issues.

      I do find posting directly on Facebook seems to give me the best results. If you can try and do that I would recommend. It’s actually quite easy to do and you know have decent scheduling options built in now.

      I would love to know how you get on.

  • http://www.destination360.com/ Destination360

    My issue that is that on some platforms likes Google+ and instances you will still see the “via Hootsuite” branding. My audience would place less trust in us if they think we are just spamming our material out vs. hand crafted mom and pop conversations. Its looks too commercial.

    example: 1:05 PM -
    HootSuite  —  Public

    If I’m paying for your service i shouldn’t be giving Hootsuite free branding. On the free version that’s a different story brand all you want..

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I know what you mean with the application name (i.e. “via Hootsuite”). It’s not common on Google+ since there are very few apps that post to Google+ pages as of yet. I certainly wouldn’t use Hootsuite to post all the time to Google+, but it could be a quick way to get a message out. I suppose I see it as a quick way to cross-post to multiple networks, but I’d only use it in rare occasions as I think posting specifically to each social network is a better way to go, even if it is more time consuming. I know what you mean by having an issue with effectively paying for a service that gives free branding to itself every time you post. However Hootsuite does have a free service and its not really Hootsuite’s fault. Google are the ones that choose to include the app name when a post is posted via a 3rd party app. The interesting thing here is that both Twitter and Facebook have stopped posting the application name. I wonder whether Google will stop giving this information over at some point too?

  • Helen

    Hi Ian,

    is there an alternative for Hootsuite Enterprise if you need a collaborative tool where some team members can draft posts while others need to approve before the posts goes out?

    Best & nice weekend

    Helen

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Helen. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. By an alternative to Hootsuite Enterprise I assume you still mean a premium service. There are no free tools out there that do the same as Hootsuite Enterprise. One tool you could check out is Sprout Social. I plan to write an extensive review on Sprout Social as it looks very impressive. They have a drafts feature and you can find out more in this article– http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2013/02/facebook-post-drafts/ Unfortunately they are still very expensive as it seems that the team option is only available with their most expensive option which is $99/user/month.

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  • LeeH

    Your blog post would have more authority if there weren’t so many grammatical errors, i.e. “It’s” when it should be “its” and “bare in mind” (it’s “bear in mind.”)

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Dave for your comment. You’re quite right about the it’s/its mistake! Correct spelling and grammar are very important to me it annoys me greatly when apostrophes are used incorrectly. Although I may be very very mildly dyslexic (not trying to excuse) I do try my hardest to check things, but it is easy to miss the odd one. Thanks for pointing it out.

      I’m not quite sure why you say there are “so many grammatical errors” though– I could only see one misuse of “it’s” in the phrase “before Twitter got it’s hands on it” (which has been crossed out since the Adobe Air app is being discontinued).

      As for the “bare in mind” misspelling– you’re right again although there are plenty of articles written on the web saying that they are interchangeable . However the word “bare” has more to do with a lack of clothes than “bearing” the weight of something which I’m sure “bear in mind” really refers to!

      Although correct spelling and grammar are very important, and I greatly apologise for the odd mistake, I don’t (or at least hope) it doesn’t spoil the authority or usefulness of the post. Please do let me know if I make any more mistakes– nothing quite like a pit of crowd-sourcing! ;-)

  • Freddy

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been trying out the PRO trial of hootsuite service and not really happy at all. They seem to advertise themselves, or one of their products/services whenever I post something to Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Why should a paying customer be giving them free advertising ? Not good business practice. Hopefully a better game arrives in town.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by advertising themselves. You might be referring to the app name that is displayed on Facebook when a 3rd party app is used to post. Twitter no longer show this name on their app but some other Twitter apps do show the “via Hootsuite” message. It’s not actually Hootsuite’s fault that this is displayed– Google, Facebook and Twitter show this information under certain circumstances.

  • http://www.facebook.com/niels.bramsen Niels Bramsen

    Hey, you don’t mention http://www.twitonomy.com at all. I find it fabulous. Any comments, comparison to Hootsuite?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      That’s because I have never heard of it before. There are so many tools out there– I can’t mention all of them. Twitonomy doesn’t look like a Hootsuite alternative. What do you find it useful for?

  • Marco

    Is there any alternative to Hootsuite when it comes to having multiple people posting on a Facebook page with limited (geo-fenced) profiles? As an admin of a multiple languages FB page, I cannot risk having the portuguese admin making a mistake and posting to all fans in all languages… I haven’t found any alternative option yet.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      That’s a great question! Unfortunately I don’t think there is an option for this yet. Is there a particular reason why you wouldn’t want to use Facebook itself to post to the page? Facebook now has some great admin options so you can spread the load to many people whilst only giving them the permissions you want to give them. When you are talking about a multiple language FB page– is this one Facebook page but with different geographic locations? To be honest I haven’t played with this feature myself as I don’t manage a page that would need this feature. Facebook could do with adding geolocation as one the permissions so you could allocate a particular location to an admin. Anyone else have any ideas?

      • Marco

        Indeed, geolocation permissions would be neat. But mostly, language permissions would avoid major problems with an entry in the wrong language potentially being sent to thousands of people — that’s the reason for my question. Facebook does not provide profiles limited to certain languages, and you cannot expect several persons to be 100% reliable when posting, it is easy to miss the target option. Hootsuite is the first tool I see providing fenced profiles, I am sure — and hopeful — it is not the only one out there as it requires an Entreprise account for this feature.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Well it wouldn’t harm contacting FB about this but I wouldn’t expect an answer any time soon. I hadn’t realised about Hootsuite’s fenced profiles– something I’ll have to look into, although I don’t have an Enterprise account. In fact it’s the kind of thing I think Hootsuite does really well. Enterprise is super expensive, but it’s well within the budget of most of the businesses wanting to use these kind of features I would have thought.

          When you say FB does not provide profiles limited to certain languages, what do you mean? Do you mean people’s personal FB profiles? If so, why does that matter for your situation? Were you looking for a way of blocking people who have a personal profile in a certain language?

          How often is the FB page updated? Another option with the likes of Hootsuite and SproutSocial is to have everything checked/moderated before it goes out. A moderator/admin in Hootsuite/Sprout Social could just check that everything is as it should be and post it. A double check from someone else is always a good idea if you can make it work.

          The whole language/location on social media is so important– it reminds me of StarbucksIE (republic of Ireland) asking its followers what makes them proud to be British! See no. 13– http://iag.me/socialmedia/12-social-media-marketing-techniques-to-avoid/

          • Marco

            I meant FB Admin roles should be expanded, for instance having Moderators that can reply or post only with a certain targeted language, hence avoiding the german moderator accidentally posting in all languages. But thanks a lot, I did not think of doing it through double-check, which should prevent most — if not all — mistakes. Cheers

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Glad I could help a little. At least with Facebook you can do a lot more natively as a team than you can do with Twitter. Managing Twitter as a team is a nightmare because it forces you to share your password which is never a good idea. At least you can use a tool such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite or SproutSocial to help. The only problem with the double check option on Hootsuite and other SMMTs is that it’s going to give that person more work to do. Still, I do think it’s worth it as the clean up after posting to the wrong location will be far more time consuming and troublesome. Let me know how you get on.

  • Lorena

    Hi Ian, We are students of social media and we are working in a project based on Hootsuite. We have many questions about the program but there is one specially interest for us. We have 18 accounts to manage but they are managed by different teams, so one team manage its profile of Facebook and Twitter. Our problem is that we want to have like a big account of hootsuite with all these small teams work in the same account. so, is there any option we could have this account but differents admins to the facebook and twitter account? because when you put all the column, we have too many and it is dificult for teams to manage them.

    Morever, we have another question. We are working with the pro version and we saw you could get ilimited reports but we read some blogs that said you must pay for the needs you want a report. For example, i could get a report each day i want but with the pro version i just have 50 points and with this 50 points you only could analyse 2 features. My question is if with the version pro, I could analyse everything i want (for 199$ year) or I would have to pay each feature I want.

    Thank you in advance,

    Lorena &Dani

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks Lorena and Dani for your comment. I was wondering if you could clarify a few things. When you say you have 18 accounts that you manage do you mean 18 social networks? Is the 18 accounts including Facebook and Twitter? In Hootsuite you don’t have to add all your social networks to one page (or tab) you can group the different groups on to different tabs. Say one of your teams wants to manage it’s Facebook and Twitter account then you can put these streams on one tab. Another team can put their Facebook and Twitter account on their tab. That will help organise things a little easier.

      One thing I wasn’t quite sure about was whether you were all logging into the same Hootsuite account as the same user? With the Pro account you can have up to 2 team members (each with a different email address and password). You could all log in as the same user but that may create issues. You could allocate each team a different team account but do remember Hootsuite’s pricing structure which gets more expensive which each team member you add. Thankfully Hootsuite have recently reduced their prices so that’s good news. Unfortunately if you need more than 10 team members you will have to upgrade to Enterprise. While Enterprise is very expensive (could be up to $1499 per month) it does give you some great features to help manage your Hootsuite as a team. You can have an administrator or administrators who can help manage the account and be able to delegate replies to tweets amongst teams. There are also enhanced security features.

      As for your question on reports, it seams Hootsuite have changed things since I last looked at it. The cost of a report has come down to $37.99 but I don’t know if this covers all of them and how many points you get for this. I am waiting to hear back from Hootsuite on this one. Once I hear back I will let you know. Thanks!

      • Lorena

        I replied you yesterday night and i think the message has not been sending so I will try later on ;)

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Hi Lorena, did you reply in the comments or some other way? Your comment didn’t come through if you did leave one and there aren’t any in the spam folder. Could you try again?

  • Paul

    There’s a recurring theme every time I read anything about Hootsuite: their petty refusal to allow bit.ly integration, and to extort everyone into ow.ly. It’s based upon a fictional belief that the shortener domain itself (when visited without an extension) can drive traffic to the site for winning new paid Hootsuite customers. Also, again, the stubbornness is probably just the result of a petty dispute, internally and/or externally.

    It’s so obvious by now that Hootsuite/Alan Blair Beaton just need to suck it up and concede the thing that literally every single discussion about Hootsuite basically boils down to, without any exceptions: stop imposing ow.ly. $50 per month as an additional charge, merely to stop that, is basically a big F-you to the majority of your customer base.

    The only reason I came here, investigating options, is that TweetDeck finally murdered its own business (or to be specific, Twitter who acquired TweetDeck had a nefarious long-term objective to kill off Facebook integration as of May 5). HootSuite has a brief window of opportunity to inherit all those TweetDeck customers if they offer the thing that kept us loyal to TweetDeck: not having to use ow.ly, and not having to pay an additional $50 per month to fund HootSuite’s petty refusal to allow custom shorteners. Don’t be stupid! Grab the money while it’s hot.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      (EDIT I got the prices wrong in this comment because I was looking at the prices in pounds thinking they were dollars before I realised Hootsuite had introduced prices in other currencies)

      Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. I see you feel very strongly about this. When it comes to Hootsuite’s refusal to integrate bit.ly I couldn’t agree more. To be honest if Hootsuite added bit.ly it would stop most of the barriers in the way of me and many others using Hootsuite and becoming their biggest advocates. It’s not just the $37.99 per month price for the custom url shortener that is silly (you may have noticed they’ve very kindly reduced the cost per month for this down from $50 to £37.99) it’s the fact that we’re locked into using ow.ly basically rendering the analytics useless unless you use Hootsuite for managing everything.

      I’ve yet to hear from Hootsuite why they don’t want anything other than ow.ly. I am sure they will say that ow.ly is central to their business model, but my feeling is that if they allowed bit.ly they would increase their business a huge amount.

      • Paul

        I quite agree, Ian, hence my allegation that it’s a petty internal and/or external stubbornness rather than solid business thinking. There is a semi-official, evasive answer that I’ve seen spring up on their forums from actual HootSuite employees: it’s a curt, “why would we integrate with our competition?” And of course, they’re free to refuse as a private business (obviously). Yet as you point out, they’re poisoning their profits as people continue to stay away from them on this basis (myself included).

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Have you had much correspondence with Hootsuite then?

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        Hootsuite have now introduced prices in other currencies. I was viewing the prices in pounds thinking they were dollars. So the prices haven’t actually gone down although Hoostuite now offer a discount if you pay yearly. Unfortunately UK customers will end up paying more because the prices in pounds when converted to dollars are quite a bit more.

  • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

    Hootsuite are now offering discounts if you pay yearly, so instead of $9.99 per month you effectively get it for $8.99 per month. They are also offering different currencies (for example UK customers now pay in pounds). Unfortunately this means you have to pay quite a bit more money if you want to do this– not that you have much of a choice– Hootsuite detects where you are located by checking your IP address. I have updated the article accordingly.

  • JadedKittyKimiko

    With Twitter putting the end to tweetdeck this week, do you have an recommendations besides Hootsuite for something that will do all the things tweetdeck does?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Very good question– it seems all the free alternatives to Hootsuite are dying a death. I plan on doing a follow up to this post with more research into the best social media management tools. Although there are some great tools out there that I use such as Buffer and Commun.it, I haven’t found something that does everything that Hootsuite does for free. It is a big shame since Hootsuite could make it all better by sorting out the issues raised in this post– particularly with regards to the ow.ly url shortener. I will be doing some more research on this for a follow up post.

    • Paul

      I like how you put it: “Twitter putting the end to Tweetdeck.” They wouldn’t say so, but yes, by killing Facebook integration, they killed Tweetdeck altogether!

  • Sharon A Lavy

    I am so sick of Hoot Suit coming up every time I try to answer an email through the person’s @name such as to thank them for a RT. This is only on my Google chrome toolbar, which is my favorite. I did disallow hootsuit to access my twitter account, but still get sent to Hoot Suit from my email.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Sharon, thanks for your comment. I don’t quite follow you– could you explain what you are trying to do step by step? Are you trying to thank them on Twitter when they mention you or RT you? If so, if you are using Hootsuite (or indeed Twitter) you should just be able to reply to them.

  • Mark from Sendible

    Hi Ian, Great post (Thanks for the May 2013 Update!), I thought I’d let everyone know how Sendible tackles some these issues:

    RE: 1) We provide in-depth analytics and branded reports with every plan as standard. – We believe this is vital at all levels to enable users to make informed marketing decisions.

    RE: 2) With Sendible you are not restricted with a vanity shortened URL. In fact we give you the ability to choose your own from a short list or import your own if you have one. Your brand message is the most important, a vanity URL should not shadow that.
    We also provide you the ability to create your own branded posts with in some cases a link back to your site. No longer will you posts say ‘ via Hootsuite’ or ‘Via Sendible’. This re-branding is offered for Facebook, Twitter & Google +. (More recently third party branding in some social media sites is limited to Mobile devices only).

    I would go on, but I run the risk of hijacking this article. If you want like to know more, I’d love to offer you and your readers a demo of the platform… Just get in in touch via twitter @sendible or http://sendible.com

    Cheers, Mark

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Approve Disqus wrote:  Settings

      A new comment was posted on Ian Anderson Gray

      This comment has been flagged as spam, and is awaiting moderator approval. Mark from Sendible

      Hi Ian, Great post (Thanks for the May 2013 Update!), I thought I let everyone know how Sendible tackles some these issues: RE: 1) We provide indepth analytics and branded reports with every plan as standard. – We believe this is vital at all plans to enable users to make informed marketing decisions. RE: 2) With Sendible you are not restricted with a vanity Shortened URL. In fact we give you the ability to choose your own from a short list or import your own if you have one. Your brand message is the most important, a vanity URL should not shadow that. We also provide you the ability to create your own branded posts with in some cases a link back to your site. No longer will you posts say ‘ via Hootsuite’ or ‘Via Sendible’. This re-branding is offered for Facebook, Twitter & Google +. (More recently third party branding in some social media sites is limited to Mobile devices only). I would go on, but I run the risk of hijacking this article. If you want like to know more, I’d love to offer you and your readers a demo of the platform… Just get in in touch via twitter @sendible or http://sendible.com Cheers, Mark
      12:51 p.m., Thursday May 9

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    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Mark. It would be great to hear a bit more about Sensible. Do you see yourself as a direct competitor to Hoostsuite? Who are you targetting– small businesses, enterprise?

  • http://clevercarbuyer.com/ Mark Barker

    Thanks for your insights Ian. I like Hootsuite, but as a small business owner, I find the cost of the analytics reports offputting.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Mark. Hootsuite makes a lot of sense for small business owners because it enables you to post to all the major networks. However there are quite a few issues with it as you will know after reading this article. Do you feel you need more than the free report? If so, what are you looking for?
      You may be interested in my latest article — 10 Must Have Social Media Tools for Small Businesses– http://iag.me/socialmedia/tools/10-must-have-social-media-tools-for-small-businesses/
      Let me know what you think.

      • Guest

        Thanks a lot Ian. I do think Hootsuite is pretty useful but like anything has its limitations as you point out. I already use 4 of those ten suggestions in your suggested article, but I will definitely check the others out and get back to you :-)

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Please do– I love to hear how people get on with using these tools.

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  • Carrie Maddocks

    Love this article, Ian. You basically expressed all my concerns on HootSuite pricing model. Those were the main reasons why I switched to BuzzBundle

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Carrie. I take it you work for BuzzBundle (since all your Disqus comments on other blogs are related to it)- that’s ok– I am happy for other SMMTs to mention their products as long as we are all having a decent discussion. Could you get in touch and let me know a little more about BuzzBundle as I haven’t come across it? Thanks.

      • Carrie Maddocks

        Kind of, I am involved into their affiliate program. :) I fell in love with BuzzBundle for a number of reasons:

        1) it lets you manage an unlimited number of social profiles (currently they support Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, G+ (both individual and business pages), and YouTube)
        2) unlike, for example, Buffer it doesn’t have any limits for tweets or posts scheduling — do as many as you’re capable of
        3) all new features are automatically added to the software at no additional fee
        4) it also crawls different forums, blogs and Q&A sites for the targeted keywords. I am constantly challenged in finding brand mentions as many people can misspell your company or product or use it as a separate hashtag and I am sick of checking all possible variations every day manually. Fortunately BuzzBundle solved this problem for me.
        5) I can save the history of my social communications that’s also a great relief.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks, Carrie. It sounds interesting. It looks like it works differently in that it is desktop application. How does it manage scheduling? Do you have to have the app open all the time, or does a server handle this all?
          By the way Buffer doesn’t have any limitations on how many posts you can have in the queue on their $9.99 per month plan.
          I’ll have a look at it when I get the chance.

          • Carrie Maddocks

            Yes, Ian, you have to have the app open and your computer running.

            That’s true, but you don’t have any limitations on posts/tweets scheduled in BuzzBundle free version compared to Buffer free version. Still I do love Buffer too, and prefer to use a wise combination of several smm tools.

  • PScript

    Thanks for the article! Very helpful!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks so much, glad you found it helpful. Will you be using Hootsuite or have you found an alternative?

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  • Fred A

    Ian, thanks for this. I’ve been trialling Hootsuite for a new business venture and this will help inform my decision. A big issue I am experiencing is the seeming inability to group the networks I am managing. To put it simply I have a set of unconnected clients who each have their own sweet shop, each with a twitter account that I manage. I post a daily tweet (the same tweet) about sweets to each of those accounts. Likewise I have some other unconnected clients who each own an ice cream shop, each with their own twitter account and I create a daily tweet about ice cream that I post to each of those accounts. But… some of my clients shops sell ice cream and sweets so those shops fall into both groups and receive two tweets a day. In fact, I anticipate have some hundreds of clients with dozens of groups.

    As you can see, I really do need a smart grouping facility from any application that I end up using. When composing a tweet in Hootsuite I am currently expected to select the individual networks from all of my networks each time I post. So, this may means selecting 87 networks from some 350 each time a i want to post, cross referncing against a list I hold elsewhere. This is so time consuming and error prone as to be a real barrier to the new venture I have in mind. As would an Enterprise type fee.

    Do you have any suggestions? I’ve tried other apps but they seem to lack the facility too. Is there another way of working round this? I thought about a Hootsuite account for every group but it creates problems because, as mentioned above, some networks fall into more than one group and only one Hootsuite account is allowed to manage any given network.

    Any help much appreciated in order to make this venture a goer. I have clients lined up if only I can find an application to make it work. I don;t need any fancy analytics and such, just a simple app that allows me to organise networks into groups.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Fred, sorry I missed your comment.

      Thanks for explaining what you wish to achieve and the issues you’ve been having. To be honest, I think most social media management tools out there probably aren’t geared up to managing that number of accounts (you mentioned 350). Would you be (for example) cross posting to many many accounts at the same time with the same tweet? You mentioned 87 at one point? Just be careful here that you don’t go against Twitter’s terms, as they do say avoid duplicate tweets. I occasionally tweet the same tweet to 2 or 3 accounts, but I’d avoid the same tweet to much more than that. However, you probably don’t want to hear that!

      Have you got a set schedule? For example do you want to post to 30 accounts on a daily basis (the sweet shops) and 60 accounts at a different time daily? And you’d also want to post to the shops that sell ice cream and sweets at a different time? If so, one idea could be to set up a blog with different categories and add the tweet text each time to a category. You could then use the RSS feed for that category to tweet to the different Twitter accounts. You could use a service like TwitterFeed or dlvr.it to do this.

      I’ll try and do some more research. There are many services out there that deal with the issue with large numbers of people managing a few Twitter accounts, but I can’t think of any that try and deal with large numbers of accounts– at least not for the numbers you are talking. The only other tool you could look at (but might be too expensive) is Sprout Social. They have a really good grouping system. However their biggest plan (which costs $99/mth) only gives you up to 50 profiles. They do have enterprise plans, but I don’t know how expensive they are. Let me know how you get on.

      • Fred A

        Ian, thank you so much for your thorough reply. It’s been very difficult trying to get answers to some of these questions — so I’m all ears even if it’s things I’d rather not hear. I’ll certainly look at Twitter’s T&Cs as if it breaks them it’s clearly a no go. The business proposal is though just about the only way that the vast majority of my potential small business clients will be able to afford and use Twitter as an effective communication tool with their end users. They simply cannot afford to pay someone to develop daily unique content for their businesses — and in reality I’m not talking about the sweetshop and ice cream sectors but a highly regulated one in which the contents of any tweets will need sector specific expertise where the publication of erroneous or misleading information may have severe consequences for the client. It’s going to cost a lot of money to develop the wide ranging content needed and to put in place systems to check its veracity and that cost is going to need to be shared by a lot of accounts if it’s going to be within the reach of the small businesses I hope be working with.

        To answer some of your questions. Firstly, I am looking to pilot from January next year for three months. I’m doing non-costly groundwork and a feasibility assessment now. I have clients signed-up but these will be relatively small in number, around 20 – 25 (mainly to establish the content that works for them), followed by a larger pilot to establish how the technology holds up with larger numbers. If successful I hope to end up with a contract with one group (of 1000 members) that has shown a strong interest and who would be involved in the pilot — yes, that’s 1000 accounts that I would be managing and yes, I will be looking to post some, perhaps most, tweets to all 1000 accounts (although I could schedule these at different times, say 100 an hour).

        There will be a basic set schedule — one daily tweet to every account — but as I said at no fixed time, so the 1000 can be spread through the day and/or night. But beyond that it will vary. For example, the sweets shops that also sell ice cream may receive an additional short schedule of tweets in the week building up to national ice cream day. The ice cream tweets that go to sweets shops selling ice cream can be posted at different times to the tweets about sweets as they will be unconnected. There will also be set schedules supporting the introduction of some prescribed new services/products by some clients — these may be initiated at different times for different clients as one may be introducing the service/product in May and the other in July (but that’s mostly an administrative issue for us, and something that is no so much a group issue). We will also be tweeting unique, client specific content at the clients request but that’s the most straightforward bit.

        Am I still making sense? I hope so! Ian, if you come up with anything then I would really appreciate you letting me know and I’ll also keep you abreast. I’ll look at Sprout. $99/month is well within my budget but let’s see what they want for an enterprise subscription and what it delivers. Once again, your help has been greatly appreciated.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you– I have been away. It might be best to chat about this by email because we’re going away from the original thread– do use the contact form on my website.

          I would definitely look at Twitter’s terms and conditions because I think there could be a potential issue. It really depends on how you do this. Twitter is definitely against duplicate content and I have heard of many examples of apps being suspended because of this. Twitter’s API support team is very small and they don’t get back you quickly if there is an issue.

          I think you are looking for something fairly bespoke, so it might be worth getting something developed. The Twitter API is fairly easy to work with, so if you could find a developer who could build something for you I think you’d be far better off. Although there would be a bigger upfront cost you’d be paying less per month afterwards,

  • Isabel Guinan

    Hello! I ran into this artivle looking for alternatives to Hootsuite. Maybe you can help me!

    One of the stores whose facebook i’m currently managing has a profile instead of a page and i’ve found that when posting from hootsuite to twitter and then (I’ve activated the option for all twitter content to appear on Facebook) to Facebook it never shows pictures or thumbs… it only show a very bad looking url.

    Thank you for any help you may give me

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Isabel.

      Thanks for your comment.

      First of all it is definitely a good idea to convert the profile to a page. First of all if it is a business (a store in your case) a page works much better. Secondly using a profile as a page is actually a violation of Facebook’s terms. Don’t worry– it does happen a lot, and Facebook knows this. They’ve actually got a migration tool to help you here– and it is quite easy. Find out more info here– https://www.facebook.com/help/175644189234902/

      Secondly I would avoid auto posting from Twitter to Facebook. The reason for this is that Facebook and Twitter are very different social networks. They have different audiences– so I would recommend tailoring your posts for your Facebook audience on Facebook and your Twitter audience on Twitter. They also have different requirements– Twitter has a max of 140 chars and can contain hashtags, links and screen names (e.g. @iagdotme). Facebook can have up to 63,206 characters. Facebook only recently introduced hashtags and screen names don’t make sense. In addition urls are best added to the “add link” feature in Facebook when adding a link. If you don’t do this, your link will just show as a link (no thumbnail or description).

      If you would prefer to cross post to your Facebook page/profile and your Twitter account then you can use a social media management tool like Hootsuite, SproutSocial or Buffer. If you use these tools to compose the message and post to your Facebook page and Twitter account it should show the image as well. It certainly does with Buffer which is what I use for my occasional cross posting.

      Hope that helps!

  • http://villagewitchblog.wordpress.com/ The Arkenstone

    Another reason not to use Hootsuite is their latest advertising venture. Telling people they are stupid for not using Hootsuite. Whoever told them this was good advertising should be fired, as of yesterday.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Debra. Not come across their latest advertising. Can you point me to an example?

  • Eric Lewanavanua

    thanks for this…i was considering of upgrading to hootsuite enterprise for our business but was purely for the reporting ability since its is unlimited. Glad I came across this post. I also logged a ticket today…will interested to see what they come back with…its very hard to navigate and try to communicate directly with them

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks, Eric. Were you not happy with Hootsuite’s reports? I personally find them limiting in that they only track owly urls. Did you hear back from them? I’ve found Hootsuite fairly good at replying, but that was a while back.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

    Tweetdeck was my absolute favorite. I still use it even though the functionality has lessened since being acquired by Twitter. It is my daily tool for following tweet streams and for tweeting from over a dozen accounts.

    I have been researching Hootsuite Pro this week after being seduced by a Facebook ad for the service. Most of what I have found has been reasons why NOT to use Hootsuite. Thanks for the other suggestions. I hadn’t heard of Sendible, but I’m going to check that one out. I“ve recently begun using Buffer, but haven’t dug too deeply into that yet.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      I still use Tweetdeck, but obviously you can’t use it for Facebook. Buffer is becoming more useful now that it allows more scheduling options. Other than that I use Facebook itself to post to Facebook. The other option is Postplanner– have you tried that?

  • Average Business

    Enterprise is 18,000!? how can one extra user cause such a commotion? Don’t i get any say in the matter? That sounds super sketchy and borderline shady. I’m sure their has to be a big community base that complains about this. (offer a better solution then a vertical spike in price)

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Well to be fair, Hootsuite don’t state how much Enterprise is any more. The figure will be dependent on how many team users you will need and other features since Enterprise is a bit more bespoke. However from what I know Enterprise can be around the $18,000 per year figure– sometimes a lot more and sometimes a lot less. It’s called Enterprise for a reason– because it is aimed at medium to large businesses. The issue is that smaller businesses that need more than 10 team users are stuck in the middle.

      Thankfully there are other services out there that can work. A new kid on the block is Muster Point which is very cost effective and allows large teams of people to manage multiple Twitter profiles and Facebook pages.

      • Guest

        Hi Ian

        I’d be really interested to see what you think of our new platform: http://www.eclincher.com. It’s specifically aimed at small businesses and we believe, occupies unique ground in that it connects the dots between social media activity and planning, online ad campaigns and the impact it has on businesses websites. Thanks!

        • Guest

          Please unsubscribe — second time of asking! Thank you.

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            I haven’t subscribed you to everything. Perhaps you ticked the box where it says “subscribe by email”. To remove yourself from this Disqus thread, scroll down to the bottom and untick the option that says “unsubscribe by email”. It’s not something I can do unfortunately,

          • Gilad Salamander

            Sincere apologies. I believe I have now done so. Thank you.

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Great. Glad you managed to sort it! :-)

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          I am always interested in new social media tools. Please contact me via my contact form if you have anything more. I will try and check it out when I have a bit of time.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Thanks for your comment. I am always interested in new tools. If you have any further information, please contact me via my contact form.

  • Patty Jensen

    We just started using this for our small business. We were very impressed with the features but once we started using it we realized how much additional we had to pay for some features. We just feel nickle and dimed now.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Patty, thanks for your comment. Which features were you wanting to add? Are you talking about analytics, team members, vanity URLs?

  • Werenfried Ressl

    Hi Ian,
    thanks for this article, just one note to add to your blog functionality: why not use target_blank links inside the comments? It’s a pity to jump out of comments by following one or another link?
    Cheers.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Thanks for your comment. The comments are served by Disqus so not sure this is possible (although I have to admit I haven’t tried). There has been a long debate amongst web designers over the years over whether links (particularly external links) should open in a new tab/window. My view is that it should be up to the visitor to choose whether they want a link opening in a new tab. But, I know everyone has different views on that one!

  • Dave

    Hello:

    I registered for the GrabInbox account, never done anything like this before. I am seriously interested to see what powerful results I will get from it and since you claim it’s FREE I hope I can understand it and reap the benefits too from adding post to my account! I am looking into group postings — and I need that desperately?!

    Thanks again!

    –Dave

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  • Mark

    Have you tried Couch ? http://cou.ch/

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      No, I haven’t. What’s your connection with it? Are you able to email me more details about it? Always on the look out for new social tools! Please use my contact form. Thanks!

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  • http://iblog4dollars.com/l Dennis of iBlog4dollars.com

    Tweetdeck no longer supports Facebook. They’re dedicated their service solely to Twitter now. :-(

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Dennis. Yes, unfortunately you’re correct. I updated the post back in May with this bad news. I still use and recommend TweetDeck but of course only for Twitter. I use BufferApp to post to multiple networks.

  • silvia

    Interesting article… the worst part is that if you try to share it on LinkedIn it appears in an horrible way!!! D:

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  • Pierre

    I just got burned by ow.ly Hoot replaced all my goo.gl shortened URLs with ow.ly and added some strange characters at the end that did not allow the shortened URL to go to my web page. They seem to nickel and dime you as you discussed.
    Is there another tool that takes scheduled tweets from a spreadsheet? That is how I like to deliver the content.
    Thanks for a great post.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      What happened with the owly issue? Did you contact Hootsuite about it? Sounds very strange!
      You could try GrabInbox which allows you to upload a text file of tweets (you put each tweet on a different line). You then will be able to schedule your tweets.

  • Rhoody Dive-monster

    you write

    (No Thumbnail & Summary previews in Facebook in Certain Situations)

    well, the big problem is that one cant upload any pictures at all without using the shortener and a twitter account. posting the shortener link creates way less interaction than a direct picture upload. I often use my pages to upload a picture and post a description with link. I had pretty good result with that. For normal user those shortened links look like spam anyway and they avoid them.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      I totally agree. I haven’t tested this for a while, but when I tried posting to Facebook AND Twitter at the same time it posted to Facebook as if it was a tweet (i.e. with just a link)

  • E-MUTE

    Hello, just upgraded to Pro, and downgraded straight away after realizing that I could not add other social media websites except of the main ones. Why would I need multiple Facebook pages or Twitter accounts? 50 of them? Or did I not get it right? It did not seem to give me the options to add other accounts? Love it and wanted to upgrade but this stopped me right there and there.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      That’s odd. You should be able to add more accounts. Some people (especially businesses) need multiple accounts of the same network. For example I have 3 main Twitter accounts (although I manage a LOT more) and 3 Facebook pages. With Pro you are allowed to connect up to 50 networks– but that includes Facebook (profiles, pages etc), Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles, groups, pages), Google+ pages etc. You should be able to add other accounts. I’d check with Hootsuite to see what the issue was.

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  • BYU_All_The_Way

    1Feed has arrived! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and
    all your other social media apps are now in one simple to use and navigate app!
    This app combines all the different social media sites into one. No
    more taking time to switch between feeds and apps. Make social media
    faster and easier! This app is available on Android and iPhone!

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=onefeed.think

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1feed/id791432889?mt=8

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  • http://ringo.de-smet.name/ Ringo De Smet

    Just wanted to point you to two social media dashboards, born in Belgium, and now getting international: SpartCentral (formerly TwitSpark) and Engagor.
    http://www.sparkcentral.com
    https://engagor.com

  • nireves

    The biggest issue i had with Hootsuite was that Hoostuite posts that were shared by Facebook fans did not link back to my Facebook page. That waste of viral juice was too much to bear.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      That doesn’t sound good. I don’t understand how that could happen. Could you explain or give some examples of this happening? You’ve got my interest!

  • http://www.Businesses2sell.com.au Manish Khanna

    Thanks Made by Job Much easier, I had the similar problem with shorten URL, But I use Hoot Suit Extensively with RSS Atom FEED and I am not sure if others like Sendeble have the same feature or not.. I will definately have a look… Great post..

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Manish. Do you want to post automatically to Twitter and other social networks via an RSS feed? If so, how about using a combination of IFTTT and Buffer? Or dlvr.it or TwitterFeed?

      • http://www.Businesses2sell.com.au Manish Khanna

        Thanks Ian, for the
        reply. I will check the once you have mentioned, We get a lot of new listings
        added on daily basis, That why we have RSS feeds on our website and post some
        of the listings every 2 hours. I also have a short domain name b2s.im and want
        to make our own url 301 redirected to our website business2sell.com.au, Does
        these services allow to have our own url ? what are your thoughts ?

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Have you done anything with your short domain name yet? Basically I have a similar set up to what you want. The url shortener service, bit.ly, allows you to use custom domain names. It’s also free to do so! Here is what I’d do.…
          1) First of all, set up a bitly account (if you haven’t already done so)
          2) Configure your domain to work with bit.ly. You will have to update the domain’s DNS for this, but it’s fairly straightforward. The bitly documentation is quite helpful here– http://support.bitly.com/knowledgebase/articles/76741-how-do-i-set-up-a-custom-short-domain–
          3) Create an account at IFTTT and Buffer.
          4) Add your Twitter account to Buffer and set the times throughout the week that you want to post. For you that might be every 2hrs every day.
          5) Get Buffer to use bit.ly (with your credentials) as the URL shortener. This will mean Buffer will use your custom url when posting.
          6) Add your Buffer account to IFTTT
          6) Create a recipe so that when there is a new item in an RSS feed it adds it to Buffer.

          You’re done!

          I hope that makes sense. It sounds a bit involved, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds and it is totally worth it. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help any further.

          • http://www.Businesses2sell.com.au Manish Khanna

            This is great, I just fixed the YOURL on that domain, see I have used bit.ly millions of time but had not clue that this service is available.
            I will give all this a try in a day and will let you know how did I go. Thanks Heaps as you surely know what you are talking about.

            Regards

            Manish

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Great! Glad I could help. Let me know how you get on.
            Ian

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            How did you get on? Did you manage to get it working?

  • Richard Hamer

    And you can’t post to a G+ personal page. And everyone in a team needs the same domain.

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Indeed you are right and thanks for your comment, Richard. No social media management tool can post to Google+ profiles because Google still haven’t opened up an API to do this. The only API exists is one for posting to Google+ pages. There are tools such as Friends+Me that allow posting from your Google+ profile to various networks but not the other round. The only exception to this is the Chrome Extension DoShare. This posts to your profile in a similar way to Buffer (i.e. you can schedule your posts). The down side is that your browser needs to be open at the time of posting.

      What did you mean by your comment “everyone in a team needs the same domain”? Do team members have to have email addresses on the same domain in HootSuite? If so, I didn’t realise that. That’s madness if true.

      • Richard Hamer

        I work as a consultant and login under richardhamer.co.uk; but because client XYZ has Hootsuite under XYZ.com neither of us can share SM accounts without kicking the other person out.
        I appreciate why it’s like this, and in truth it’s usually better that clients don’t try posting.

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          Are you trying to share one HootSuite account or have you got your client as one team member on your Pro account? When I tested the teams feature for HootSuite a while back I don’t remember the email addresses having to be on the same domain.

          • Richard Hamer

            Hootsuite wanted to unlink the account (think it was LinkedIn) and assign it to my login; which suggested the other person would no longer have access.

          • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

            Oh, that’s odd. Did you contact HootSuite about this? I wonder what the issue was.

          • Richard Hamer

            When I get time I’ll give it another go and see what happens (and raise with HS depending how it goes).

  • Kirsten Meyer

    I have a problem with HootSuite’s user interface; specifically the icons for the different accounts I manage are so small and difficult to see, I feel it’s highly prone to posting in the wrong account when viewing a stream for one account but the icon is pinned for another account in the tiny message window. Is there any workaround for this to customize viewing, or do I just need to take my chances.…..or should I switch to another platform? Specifically for scheduling G+ posts. Thanks.

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