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7 Reasons Why You SHOULD Use Hootsuite


Reasons why you SHOULD use Hootsuite

Almost a year ago, I posted a rather controversial article that ended up being one of the most visited posts on my blog– 7 Reasons why you should NOT use Hootsuite. It even prompted the Vice President of Community at Hootsuite to respond in the comments.

Although I tried my very best to give a balanced view and to list the positives, it was, at the end of the day, a list of the problems that I had encountered with Hootsuite. Since then I’ve wanted to list some of the positives and reasons why some people and businesses should use Hootsuite. Despite the issues that I brought up in the original post, Hootsuite remains one of the most comprehensive social media management tools out there and I still recommend it to businesses today in certain situations.

What is Hootsuite and what does it Do?

Hootsuite is one of many tools referred to as a “Social Media Management System” or tool. It helps you keep track and manage your many social network channels. It can enable you to monitor what people are saying about your brand and help you respond instantly. You can view streams from multiple networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and post updates or reply directly. With so many networks for businesses to manage, it’s no doubt Social Media Management tools have become so popular and relied upon by many companies today.

If you manage the updates for your business’ social networks, it’s highly likely that you will have heard of Hootsuite. In a survey from monitoring tool Pingdom, Hootsuite came up as the top Social Media Management System, with over 20% of companies using it to manage their social media empires. TweetDeck was second and SocialEngage third. To see more details, see the original Pingdom post on the survey.

Hootsuite was launched back in 2008 by Invoke Media and since then has accrued an impressive array of features.

Here are my 7 reasons why you may want to consider using Hootsuite to manage your social network channels…

1) Monitor Multiple Streams in One Place

hootsuite features Probably one of the most compelling reasons to use Hootsuite is the fact that it allows you to manage so many different social networks. Hootsuite currenty allows you to manage:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook Profiles, Events, Groups & Pages
  • LinkedIn Profiles, Pages & Groups
  • Google+ Pages (currently not personal profiles)
  • Foursquare
  • Myspace
  • WordPress blogs
  • Mixi (Japanese Social Network)
  • Vimeo, via.me, reddit, StumbleUpon, Instagram, edocr, tumblr, evernote, flickr, get Satisfaction, mailchimp, slideshare, storify (via 3rd party apps)
  • Many more!

You can even add more than one of the same network. This can be useful if you manage multiple Twitter channels, or Facebook pages. You can even post to multiple channels at the same time. However do be careful here– think of the type of audience you have on each network. Your Facebook fans will be different to your Twitter followers. Also, Twitter only allows 140 characters where as Facebook allows much longer and richer posts with photos and videos. Hootsuite is currently one of the only ways to cross-post to a Google+ page and is now available in the free version.

2) You Have a Team Managing Your Social Media Empire

If you have more than one person managing your business’ social networks or you share the load with an outside social media management business, you may have encountered a number of issues in trying to keep on top of things.

Firstly there is security– allowing other people to manage your Twitter account will mean sharing your Twitter password. Never a good thing!

Secondly, how do you properly share the management of the various networks within a team? How do you know if a team member has already responded or in the process of responding to a message or status?

The main reason I would recommend Hootsuite to a business will be Hootsuite’s team management facility. Hootsuite allows you to delegate responses to different team members. For example if you receive 20 mentions in one day, the administrator can delegate each one to a different team member. When a team member is logged in, they’ll see which tasks have been allocated to them and not make the mistake of responding to a status that has already been replied to.

Another useful tool is Hootsuite’s messaging feature which allows team members to send private messages to each other. This is particularly useful if your team members are located outside of the office (for example they work from home)

Be aware that multiple team members can get expensive in Hootsuite. For medium to large businesses with a good marketing budget, this shouldn’t be an issue, but smaller businesses may struggle. Firstly you need to have a Pro account which costs $9.99 per month. With a pro account, you get two team members. Each extra team member gets more expensive, and when you want to have more than 10 you’ll need to get an Enterprise account. Hootsuite don’t publish the prices of the Enterprise account but it is probably around the $1,500 per month mark. Here is a table that outlines how the pricing structure for teams works (taken from an earlier post)
(Updated May 2013 with new prices)

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 will be given prices in pounds.  Unfortunately the prices are quite a bit more expensive in other currencies.

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

3) Managing Customer Service on Twitter

Whether or not you should use Hootsuite to manage your social networks depends on the type of business you have as well as the reasons you have a social network presence in the first place. If your primary reason for a social presence is for managing customer service on Twitter, then Hootsuite probably will be the best tool for you. Mobile networks or Utility companies love Hootsuite as it allows them to delegate customer messages to different team members and these can be managed overall by an administrator. Another useful feature is that Hootsuite allows you to store draft messages that you can post when you receive a frequently asked question for example open hours or directions to your business.

 

hootsuite draft messages

4) You Want to Cross Post to Your Google+ Page

google plus page management in Hootsuite

Google+ IconGoogle’s own social layer, Google+ is finally being seen as an important network for businesses to be using. Not only does it help with SEO and the authorship of your website or blog, but it has some amazing features that could help you reach your customers such as Communities and Hangouts.

Currently the only way to post to your Google+ profile is by using the Google+ website or mobile app. When it comes to updating and managing your Google+ business page you have a bit more choice– and Hootsuite is a big winner here! The Google+ API is very limited in that it currently only supports pages and not personal profiles. Full access to the page API has only been given to a few partners, of which Hootsuite is one.

Google+ management used to be available only in the $1500+ per month Hootsuite Enterprise plan. The good news is that it’s now available to all, including free users.

Pretty much all the Google+ features you’d expect are available, including posting to your circles, location, links and scheduling. If you add the update manually in Hootsuite it will also generate the full summary and thumbnail of the link. This is very important as it is will be more visible and will resilt in more click-throughs. Despite me not being a fan of the ow.ly url shortener, the resulting post won’t show the ow.ly link in an obvious way, although it does say that the post was made via Hootsuite. Be careful though, if you bulk upload or connect an RSS feed to your Google+ page– you won’t get the thumbnail or summary– just the text. With that in mind, I’d avoid automatically posting to your Google+ page via Hootsuite completely or only in special circumstances.

iftttIf you can think of special circumstances, you might be interested to know that my favourite social media tool, IFTTT, has a Hootsuite channel. This allows you to post to your Google+ business page from other services such as your blog, email or SMS.

5) Completely Cross Platform

hootsuite mobile appsI’m a great believer in making things cross-platform, although I do realise it’s not always easy to achieve This is one advantage in making Hootsuite a web app– it’s easy to make it work on Mac OSX, Windows, Linux and mobile platforms. Hootsuite indeed works on all modern browsers (of course you need an internet connection!), and it has a plethora of dedicated mobile apps to help you on the move. The only omission currently is an app for Windows Mobile since there are apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.

I must admit, I don’t particularly enjoy using the Hootsuite mobile apps (at least the Android one which I’ve tried) but if you are managing your social networks as part of a team, you will be relying on the Hootsuite mobile apps, particularly for managing Twitter. The mobile Facebook app allows you to manage Facebook pages if you are an administrator without having to share any passwords. Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t have any administrative features, and so the only way to allow multiple people to manage a Twitter account is by sharing the password.That’s not great from a security point of view and could potentially open up your Twitter account to abuse, especially if one of your team members were to leave the company. If your team members use one of the Hootsuite apps to manage your business’ social networks, you no longer have to share any passwords for your social networks, since each member will be using their own Hootsuite account.

6) Get Free Reports by Email

hootsuite email report
If you solely or mainly use Hootsuite to manage your Social networks, then you will find the weekly analytics report very useful. Each week, Hootsuite sends you an email with a pdf attachment of your click summaries. Hootsuite gives you graphs showing:

  1. Number of clicks per day
  2. Geographical information on the people clicking through
  3. Top referrers
  4. Most popular links

The good news is that this is free for all users, and can be useful to give you a brief overview as to how you are doing on a weekly basis.

Unfortunately the report will only work for you if you always use Hootsuite to manage your networks. This is because it tracks the click-throughs using Hootsuite’s very own ow.ly url shortener. If you use other apps such as the Twitter or Facebook websites or mobile apps, Buffer, IFTTT or TweetDeck, any click throughs will not be shown. Since I rarely use Hootsuite, my report was completely blank!

7) You Want to Connect Lots of Services Together

One of the things that really appeals to me about Hootsuite is the sheer number of networks and apps that it supports. Although I advise against posting to multiple networks at once on a regular basis, it can work and can be a real time saver for small businesses. Hootsuite allows you to post a quick update (for example) to multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook profile and page, Google+ page, LinkedIn profile, company page and groups and more! This can be incredibly useful if you need to get a message out to your customers in an emergency. The scheduling features (using the new Hootlet feature) can be a very welcome time saver, and these also allow you to post to multiple networks at once.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a Hootsuite channel on IFTTT. This allows you to cross post from another social network to your Google+ page. For example, you could post from your Facebook page to Google+.

Find Out More

If you want to find out more then the best thing is to sign up for a free Hootsuite account. there are also plenty of tutorials and help as part of the Hootsuite website itself and on other blogs. Here are a few to get you started:

I’m also very happy to answer any questions you have, so please ask away in the comments!

Summary

So there you have it, 7 valid reasons why you SHOULD use Hootsuite. What are your thoughts? Do you use Hootsuite regularly? What are the features you like the most? What don’t you like? Don’t forget to have a read of my 7 reasons why you should NOT use Hootsuite and you should be in a better position to make a decision on whether or not you should be using Hootsuite.

As ever, please let me know your thoughts in the 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

    Hello Ian. Well, we waited to hear your reasons and you delivered ~ and we are pleased! Our sincere thanks for sharing for reasons TO USE as well as NOT to use. Hopefully this blog post will be even more popular than the previous.

    Keep in mind, we take all feedback seriously and are constantly improving and refining our tools with the aim of re-defining what social media management tools can do to help businesses reach customers, governments and NPOs amplify civic discourse, and of course provide a powerful channel for personal expression.

    We have lots in store for 2013 so keep watching and experimenting.

    Best regards,

    @daveohoots VP Community etc.

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

      Thanks, Dave. You got round to commenting a little quicker on this more positive post than the last one! ;-) But your comments mean a lot. It is good you take feedback seriously. Very much looking forwards to any new stuff happening in Hootville in 2013!

    • Lisa Ullery

      I also love everything about hootsuite except for that ow.ly shortner. Any way to make it bit.ly like sproutsocial?

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

        Hi Lisa, not really– at least not in an obvious way. You could manually shorten links with bit.ly and then paste them in to HootSuite. At least that way you can use bit.ly’s analytics and use it for tracking clicks. However, HootSuite will turn your bit.ly link into an ow.ly one so it won’t look like a bit.ly link anymore. Frustrating!

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hootsuite helps you expand your presence quickly. Use responsibly by engaging frequently and toss those links in there too.

    Thanks for sharing Ian!

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

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Ryan. I’m definitely in favour of using responsibly and engaging frequently. If you are a keen Hootsuite user I’d definitely recommend coupling it with the Twitter Relationship Management tool, Commun.it. If you get a chance have a read of my guide on it– http://iag.me/socialmedia/how-to-build-and-manage-your-twitter-community-with-commun-it/
      What do you find most useful about Hootsuite?

  • Allan Blair Beaton

    Great post Ian and glad you have come around! Just wanted to share my thoughts on the matter too…

    http://ow.ly/gxybJ

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

      Thanks Allan for your comment and for mentioning my articles on Hootsuite in your article. The article is geared towards people who are fairly new to social media and are trying to work out what tool to use. I do have a Hootsuite Pro account, but I personally use it very rarely. Many of the points I raised in my reasons NOT to use Hootsuite are still an issue for me– particularly having to use the ow.ly url shortener. However, as you mention in your post, Hootsuite is a great tool for businesses. Your points on moderation and security are particularly valid, especially as law makers round the world are trying to work out legislation on free speech when it comes to social media.

      Although the resources in Hootsuite University are good, it does seem odd that they want to charge so much for tutorials. It doesn’t sit that well with me.

      I can see that Hootsuite works really well you, and that you are a big fan. I’m glad it works for you. It doesn’t work for me personally, but I will continue to recommend it to some businesses if it suits their business type and situation. For me, I like to use a selection of different apps– Buffer, Twitter, Facebook, Commun.it and others!

      Thanks again!

      • Allan Blair Beaton

        Hi Ian,

        Thanks for your prompt reply to my post. I am a huge fan of HootSuite because it offers so many different types of social media solutions for so many different types of business and users. HootSuite operates on the freemium model, so it’s a great starting point for beginners and advanced users alike. As newbies progress, so does their usage and engagement with HootSuite.

        The biggest road block that I come across in my workshops and seminars is time. Not enough time to do this, to do that. I truly believe that a coordinated and strategic approach to social media is crucial so that newbies can see ROI more rapidly.

        HSU creates an open portal for content, resources, and instructions in one place. The webinars themselves have some world-class speakers like Mari Smith, Mark Switzer, Mark Shaefer, Joe Fernandez, etc etc etc. Again, I go back to my point about time spent on social media. If having everything on one screen and access to HSU through one portal saves me an hour or so a week, it more than justifies the costs associated with it. Time saved is money earned I reckon.

        Anyway. I just wanted to say that I am pleased you wrote your blog yesterday about the reasons to USE HootSuite and I look forward to reading more of your blogs in the future.

        All the best for 2013

        Allan Blair Beaton

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

          Hi Allan,

          I suppose if you completely buy into using solely Hootsuite for all your social media activities what you say makes sense. HSU will be worth it because you will be using Hootsuite for everything– and don’t get me wrong the quality of the tutorials and webinars is great. The freemium model works as you say for most people. I really do like a lot of what Hootsuite does and I really would like to use it. It’s just that I like using other tools too. That’s the crunch really. Hootsuite makes it difficult for you to do that and that’s a shame. I’d love to use Hootsuite, Commun.it, Buffer and others but then I lose all the tracking data because of Hootsuite having to use the ow.ly url shortener and nothing else. If Hootsuite were to fix that, I’d be completely won over and I’d be their biggest advocate– well 2nd behind you! ;-)

          Anyway, great to meet you. I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to more of your thoughts!

          Best wishes,

          Ian

          • 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 me loyal to TweetDeck: not having to use ow.ly. Don’t be stupid! Grab the money.

  • http://richardaucock.com richardaucock

    Great stuff, thanks for this, Ian. I’ve heard that Hootsuite is worth investigating, and some people have shown me some of the remarkable things it can do, but I’ve always found it a bit daunting. This post provides some good pointers — and the link resource is invaluable.

    Many thanks: I’ll dive in and see how I go!

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

      Thanks for your comment, Richard. Hootsuite is very much worth investigating. Hopefully this article and my Reasons NOT to use Hootsuite at http://iag.me/socialmedia/reviews/7-reasons-not-to-use-hootsuite/ will help out here. Do let me know how you get on– I love to hear about how people get on with social media tools.

  • http://thoughtreach.com/ Nate Goodman

    Ian,
    Nice article. Thanks for taking the time to add all the screenshots.

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

      No problem, Nate. This article was long overdue. Thanks for taking the time to add a comment. Do you have any thoughts on Hootsuite? What do you like/dislike?
      Best wishes, Ian

      • http://thoughtreach.com/ Nate Goodman

        Ian,
        Strangely, I have always found Hootsuite to be non-intuitive. Functional, yes. Intuitive, no. I have kept it simple by using Buffer for social media updates.

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

          As you’ll know I love Buffer– it’s simple and it works. It is, however, very different to Hootsuite. Hootsuite aims to do a lot more, however it’s more complicated and difficult to learn how to use. Is this what you mean by not being so intuitive?

          • http://thoughtreach.com/ Nate Goodman

            Yes, that’s what I mean by intuitive.

          • JOLY

            So, as a smaller design/marketing studio doing the social media for less than ten clients, would you recommend Buffer or HootSuite?

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

            Hmmm, difficult one as it depends on so many things. Buffer and Hootsuite are very different from each other and it depends how you want your system to work. I prefer to use Buffer and something else because although Buffer is fantastic at what it does– it basically just schedules posts. Hootsuite is far more powerful but it does have some downsides which I posted in my “7 Reasons NOT to use Hootsuite” post. Personally I use a combination of TweetDeck, Buffer and Commun.it. I also prefer to use Facebook itself to post to Facebook. Commun.it now has a feature for teams so it is easier than ever to manage multiple Twitter accounts.

  • http://bloggerbusinessplan.com Allan Ward

    Thanks for taking the time to write this article Ian. I’ve used Hootsuite Pro for a while now and find that it meets my needs for managing multiple twitter accounts across unrelated niches. Reading your article I’m reminded of some features that I haven’t taken advantage of yet.

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

      Thanks Allan. I enjoyed writing the article and at the end of the day I wanted to paint both sides. As you will know, I do have my issues with Hootsuite– but it can and does work for some people. It works particularly well for managing multiple Twitter accounts without sharing a password. Having said that, you can do this with Commun.it, GrabInbox, TweetDeck and more. Glad you are finding it helpful!

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  • Avi Jit (@skyhitblog)

    Wow! HootSuite is really awesome. Easy to manage and covers all the important social platforms. I really liked the features of this toool. Surely gonna try it. :)

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

      Glad you like. Make sure you read the article on some of the reasons why you should NOT use Hootsuite and then you can work out if Hootsuite is for you. Also definitely check out Buffer and Commun.it which are some of my fave tools!

  • Legitlin

    I am currently managing a Linkedin Company page, Facebook page and numerous twitter accounts. What I struggle with is getting one comprehensive report to show social media interactions and web traffic (to our website) generated. If you are suggesting that hootsuite is not the best place to post to FB and LI, how would you recommend getting all of the statistics together? I had thought a benefit of hootsuite would be to post in one location (such as hootsuite) link to our google analytics parameters, and get a report through hootsuite.

    My other question is if I am posting a shortened URL to twitter, do I have to use that same shortened link to post to LinkedIn and facebook through hootsuite in order to get a complete report on the traffic for that link?

    I appreciate your insights, thanks!

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

      Hi. Great questions. I can understand why you’d want Hootsuite to work for you as you are trying to manage so manage so many social profiles at the same time. Hootsuite does provide some great reports but as I mentioned in the article, this only works properly if you use Hootsuite solely to update your social profiles. If you use a different app or the social network itself to update then the social interactions won’t count properly in the report. This is because you won’t be using one of Hootsuite’s url shorteners which tracks the click throughs.

      Using Hootsuite to update Facebook or LinkedIn is ok, but you don’t always have the same control over the way the post appears and there have been reports about a lower Edgerank score if you use a 3rd party app to update Facebook. Still, I’d recommend still having a go and see if this actually affects you. If you’re not seeing any issues when updating to Facebook and LinkedIn– then perhaps Hootsuite is the best app for you. Of course you also need to take into account the reports as they are expensive. You could use the ow.ly link that you’ve used in Hootsuite for Twitter for LinkedIn and Facebook so that you get a full report in Hootsuite.

      What kind of reports are you looking for? Google Analytics now has some really awesome social reports. Unfortunately it doesn’t give as much info from Facebook and Twitter but you can still see how many click throughs from each social network there are. If you use bit.ly as your url shortener you have an advantage of being able to use that on many social tools (Buffer, Sprout Social, TweetDeck, IFTTT etc).

      I hope that helps, but please get back to me if I have missed something.

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  • Gregory Anderson

    I just came across the articles (and comments thereto) containing reasons that justify “not-using,” and also “for-using,” hoote-suite. I’m in research to educate myself about social management. It’s been a truly interesting read for this non-techy kind of guy. :>) I can’t help but thinking that anyone “touching nerves so clearly” as has been done in this case.… must have a good understanding of the platform to have elicited such retorts. :>) It seems you have been given some validity, so, I’d like to hear more from you and will research YOU more before making any decision with my new education.……
    Thanks,
    Gregory Anderson

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

      Thanks, Gregory. I like to properly research things before I write an article. This 7 Reasons why you should NOT use Hootsuite came about from my frustrations with Hootsuite but I didn’t want to leave that without talking about the positives. That’s why I wrote the “7 Reasons why you SHOULD use Hootsuite”! At the end of the day, there is no perfect social management tool– they all have their pros and cons. Hootsuite is great in that it has a free option. If money was no object I would go for Sprout Social, but their minimum price is $39 per month. Not cheap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/max.goecker Max Goecker

    Ian, Interesting posts. I enjoyed reading both of the articles 7+/7-. Have you evaluated SocialZing yet? http://socialzing.com/maximumzing

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

      Hi Max, no I haven’t. It’s always difficult to get the time to evaluate everything. Do you use SocialZing?

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  • Contrarah

    Hi Ian — the article is great. Firstly I read all the comments and you responded to all of them so I am hoping you’ll respond to me!

    I am in a debate about which management and listening tools I need to be using. I use Hootsuite pro and Sprout Social which are both great tools but using them in conjunction is annoying and expensive, but noone seems to do what I want in one place. I hate the way that I can’t post visual updates to LinkedIn — it always converts it to an ow.ly which is just ugly (I know you have mentioned why you think this is below).

    I find Hootsuite quite unattractive to use — reams of text instead of icons. Sprout is much better in terms of the visuals — using graphics help me a lot of the analytics data, but it has only just started allowing me to schedule posts to Google+ and no LinkedIn posting yet.

    Do you have a management tool that you prefer for multiple account management and listening? I use Topsy and other free listening tools at the mo, but was hoping these would be integrated into Hootsuite — nothing as yet.

    Finally, I don’t know why everyone is comparing Buffer to Hootsuite when all it does is schedule posts an the optimum time, Hootsuite now does that too (even for free, depending on number of accounts). But I worry that I live in a world where I am going to have to have four windows open for monitoring at any one time. What are you thoughts? Is there one management tool that does it all?

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

      Hi Contrarah,
      So sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you– this thread is becoming quite difficult to manage!

      You mentioned that you are using Hootsuite and SproutSocial– I’m assuming that you are testing them both out to see which one you like best. Hootsuite is best used by itself since it uses ow.ly links and the reporting is purely for posts made via Hootsuite. The advantage of SproutSocial is that you can use bit.ly and so you can more easily track and analyse how your social media channels are doing no matter what social media management tool you are using.

      I wonder from what you are saying why you don’t just use SproutSocial? You said that none seems to do what you want in one place but didn’t mention what it was about SproutSocial you didn’t like. To be honest I’ve not spent a huge amount of time with SproutSocial. I tried the 30 day trial but it wasn’t enough time to put it through its paces (basically as I had a huge work load at the time). However I did love the look and feel and the reports like you say are great. My biggest issue with SproutSocial is the high cost– I can’t justify or afford the entry price unless I ditched all the other tools I use such as Buffer and Commun.it. I will be doing a lot more research on SproutSocial since I want to review it in a forthcoming article.

      I think a SMMT like Hootsuite, SproutSocial or TweetDeck can work well for monitoring and updating/cross posting. However I think you’ll be hard pushed to find a tool that does everything you want. Personally I use TweetDeck and Commun.it for Twitter. If you haven’t checked out Commun.it, then please do– it really helps with building your community, monitoring keywords and links and much more. Please see my article on it– http://iag.me/socialmedia/how-to-build-and-manage-your-twitter-community-with-commun-it/
      Of course Commun.it only works for Twitter, but it depends on what you are trying to do.

      How do you use Topsy? Is this functionality not built into SproutSocial? I’d be really interested in knowing how and what you are wanting to achieve.

      I know a lot of people compare Buffer to Hootsuite– I agree that they are very different. However you can achieve a lot of Hootsuite’s functionality with Buffer. Buffer is great in that it enables you to post and cross post to a large number of networks (Twitter, Facebook profiles and pages, LinkedIn profiles and groups and app.net). It also allows you to schedule these posts. Although Hootsuite does have a similar service I am not a fan as I don’t think it works as slickly as Buffer and of course it uses the dreaded ow.ly url.

      I am not sure that helps but let me know how you get on.

      • Contrarah

        Hi Ian thank you for replying! Sprout costs 5 times as much as Hootsuite — that’s why I have terminated it. Which is a pity as it was very good in many ways, but we have a budget and my marketing manager prefers Hootsuite. However, my personal adviser at Hootsuite has been a godsend, responding to me almost immediately, so where I am losing out on some digital tools I am making ground on one-to-one service.

        I use Topsy to find out what keywords our target industry is using — what is popular internet-wide. My company provides listing and related services for small businesses and our customer base is everyone from a a potential ship-shop buyer to a huge commercial property conglomerate. It’s an interesting landscape as our services aren’t automatically social-friendly and our content team has big competition in the form of Forbes.com, The Guardian, The BBC and BusinessZone.

        I am starting to use Buffer, but as I manage so many accounts it doesn’t always fit in, and if I’m on my dashboard anyway monitoring engagement then I may as well be scheduling posts there.

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

          Hi Contrarah,
          I share your frustrations with SproutSocial’s high cost. They got rid of their $9.99/mth pro plan some time back. Personally, although I’d love to go with SproutSocial, I can’t justify the cost. However I expect that I’m probably not their target customer.

          If you can use Hootsuite for your business and it works for you– then brilliant. I’ve been impressed with their customer service. My only criticism is that they’ve not really listened closely to the concerns of this article and the many people who have commented. I know they’ve read it and they’ve even commented.

          I had a demo with another SMMT, Sendible, the other day. Although not as attractive as Hootsuite or SproutSocial it does have many of those listening and monitoring services built in– it might be worth looking into.

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  • Kate

    Trying to read up on Hootsuite and found this article particularly helpful for a novice social media marketer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  • http://www.sunshine2thesquareinch.blogspot.com/ Beka Johnson

    Do you by any chance know how many free scheduled posts you get? I will use it for my blog but I don’t think it’s worth it to pay just to scheduled blog posts.

  • Ben Shockley

    I am new to all the options out there and this really sounds very helpful for what I am trying to accomplish. Can anyone tell me any negatives or tasks not to use HootSuite for? Thanks in advance for you input?

  • Faith — Social Media

    Hi Ian great articles! Ignoring the price — what would you personally recommend — Sprout Social or Hootsuite. I’m currently using Sprout which I love — I find the whole design much easier to work with. However, am I missing important features on Hootsuite SS doesn’t have, that could help me manage my accounts more effectively? Thanks.

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

      Hi Faith, thanks for your comment. Great question. I’ve played with both and both have pros and cons. At some point I hope to write an article on Sprout Social. First of all, if you haven’t already, check out my sister article entitled 7 Reasons NOT to use HootSuite- This will give you some insight into the downsides of HootSuite. I’ve also written a comprehensive white paper on social media management tools in general which gives an updated version of the pros and cons of HootSuite. You can download that here– http://iag.me/socialmedia/social-media-management-tool-hootsuite-alternatives/

      If you signed up for Sprout Social a while back it might be the case that you are paying the old inexpensive prices. These days Sprout Social is a lot more expensive. However I prefer the user interface and the analytics are better. SproutSocial also has bitly integration which is a big bonus. There are a few gripes such as the queuing tool not being as good as HootSuite’s or Buffer’s.

      HootSuite integrates with more social networks than SproutSocial so that could be one area where you are missing out. HootSuite allows you to manage LinkedIn groups and company pages.

      As for me, I don’t use either due to their restrictions. I prefer to use TweetDeck and Commun.it to manage Twitter. I use Facebook itself to manage Facebook (or sometimes Postplanner). I used LinkedIn to manage LinkedIn and Google+ for Google+. I use Mention to keep on track of mentions and keywords across all my networks and I use Buffer and FriendsPlusMe to post to all my networks. Buffer allows you to post to Facebook (profiles, pages and groups), Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles, pages and groups), App.net and Google+ pages. Friends Plus Me allows you to post to all of these (except App.net but also allows you to post to Tumblr) from Google+.

      Hope I haven’t confused you!

  • Hana Do

    Thanks Ian a lot for the insightful article. With regards to point 3, do you think it will be more efficient to group similar tweets together and have the respective response ready instead of just having a list of unclassified drafts? In this way you can save more time on those repetitive requests and channel your effort to the more specific ones?

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

      Hana, thanks for your comment. Great point. The drafts feature in HootSuite is fairly basic, so having a way to group similar tweets is a good idea. You could also have a list of standard responses to hand so that it is easier to copy and paste them into HootSuite..

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  • Fred_L

    Thanks for the two articles, 7+ and 7-. VERY helpful. Do you know the status of this feature? “… 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…”

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

      As far as I know, Hootsuite haven’t implemented this. It was a few years ago, but I was told that it was an infrastructure issue or a technical issue and it wasn’t something they were looking at implementing. A Shame. You could look at the combination of IFTTT and Buffer– that’s what I do.

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