Many years 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 that blog post was first created a long time ago, I do keep it up to date.
Although I tried my very best to give a balanced view and to list the positives, it was, at the end of the day, more of a negative Hootsuite Review- 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.
April/May 2020: Note, I am in the process of updating this article. Please come back to see updates!
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
- Facebook Pages
- LinkedIn Pages
- WordPress blogs
- Vimeo, Tumblr, Evernote, MailChimp, Slideshare (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 from your Twitter followers. Also, Twitter only allows 280 characters whereas Facebook allows much longer and richer posts with photos and videos.
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 used to recommend Hootsuite to a business was Hootsuite's team management facility. I say "used to" because Hootsuite's team features are now only available on the much more expensive plans.
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 are 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 at least a Pro account which costs from $129 per month which includes 3 users. Each extra team member gets more expensive.
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.
4) You Want to Cross-Post to Your Google+ Page
Update - Obviously, Google+ is no longer an option since Google closed the doors on its social network. I'll be updating this reason soon. But here it is for now...
Google'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.
5) Completely Cross-Platform
I'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
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:
- Number of clicks per day
- Geographical information on the people clicking through
- Top referrers
- 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, 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.
Social Media Management Tools
Free Trial, then from $99/user/month
A powerful fully-fledged social media management tool
Facebook Pages Facebook Groups Twitter Twitter DMs LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages YouTube Instagram Direct Publishing Instagram Push Notification Publishing
Facebook Pages Facebook Ad & Dark Post Comments Facebook Messenger for Pages Twitter Mentions Twitter Search Twitter DMs LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages YouTube Instagram
Listening & Monitoring:
Facebook Pages Facebook Messenger for Pages Twitter Mentions Twitter Search Twitter DMs LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages YouTube Instagram
Analytics & Reports:
Facebook Pages Twitter Instagram
Official Instagram Partners, Official Facebook Partners, iOS mobile app, Android mobile app
A powerful social media management tool for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube which aims to offer enterprise-level features at a lower monthly price. It has an inbox zero feature which allows you to get through your social comments and messages really easily or delegate them to team members. There is a very handy automated moderation rules feature for social networks which can filter spam out for you or automatically delegate or review certain messages.
AgoraPulse has a built-in customer relationship management tool (CRM) allowing you to build up a list of your social contacts. The integrated reports and analytics are detailed and engaging and you can also export as a pdf. The publishing feature is really powerful too with Instagram Direct Publishing & YouTube video publishing.
There is a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
Free trial, then from $99/user/month
Facebook Pages Facebook Groups Twitter Twitter DMs LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages Pinterest Instagram
Facebook Pages Facebook Messenger for Pages Facebook Groups Twitter Lists Twitter Mentions Twitter Search Twitter DMs LinkedIn pages Instagram
Official Instagram Partners, iOS mobile app, Android mobile app
A big competitor to Hootsuite with some awesome features (really snazzy reports, multiple bit.ly URL shortener integrations etc) - it does have a hefty price tag though- prices start at $99/user/month (sadly, they recently removed the entry $59/user/month plan). There is no free account but they offer a free trial. Do have a look at my related article 7 Reasons NOT to use Sprout Social.
Free trial, then from $20/mth (for one user) or from $35 for plans with social inbox
A really powerful reporting and social media performance measurement tool with a newly added social inbox
Facebook Pages Facebook Ad & Dark Post Comments Facebook Messenger for Pages
Analytics & Reports:
Facebook Pages Twitter YouTube Instagram
Sotrender is an incredibly powerful analytics, reporting and performance measurement tool for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Although Sotrender isn't a full social media management tool (in that it doesn't offer publishing or listening/monitoring) it does have an easy to use social inbox for Facebook, analytics, reporting and competitor analysis.
The analytics feature goes far beyond what Facebook and other networks tell you in their insights. As well as data on the demographics of your audience, Sotrender also shows you your top community members. I love the segmentation chart which breaks down your community into different categories - Debators, Occasional, Activists, Likers and Writers. You can also view when your audience is most active, so you know the best time and day to post your contet
I also love the tips feature, where it lists your posts with tips on how to approve for next time.
You can also create stunning reports (perfect for agencies and larger businesses) and compare your social channels with your competitors.
Free trial, then from $29/mth (for one user)
A full social media management tool with a huge number of integrations.
Facebook Pages Facebook Groups Twitter LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages Pinterest YouTube Instagram Direct Publishing Tumblr Google My Business Medium
Facebook Pages Facebook Ad & Dark Post Comments Facebook Messenger for Pages Twitter Lists Twitter Mentions Twitter Search Twitter DMs LinkedIn pages Instagram
Listening & Monitoring:
Facebook Pages Facebook Messenger for Pages Twitter Lists Twitter Mentions Twitter Search Twitter DMs LinkedIn pages Instagram
Analytics & Reports:
Facebook Pages Twitter LinkedIn pages YouTube Instagram
Official Facebook Marketing Partners, Instagram Partners, Google Chrome browser extension, Review Monitoring (including sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor), RSS Feed Importer (adding RSS feeds in bulk), iOS mobile app, Android mobile app
Similar to Hootsuite and SproutSocial with an impressive array of features. Sendible integrates with a huge number of social channels including Twitter, Facebook (profiles, pages & groups), LinkedIn (profiles, pages & groups), Foursquare, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and more. You can have as many team members as you like (although you will have to pay per user above your allocated amount) and it integrates with bit.ly and other URL shorteners.
There is no free account but they offer a free trial. Be aware that Sendible includes a certain number of "services" for each plan. For the basic Micro plan you get 12 "services", with the Small plan 48 services and with the large plan you get 192 services. Services can get a little confusing, because a Twitter list stream, Twitter mention stream, Twitter Search stream, Facebook Group and Facebook Profile stream are all classed as separate services. You can find yourself running out of services very quickly.
Free Trial, then from $19/mth for 10 profiles
A full social media management tool that integrates with the Chinese network Wechat on its enterprise plan.
Facebook Pages Facebook Groups Twitter LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages YouTube Instagram Tumblr WeChat
Facebook Pages Facebook Messenger for Pages Facebook Groups Twitter Lists Twitter Mentions Twitter Search Twitter DMs LinkedIn pages YouTube Instagram WeChat
Official Instagram Partners, iOS mobile app, Android mobile app
A simple and affordable social media management tool for curating, scheduling and managing your socials all in one platform. Integrating Facebook, Instagram (direct publishing), Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr and WeChat, it streamlines the entire social media process from content discovery to audience engagement to reporting. WeChat integration is only available on the business/enterprise plans which start at $199/month.
MavSocial has an AI-powered digital asset management system, scheduling calendar and post recycling tools, Social Inbox, comprehensive real-time and exportable reports, and customizable team management features. Social listening to be released shortly
A mobile app for iOS and Android is available to make social media management even easier on the go.
Free trial, and from $49/month
Social Report launched back in 2011 and has a robust all-in-one solution covering publishing and scheduling, analytics, reporting, a “smart inbox”, team management and automation. They integrate with most networks out there, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and more. They’re going to be shortly launching direct publishing for Instagram too. It's cost-effective and cheaper for teams when compared to Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer.
Free Trial, then from $5/month
A lesser-known but nicely put together social media management tool.
Facebook Pages Twitter LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages YouTube Instagram VKontakte Odnoklassniki
Jollor isn't as well known as the likes of Hootsuite and SproutSocial, but it's a really good looking social media management tool that integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube as well as the Russian networks VK and Odnoklassniki. They don't integrate yet with bit.ly, but they have some enterprise features such as team and role management and delegation. Analytics look very impressive. There is a mobile app coming, but the website is fully responsive and can be used well on a mobile or tablet. They have a very transparent pricing scheme starting at $5. It basically costs $5 per network, and you can add extra team members for $5 per month as well as other features.
Twitter Twitter Lists Twitter Mentions Twitter Search
Twitter Management Only.
This used to be one of my top recommendations, but Twitter has done their best to make this less useful. But Tweetdeck is a free way of managing multiple Twitter accounts and useful for scheduling posts as well as managing Twitter Chats.
Free plan, and from $13/month
A social media & content planning solution which has recently entered the social media management tool space.
Facebook Pages Facebook Groups Twitter LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages Instagram Push Notification Publishing
Facebook Messenger for Pages Twitter Mentions
Analytics & Reports:
Facebook Pages Twitter LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages Instagram
Note that ContentCal's reports only show data on posts posted via ContentCal itself.
iOS mobile app
ContentCal is a great visual tool to help solo freelancers, small business owners or agencies (and beyond) manage their social channels. A content calendar is central to ContentCal, giving you a 'birdseye view' of all the social posts going out across multiple channels. It currently integrates with Facebook (Pages), LinkedIn (Pages, Profiles) and Twitter. It has very affordable plans despite some very enterprise focussed features.
Social Media Planning & Publishing Tools
Free and from $10/month
Kontentino is a content planning and publishing tool which has packed some amazing features. It has team planning and collaboration at heart, and it's perfect for agencies who want to work with their clients and get approval. Clients can approve work directly through the web app or on mobile with the click of a button. You can preview how your content looks across all platforms including all the major Facebook ad formats. Kontentino sends over all the scheduled posts to Facebook and allows Facebook to schedule them. This allows you to tag posts and do things that can only be done directly on Facebook.
Social Media Publishing & Scheduling Tools
Free or $15/mth for Pro Plan. Business plans from $99/month
Facebook Pages Facebook Groups Twitter LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn pages Pinterest Instagram
No Monitoring/Engagement available,
Official Instagram Partners, iOS mobile app, Android mobile app.
Allows you to post or cross-post to Twitter, Facebook (profiles, pages or groups), LinkedIn (profile, groups or company pages), Instagram, Pinterest or Google+ business profiles/pages. 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.
Social Champ allows you to schedule and publish content to a wide variety of networks, not just once, but many times in a cycle. You can also link up your RSS feed and set up filters.
Tool Comparison Table
Scroll to see more
|Tool||URL||Parent Company||Year Founded||Head Office Location||Free Plan?||Number of users in free plan||Max number of users in free plan||Cheapest Paid Plan||Number of users in cheapest paid plan||Max Number of users in cheapest paid plan|
|Hootsuite||hootsuite.com||N/A||2008||Vancouver, Canada||Yes||1||1||$45/user/mth/billed annually||1||1|
|Agorapulse||agorapulse.com||N/A||2011||Paris, France||No||N/A||N/A||$99/user/mth |
$79/usr/mth if paid annually
|2||Unlimited (extra users $30/user/mth)|
|Sprout Social||sproutsocial.com||N/A||2010||Chicazgo, US||No||N/A||N/A||$99/user/mth||1||Unlimited (extra users $99/user/mth)|
|Sendible||sendible.com||N/A||2009||London, UK||No||N/A||N/A||$29/user/mth |
$24/user/mth if billed annually
|Zoho Social||zoho.com/social||Zoho||2015||Chennai, India||Yes||1||1||$10/user/mth|
$8.33/user/mth if billed annually
|2||Not specified/addit'l user $10/mth|
|ContentCal||ContentCal||N/A||2014||London, UK||Yes||1||1||£15/mth billed annually||1||Not specified/addit'l user £15/mth|
|Social Report||socialreport.com||N/A||2010||New York, NY||No||N/A||N/A||$49/mth||5||5|
|Muster Point||musterpoint.io||N/A||2012||London, London||No||N/A||N/A||$35/£25 per month per user||1||Not specified/addit'l user $35/£25/mth|
|Jollor||jollor.com||N/A||2014||Prague, Czech Republic||No||N/A||N/A||$5/per mth||2||Not specified/addit'l user $5/mth|
|MavSocial||MavSocial||N/A||2012||San Francisco, CA||Yes||1||1||$16/mth billed annually||1||1|
|Lately||trylately.com||N/A||2014||New York, US||No||N/A||N/A||$79/mth||1||1|
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:
- HootSuite Tutorial Video (Basic Blog Tips)
- Hootsuite Review (PC Mag)
- HootSuite Review – 5 Reasons to Use HootSuite as Your Social Media Dashboard (Adam Troudart)
- 7 Reasons why you should NOT use Hootsuite
I'm also very happy to answer any questions you have, so please ask away in the comments!
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!