With 10 million users worldwide, Hootsuite has become a common name in the world of social media management. The system, which can be accessed through a web browser, has a free service as well as multiple pay-for services.
Through Hootsuite you can manage social media accounts, schedule posts, access reports and analytics, plus much more. Access to different features is only available through different payment plans, so if you’re only wanting the free account don’t expect to get detailed reports.
If you’re not used to Hootsuite, or a social media scheduling tool, it can be somewhat intimidating when you first log on. The grey and blue colour scheme is not particularly inspiring, and it can feel like there is a lot on your screen at any one time. We recommend that you have a play around with it at first, get used to where things are and add any social media streams that you want to manage. If you’ve got a free account you won’t be able to manage more than 3 social media profiles, so if you want more than that you’re going to have to pay up.
This is without a doubt one of the most useful parts of Hootsuite, the scheduling. For Twitter, you can easily create tweets complete with links (there’s an inbuilt URL shrinker), images and emojis.
It’s easy to switch between Twitter accounts, which is great if you have multiple accounts that you need to manage. Just make sure you’re sending the right tweet from the right account!
There are, however, some drawbacks to the scheduling. Until recently, you could schedule the same tweet twice in one day. This is no more. If you schedule the same tweet twice, the second will not be tweeted and will instead give you a little email notification saying it has failed to post. As well as this, there’s no ‘mass’ scheduling option. This means that if there was a tweet you wanted to send every day over a week, you’d have to enter it as an individual schedule seven times rather than having the option to select multiple dates.
With the free account, there are no analytics. The cheapest Hootsuite option is the Professional package which costs £7.99 a month (billed annually); it provides real-time analytics which could be very useful for your business. However, there are other options out there which can give you basic analytics for free.
If you’re just after a system that will allow you to schedule posts for 1-3 social media accounts, then free Hootsuite is for you. But if you want any more than that you’re going to have to pay. With the cheapest option, you’re looking at almost £100 a year, which isn’t too bad. For anything above that, you’ll have to be really into your social media management with a large number of profiles and a need for highly detailed analytics. The Business plan can cost you around £840 a year, so it isn’t a small payment.
We love Hootsuite for its basic scheduling features, and the Professional plan isn’t too expensive if you want more from the site. There are however other tools you can easily use to track your social media performance (both Twitter and Facebook have inbuilt analytic tools) without the price tag.