You’ve activated and opened accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and a whole host of new social media platforms. You want to join the world of online digital advertising and through it get closer to your customer and understand their needs.
But managing that many social media accounts is time-consuming, and the last thing that most entrepreneurs and small business owners have is time. What you need is an essential list of tools to make your life, or the life of your social media manager, easier. In our book, Profitable Social Media Marketing, you’ll find several tools that we regularly use to help us manage our client’s accounts to the highest possible professional standards.
One particular tool we have in our own arsenal of social media tools is Hootsuite, a web application that allows you to manage multiple social media accounts across different platforms.
It is one of the most popular free social media management tools and for good reason. It integrates with all of the most popular networks, including Instagram, allowing you create and posts and schedule them for later use.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the application:
- It comes with free, pro, and enterprise licensing options so the fee scales as your campaign does.
- You can use it to manage Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Google Plus and Foursquare.
- It offers a useful monitoring service that shows you replies, mentions and direct messages from all networks in one dashboard.
- It has the ability to schedule updates (Tweets, Facebook posts), including posting across all your networks at a set time.
- Collaboration options allow you to work as a team and delegate replies and other tasks with staff.
- It provides very insightful and customised analytics, good enough to present to management or clients without much additional work.
- It has good mobile apps for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.
- Although the app is marketed as free, the features in the free version are quite limited.
- The analytics features aren’t available in the free version. Detailed analytics can vary in price from as low as $50 to as high as $500 per report.
You are restricted to the ow.ly URL shortener. For most this isn’t a problem, but if you have your own short URL or use another service for the analytics, Hootsuite probably isn’t for you.
The collaborative teams feature, while very neat, is relatively expensive.
Our Ninja Verdict on Hootsuite
Social media monitoring is something that Hootsuite does well. It allows you to create custom streams to show all Tweets including a particular keyword, phrase, Hashtag, mention or list. Hootsuite is also a good ‘getting started’ tool for small businesses that don’t necessarily have a budget to pay for something more advanced but need some help keeping on top of all their networks.
The Pro upgraded version starts at less than $10/month and gives you more options, including more social profiles, bulk message scheduling, some reporting and access to premium Apps.
Of all the tools we recommend to our clients and partners, we list this social media dashboard as being amongst the most useful. It is one we continually suggest to new businesses joining the realm of social media marketing.
Have you used Hootsuite before? What did you think?
You can find more details on how to get the best out of your social media marketing via our new book Profitable Social Media Marketing: How To Grow Your Business