Why I Started to Give a Hoot.

December 16th, 2016

Sarah Hechler

Social Media Manager

Social Media never sleeps. It never takes a holiday… not even a 3-day weekend get-a-way where you promise to swear off your phone – but then how will you Instagram every amazing dish you order? I mean think about it…The peak hours are normally when we ourselves are ON it. While you watch Netflix at night, or enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning, even after you send a couple emails at work hoping 5pm creeps closer. Or if you’re like me and your job is to be on social… then its 24/7 J #roughlife

Not every platform has a multi-dimensional scheduling system for their posts built into it like Facebook. In fact, we really must rely on third party, Social Relationship Management systems (SoRM) like Hootsuite, if we ever grow tired of posting live 24/7. And believe me, I’ve been there… For a while I dismissed the idea of using Hootsuite as I feared change and the platform intimidated me. I would experiment here and there and then go back to my old ways… Well, at least I can admit it!

Another key issue I noticed with not utilizing a SoRM was the inability to identify the gaps in posting, not only with the dates/times but the content as well. Too often you can find yourself focusing on one element of the business and not dipping your toes in every level. For example, a client of ours offers a wide range of engagement with community events, great local and national shops & restaurants, family activities, local organization involvement and much more… making it so important to not only talk about one component, but to expose all facets to the consumer.

I wanted to “dissect” Hootsuite, and give my #2Cents on the system with a pro vs con sort of list…

Cons

Somewhat Confusing Dashboard,
Expensive Analytic/Demographic Reports,
Facebook Issues
 

Pros

Once you use it... it’s easy,
Organized,
Customizable Dashboard,
Multiple streams from several platforms,
Bulk upload ability,
Multiple Accounts Linked,
Easy to connect,
Ability to “Gap” check
 

Okay from first glance I’m sure you’re thinking... is this even a question? But the three part con-list can be a SoRM killer for a lot of users. So let’s start with the Consbecause we all love to end on a positive note!

#1: Confusing Dashboard.
No one likes difficult tools, they’re supposed to make our lives easier. And I will be the first to admit, Hootsuite’s main dashboard takes a little getting used to. It can seem like a lot right on the opening page as multiple social networks and streams are all on one tab.

#2: Expensive Analytic Reports
So… this element makes me really sad, but I guess I understand why. Hootsuite can provide remarkable analytics for your business or the clients you manage… but you’re going to have to fork over the $$ to have access to them. To learn year round statistics about your followers will run you about $40/month equaling $480 for the year. But WAIT, I’m not done… that only includes one account, so if you’re doing this for multiple clients, you will have to pay more. This may seem like an unnecessary component since almost all social platforms provide their own analytics, however having them compiled for you and put into one place is desirable. And the visual pie charts and bar graphs they include will make any social media nerd yelp with joy!

#3: Facebook Issues
Now this con is the Neal Caffrey of White Collar… we can totally live with it. (get it? Might’ve been a stretch…) I use Hootsuite for every social platform apart from Facebook, because there is no reason to use a third party when the platform itself is built for what you need. Mark Z wasn’t playing around when constructing FB’s interface, and with each update they’re trying more and more to “phase out” third parties. What do I mean by that? A couple things… If you try posting to Facebook through Hootsuite, (1) it will not recognize the link created through HS’s URL shorten-er, nor will it populate an image from the website. (2) Images you upload won’t transfer over to your Facebook post. And lastly… I honestly should’ve led with this one as it would have been enough to turn away from the idea of HS + FB forever. But I guess I wanted to save the best for last. (3) Facebook insights and algorithms will PENALIZE you for using a third party… Ha! In a way I love that they are limiting other platforms because it makes sense for their business. They want you to use Facebook to Facebook.
So bottom line, Hootsuite + FB = 4Never

Okay I’m done with the cons for now… let’s roll through the Pros.

#1: Once you use it, it’s easy. But that kind of goes for everything right? Once you practice with it enough, it really does become second nature and very intuitive. Like WordPress… Took me a bit to get the hang of it, but once I did we were best friends.

#2: Organized. I am a neat freak. My calendars are color coded with different color pens for categorized activities, and crossed out in black once completed. Which I can’t say the same for my closet… However, Hootsuite keeps everything in a structured place that you can design to fit your preferences. For example, you can create one tab with the label “Company X” and include a stream from each platform you’re handling. Which brings me to my first & second tip: (1) ONLY have one client per tab and label them. And (2) the most important stream to include on each tab is the “Scheduled” stream. Too many streams in one tab will overwhelm you with clutter and probably scare you away. Which leads me into…

#3: Customizable Dashboard. Upon using Hootsuite for the first time you are greeted by a hectic dashboard that provides you with 1 example to base yours from. After that you need to add new accounts and create your own tabs, which may at first be difficult (see Con #1) however, in the long run it’s a strong foundation to work from. Add a new client? It’s easy to create a tab for them and tailor it to show only what you want to see (i.e. Retweets, Mentions, Facebook News Feed, Scheduled Posts, etc.)

#4: Multiple Streams from Several Platforms. If you are handling all of the social platforms for Company X and want one tab to show you every scheduled post you have going out that day, you will love this feature. Hootsuite allows you to connect every medium for your account and monitor them seamlessly under one tab. Tip (3): Add Facebook’s stream even if you don’t plan on scheduling posts. You will want to monitor your feed.

#5: Bulk upload ability. Hate scheduling individual tweets? Compile all into an excel sheet with the post, date and time and HS will allow you to upload them all at once. Phew! That went quickly…

#6: Multiple Accounts Linked. Again, just stressing the ability to monitor as many client’s as you have under one Hootsuite account. I often wish Twitter would jump on board with Facebook and allow 1 account to manage several others so we can find them in one place without having to log out, but until that time…

#7: Easy to Connect. This is pretty self-explanatory, but I had to bring it up. I dislike nothing more than when I try to connect Instagram or Facebook to another party and a pop-up requires me to jump out of the current app into another to authorize. With Hootsuite you don’t have to do that, it is all under their interface.

#8: Gap Checking. So you decide to use Hootsuite and schedule out an entire month of posts. Now when it’s time to review you see a couple holes whether you have missed days between postings or you talk about one topic repetitively, and need to break it up. Hootsuite is a great tool to assist in that area as it cross checks all your platforms and keeps them in one place. Tip (4): Check the insights for each account to see what times your audience are most active & monitor your streams to make sure you don’t miss those intervals.

Now it is just up to you to decide whether you can benefit from a SoRM platform or not. There are also plenty of other companies to work with like Sprout Social, Tweet Deck, Agora Pulse, etc. all with their own pros and cons. For now, I will stick with the 10 million other professionals who choose to schedule and analyze their social media through Hootsuite, and I encourage you to give it a try. After you do that, it’s all about developing a social media strategy that will kick butt for your client. So stay tuned for our next blog with tips and best practices for creating a Social Media Strategy.

And if you’re still on the old rickety fence of “do I need to implement strategy behind my social media accounts?” Read these great stats below…

What happens in 1 Second on Social Media?

7,413 Tweets are sent
752 Instagram photos uploaded
135,722 YouTube videos viewed
52,083 Facebook likes

Now THAT is a lot of engagement... don't you think? So you should be asking yourself, what could you and your business possibly be missing out on?