Hootsuite is a social media management platform and its user interface takes the form of a dashboard that supports social network integration for Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
They are based in Vancouver and they have 1000 staff members in 13 locations including Sydney, Bucharest, Mexico City, London, Paris, Toronto, Milan, and Rome; they have more than 16 million users in over 75 countries.
Hootsuite was founded by Ryan Holmes and it has won some awards including the Shorty Awards, Open Web Awards 2009 from Mashable and the Canadian New Media Award.
Hootsuite was created after Holmes couldn’t find a product (in the market) that offered all features he sought. He teamed up with David Tedman, Dario Meli, and the Invoke team and they developed their own platform that would help them organize their social media accounts and networks.
Hootsuite was formerly known as BrightKit and sometime in February 2009, Holmes offered a $500 prize to anyone to rename the platform.
|Ease of use
Getting Started with Hootsuite
This section details how to get started with Hootsuite.
1. Select Sign Up on the homepage to create an account.
2. You select if it’s just for you or for a team. They both have a free 60-day trial. For this article, I selected the individual plan.
3. Input your details – full name, business email address and password.
4. You are shown a slip that gives you details of when you’ll be charged and you input your card details; select start my subscription. When you are done, you are directed to answer some questions on how you (your organisation) manage social media.
5. You are to answer some questions on what describes how your organisation manages social media.
Hootsuite Pricing Plan
Hootsuite has four (4) pricing plans and they all come with a 60-day free trial. They include:
a. Professional Plan
It goes for $49 per month and is suitable for 1 user and 10 social media accounts. The plan comes with access to messages in one inbox, unlimited posts and post-scheduling. You can also choose to skip the 60-day trial and get 20% off.
b. Team Plan
It goes for $249 per month and is suitable for 3 users and 20 social media accounts. The plan comes with everything in the professional plan including you being able to assign posts to team members and roles & permissions. You can also choose to skip the 60-day trial and get 20% off.
c. Business Plan
It goes for $739 per month and is suitable for 5 users and 35 social accounts. This plan can be bought and it comes with everything in the team plan including approval workflow, Hootsuite customer support, content & asset library and inbound/outbound tagging.
d. Enterprise Plan
This is a custom plan and a demo can be requested for. It’s suitable for 5 users and starts at 50 social accounts. It comes with everything in the business plan including social ads management, team productivity reporting, social ads analytics & employee advocacy.
HOW HOOTSUITE’S DASHBOARD WORKS
Hootsuite’s dashboard (for a first-time user) has enough components and is understandable. On the vertical side of your screen, there are 9 variables that aid you and your team. They include:
1. The owl sign is the home button.
2. The cup is to upgrade your plan.
3. The pen sign is to create a new post and add a pin or Instagram story.
4. The 4th variable is for streams and it offers an easy way to engage with your audience. Besides that, streams help in keeping track of your social activities happening across all your social channels.
5. The 5th variable is a content planner which is for scheduling and publishing your content.
6. The 6th variable is an inbox which helps manage (social) messages from your audience and customers.
7. The 7th variable is for advertisement and it helps boost your posts – Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.
8. The 8th variable is for analytics and helps with your social account reports and their performance.
9. The 9th variable (see more) directs you to other apps and has options for help and resources.
Features Of Hootsuite
To get started with/on Hootsuite, you have to add 3 social accounts. When you log into Hootsuite, select Go to Dashboard and add 3 of your social accounts. Select add account and a pop-up that asks you to select an app are displayed.
For each app you select, you grant Hootsuite access. If you are adding your Instagram account on Hootsuite, ensure it’s a business profile.
When you’ve added all 3 accounts, go to the second instruction to schedule your first post. Select schedule your first post and you’ll be directed to create a post that can either be a pin, an Instagram story or a post.
1. Content Posting, Scheduling and Management
On your Hootsuite dashboard, click the Create icon (or hover over the create icon to immediately choose a pin, post or IG story). For this article, I chose Post. You are presented with this white worksheet.
Under Publish, click on the bar saying select a social account and select any or all social accounts you wish to use. I selected LinkedIn. Enter your texts and links in the text bar.
Since it’s a LinkedIn post, you can add hashtags and emojis. Images (gotten from the image library and images designed with Canva) can be added.
You can choose to post immediately or you can schedule the post for later. If you select schedule for later, you can choose the date and time for when the post to go live and select Schedule. Scheduled posts (or drafts) are viewed in your planner.
2. Content Ideas and Inspiration
If you’ve run out of content or have writer’s block, Hootsuite’s inspiration tag has a plethora of content ideas and a catalogue to choose from. Some of the ideas include Flashback Friday Sale, This or That Question, Repost Product Pics or Products & Services FAQs.
How It Works
Select the inspiration tag and pick a content or post idea (I selected Introduce an employee), select a social account (I chose LinkedIn and Twitter) and edit the text on both accounts in the text box.
Go to the media library to get free images or design an image with Canva. You can choose to post immediately or schedule for later.
If you intend to share big news – say a promotion, a new contract/deal – select the share big news catalogue. Select use this idea (clicking on more about this idea is good for caption ideas and more information on the post) and select a social account you wish to use (I chose Twitter), edit the post and schedule your post, post immediately or draft it.
3. Content Planner
Hootsuite’s content planner helps in structuring your social media posts. It has a social media content calendar that helps you visualize your posts in one place. Hootsuite’s content planner helps execute your when and where.
How It Works
Select Planner and you’re presented with a calendar with tags or sections that help in categorizing your work or content.
Select Calendar to see your drafts.
Go back to Calendar to categorize your planner. I selected social accounts and chose all 3 platforms/accounts and selected Apply. For post status, I chose drafts and scheduled and selected Apply.
The next option lets you view your calendar in a list form, week form and month form. I preferred my calendar in a list form.
To create a post right away from your content calendar, adjust your date to something preferred (in my case I chose Nov 12 – Nov 13 2022) and both dates are at the bottom of the calendar with a Create option at the end of the page.
Select Create and indicate if it’s a Post, Instagram story or Pin (I picked Pin), select a board and add the URL, and write a brief text or description in the text bar. You can use emojis, and hashtags and tag fellow creators.
At the end of the description box, you can choose an image from the Hootsuite media library or your personal media library. Click on Post now.
Go to content to see your drafts, scheduled posts, past scheduled posts, posts that need approval or have expired approvals and posts that have been rejected.
You can edit, duplicate and delete your drafts under content and also come to crosscheck for posting times and platforms.
4. Analytics & Reports
Hootsuite’s analytics gives you a 360-degree view of your results on all your social networks. These results can be customisable which makes them easy to distil, distribute and digest.
How It Works
Select Analytics at the bottom of your dashboard and select all reports. If you click on post-performance, you’ll get a result of your platform’s posts and engagement – which can be in a card/table view.
Engagements can be sorted via dates, selecting the best time to publish. To do this, ensure you’ve published a few times to get suggestions. Also, schedule a post for the suggested days and times.
When you select a new report, you have templates you can use (and customize). You can select templates by performance or goals – Awareness (audience growth, post reach and video reach), Engagement (inbound engagement, post engagement overview and video engagement overview) and Conversion (ow.ly link clicks).
Every platform has a template to track and create a report. I selected Twitter under Performance by network and chose Twitter engagement. If you published earlier, you’ll have real-time insight into post-key interactions and other metrics.
Select New report, select mixed overview under Getting started and select create a report. This report is for 4 social accounts – LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Your reports can be exported as a pdf, pptx. When you are on an upgraded plan, your reports are saved into CSV or xlsx.
5. Social Listening With Streams
This stream feature helps in engaging with your audience and at the same time keeps track of social activities happening across your social accounts.
With this feature, you monitor things like hashtags, mentions, keywords, and conversations and respond right away.
How It Works
Log into your Hootsuite account and select Streams. Each social account has its own board and the stream display is different and depends on what plan you’re on. I’m on a free plan hence, all social accounts are added with suggested streams.
Select New Board and choose the board type you want. You can create one board for each stream and another for streams that will monitor your competitors and hashtags.
You can choose to view them in Comfortable, Compact or Standard. A stream that has your social posts displays key metrics from Hootsuite Analytics such as audience engagement and post tallies. You can also choose to hide analytics.
For Twitter, I selected view on analytics and I was directed to add a new report. I selected Twitter (underperformance by network) and chose Twitter engagement, selecting Create report. You have a dashboard and a Tweets Table with an engagement infographic.
Your reports depend on the template and social network you choose. To add streams, select an account and tags you wish to add.
Hootsuite Ranking & Why We Recommend This Product
Now that we are aware of Hootsuite being a social media management tool, does it stack against specific user-centric parameters? These are what we found.
1. Content Scheduling & Publishing
Hootsuite’s content scheduling and publishing feature gives you the opportunity to create content (Pin, post or Instagram story) and schedule a time to publish it.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 4.9.
2. Social Media Engagement Analytics & Tracking
With Hootsuite’s analytics feature, you have a 360-degree view of all your social accounts. Often, you’re given suggested times and days to publish.
Hootsuite also makes templates for you to view your reports and analytics.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it at 4.9.
3. Marketing Campaign
Hootsuite’s marketing campaign feature is accessible in the Business & Enterprise plan. It makes campaigns easy and organized.
Team members are able to create a post and associate it with a campaign in one click.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it at 4.6.
Hootsuite helps simplify your plan and schedule by connecting 20+ social networks including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn and apps including HubSpot, Adobe Stock, Airtable for Hootsuite, Canva, Page View and Dropbox among others.
5. Competitor Analysis
This feature helps you stay ahead in your industry by knowing who your competitors are. This is used with Hootsuite’s Stream and Analytics feature and comes with suggestions on the best time and days to publish.
Comparative Analysis: Hootsuite Review vs Sprout Social
This section takes a look at Sprout Social alternative project management tool. We’ll cover Trello’s pricing plan and ratings from G2 and Capterra.
Sprout Social is a social media management platform that offers deep social media listening & analytics, customer care, social management and advocacy solutions to more than 25,000 agencies and brands.
Sprout Social was founded by Justyn Howard, Gil Lara, Peter Soung and Aaron Rankin in 2010, it’s based in Chicago, Illinois and is built on the idea that the world is better when businesses and customers communicate freely. So far, they have raised $111.5million.
Sprout is backed by venture capital funds from Goldman Sachs, Light bank and New Enterprise Associates.
In 2015, Sprout launched support for Portuguese and Spanish apps and in March 2016, they launched Sprout Social Landscape, a free trial that adjusts the size of images for 7 different social networks as well as custom dimensions.
Features and Services
1. Monitor & Engage
This feature helps you streamline and scale social monitoring and engagement efforts with a unified social inbox. With it comes Contact Views, Smart Inbox, Conversation History, Collision Detection, Review Management, Facebook and Instagram Ads and Comment Moderation.
2. Plan & Publish
This helps you effortlessly plan, create, manage and deliver social content and campaigns as a team. With it comes Message Drafting, Sprout Queue, Multimedia Publishing, and Image Editing among others.
3. Report & Analyze
With this feature, you drive strategic decision-making across your business with meaningful insights from analytics and social data. It comes with Twitter Analytics, Facebook Analytics, LinkedIn Analytics, Instagram Analytics, Google Analytic Reports, Keyboard Reports, and Activity Reports among others.
4. Listen & Inform
You encounter trends and extract actionable insights gotten from social conversations to have better marketing strategies. With it comes Listener Insights, Listener Dashboard, and Query Builder amongst others.
5. Share & Amplify
Helps put your brand’s shareable content in one place making it easy for your employees to easily post to their social networks.
SPROUT SOCIAL PRICING PLAN
1. Standard Plan
Goes for $249 per month and additional users pay $199 per month, it comes with a 30-day free trial. It comes with 5 social profiles, android and iOS mobile apps, publish, schedule, draft and queue posts, paid promotion tools to boost Facebook posts, review management, and social content calendar amongst others.
2. Professional Plan
The most popular plan goes for $399 per month, additional users pay $299 per month and come with a 30-day free trial. It comes with everything in the standard plan including unlimited social profiles, scheduling for optimal send times, response rate and time analysis reports, competitive reports for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Helpdesk, CRM and social commerce integrations.
3. Advanced Plan
Goes for $499 per month, additional users pay $349 per month and comes with a 30-day free trial. Comes with everything in the professional plan including automation tools, automated link tracking, digital asset and content library, and saved and suggested replies.
4. Enterprise Plan
It’s a custom-built plan which entails you’ll have to contact Sprout Social sales team. Comes with everything in the advanced plan including 24/5 priorities customer support, premier consulting services, tailored implementation and onboarding to get teams up and running quickly. This enterprise plan comes with some add-ons.
Benefits That Make Hootsuite Standout
1. Social Scheduling
Hootsuite supports three profiles with its Free plan, 10 profiles with the Professional plan, 20 profiles with the Team plan, 35 profiles with the Business plan and 50 or more profiles with the Enterprise plan. Hootsuite supports unlimited scheduling and unlimited posts per month.
2. Hootsuite offers better analysis. For instance, with Hootsuite users can categorize inbound messages from Instagram and Facebook by sentiment while on Social Sprout, users can rank types of interactions per YouTube video.
3. Hootsuite offers great value for money with the pricing plan – it has a very unlimited free plan and three paid plans: Professional, Team and Business.
4. Hootsuite has a range of integrations which makes it impressive with over 150 apps available in its online App Directory.
We’ve come to the end of this article and have covered Hootsuite and some features that make it a product worth trying out. Do try it out and we’ll be in the comment section to hear your feedback(s).