For businesses that manage multiple social media accounts, marketing tools that improve efficiency have become essential. Social media management tools, as well as saving you time, also help you see the big picture when it comes to your online presence. But these tools also come at a price. Not only do you have to keep up with the constant updating and monitoring of channels, there’s also the added cost. Fortunately, there are now some powerful tools that are also affordable even for small businesses. Many companies have chosen Hootsuite as their main social media tool, but is it right for your business?

What is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is one of the most complete social media management tools for managing multiple social media accounts. It’s designed to bring all your social channels into one convenient dashboard, where you can write new posts, read and track content, view statistics, and schedule content. If you’re using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, Hootsuite supports all these channels and more to help you manage regular social media tasks and implement long-term content strategies.

The Dashboard

Seeing all your social media channels in one place helps you focus on your overall social media strategy without having to load separate programs and tools. The free plan from Hootsuite lets you organize up to three social media profiles at once, so you can track your posts, reply directly to people, and publish new content across multiple networks.

The paid version will give you the ability to connect with your customer base on over thirty-five popular social media channels, so you’ll always be up to date with your customer base. If you’re a marketing agency, the ability to view different campaigns for different clients is essential. With Hootsuite, you can track campaign performance and make sure you give each client the best return on their marketing investment.

Scheduling

The most successful content marketing strategies come from clear planning and knowing your long-term marketing goals. With Hootsuite, you can schedule messages well in advance, making it easier for you post content at the optimum times. According to your business needs and your audience behavior, you can pick the day and the time that best suits your needs. You can then view your content schedule in a simple calendar format. On the customer service side, you can even store draft messages to post when a customer asks a common question.

Monitoring

Another important aspect of social media management is the ability to track what people are saying about your business. Hootsuite makes it easy to find out who is posting to your accounts and what they’re saying about your brand. You can also track key phrases across other users’ posts to be alerted to content that might benefit from your contribution.

The analytics features on Hootsuite give you a clear view of your overall social media strategy. Find out how many people are engaging with your posts, and which social profiles are growing. You can also visualize social media demographics, discover real-time spikes in brand sentiment, identify social influencers, and create custom reports to share with other team members.

Collaboration

Hootsuite is built to adapt to your business needs, so as your business expands you can customize Hootsuite to optimize your social media strategies in each department. You can manage employees by project, department, and region, and assign permission levels, create tasks, and keep your brand voice consistent across every channel. By assigning team members to specific social media accounts, you can see when people are posting content and the future content schedule, meaning you have more control over the entire process.

Pros of Hootsuite

  • Easy-to-use interface. Organized by tabs, the Hootsuite dashboard makes it easy to divide tasks between different social networks and streams
  • Integration with a wide range of social channels
  • App directory. Unlike many other social media management tools, Hootsuite provides access to more than 100 apps for platforms like YouTube, Salesforce, and Google Drive. This means you can monitor your social activity across a wide range of channels
  • As it’s a web-based tool, you don’t need to buy extra software
  • Collaboration tools make it easier to organize and monitor tasks
  • Compatibility with all browsers
  • Get weekly analytics reports by email

Cons of Hootsuite

  • Longer learning curve. Hootsuite has many components, so it can take a while to learn all of its features. It does, however, include helpful tutorials
  • Adding more team members means the cost of using the program will increase
  • Analytics reports can be expensive. Although some are free, you have to pay up to $50 for others
  • You have to use the ow.ly URL shortener
  • Facebook Analytics does not integrate with the program very well

The Plans

You can use Hootsuite for free for an unlimited period. This gives you the ability to manage three social media profiles, have three basic analytics reports, and up to two RSS feeds. With this plan, you can only schedule one post at a time. For $9.99 per month, you get access to Hootsuite Pro, which allows for 50 social media profiles, an enhanced analytics report plus three basic reports, and unlimited RSS feeds. You can also add another team member and schedule up to 350 posts at a time.

The Bottom Line

For businesses that have a limited budget, Hootsuite is one of the most comprehensive social media management tools on the market. The Pro version includes more features than many small businesses will need, so if you’re looking for a relatively simple to use social media marketing tool, Hootsuite is definitely worth further investigation. Even if it provides more features that you may need, it doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. For content scheduling, social monitoring, and collaboration, Hootsuite is one of the best marketing tools out there.