Last week my post about adding your LinkedIn company page to Hootsuite turned into a Do you Use Hootsuite? post in the groups to which I belong on LinkedIn. One group member asked - Please explain the basics and advantages of “Hootsuite” to one that is not familiar with the concept.
I thought it might be useful to provide an explanation on my blog.
First let me say that there are other options, but I have found Hootsuite to suit my needs the best.
Hootsuite is a a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. For free you can have up to 5 profiles in one browser window. For each profile you can have multiple streams from that profile – for example from your Twitter account you could include the Tweets of the people you follow, tweets that include a mention of your Twitter handle, and any direct messages to you. For this purpose it is a great customer service tool.
There are some limitations with a few of the profiles options, but in general this is a good one-stop location to follow most of the platforms on which you would have a profile. Hootsuite is pretty responsive to the requests from the users and new options become available periodically.
Another major benefit to Hootsuite is the ability to schedule posts. This is useful if you will be on vacation, in a meeting, on a webinar or otherwise unavailable to post at a particular time. There is even an auto-post feature that Hootsuite will post at the best time for your fan-base.
Drafts is another feature. I have found this useful when I was trying to promote a particular program or limited time feature on a product. To me this would be more beneficial in Twitter than some of the other platforms. The repetitive nature allows you to say the same thing and perhaps only change a word (a fundraiser would be a good example to use this).
Hootsuite also offers a team option – this is a paid feature. If you have a team of individuals who would be addressing customer service issues, you can forward a post that you see to that individual for that person to address.
Some of the platforms don’t give as much “credence” to the third party applications like Hootsuite, so your posts may not have the same visibility (in Facebook especially) as if you post directly to the platform, but they are still useful. If you want to manage your social media yourself, but need to be about the business of your business, sometimes, using a tool like Hootsuite is the best use of your time. Remember that even though you may schedule a post, you still need to keep an eye on your social media platforms to be able to respond to comments or messages that followers may post that you don’t “see” right away in Hootsuite.
Nothing is perfect, but we need to make use of the tools and products that help us to our best at the time.