3 Things You Must Know About Hootsuite

Welcome to episode 221 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris.

All right, today we’re going to talk about Hootsuite because Hootsuite is probably one of the more common tools that I recommend when people are first starting to find a way to manage their social media — that does not mean they have to bounce around from network to network — and of course schedule on things like Twitter. That’s what I want to talk about specifically, is Hootsuite.

Now I don’t want this to be a rounding endorsement that Hootsuite is the only way to go. Over the next couple of months I’m going to be focusing in on other tools as well, like Sprout Social and Buffer and Edgar and those kind of tools, but today we’re talking about Hootsuite, so take everything I say today with, this is the information about Hootsuite. The valuable piece of having a ton of different tools options to manage your social media is that there is something for everyone, so find out what you need, find out what you like, and then start trying systems, okay?

Okay, we’re going to talk about Hootsuite today because it’s one of the best places I have found for people to get started. Full disclosure, Hootsuite took me a long time to get into. I tried it twice before I finally settled in and really started to like it. That happens, so if you’ve used it before and maybe you didn’t like it, I would suggest maybe trying it again or find another tool. See what it is that you liked and what you didn’t like, and move forward from there.

As usual with a Friday episode, we’re breaking this down into three things. To start with, I want to talk about the fact that there are multiple levels of Hootsuite and this is honestly one of the reasons that I really encourage people who are just jumping in to really using a management tool for their social media to try Hootsuite. That’s because there is a free level. There is an option to use it without having to invest anything. With that said, even at the investment levels, you have some really awesome capabilities for a really reasonable price.

I do want to talk first about the free versus paid level. Up first is the free level and that allows you to manage up to three profiles. This can sometimes cause some confusion for people because profiles are not networks. They’re profiles, so if you have three Twitter accounts, that’s going to be your three profiles. On the flip side, if you want to manage a Facebook page, a Facebook group that you admin … you can’t schedule to a group you don’t admin, but if you have a group you admin and you want to schedule to that, and you have a Facebook profile …

Maybe there’s two Facebook groups. Let’s do it that way. We have a Facebook page and we have two Facebook groups that we admin, that we want to schedule to. That’s your three profiles, so it is pretty easy to burn through these profile numbers pretty quickly, so pay attention to that at the free level. As I said, that gives you three social profiles. There are some basic analytics. You do get some basic scheduling options. There are some cool opportunities to schedule in different ways, but really it’s just about the layout. With the free version of Hootsuite, you can go in and assign a time.

You can’t lay them out on a calendar. You can’t lay them out on a week view or anything like that. It just lays them out as a list view and you see all of them, and you’re going to schedule them one by one by entering the information in the scheduling box. You don’t get any team members, so if this is something that you want to add your VA to and you guys manage together, you’re not going to be able to do that at the free level. You get two campaigns included. Campaigns allow you to run contests, sweepstakes and campaigns across your social network to generate leads and drive results. I’m pulling that right from Hootsuite. Again, you get two campaign templates at the free level.

There is some basic app integration. You can bring in two RSS feeds. This is a great way to be able to share other people’s content or quickly share your content out. You also get optional access to things like Hootsuite University. There’s not any sort of security, no vanity custom URLs, no enhanced tech support, no professional service, no custom permissions, no brand protection, no risk in policy management and no dedicated account rep. Again, at the free level, up to three profiles and some basic scheduling is kind of your key takeaways here.

When you move to the pro level, which starts at $9.99 a month, you get up to 50 profiles. Again, each of your LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, those count as profiles, so if this is something you want to dump a lot of stuff into or maybe you manage social for a client, that’s something to be considering. You get some enhanced analytics reports. One is included and then you have the option to purchase others. You get some advanced scheduled. Like I said, you can use the calendar format, which I really like. You put up a seven-day calendar and just hit on the calendar when you want to schedule, and type in the content, so not having to go through the dropdowns to schedule the time and date.

You get two campaigns included, but you can upgrade that to eight. Basic app integration. Unlimited RSS feeds. Of course, Hootsuite University is optional. There is some more security. You have the option to get vanity and custom URLs, and you have the option to get some technical support. That’s the pro level. Again, it starts at $9.99 a month, so 10 bucks.

The enterprise level is something that for the most part you guys won’t be using. That’s going to be based on a pricing that you’ll get from them, and you can get a demo. This is something that more like the Coca-Colas and the Pepsis and the progressive insurances, those of the worlds is what they’re using. You get unlimited profiles, unlimited analytics reports, up to 500,000 team members, so you can see this is a huge level.

What I really want you to focus on when you look at the plan options is the free and the pro. When thing I didn’t mention at that pro level, you do get that team member included and you can upgrade it if you have a couple of team members you want to add. This is really helpful if you do have somebody like a Va helping you out with your social media so that you can see who is posting what. You can see what’s going on. All right? That’s the free versus paid. You’ll find what works best for you. If this is something you want to try out, I say sign up at the free and try it out.

If you do want to see what the pro level looks like there is a 30 day free trial with Hootsuite, so you can see what it’s like for 30 days. The thing I like about that 30 day free trial is in 30 days you’re really going to know whether you like it or not. I encourage you to dive in and really try it. Commit to really using it for that 30 days. All right, so now that we’ve got the boring stuff out of the day as far as what kind of account to set up, again, it’s going to be up to you. Check out the free trial, all that good stuff.

Now how do we actually use this? What is the purpose of this in our overall social media plan? How does this make social media easier? The fun part. The great thing about something like Hootsuite is you’re going to be scheduling your foundation. Last Friday I talked about social media scheduling, so if you haven’t listened to that episode, go listen to that episode. Pause right now and go listen to that episode and then come back because I’m going to just use phrases from that.

What this does is it makes your social media foundation a lot easier, so scheduling out your blog posts and stuff like that can be done right away. The format we use around here at The Stacey Harris is I record these podcasts and do the show notes, and then Charles, my right hand man, he goes in and actually creates the social content, and schedules it out. We use Hootsuite to schedule to LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. I schedule everything from Facebook … for Facebook, I should say, to Facebook. I schedule everything using the Facebook scheduler.

I have seen in my experience that there is a little bit better organic reach when I go ahead and schedule it. Again, that’s probably because I’m still consistently scheduling. If you’re not consistently getting in and going in through Facebook, you’re still going to see a better organic reach using a scheduler tool because the consistency is what’s going to help your organic reach, and so that’s important to know. If this is the only way you’re going to get that done, then use this tool.

Like I said, we go in and we schedule that stuff. Whenever there’s a webinar or something special going on, we schedule it at Hootsuite. The way I differentiate it from my other tool, which is Meet Edgar, or my third tool, which is Buffer, is I use this for the day to day one-off content, so blog posts fresh from that week. On Sundays, when Hit the Mic TV goes up, it goes out every day for seven days. Same thing with this episode. On a Friday or Tuesday’s episode, they go out for seven days.

After that, they go into Meet Edgar, which is what we use to recycle our content over and over and over again. It just goes in the list of the episodes. We use Hootsuite to schedule again, to again schedule those seven days that it’s the fresh episode. Other examples are, like I said, where we have something that’s time sensitive going on, so when I schedule webinars, going into the launch of Social Pro, I will load up Hootsuite with all of the social stuff for the launch because I don’t want it going out recycled. It’s going to be very strategic about when and what goes out.

What I’ll do is I will turn off the promo piece queue inside of Meet Edgar — excuse me — that has our random promos so that our promo is really, really focused on Social Pro launching. Again, that’s how we use Hootsuite. That’s sort of one time, time sensitive piece. I don’t use it for other people’s content because I use Buffer for other people’s content, because I find it to be easier. I like my little Buffer button. Hootsuite does have a Ow.ly button, I think it’s called. A Hootlet. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s very similar to a Buffer button, which you can use as a Chrome extension, where you click it and it goes into a feed.

For a long time you couldn’t adjust when that went out. Now you can. I really like that functionality in Buffer. I think that’s something Buffer does really well. Personally I’m a big fan of using tools that do what they do the best it can be done, even if that means using multiple tools. That’s my opinion on that, kind of a sidebar there. Again, this is how we use Buffer … I’m sorry. This is how we use Hootsuite. We use this as our sort of bread and butter, fresh content, one-time stuff.

I also use Hootsuite to admin our social from the perspective of monitoring it and engaging. It makes it a lot easier for me to monitor tweets and direct messages because I go in there, I can look at my columns, I can look at my dashboard, and I can see exactly what’s going on, where I need to look right then. My favorite piece of Hootsuite, the thing that keeps me from giving up Hootsuite and going to Buffer completely with the scheduling or Edgar or the scheduling of the one-off fresh stuff, is those columns. It makes it really, really easy for the me to manage my Twitter lists.

I talked about Twitter lists either on Hit the Mic TV or on the podcast before. This is how I really break down the 1,500 people, 2,000 people I follow on Twitter into targeted categories so that when I go in and I do that second part of scheduling, that engagement part, — which again, if you haven’t listened to that episode, go listen to it — I can say I’m going to go in and talk to this subset of people on Twitter for the next 15 minutes. Twitter lists are what allow me to do that and Hootsuite allows me to monitor those lists really, really, really easily because I have a page layout in Hootsuite that just shows me those columns. That’s really, really powerful from a brand management, brand monitoring standpoint. I think that really, for me again, is my favorite part of Twitter, is the monitoring. Is the being able to see very quickly what’s going on and what needs my attention.

I want to get into the third piece. Recapping, we talked about free versus paid. We talked about how I use Hootsuite. Now I want to talk about something that’s a little off-topic. No, it’s on topic, but it separates it from some of the other tools out there, which is Hootsuite and Instagram’s integration. There are tools that help you schedule to Instagram. There are no tools that will full-on schedule and auto post something to Instagram because the Instagram API doesn’t allow for it, and it’s actually against the terms and conditions of Instagram to use a tool that schedules it straight out.

What Hootsuite and the other scheduling tools for Instagram do is it allows you to create the Instagram, as well as the description content in Instagram, and then it sends a push notification to your phone so that you can actually share that out to Instagram. This is something that not every social media management tool does. This is something that’s pretty unique to Instagram. The other Instagram tools that do this only sort of work with Instagram, so this is one of the first comprehensive social media management tools that has a feature like this. I think it works really well. I think they’ve done a good job with it. They did a better job than I thought they were going to do with it.

I still really, really, really, really would love to be able to just schedule things to go out on Instagram. I understand why Instagram is trying to keep that out. I think that will change because I think Instagram is opening itself up to business opportunities more and more, and understanding that it’s being used as a marketing tool since being purchased by Facebook. I think you’re seeing that in … I posted this in the VIP Community in my Hit the Mic Backstage group a couple of weeks ago, talking about Instagram allowing testing for Android devices to be able to manage … flip between accounts, so you’re seeing Instagram make that exchange.

I think that at some point they will allow for full-on sharing, but we’re also seeing them embrace the business owners, the marketing community, and partnering with tools like Hootsuite to make this integration happen so that it can be a little bit easier. If Instagram is a primary resource for you, is a primary network for you, or is something you’re having your VA do, they can create that content for you and get all that stuff set up for you inside of Instagram so all you need to do is when you get the notification, actually push it out. It’s still maybe a huge time saver for you. It’s still allows you to batch create content. It just doesn’t allow you to actually post it. Okay?

That’s the third thing I wanted to talk about. Just to recap again, we talked free versus paid. We talked about how I used it. We talked a little bit about the Instagram integration. If you have more questions about this, check out the VIP Community — that’s where I am — or if you really want to go to the next level and you really want to have some serious access to asking me questions and to getting trainings on all sorts of social media stuff, check out Hit the Mic Backstage. Either way, thank you for listening and I will see you next day. Bye.

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