Hootsuite is the professional for Twitter automation. But all other social services can be managed by the online tool as well. This article will show you what you can do with it. This is my comprehensive Hootsuite Twitter review.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that lets you centrally manage social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. It offers you the possibility to manage multiple accounts, schedule messages and measure social media performance. The price is aimed at business customers with the appropriate capital.
It’s hard to say if Hootsuite is right for your specific needs. It depends on how big your budget is and how complex your social media management is. I recommend you compare different tools to make the right decision.
No one becomes a social media professional overnight, especially on a platform as large as Twitter. That’s where you need to stand out from the crowd in a concise and positive way. With more than 310 million users worldwide, Twitter offers the perfect foundation to market your products and services or yourself.
Professional tools help with management, promise increased reach through individual configurations and, above all, facilitate classic day-to-day business. Hootsuite is one of them, which will be examined in more detail below. The tool offers numerous instruments to facilitate social media management. According to official user figures, Hootsuite is claimed by more than 10 million users worldwide.
General information about Hootsuite
Hootsuite was developed and subsequently released in 2008 by Ryan Holmes.
The client uses a very simplistic yet timeless logo, which is composed entirely in black of the lettering and a small owl.
The company is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, but the client itself is available worldwide. In order to promote international distribution, numerous language packages exist, including German. The standard version of the client comes in English. As of 2016, Hootsuite, as the most widely used Hootsuite dashboard for social media portals, employs more than 900 people. Founder Ryan Holmes still holds the position of chief executive officer. The more than 10 million users are spread across more than 175 countries and all continents, according to official company information.
History and awards for Hootsuite
By his own account, Ryan Holmes developed the dashboard because he was looking for a social media management tool for his job at an advertising agency in 2008.
He quickly came to the realization that no program existed with all the features he himself considered mandatory. As a result, together with representatives of his agency, he set about developing and financing his own tool.
The first version of Hootsuite still appeared under the name “BrightKit”. In 2009, for a $500 user fee, the dashboard was finally transformed into its current name, “Hootsuite.” “Hoot” alludes to the owl in the logo.
Since the name change, the service has been able to continuously evolve. Both with regard to the supported social media portals and the individual functions offered for them. In 2009, LinkedIn and Facebook were added to Twitter, the only supported portal to date. In addition, Twitter lists could be integrated and configured for the first time after the update.
Since then, the offering has gone through numerous rounds of funding. More social media portals have been integrated and smaller companies and services have been bought up to integrate further functions into their software.
Overall, the dashboard has received more than positive feedback. Both from real industry and scene experts and from amateurs or smaller companies who want to sustainably improve their social media presence.
Hootsuite is modular
A great strength of the platform is its option of constant expansion. The dashboard itself is composed of a basic platform, which can be supplemented with additional plugins and programs as desired.
Due to the acquisition of other companies and constant further development, a huge range of different program modules is now offered. These can be integrated into the Hootsuite dashboard in any form, or removed again at a later time.
Users also have the option of leaving direct developer feedback. If no program exists yet that fulfills a very specific functionality on Twitter or other platforms, this feedback will be taken up by the developers.
If they also consider such a function to be elementary, regardless of how it looks, the development process begins shortly thereafter. Thus, continuous expansion of the dashboard is not only possible, but has been a reality for more than three years now.
Tariff models at Hootsuite
In order to use Hootsuite, a registration with a valid email address is required. Even though the primary target group of the dashboard are companies, private individuals still get a chance to improve their own Twitter management with Hootsuite as well. The three tariff models illustrated here were adopted as of September 2016 and may, of course, be subject to change in the months and years to come. A constantly updated version of the tariffs can be found directly on the Hootsuite website.
|Analytics||basic only||Real-time||Extended with Export||+ Content Library|
|RSS Integration||1 feed||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|Price||€ 0 / month||€ 99.00 / month||€ 249,99 / month||€ 762.00 / month|
The Free version is aimed at private individuals. It is not recommended for businesses due to the limited number of social media profiles (3) and limited functionality. However, at least it provides the news planning system as well as fundamental statistics from the analytics section. The free version has been converted into a 30-day trial version.
The Pro version includes all the Free features and allows integration of up to 10 profiles, whether on Twitter or via a combination of other social media portals.
In addition, one team member may be integrated into the dashboard. There is access to all premium apps as well as a scheduling feature for mass messaging. An advanced analytics report is included.
Price: 99,00 Euro per month
The Team version includes all the features of the Pro version and numerous additional plugins and statistics.
Up to 20 social media profiles can be integrated, and all statistics from Analytics are also collected “live” in real time. Publishing approvals can be submitted to the dashboard – by the owner himself or one of up to 3 team members.
Social media profiles are certified, 24/7 support is available and access to free training including setup is provided. A total of 6 social campaign templates can be created. The price is determined individually via a quote from Hootsuite to the company.
Price: 249.99 euros per month
The prices have been raised extremely in recent years. For small companies and freelancers, the social media tool is hardly worth it anymore. Too bad.
Basic functions of Hootsuite for publishing posts
As mentioned at the beginning, Hootsuite is modular as a dashboard. The range of functions can therefore be expanded at any time, or more precisely, set up individually. In addition, the functions, via newly released modules, are expanded at any time. The functions compiled here represent the basic framework of Hootsuite, which should already enable considerably optimized social media management for both private individuals and companies.
Via the dashboard, there is a direct possibility to monitor the individual Twitter and other social media profiles, both with regard to feedback (likes, shares, comments) and views. Likewise, you can compose posts with Hootsuite.
You can do this on Twitter either in real time, as you would on the platform itself, or via scheduled posts. It’s possible for companies to queue up multiple posts to be published at a specific time on a specific day. This allows the Twitter profile to be maintained while none of the employees are currently in the office. Any number of these scheduled postings can be created, which can be edited later. An automated URL shortener is already used for postings so as not to waste the character count on Twitter unnecessarily. On other social media profiles this can also be used, although it is not quite as important here as there is no direct (and very tight) character limit.
The posted posts can be focused on a specific target group. You can consequently choose from your Twitter subscribers who see that particular posting. This requires a categorization of the follower community, which you can also do in the dashboard.
In addition, there are pre-set filters that are based on origin, gender or age, for example. In this way, you can ensure that certain posts are actually displayed to the intended target group, while they remain hidden for other followers. This is ideal, for example, if you want to offer a certain coupon only to certain people or age groups. This categorization can be used in any other way for precise targeting of the social media campaign.
An important feature of Hootsuite, predominantly in medium and larger companies, is the program’s team capability. Within the dashboard, a company can designate a “leader” – this is specifically the creative director or simply the department head for marketing. If posts are created or scheduled by employees, it can be set up so that this “leader” must first give his or her confirmation before the post is actually published. This ensures that inexperienced employees can also work on the social media activity. While at the same time protecting the brand by requiring all postings to be approved by the “leader”. Hootsuite also analyzes its own content and postings to subsequently display relevant content from other profiles. This allows companies to use the dashboard as inspiration for future postings.
Hootsuite Streams are a top feature of the Hootsuite social media management tool. With Streams, users can track, organize, and manage different types of content on a single platform.
Users can create their own streams on different topics and filter them by specific content. Streams allow users to monitor their social media activity and manage it as needed.
Analyses and statistics provide feedback on Twitter presence
Statistics are elementary for social media marketers to measure the impact of their own postings towards followers and other interested parties. Statistics can be used to determine what is particularly well received, which postings have hardly any effect, and where there is sometimes even potential for a “trending” buzz.
Hootsuite consequently offers a large mass of information via its own Analytics module. This is somewhat reminiscent of the widely used Google Analytics, which collects statistics on your website and its visitors. Among other things, you receive the following information for Twitter here:
- how long it took until the first feedback was received on the post
- how many followers have interacted with the post in total
- how the feedback on the post is distributed in terms of the time that has elapsed since the post was made
- how many followers were gained or even lost with a post
- how many followers did a profile gain or lose over a defined period of time?
This is just to give a first overview of the Analytics module, which can also be extended as desired due to its modular structure. One function that is advantageous for all social media portals should not go unmentioned here: all statistics can be bundled with each other as desired to then determine compiled values for one statistic.
For example, differences in response rates between Twitter and Facebook or Twitter and Instagram can be determined. At the same time, the entire data can be used for a presentation or to investors to substantiate the success of the social media strategy. The statistics can be shared within the added team members in any form. Thus, it is not mandatory to export. Instead, all authorized employees continuously receive a transparent overview of social media statistics and activities.
Insights: the analysis tool for all activities around your own brand
Of course, for effective social media marketing, it’s not just your own posts and their feedback that need to be scrutinized. What happens away from your profile on Twitter is just as crucial. For example, mentions of a brand, posts about a brand, or simply hashtags that are related to a brand. The Hootsuite Insights product is responsible for everything that happens around your brand, products and services.
This analyzes the social network 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to find out what the current mood is regarding a specific topic. With Insights, you can find out what conversations are happening around a specific brand. You can also find out which topics are particularly popular and whether there are even specific areas that a company needs to address with its own postings.
According to Hootsuite, well over 100 million data sources are continuously analyzed and evaluated in real time. You can choose to have the results displayed bundled over a certain period of time. For example, the last seven days or the last month, or follow them in real time via an interactive feed. Hootsuite also performs an automated trend analysis, which you can also access via Insights. This determines which tendencies currently exist towards a brand: i.e. whether Twitter (users) are currently positive, negative or neutral towards it. All results and values from Insights can be specifically filtered at any time to find out certain trends from a specific target group. This can be done by age, gender, or place of residence, among other things.
In addition to the real-time analysis, it is worth mentioning that Hootsuite does not only track Twitter or other social media profiles. Among other things, news sites, forums, blogs and other websites are consulted for insights. This allows companies to find feedback that would otherwise only be possible through lengthy Google searches – if at all. Instead, Hootsuite Insights presents everything conveniently at a glance, provides the sources for it and makes an initial evaluation. This allows trends to be identified at an early stage, negative feedback can be responded to in the early stages, and the company’s own social media communication can be adapted to the mood around the brand.
Campaigns and employee activation to increase reach
Two other category modules are “Campaigns” and “Amplify.” They, too, are part of Hootsuite’s basic framework. The Campaigns module, as the name suggests, is used to create and manage campaigns through a Twitter profile. It’s recommended, for example, if you’re planning to create a larger user-feedback campaign that will use user-generated content. Hootsuite supports social media marketers here via three different ways.
- Users have the option of asking Hootsuite’s social media experts for support when creating the campaign. This is mainly recommended for large corporations and global players whose campaigns will reach a particularly high number of users.
- Hootsuite provides all the statistics around a specific campaign, similar to how trends and numbers are collected via Hootsuite Insights and Analytics. At the same time, Hootsuite as a dashboard provides the necessary interfaces and code snippets to integrate all the content of a campaign in a fluid way and without further intervention on the website. This is recommended, for example, if the campaign has a separate subpage on the website where the user-generated content or own posted content is compiled.
- Hootsuite already provides predefined “plans” for specific campaigns. So if you want to create a contest for photos, videos or essays, among other things, you can already use the basic framework for this and only have to add individual conditions, information and co. to it. The same applies if you want to collect surveys, trigger certain interactions from users (such as likes/shares) or ask for feedback on certain products. For Twitter, many these fundamental plans already exist on the social media tool, which makes the creation of the campaign easier, especially for smaller and inexperienced companies.
Amplify is another program in the dashboard that helps companies better integrate their own employees into their social media presences.
Amplify pursues a specific goal as a module: the increased visibility of individual postings and thus a higher reach of these. This is to be achieved via employees who become official brand ambassadors and thus give the company a “face” apart from the official profile. With the help of Amplify, employees can be quickly and easily activated to participate in social networks such as Twitter. This can be done in three steps with the module:
- Employees are integrated into the social media strategy and given separate access
- Curators submit content to these employees via a Hootsuite interface
- who then share the content via their brand ambassador profile, for example with friends and acquaintances
Amplify is recommended primarily for medium- or large-sized companies. In small companies, on the other hand, it is often the case that all employees network and share content with a brand to the greatest extent possible. In larger companies, staff who do not work directly on social media marketing can be used, as long as these people maintain Twitter profiles themselves and are willing to act as brand ambassadors for their own employer.
The platform, interfaces and extensions
Hootsuite makes use of secure HTTPS encryption, which works in the app on mobile devices. In addition, access permissions to the dashboard can be set without having to share the password – these permissions can be revoked at any time and can also be set for individual modules only, for example, without permission to create for posts.
The platform also has an automatic checking system that checks for duplicate posts and errors. If one of these errors is detected, the dashboard automatically raises an alarm and requires further confirmation. The dashboard continues to work with security mechanisms widely used in the industry, including plugins such as Social Safeguard or Global Relay. Standards such as HIPAA and FINRA are also met. In addition, the dashboard has built-in interfaces to all supported social media platforms, aside from Twitter, as well as their individual functions and plugins.
Additional modules aside from the aforementioned basic functions can be downloaded at any time via the Hootsuite app directory, where more than 100 apps can be found as of 2016. For the browser, Hootsuite offers its own Hootlet, a plugin that enables quick sharing on Twitter and other platforms. Apps downloaded from the app base are fluidly integrated into the Hootsuite dashboard with just a few clicks, and can be removed just as quickly without causing any interruption in monitoring, analytics or posting. The app library is also continuously being expanded, also specifically in response to requests from the platform’s users. The same applies to other technologies in the software, including interfaces or encryption standards, which are always kept up-to-date.
Hootsuite on mobile devices
Of course, the experienced social media marketer does not want to track the activities of his pages and the company “only” on the browser, but also wants continuous control outside the office.
For this purpose, Hootsuite offers its own apps for smartphones and tablets, which are available for both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. The apps for smartphones and tablets have at least the basic functionality of the plugins mentioned above. In addition, these are also being further developed. For example, support for suggested content from Hootsuite was added as recently as 2016. This means that trends and content from Insights can be tracked on the mobile device from now on.
Support for RSS feeds exists both on mobile devices and on the browser. RSS and Atom feeds allow you to track more activity on Twitter in real time, sometimes different from the home feed.
Hootsuite is a real all-rounder that offers all the features for both beginners and real professionals. These features are necessary for efficient social media management via Twitter. Thanks to the modular structure, a very individual and clear configuration according to one’s own requirements is possible. Another strength, apart from the pure management of Twitter, are the numerous interfaces to other profiles, which can thus be conveniently tracked and maintained at a glance.
What I don’t like is the browser plugin. The Hootsuite Twitter posts published with it could look much better. Visually and technically. Other providers, such as Buffer, are better.