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Like all Twitter users, I originally used Twitter.com for managing my account. Quickly realizing that there had to be a better way I started playing with Twitter aggregation and organizers. Originally, I was passionate about Tweetdeck, which I still think is a pretty great tool, it just ins’t the one I use now.
Really, when you think about it, its amazing I changed at all. At first I was reluctant to have a web-based platform (as opposed to a software platform), this is largly a matter of personal preference and has more to do with how I organize my time than anything else. But the person who introduced me to Hootsuite continued to prod and encourage me.
At this point (Summer 2009), Hootsuite was really pretty rudimentary, you could have multiple streams for search terms and you could create lists (which Twitter later allowed you to do) and manage multiple accounts from one location. I liked the way it was organized and grew to appreciate the web-based model.
Hootsuite was still in full-swinging freemium mode at this point; it was like the ’60’s: free love, lots of features being added, without consequences. Features like integration with GoogleAnalytics, ability to post to other social networks such as Facebook Pages and LinkedIn quickly became a requirement. It seemed that Hootsuite was really moving after the social media professional. They kept adding features like the ability to have team members on your multiple accounts.I also like that their Iphone App (also available on Droid+BB) also lets me manage my multiple accounts on the go.
Understandably, last fall, Hootsuite went to a paid model. At this point, it became like an engagement. I thought I’d stay with the pay model, after all, I could still change my mind at any time.
I haven’t regretted it all. If Hootsuite continues to invest in its offerings, I see no reason to use anyone else.
Here’s what the paid model offers that makes me love it and keep paying for it:
Facebook Page + Google Analytics Integration:
The good: Seeing the overlay of tweets with these two analytic pieces is priceless. Yes, GA is free. Yes, Facebook Insights are free. But it’s the overlay that I find valuable. I like being able to see my results fairly quickly. I use other tools to gauge the best time to send tweets to my audience, but that’s a moving target. This gives me the best insight into how my tweets and Facebook page postings effect my website’s traffic. Data and graphs can be printed…but…
The bad: I still wish they had of exporting this data. Without the ability to export the combined information, it remains largely qualitative and hard to track trends. Sure, its rewarding and exciting to see, but it really doesn’t allow me to play with the data the way I would like. Also, to track your clicks in Hootsuite, you must use the “owly” shortener. This isn’t a huge deal within Hootesuite, but if you want to track clicks with say your shares from your blog page there is no way to do that right now. Perhaps that will be a feature in the future?
Raising a social media account usually takes a village. Well, OK, maybe “village” is a bit strong, but having more than one person on an account is practical and advisable, especially when you are integrating multiple departments and stakeholders.
The good: Like Co-Tweet, you can create assignments for team members, this might include assigning a particular person to respond to a tweet, or just creating an assignment to tweet about a topic. Very helpful in staying organized. As a manager of several accounts, having the ability to communicate with my clients in this way is important. I find this feature to be very intuitive as well; easier than Co-Tweet in my opinion. Along these lines, there is also the ability to email a tweet to someone; this is handy for private link sharing or calling attention to a tweet that you may or may not need to respond to. Its a much better option than DM (Direct Message) which has basically become a spam-for-all.
The bad: While Hootsuite itself is very affordable, the cost of adding users is really comparatively expensive ($15/user/month) and this scales up. In otherwords, if you are an agency with multiple team members, you’re 6-10 team members cost you $30/month/user. This is hardly a huge expense for a business, but is the most costly element of using Hootsuite.
The good: Hootsuite not only makes Klout score easy to see in a user’s profile, but it also lists your most recent influencial community members and helps you target who is engaging with you and how frequently. This information can also be exported, which is great when you are trying to build engagement.
The bad: The list of influencers mentioning you is ongoing and can’t be drilled down by date. This makes it a little harder to see the effects of a particular campaign. Although if you are tracking this data regularly and you have a baseline, then you will be able to glean the information with just a little spreadsheet love.
The good: Hootsuite allows up to 10 streams a tab, while I find this limitation irritating, the truth is that the human brain probably can’t process even that many streams and I know most screens can’t. There are many things you can do with the streams including keyword tracking and sentiment. You can create streams for Twitter lists too. The stream options are endless, making the 10 stream/tab limitation maddening.
The bad: Twitter lists through Hootsuite are not the easiest to manage. If you don’t have a stream for your list, you can’t add them to the list from Hootsuite. Also, did I mention that 10 stream/tab limitation? Did I? Huh?
Overall, Hootsuite remains my tool of choice. I find it intuitive, manageable and practical. If you think you’d like to try out the Pro Version of Hootsuite, please consider using my affiliate link: http://hootsuite.com/p_1045 it doesn’t cost you more and I appreciate your support. I chose to become an affiliate because its a tool that I genuinely stand behind. I think you’ll appreciate it as well. If you don’t, its a month-month, you can cancel.