Hootsuite provides a thorough list of advanced features to help businesses schedule posts, monitor trends, and engage with their audience through multiple social networks.
It contains some killer applications, such as its insuperable list of third-party integrations, and the side-by-side feeds in Hootsuite’s dashboards have been imitated often, but never beaten.
With a slick new look, Hootsuite is a worthy contender for novices and tech-savvy marketers.
However, it is worth weighing up the cost of Hootsuite against your company’s specific needs to assess whether it provides good value for money.
Where other platforms charge on a per user basis, Hootsuite’s plans contain a more convoluted set of restrictions.
For example, there are limits on the number of posts you can schedule and advertising spend through the platform is capped at different levels depending on your subscription.
Overall, Hootsuite has a clear set of pros and cons. It is simple to sign up, connect multiple accounts (including YouTube), and schedule posts. There is a free account option which, while very limited in functionality, is free. You can also take a 30-day free trial of any subscription package. Moreover, Hootsuite’s training and certification options are the benchmark for the industry.
On the other hand, there are viable alternatives to Hootsuite at the enterprise level that provide a slicker user experience and more advanced features for competitive analysis and content marketing.
Who is Hootsuite for?
Hootsuite is best for businesses that need an all-in-one social media management tool that will integrate with a wide range of social networks.
The entry-level packages are priced sensibly and provide access to a great platform for publishing and monitoring social media content. Hootsuite also contains excellent tools for communicating with your audience via social media.
Tech-savvy marketers can use Hootsuite’s interoperability to their advantage, as they can set up a variety of integrations with external tools and work directly with the Hootsuite API.
Many of these advanced features can also be purchased through the Hootsuite App Directory. As such, tech novices can pay for upgrades to see the platform’s full potential.
This makes Hootsuite an ideal solution for small- to medium-sized businesses that need one reliable dashboard to manage their social media activity.
Individual business owners would also be wise to give Hootsuite Pro a shot, especially with a free trial option on offer.
Although Hootsuite can be fantastic for larger businesses, they would be well advised to assess their complex requirements against the platform’s different subscription packages first.
Hootsuite covers most of the bases within its core suite of features. Those it doesn’t cover, can be accessed through its selection of third-party apps.
It has a clear interface, convenient support, and an effective array of analytics tools.
Social network integrations
This is a key point of differentiation between the many social media management tools. Simply, can the tool connect to the accounts you need to access?
In Hootsuite’s case, the answer is likely ‘Yes’.
It connects to over 35 social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
Once the accounts are connected, Hootsuite can start displaying your data.
The Streams interface is essentially the home screen within your account and it refreshes every 15 minutes by default with your latest activity. You can also refresh manually, when the situation demands a little more urgency.
This aesthetic set the tone for the rival tools that have followed, and it does the job perfectly well.
Within this Streams dashboard, you can also view the latest news in the topics you are monitoring.
Additionally, users can pull in content assets from their Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox accounts, to publish within their social media posts.
From personal experience, there are occasional bugs and restrictions when posting to Instagram. For example, it is only possible to submit one image per post.
These challenges are mainly due to how Instagram connects with social media management tools, but are worth bearing in mind and testing during your trial period.
Hootsuite App Directory
The Hootsuite App Directory is one of the primary reasons to recommend this platform over the competition.
It contains over 150 apps, thus extending Hootsuite’s capabilities far beyond its own, native tools.
Some of these apps are free, including Google My Business, Adobe Stock, and the Fourstarzz Influencer Recommendation Engine.
Other apps bring Hootsuite’s capabilities to other marketing platforms.
For example, it is possible to access Hootsuite data from within Oracle Eloqua through a free app in the App Directory. Marketers can then create content in Eloqua and publish through Hootsuite to their social accounts.
There are also opportunities to integrate Hootsuite with other collaboration tools, through paid apps including Slack ($3.49/month), Zendesk Pro ($5.49/month), or Basecamp ($4.49/month).
Too often, adding new tools makes our lives more difficult, not less. Hootsuite provides ways to fit into existing workflows by working alongside these other technologies.
Hootsuite Analytics is fantastic for reporting on Twitter account performance. It provides audience insights, influencer recommendations, and hints for optimal publishing times.
It is worth noting that this level of detail is not replicated across all social networks. Users can only publish content to Pinterest through Hootsuite, for example, and cannot view reporting data on the platform.
Moreover, businesses should assess which reporting templates they will need and check which subscription package they would have to purchase to access them. Many of the more advanced Facebook and Instagram reports are only available at the Business or Enterprise package level.
Hootsuite Analytics is among the market leaders for Twitter and Facebook insights, for sure. Those that require the same granular detail across all platforms should pitch Hootsuite against the likes of Sprout Social to see which fits best.
Hootsuite’s ease of use
Hootsuite’s account set-up process is straightforward, with multiple hints and tips to help users find the most important features. The account walk-through is explained in commonsense language and there is a support option available on every page.
The interface is highly accessible and, although it is not as slick as some others in its desktop incarnation, there is an intuitive mobile app available for iOS and Android.
The Hootlet Chrome extension also allows account holders to post content from any page on the Web, which is a very handy function.
Hootsuite plans require some close analysis before signing up. It also changes quite often, and they test different packages in different locations, so it is always worth reading the fine print.
There is a free account option, which connects to three social networks and allows 30 scheduled posts a month.
The Professional account is $29/month, billed annually. This covers one user and ten social profiles, with a limit of $500/month in ad spend through the platform.
The Team account is $129/month for three users and 20 profiles, plus customized analytics, access to Hootsuite certifications, and team assignments.
For a Hootsuite Business account, companies pay $599/month for 50 social profiles, access to Premium apps, dedicated training, and the option to spend up to $5,000/month on ads to boost posts.
At the Enterprise level, businesses should contact Hootsuite for a quote.
While the entry-level prices are appealing, many social media teams will find that they need to go to the Business account level to receive the functionality they need. For example, most of the collaboration and task assignment tools are only unlocked once you get to the $599/month plan.
Hootsuite’s technical support is pretty much ubiquitous across the platform.
Every page on Hootsuite has a Feedback button that can create a support ticket.
The help center has a handy search function and it contains articles about major updates to the platform.
The support team can also be reached through dedicated pages on Facebook and Twitter. This is Hootsuite’s preferred way to manage queries and it does not offer a support phone number across the site.
My experience with the Hootsuite support team has always been positive, but it is hard to ignore the many comments from other customers that have not had the same level of cover. Although it is easy to submit an issue form to the technical team, there is no guarantee of a prompt response.
For urgent issues, social media is the most effective way to reach the Hootsuite support team.
Benefits of Hootsuite
Hootsuite provides highly effective social media management tools in an accessible platform that connects with an impressive list of partner technologies. Its name is synonymous with ‘social media software’ and, while younger rivals can provide flashier features, Hootsuite has the advantage of the many third-party integrations it has built up over the years.
Given how quickly the social media landscape changes, this does help to future-proof Hootsuite. As new developments arise, new partners will offer apps through Hootsuite to help you take advantage. This makes Hootsuite an ideal social media management tool for self-serve customers who want to customize the platform to their own ends.
Its Streams interface is still the industry standard approach for monitoring multiple feeds and you can depend on its audience management tools.
Moreover, Hootsuite’s certifications are recognized throughout the industry and it is a safe bet for complex social media account teams.
A strong all-rounder
Hootsuite delivers on the core facets of social media management very well, with connections to a huge variety of social networks. It is one of the best-known tools in digital marketing and has an enviable list of top-tier clients.
It can provide excellent value for those that know what they need, but costs do escalate for businesses that sign up at a lower level and later realize they have to upgrade.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use Hootsuite for free?
Can you use Hootsuite for free?
Yes, Hootsuite offers a free account and a free 30-day trial on any of its paid subscriptions.
Is it possible to post videos from Hootsuite?
Is it possible to post videos from Hootsuite?
Yes, you can publish videos to YouTube and then share to other social networks from Hootsuite.
Does Hootsuite offer analytics?
Does Hootsuite offer analytics?
You can click on the Analytics button in your account to access reports from all of your connected social networks.
Hootsuite is a great all-around choice to streamline your social media management. Try it out for free!
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, and Twitter and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.