As I was on holiday last week, I decided to do a short scheduling trial on my Facebook page. I haven’t had much experience with automation tools like Hootsuite, as I prefer to schedule posts within the social media platforms I use. But in the name of research I decided to give it a go.
What is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is a social media management tool. It allows you to do anything from scheduling posts to creating analytical reports. But that’s all dependent on how much you want to spend. It can be used for social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and WordPress, all from one dashboard.
From asking around on Twitter, it also seems to be the most popular social media management tool currently.
First Look at Hootsuite
The first thing I noticed about Hootsuite’s dashboard, is how much it looks like Tweetdeck (Twitter’s own social media management tool). So, if you’re familiar with Tweetdeck, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to figure out Hootsuite. Although, personally I think Tweetdeck looks simpler, less crowded, and just generally prettier. But I guess this is because Hootsuite is a more advanced tool.
The scheduling feature is very simple. You just connect the dashboard to your chosen social media accounts and post away. The message/post box is also conveniently located at the top of the screen.
When creating posting, Hootsuite automatically shortens your links, which I love. I also noticed an ‘autoschedule’ feature, where you can set days and times to post. I like to schedule all my own posts manually. But if you’re bulk-posting, this could be useful.
Everything is set out in neat columns. You can have as little or as many as you want, as far as I can see. I chose ones that showed recent posts, as well as one for the posts I had scheduled. I only connected Hootsuite to my Facebook page for the experiment. But I can see it all getting very crowded with multiple platforms connected.
What the Insights Said
I’ve heard a lot about Facebook penalising its users for using external social media management platforms to schedule posts. So of course, I’ve always been hesitant to try sites like Hootsuite. But this wasn’t reflected in my insights at all.
My reach and engagement were slightly down. But this could be because I wasn’t interacting with my followers while I was away. Perhaps the higher the following, the more noticeable it is.
If you have any thoughts or evidence on this I’d love to hear from you.
There is so much to Hootsuite, I haven’t even scratched the surface. But is it all needed? I feel that these automation sites can take away the personalised feel of our social media accounts. They work well for larger businesses, or those who are overseeing many different accounts.
I wouldn’t discourage anyone from using Hootsuite, as it has so many useful features. But for my current target audience, I feel no need to recommend the complications of social media management tools.
For more social media advice check out the rest of the blog.