When I first used Hootsuite way back in 2009, it was just a Twitter app for managing multiple accounts. Since then it has grown tremendously. Now via Hootsuite you can manage multiple accounts on Twitter, Facebook (personal profiles, Pages, and Groups!), Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even WordPress. If you use the free version you’re limited to three accounts though, so choose wisely. Even with basic features, this range of social media networks would make Hootsuite a pretty useful tool however they’ve really packed as much as they can into it.
With Hootsuite, you get the usual social media app options of creating ‘streams’ – different panels that display the posts of people you follow, mentions to your account, messages, etc. You can even make various dashboard tabs with streams for different accounts or groupings of accounts which is handy for you social media marketers out there. There’s also a post-scheduling feature called Publisher. On top of these fairly basic features there’s some other really interesting things – like detailed contact information. There’s a Contacts tab that lets you look at the people you follow or the people that follow you on various accounts. At a glance you get their follower/following counts as well as info like average number of tweets per day! Even if you don’t use that information for marketing purposes, it’s a pretty darn interesting metric anyway and is a good example of Hootsuite’s attention to detail in everything in their app.
Another amazing feature is the Analytics tab. Depending on whether you’re a subscriber to the Pro or Enterprise tiers of access to the app, you can get even more detailed analytics but even as a free user you can overviews for accounts that give you information on your overall engagement, most popular posts, and other juicy info tidbits. You can even build a custom report and request specific types of information to be compiled into one document with informative charts. It’s a great feature if you’re working with a team and need to give them an at-a-glance look at how a variety of social media networks are performing for you.
One downside for me personally is the lack of a “night mode” version of the dashboard. Many apps have this where the background is dark grey and the text is white. It is very helpful for people who work at night or in darker environments. Since I tend to do my work later at night, I always seek out this feature and used it all the time in Tweetdeck. However Hootsuite as specifically said they have no intentions of creating such a mode because they would rather focus on making the default Hootsuite consistent. I can understand and appreciate their logic, however it does still leave a small mark against the app for me.
The bottom line for Hootsuite: Great for people building a budding social media empire or working as a marketing team, not so great for an average user trying to find a place to consolidate their social media accounts. Price wise, the $120 you would pay for a year of Hootsuite pro gets you a lot more features, account link-ups, and social networks than the $100/year you pay for a competing service like Buffer. As someone who does a lot of social media account management for a living, I’d definitely recommend Hootsuite.