What is Hootsuite ?
Hootsuite is one of many tools referred to as a “Social Media Management System” or tool. It helps you keep track and manage your many social network channels. It can enable you to monitor what people are saying about your brand and help you respond instantly. You can view streams from multiple networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and post updates or reply directly. With so many networks for businesses to manage, it’s no doubt Social Media Management tools have become so popular and relied upon by many companies today.
One of the things that really appeals to me about Hootsuite is the sheer number of networks and apps that it supports. Although I advise against posting to multiple networks at once on a regular basis, it can work and can be a real time saver for small businesses. Hootsuite allows you to post a quick update (for example) to multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook profile and page, Google+ page, LinkedIn profile, company page and groups and more! This can be incredibly useful if you need to get a message out to your customers in an emergency. The scheduling features can be a very welcome time saver, and these also allow you to post to multiple networks at once.
Probably one of the most compelling reasons to use Hootsuite is the fact that it allows you to manage so many different social networks. Hootsuite currenty allows you to manage:
* Facebook Profiles & Pages
* LinkedIn Profiles & Pages
* Google+ Pages (not personal profiles)
* WordPress blogs
* Vimeo, tumblr, evernote, flickr, mailchimp, slideshare, storify (via 3rd party apps)
* Many more!
You can even add more than one of the same network. This can be useful if you manage multiple Twitter channels, or Facebook pages. You can even post to multiple channels at the same time. However do be careful here- think of the type of audience you have on each network. Your Facebook fans will be different to your Twitter followers. Also, Twitter only allows 140 characters where as Facebook allows much longer and richer posts with photos and videos.
Google’s own social layer, Google+ is finally being seen as an important network for businesses to be using. Not only does it help with SEO and the authorship of your website or blog, but it has some amazing features that could help you reach your customers such as Communities and Hangouts.
Currently the only way to post to your Google+ profile is by using the Google+ website or mobile app. When it comes to updating and managing your Google+ business page you have a bit more choice- and Hootsuite is a big winner here! The Google+ API is very limited in that it currently only supports pages and not personal profiles. Full access to the page API has only been given to a few partners, of which Hootsuite is one.
Google+ management used to be available only in the $1500+ per month Hootsuite Enterprise plan. The good news is that it’s now available to all, including free users.
Pretty much all the Google+ features you’d expect are available, including posting to your circles, location, links and scheduling. If you add the update manually in Hootsuite it will also generate the full summary and thumbnail of the link. This is very important as it is will be more visible and will resilt in more click-throughs.