How to use Hootsuite – This guide covers everything brands need to know about using HootSuite for social media management, including features, tips, best practices, analytics and real user reviews.
It seems these days that social media consumes all of us; it’s all around us. We’re surrounded by a constant stream of endless social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are just a few among countless others. As individuals, consumers use social media for entertainment purposes.
But what about large corporations, companies and other organizations? What reason could there be for these folks to be on social media? The answer in one word is “Marketing.” More and more businesses are using social media for their front-line marketing needs. Some profit seekers, like brand enthusiasts and influencers, rely solely on social media to make a living. Similarly, companies use their social profiles to strengthen their brand through, providing customer support or offering special deals. With the immersion of digital marketing, came its advantages and disadvantages.
Among the disadvantages, was the tiresome nature of managing several social media accounts as one company. Companies usually want to post an update on several profiles at once or schedule updates to keep their fans engaged in their profile and create value. This can be time consuming and chaotic. However, the people from Hootsuite answered those calls and came up with their own business solution. Get to know what this new invention is and more importantly get to know how to use Hootsuite.
Table of Contents
How To Use Hootsuite And What It Is?
Need to know exactly how to use Hootsuite? First, let’s see what it can do for your business.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that helps you to schedule and post updates to any social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, WordPress and others) from one place known as the HootSuite dashboard.
The platform offers free accounts and premium accounts as well. Premium accounts provide more features and functionality to users. These accounts are divided into four options. The first options are designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners and can handle up to 10 social profiles. Signing up for a professional account will offer you a 30-day free trial of Hootsuite. After that, $19/ month will be paid.
The other three options are designed for teams and organizations. The team account costs $99/ month and allows managing up to 20 social profiles by 3 users. In addition, the business account costs $499/ month and allows managing up to 50 social profiles by 5 users. Last but not least, the enterprise account is customizable to the company’s own needs and costs are calculated accordingly.
HootSuite was founded in 2008 and has become one of the most widely used platforms for social media management. It enables users to:
- Connect multiple social media accounts into one dashboard (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.)
- Schedule social media content in advance
- Collaborate with team members
- Monitor brand mentions, keywords, and trends
- Track performance using built-in analytics
- Manage social advertising campaigns
Hootsuite allows users to implement and analyze marketing campaigns in all their accounts simultaneously. Moreover, for premium users, it provides advanced features that analyze social analytics, audience engagement, team collaboration and security across all your accounts on social media. The analysis works with both Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.
- Direct posting to multiple profiles
You can post text, links, photos, videos and other media directly to your social profiles through the HootSuite dashboard.
- Scheduled posting
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts at specific times across your profiles automatically.
- Targeted messaging
Send private messages to targeted audience groups on selected social profiles through the HootSuite dashboard.
- Organization assignments
If you work with a team, you can create an “organization” to improve communication and collaboration across everyone’s HootSuite account.
Down to more important things, we’ll now discuss exactly how to use Hootsuite.
How to Use Hootsuite?
Step 1: Create a Hootsuite account
First, you must create an account by signing up at https://hootsuite.com. After opening the website, click Sign Up in the top-right corner. Select the plan type that fits your needs. Enter your information (name, business email and a password you can easily remember). The website will take you through a series of steps. First, it will ask you to connect your social Profiles. You can either add the accounts you would like to manage from the Hootsuite dashboard, or you can skip this step for later. Then, it will ask you to add your company name and industry.
Step 2: Add social networks
Now that your Hootsuite account is ready, you have to ensure all your social profiles are connected to post and schedule content and monitor customer engagement. This can be done from the top left side of the Hootsuite dashboard. Click on Streams, then click on Add Social Network. Select a social network from the list, click Connect and authorize your accounts (by adding your username and password) to connect to the dashboard. You can manage up to three social profiles with a free plan.
Step 3: Set up tabs and streams
After connecting all your social media profiles to your dashboard, it is important to set up streams for each one. Streams are the main things you care about in a platform. For example, Facebook streams include messages, Facebook home, comments and mentions. Hootsuite wants to know the streams that matter most to you in each social platform to display them. This will also help in monitoring your content.
To set up streams, Select Streams from the launch menu at the top of the dashboard. Click Add Tab in the top-left corner, type a name for it, then press ENTER. Inside each tab, click Add Stream. A box will pop up with your profiles on the list. Select a social platform from the list on the left, and then select a profile from the drop-down list. Click the streams you want to add to that profile. You’ll see that you can choose from a list of common streams. You can choose as many as you want; however, if you add more than your screen can fit, it’ll just put a scrollbar on the bottom of your screen.
Step 4: Publish messages
This will allow you to schedule and post a single message to multiple social networks simultaneously. All you must do is hover over the compose message box on the top-left to expand it. This will allow you to select the social networks that you want to post the messages. Then, type your message in the compose message box. Click send now to post it to any of your social accounts linked to Hootsuite.
You can also add a link or a photo. To include a link, just copy the URL you want to use and paste it into the section that says add a link and then click Shrink. Here, you can also schedule messages by clicking on the calendar icon. There are two ways to schedule your message: one with the auto-scheduler, which will choose a time for your post to have the most optimal impact. This will automatically schedule posts when you don’t have any posts scheduled. The other option is to manually schedule your post by selecting the day and the time you need it posted.
Step 5: Install apps
The Hootsuite App Directory is a library of free and paid third-party apps established for the Hootsuite dashboard. To install an app, Select App Directory from the launch menu. Then click Install App beside the app. Click Finish.
Step 6: Download the Hootsuite mobile
Hootsuite offers mobile apps for Android, iPhone and iPads to help manage your accounts on the go. Apps can be downloaded from your device’s app store.
Step 7 (Team Plan): Collaborate with team members
Hootsuite allows you to invite team members and collaborate with them through sharing access to social profiles. This can help manage social media platforms if the Hootsuite plan is developed for an enterprise or a company.
With these 8 simple and easy-to-follow steps on using Hootsuite, using this social media management tool should be as simple as using a normal social networking platform.
Users can access HootSuite via the website or mobile apps. The system organizes all activity into easy-to-manage streams. Advanced features of the platform include audience targeting, A/B testing for posts, customizable reports, and more.
HootSuite Pros and Cons
- Saves time by managing multiple accounts in one place
- Scheduling tools allow content to be planned in advance
- Analytics provide insight into audience engagement
- Team collaboration enables better workflow
- Mobile apps allow on-the-go access
- It can be overwhelming for new users.
- Limited capabilities for visual social platforms like Instagram or Pinterest
- Analytics are not as robust as standalone tools like Google Analytics.
- Lacks AI features for automated writing
How to Use HootSuite: Step-by-Step Guide
Below, we walk through the core features and how to use them for social media success:
Dashboard – The dashboard organizes all your streams, posts, analytics, campaigns, and more in one view. You can customize widgets to view what’s most important.
Streams – Content is organized into different streams based on social network, keywords, location, etc. You can monitor conversations, engage with mentions, and schedule posts.
Scheduling – This allows you to easily plan social media content by choosing a date, time, network, and post format all in one place.
Analytics – Review performance metrics like clicks, retweets, shares, followers growth, and more. You can also see what posts and times are getting the most engagement.
Campaigns – Run multi-network social ad campaigns to promote content and increase followers—track performance by clicks and conversions.
Teams – Add team members and control permissions for better collaboration. Assign streams and campaigns so that everyone is working in their expertise.
Integrations – Connect other platforms like Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Slack to sync cross-channel data.
Best Practices for Social Media Management with Hootsuite
To maximize results, follow these best practices:
- Create an editorial calendar to plan content around key initiatives, product launches, and company milestones
- Craft social media policies for employees on branded use and etiquette
- Use images, video, polls, and other engaging post types
- Post 2-3 times per day per network for ideal frequency
- Respond quickly to all user comments and questions
- Use Hootsuite teams so multiple people can collaborate.
- Create separate streams for monitoring important keywords and campaigns
- Analyze HootSuite’s built-in analytics and Google Analytics side-by-side for the full picture.
Key metrics to measure return on investment from HootSuite include:
- Follower growth across networks
- Increase in post engagements (clicks, shares, etc)
- Website traffic referred from social channels
- Lead generation via social campaigns
- Sales influenced by social media
By monitoring these over time, you can see the tangible business impact of your social media management efforts through HootSuite.
Comparing Hootsuite Plans for Businesses: Finding the Perfect Fit
Hootsuite offers a variety of plans tailored to businesses of all sizes and needs. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you choose the ideal option based on your team size, budget, and social media management requirements:
|Analytics & Reporting:
|350 Scheduled Posts/Month
|1000 Scheduled Posts/Month
|Advanced Analytics & Reporting
|Unlimited Scheduled Posts
|Advanced Analytics & Reporting + Custom Reports
|Advanced Analytics & Reporting + Custom Dashboards & Export
- Team Size: Consider the number of users who need access to Hootsuite and collaboration features.
- Number of Social Profiles: Determine how many social media accounts you need to manage.
- Content Scheduling: Assess your posting frequency and the need for bulk scheduling.
- Analytics & Reporting: Evaluate your reporting requirements and desire for custom insights.
- Budget: Choose a plan that fits your budget comfortably with room for potential growth.
Which Plan is Right for You?
- Small Businesses with Solo Management: Professional plan offers basic features for managing a few social profiles.
- Growing Teams with Increased Needs: Team plan provides advanced analytics and collaboration tools for a small team.
- Marketing Teams with Extensive Networks: Business plan facilitates comprehensive management of many profiles, detailed reporting, and customizability.
- Large Enterprises with Complex Requirements: Enterprise plan offers tailored solutions, unlimited scalability, and dedicated support.
Latest Hootsuite Updates and Features (2023-2024): Leverage Them for Social Media Success!
Hootsuite continues to evolve its platform with new features and updates designed to help businesses manage their social media more effectively. Here’s a breakdown of the most notable additions from 2023 and 2024:
Content Creation and Scheduling:
- Bulk Composer: Schedule and publish content across multiple platforms simultaneously, saving time and effort.
- Carousel Posts: Create engaging carousel posts directly within Hootsuite for platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
- Content Library Enhancements: Improved organization and search functionality within the content library for easier asset management.
- Video Editing Tools: Basic video editing tools within Hootsuite for trimming, adding text overlays, and creating social media-ready video snippets.
Analytics and Reporting:
- Enhanced Analytics Dashboards: More customizable dashboards with drag-and-drop widgets for personalized performance insights.
- Custom Reporting: Build personalized reports with specific metrics and filter options for deeper analysis.
- Competitor Benchmarking: Compare your social media performance against competitors within the same industry using key metrics.
- Social Listening Insights: Identify trends, brand mentions, and audience sentiment through advanced social listening tools.
Team Collaboration and Workflow:
- Content Approval Workflows: Set up defined approval processes for drafts, ensuring brand consistency and content quality.
- Shared Calendars and Task Management: Improve team collaboration with shared calendars, task assignments, and progress tracking.
- Internal Messaging: Communicate directly with team members within Hootsuite for efficient collaboration on social media campaigns.
Platform Integrations and Expandability:
- Native Integrations: Expanded integrations with leading marketing and design tools like Canva, Mailchimp, and Google Analytics.
- Custom Streams: Create personalized dashboards focusing on specific hashtags, keywords, or competitor activity for real-time monitoring.
- App Directory: Explore and connect with additional third-party apps within Hootsuite to extend its functionality.
Emerging Trends and Features:
- Live Commerce Capabilities: Hootsuite is exploring features and partnerships to support live streaming and social commerce directly within the platform.
- AI-Powered Content Creation: Expect further development of AI-assisted content creation tools for generating ideas, optimizing posts, and analyzing performance.
- Advanced Social Listening and Insights: Deeper social listening functionalities to understand audience sentiment, identify influencers, and track brand perception online.
Leveraging these new features effectively can significantly improve your social media management with Hootsuite. Analyze your specific needs and explore how these updates can streamline your workflow, enhance content creation, gain deeper insights, and stay ahead of social media trends. Remember, Hootsuite’s development is ongoing, so stay updated on future releases and explore their potential benefits for your business’s social media success.
How To Use Hootsuite FAQs
Answers to some frequently asked questions:
Q: Is HootSuite free?
A: HootSuite offers free, pro, and enterprise plans. The free plan has limited features but is great for individuals. Pro plans unlock more social profiles, scheduling, and analytics. Enterprise plans add capabilities like compliance tools, priority support, and custom integrations.
Q: What’s the difference between free and paid HootSuite plans?
A: Key differences include several social profiles, scheduling capabilities, team members allowed, and full analytics access. Paid plans provide far more features and are better for businesses.
Q: Can I post to multiple platforms at once?
A: Yes, HootSuite’s Multi-Network Publisher lets you easily make one post and schedule it across multiple social networks simultaneously.
Q: How many users can our team have?
A: On free plans, teams are limited to 1 user. Pro plans allow up to 50 team members, while enterprise plans have unlimited team members.
The Final Say
With the increased number of social networks companies have to manage, a need has been created: a market gap for businesses. Hootsuite is a perfect example of a business that capitalised on social media through an indirect route. Kudos to the developers for taking advantage of other companies’ needs. While Hootsuite is marketed as a B2B business solution, individuals can also benefit greatly from this social media management tool. Although there are several competitors in the social media management market, Hootsuite is one of the most well-rounded management tools that help users keep updated on their social media platforms.
The most prominent feature is that it allows you to post to multiple platforms simultaneously or even schedule posts at your preference. Hootsuite is not only beneficial to companies but also to sole users who rely on social media as a full-time job. The developers have even made Hootsuite very easy and simple, so much so that it makes it a viable option even for those who aren’t tech-savvy.