HootSuite is our social media monitoring system of choice.
A social media monitoring system (SMMS) is a necessary element in any digital marketing strategy. Social media has become essential for businesses to engage with their desired audience and to listen to their comments about their brand. The online chatter about your brand, your competitors, and the needs of your customers is (in many cases) a 365 days a year, 24 hour per day reality. While few businesses have employees on the clock 24/7/365, we have reached a point where social business technology is accessible and affordable to any business.
Maturation of Social Media Monitoring Systems
As social media monitoring systems have become increasingly available in recent years, they’ve been mostly affordable only to mid size and large enterprises. Systems such as Buddy Media, Sysomos and Radian6 have proved very useful tools for brands to manage their social media activities. But, their fee structure isn’t built for the SMB market. Enter free tools such as TweetDeck (acquired by Twitter) and HootSuite, as well as lower priced tools such as SocialOomph (offers a free version) and SproutSocial.
It’s Not About HootSuite Versus TweetDeck
Two of the most popular social media monitoring tools are HootSuite and TweetDeck. We’ve used both for about three years now. We’ve elected to put our vote behind HootSuite to support client social media marketing activities. There are plenty of articles that provide a comparison of HootSuite versus TweetDeck. Rather, I will summarize the key reasons Find and Convert recommends HootSuite to our clients for social media monitoring.
HootSuite is Very Scalable
About 20% of top brands already use HootSuite. The free version of HootSuite provides a single user login with up to 5 social media accounts and the ability to schedule messages to any social media account that supports scheduling such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If a business starts out with the free version of HootSuite and needs more robust features, HootSuite offers a Pro and Enterprise plan. The Pro plan starts at $9.99 per month for 2 users, with affordable options to add up to 10 users. Once a business has a need for 10 users, the Enterprise Plan plan makes sense. This migration path is very practical allowing any business to test HootSuite, learn how it works and gradually increase functionality as their social business strategy evolves.
Manage Multiple Social Media Channels
Most businesses are using many social media channels including Twitter and Facebook. Beyond these two social channels, HootSuite also supports LinkedIn, Google+, FourSquare, WordPress and others. This allows a social media marketing team to manage all their activity from a single dashboard.
Manage Multiple Social Media Applications
HootSuite is impressively adding support for many social media applications to enable users to manage those applications from within the HootSuite dashboard. Some of the applications that can be managed from HootSuite include YouTube (channel), Instagram, Flickr, HubSpot, Get Satisfaction, SocialBro, StumbleUpon, Slideshare and others.
Set up Internal Social Media Response Teams
As your social business team grows (internally or externally or both), you can set up teams. HootSuite calls them “organizations.” For example you can set up separate organizations for customer service, field events, sales, PR, etc. Within each organization, you can set up people with limited access to the social channels pertinent to them.
Assign Actions to Teams Members
As your social business activities progress, you can assign people within those organizations to take action on specific social interations. For example, if you see a comment that is best addressed by someone on the customer service team, you can assign it directly to an individual on that team. The admin of an organization can track the response to ensure it was addressed in a timely manner.
Social Media Marketing Analytics
HootSuite has a robust set of analytics features. The free and Pro version has integrated Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, as well as Twitter analytics tied to shortened URLs created in HootSuite. The Enterprise version provides enhanced analytics, including custom analytics. I will point out that HootSuite is not in the same category of enterprise social media analysis tools such as Crimson Hexagon (which, in full disclosure is a Find and Convert client).
HootSuite Offers a Strong Mobile App
HootSuite has an awesome mobile app that makes using HootSuite on the go very easy and productive. It is currently available for iOS, Android and Blackberry.
Measure Social Influence of Twitter Followers
HootSuite allows you to view the social influence of your Twitter followers through their Klout score. This allows you to determine which Twitter followers should get your attention from an engagement perspective. Using the assignment function described above, is one way to make use of this feature.
One point I believe worth mentioning is the fact that HootSuite is a standalone business. It’s certainly feasible HootSuite may get acquired as we’ve seen occur among other SMMS products such as Radian6, BuddyMedia and Yammer. I don’t have a problem with an acquisition of a tool, provided the tool can still be useful to the general public without ties to the parent company.
HootSuite University is an impressive resource included with Enterprise and optionally available to Pro users for $21 per month. H.U. is terrific for any marketing organization who needs to educate staff on social business best practices.
HootSuite social media monitoring is a practical solution for our clients, most of whom are SMB (small and medium size) companies in the range of 10 to 500 employees. Each business should evaluate social business tools according to their needs and make a selection that suits their specific needs.