In January I completed the Hootsuite Certification course to become a “Hootsuite Certified Professional“, it was quite interesting and, since I was taking on the job of doing all the social media posts for Mr Droogle, I decided it would certainly come in handy.
Hootsuite is a pretty cool tool for anyone using social media on a professional basis – it allows you to post to all of your connected social media accounts from one place, it also allows bulk upload of posts, scheduling, and analytics – so it covers basically everything you need for business social media use. The basic free account allows you to connect 3 social media accounts but to get the full use out of it you really need to have a paid account. There are quite a few advantages to having a paid account but I ended up downgrading after the free trial – purely because I can’t really justify the additional costs.
Regardless, I’ve been using Hootsuite for a while now and I don’t think I could do without it – scheduling is an absolute life-saver! However, I have found that I prefer the Google+ and LinkedIn integration on Buffer (another social media management tool) – purely because it seems easier to control whether you want link content or image content to appear as the feature on your post (something I need to be able to do with some of the Mr Droogle posts).
While they’re often hugely helpful at cutting down amount of time spend on posts one major drawback among all social media management tools is that their tools are limited by the social site’s API limitations – e.g. images uploaded by hootsuite don’t use the Twitter image upload feature so when someone is viewing your profile any image you’ve added via hootsuite won’t show in the “Images” section of your profile (N.B. Hootsuite have recently announced that paid accounts would get native Twitter image functionality). I usually try to post twitter images natively if I have time.
This is also particularly apparent when trying to tag users/profiles in posts – while you can do this on Twitter posts with great ease, it does not work on Google+ because their API is pretty much non-existent (another fine example of Google cutting corners on their “next big thing”). This feature has never worked on Google+. Despite this, I see people (obviously posting from a social media management tool) trying to tag users in their scheduled posts and literally all they end up with is plain text with +[brand username] – where [brand username] is sometimes different to how you’d ususally refer to the brand in plain text. This really irks me for some reason – it doesn’t end up linking, the user won’t get any notification, it won’t have the same SEO value, it’s not really any use to people viewing your post, and it just looks silly in my opinion.
The moral of the story is that yes, social media management tools are amazing, but you need to exercise caution when trying to use the full range of native functionality – and, really, if you want to tag something in a post please just write it on the social network natively (unless it’s a post to Twitter).