Hootsuite: what it is and how it works [Mini Guide]

Organize, schedule, and monitor the social media strategy in a single environment: Hootsuite is by far the most effective tool for social media marketing. Learn how to use Hootsuite, the ultimate platform for coordination, strategy, and oversight.

Streamline your brand’s social media presence by learning how to use Hootsuite. Effectively manage multiple profiles on different platforms, handle diverse campaigns and languages, and maintain consistent posting. Achieving this would typically involve accessing each social network separately. However, by harnessing the potential of a tool like Hootsuite, you can automate these processes and work in a more organized and productive manner.

With its user-friendly interface, Hootsuite caters to individuals without specific expertise while also offering advanced features for professionals. These features account for its impressive user base of 15 million users worldwide. Recognized by numerous top brands (including over 800 Fortune 1000 companies), it holds a significant relevant tool in the realm of social media management.

That’s why we included it in our Social Media Manager Course.

What is Hootsuite

Discovering Hootsuite: What is it and how to use Hootsuite? It’s the official website Hootsuite website that delves into its core essence and capabilities. As described on the website, Hootsuite is a social relationship platform engineered to foster engagement, streamline listening, generate analytics, and ensure security. Its primary function is to enable users to create a centralized social media dashboard, consolidating all communication channels into a single hub. With its intuitive columnar layout, it offers a seamless and efficient overview of critical information. In essence, Hootsuite stands as an indispensable element of any contemporary digital strategy.

How Hootsuite works

Each dedicated column corresponds to various streams that automatically update with the content of your choosing. Depending on the specific requirements of each brand or professional, these streams can include Facebook posts from a designated list of profiles, tweets, mentions, keywords, competitor pages, and more.

how to use hootsuite logo

In essence, these are the core functions dedicated to social media monitoring. However, Hootsuite’s strength also lies in its social media sharing capabilities, allowing simultaneous updates across multiple profiles. By composing a post using the editor, which includes text, multimedia components, and links, users can select the platforms on which they wish to publish the content. Furthermore, they have the option to either publish the post immediately or schedule it for future release.

Some of the notable benefits of utilizing Hootsuite include:

  • Generate original content and schedule its publication across chosen social networks in a single operation.
  • Monitor brand presence, competitors, and online reputation by filtering conversations based on keywords, hashtags, or geographical location.
  • Easily manage and edit posts on each social platform in a simple and immediate manner.
  • Track insights from all brand-operated platforms, comparing data to identify the most engaging channels and more.
  • Measure conversions achieved through various social channels, analyzing the ROI between owned and paid media content.

Overall, Hootsuite offers significant time savings, the potential for round-the-clock social media presence, and optimal organization. In summary, Hootsuite streamlines the search, scheduling, management, and reporting of social content, providing a valuable boost to web marketing efforts.

Hootsuite free

With a free Hootsuite account, you have the ability to manage up to three social channels. However, by upgrading to the paid versions, you gain control over multiple social profiles and access to more comprehensive reports and features. We will delve into these additional features later. Hootsuite allows you to connect various accounts, including Facebook pages, groups, and events, as well as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, and Flickr. Instagram is also supported, albeit with a slight difference in its scheduling process. Due to Instagram’s policies, posts require a two-step method for scheduling. In the first step, you can create the photo and caption while defining the desired publication day and time. In the second step, you will receive a notification at the designated time, requiring confirmation to proceed with the publication. However, for business accounts on Instagram, the entire operation can be completed directly within Hootsuite. The Hootsuite app, available for iOS and Android devices and constantly updated, is particularly efficient in this regard. Even with the free version, basic reporting, and post-scheduling capabilities are included.

Hootsuite paid packages

To cater to the diverse needs of the millions of professionals and businesses who rely on Hootsuite for social media management, the free version may not suffice. Hootsuite offers several paid plans with varying features and capabilities:

how to use hootsuite plans

  • Hootsuite Professional: This plan includes 10 social accounts and 1 user. In addition to the features available in the free plan, it offers bulk scheduling of posts and reliable, real-time statistics. There are unlimited RSS integrations, along with a monthly ad spend limit of $ 500 to promote posts. The cost for this plan is $ 25 per month, and it comes with a 30-day free trial.
  • Hootsuite Team: With 20 social profiles and 3 users, the Team plan encompasses all the features of the Professional plan. It further provides customizable reports and statistics, as well as team assignment management. Users also receive 1 customized brand URL and 1 Hootsuite platform training certificate. The ad spending limit for post-promotion increases to $ 2,000 per month. This plan is priced at $ 109 per month, with a 30-day free trial.
  • Hootsuite Business: Designed for larger businesses, the Business plan offers 35 social accounts and 5 users. In addition to the features available in the Team plan, it includes Analytics data export, Premium App Integrations, and customized brand URLs. Users also receive 1 social media certification, 1 Hootsuite platform certification, and intensive training of 60 minutes. The monthly ad spend limit for post-promotion rises to $ 5,000. The cost for the Business plan is $ 599 per month.
  • Hootsuite Enterprise: If none of the pre-existing packages meet specific business requirements, Hootsuite offers the option to contact them for a customized plan tailored to individual needs.

The expert who creates and organizes the content to be published on social media is the Social Media Manager.
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The structure of Hootsuite

Creating a free Hootsuite account is a straightforward process. You have the option to register using your Twitter, Facebook, or Google credentials. Alternatively, you can create a new account on the Hootsuite platform using your email address.

Once you have registered, you can proceed to add the social media accounts you want to monitor. With the free package, you can add a maximum of three accounts. If you require more, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. It’s important to note that for each added account, Hootsuite will prompt you to go through the authentication process and grant access authorization.

Once you have successfully registered, you will gain access to the Hootsuite dashboard. Before diving into the operational phase, it’s important to familiarize yourself with its structure. On the left side, there is a pop-up menu that provides access to the main areas and news streams, displayed in a column structure at the center of the screen. Navigation within the dashboard is facilitated by two horizontal bars. The first bar, located just above the columnar dashboard, enables you to add new stream columns or incorporate new social networks. The second bar, positioned at the top of the page, contains the post editor on the left-hand side, allowing you to compose and select the platforms on which to publish your posts. By clicking on the icon situated at the top-right corner, adjacent to the search button, you can access the settings. This grants you the ability to edit personal information, manage authentication and billing methods, select preferred language, and configure alerts and notifications according to your preferences.

how to use hootsuite dashboard

Social Media Dashboard of Hootsuite

How to use Hootsuite

Once you have completed the initial phase of logging into Hootsuite, there are two crucial operations to be carried out. Firstly, you need to connect the social networks that you wish to manage using the platform. Secondly, you must determine the specific information you want to monitor for each social network. One of the distinguishing features of Hootsuite is its ability to create customized streams, allowing you to filter and focus on the information that is most relevant to your needs. By carefully selecting and organizing these streams, you can ensure that you only receive the information that is truly valuable to you, while filtering out irrelevant content. It is important to strike a balance when adding columns to avoid overwhelming yourself with excessive information, which may lead to confusion and potentially cause you to miss out on important posts and news updates.

A word of wisdom? Avoid exceeding 5 columns on each social network. Ensure one column includes mentions of your account name (because it’s essential to know who’s discussing you, isn’t it?) and another column with pertinent keywords for your business. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to recognize that defining and updating the monitored keywords should be an ongoing task. Merely choosing them initially won’t be enough. The list of keywords ought to be routinely evaluated to eliminate irrelevant or ineffective ones, substituting them with more accurate and efficient alternatives.

Adding streams on Hootsuite

Hootsuite provides helpful guidance to users as they take their initial steps on the platform. To add a column, simply click on the ‘+ add stream’ button located at the top of the dashboard. Alternatively, you can utilize the ‘add stream’ tool, which opens a column on the right side of the already selected streams.

Upon selecting the desired social network and associated account linked to Hootsuite, you can choose what to monitor. Each social network offers its own set of options and feeds that can be activated. For instance, on Twitter, you can track mentions, retweets, followers, your own tweets, scheduled tweets, lists of people, and specific keywords. It’s a plethora of information, which can be overwhelming if not organized effectively. Fortunately, Hootsuite provides the means to streamline and manage these feeds efficiently.

Adding a tab on Hootsuite

To enhance the organization of streams and the available information, Hootsuite allows you to distribute streams across multiple tabs, akin to the navigation model of a traditional web browser. Adding a new tab is as easy as clicking the ‘+’ button located at the top of the dashboard, next to the existing tabs. Each tab can be populated with streams from any social network connected to Hootsuite.

So, what are the cards for? They serve as a means to collect streams in one place. For instance, you could have a tab dedicated to each social network you follow, effectively dividing the information pertaining to each specific channel. Alternatively, you might opt for a ‘work’ tab and a ‘personal’ tab. The division and categorization are entirely up to the user, allowing for a personalized and streamlined user experience based on their preferences.

Writing a post with Hootsuite

To compose a post using Hootsuite, simply hover your cursor over the left-hand side of the horizontal menu at the top of the page to access the Hootsuite editor. Within the editor, you will find a text box where you can enter your message. Additionally, at the bottom of the editor, you will find icons that allow you to perform the following actions:

  • Add a link.
  • Add multimedia content: photos, videos, and documents by simply dragging and dropping them or selecting the file to upload.
  • Share videos from YouTube by linking to your own channel.
  • Programming the post.
  • Add your own position.
  • Define sending to a list of recipients.
  • Define the privacy settings of the post.

Through the same operation, it is then possible to select whether to publish that post on one, some, or all of the linked social channels at the same time.

Planning a post with Hootsuite

If one of the virtues that make Hootsuite the world’s most popular social media marketing tool lies in its ability to allow one-click advertising of a post on all social channels, the ability to schedule one’s own publications is equally attractive to marketers.how to use hootsuite benefit

How to do this? In the editor for creating posts, there is a calendar icon at the bottom. Clicking on it opens the panel for scheduling future publications. From here, you can choose the day and time at which you want to post to the selected channels. This is a particularly useful tool for creating posts at times when you may not have active employees or for automating marketing campaigns.

Another interesting option is to let the Hootsuite algorithm determine the best time to publish. In this case, it will be the platform’s artificial intelligence that will decide after carrying out an analysis that takes into account relevant parameters related to that social such as likes, retweets, comments, and interactions recorded in the past, your activity, and the activity of your followers. To activate this function you will need to click on the “AutoSchedule” button, also in the planning area, which by default is set to ‘off’.

Insights and statistics with Hootsuite

There is no digital marketing without analysis and study of the results produced, right? Of course, Hootsuite has thought of this too, and allows you to keep track of the activities and campaigns produced on any social with its analysis tool. To access this area, open the pop-up navigation menu on the left-hand side of the screen and select “statistics”.

Hootsuite offers several tools that allow a company to track performance in different social networks. From Twitter profile or Facebook page overviews to LinkedIn page statistics, from Facebook Insights to Pinterest engagement, and much more. Hootsuite also gives the possibility to create customized reports, even from pre-filled templates. Some of these reports are free, others require a Professional account, and others are only available with the Business or Enterprise packages. It is, therefore, possible to quantify and analyze likes, traffic variations, the performance of published links, and much more.

N.B. To track links with Hootsuite, it is necessary to use the Ow.ly URL shortener.

the structure of hootsuite

Hootsuite Hootlet

A free Hootsuite extension designed for Google Chrome has been available for a few years now: Hootlet. This software takes social sharing to a new and advanced level. Hootsuite users (logged into the platform and with the extension installed and active) speed up content sharing, but not only. Finding a page or article that you feel is appropriate to share just click on the plug-in icon, and a window will open through which you can select social channels and customize your message. It will be possible to add location or multimedia content. Hootlet, however, does not stop there.

By right-clicking on the Hootlet icon in the browser and accessing the plug-in’s settings, it will be possible to enable web and geographic search functionality. After doing so, if the user is performing a search on Google, Hootlet will also show in a box on the right of the screen the latest tweets related to the keyword used in the query. Result: the bouquet of information to draw on is expanded with a kind of social search engine.

And again, if the user uses Google Maps, after typing in a location Hootlet will search for content posted near that geographic area. This will be done by clicking on “Tweets nearby”. Then, eventually, clicking on ‘add to Hootsuite‘ will save the search stream on the dashboard for future quick reference. Not bad, is it?

How to download Hootlet

  • Open the Chrome Web Store: start your Google Chrome browser and visit the Chrome Web Store.
  • Search for the app: enter ‘Hootlet’ in the search text field at the top left of the page and press the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard to start the search. The Hootlet extension should appear at the top of the search results list.
  • Download Hootlet: click the ‘add’ button, at which point a pop-up message appears at the top of the browser. The message reads, “Add Hootsuite Hootlet?” with only a seemingly disturbing message, “can read and modify all data of visited websites”. Don’t worry, it is safe: click on ‘add extension’ without fear.
  • Install: it will only take a few moments. You will automatically be redirected to Hootlet’s official page where you can find out more about how the plug-in works.
  • Installation complete: at which point a notification message will appear informing you that the extension has been successfully installed. A HootSuite icon (the logo with the little owl) will be displayed in the top right-hand corner of the Chrome window. From then on, you can start using Hootlet.

 

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Hootsuite Case Studies

Let us look together at how some realities have solved their problems and improved their efficiency on social networks by relying on Hootsuite and its particular and specific functionalities. Many of these success stories are hosted on the Hootsuite blog, which also has an Italian version. Packed with great tips on how to make the most of the platform and optimize your web marketing efforts, we recommend you take a look at it.

British Museum

With 5 million followers on its social channels, the demand for content from the British Museum’s audiences became too great, even for the company’s already stretched social team. So, the Museum turned to Hootsuite for support in organizing its multi-channel publishing activities and strategies.

The main objectives were:

  1. Increase online coverage and engagement;
  2. Offer digital customer service to strengthen customer relations;
  3. Identifying business opportunities.

The museum’s social media team was divided into two functions: one dedicated to the development of new content, and the other focused on monitoring and data analysis. The new strategy developed together with Hootsuite included the development of specific content for each channel, in order to make the best use of each social network according to its specific characteristics and target audience.

hootsuite british museum

The Hootsuite dashboard was used to manage all phases of the content lifecycle, allowing the better organization of work, easier identification of KPIs, and therefore faster processes. Efficiency was also maximized by setting up reporting capabilities to monitor activity and allow for quick analysis of results, allowing the team to focus on activities that would produce better results.

The British Museum’s social team was thus able to spend more time on content creation and planning, interaction with and engagement with followers, and customer care.

Since the museum started using Hootsuite, its followers have grown by 141% on Twitter, 123% on Instagram, and 20% on Facebook. Over the same period, the museum has committed to providing efficient 24/7 customer service, increasing the number of tweets it responds to by 126%.

AccorHotel

AccorHotel, one of the world’s leading hotel groups with 4,000 hotels and 240,000 employees on five continents, needed to implement and organize its social activity. A need born of the awareness of certain data. One in five people rely on Facebook or Instagram when choosing a trip and 77% of users choose their destination based on social media recommendations. Having purchased the Enterprise package, AccorHotel in collaboration with Hootsuite created the Accor Social Desk, a global platform that homogenized social activity. How? By providing tools and content for social media and ensuring accurate and constant training for employees.

Social Desk involves Hootsuite teaching hotel staff how to engage with social media, promoting interaction, and listening to customers and prospects. Accor group hotels are now able to identify potential customers on social, monitor interactions, and respond in a timely and functional manner. A central blog has also been created to provide all hotels in the group with original and inspiring content to disseminate on social. Everything is adaptable to different local needs, speeding up publication enormously as it is already pre-approved.

The results? Accor experienced an increase in the number of followers from 4.8 million to 27 million across all social media. It also doubled the reach of its content and tripled the engagement of its audience.

Centro Vigne (One Hundred Vineyards)

Cento Vigne is a successful e-commerce site selling wine all over the world. It has a wide selection of artisanal wines and connects small European producers with wine professionals around the world. To achieve this, Cento Vigne is not just an e-commerce site but an all-around wine information center: the various types, the wineries, the history and culture of production.

how to use hootsuite vineyards

Much of the success stems from the ability of the owner, Gian Piero Staffa, to switch from a traditional sales strategy to creating an online community through social media. He uses Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube to generate traffic to the three different sites that are part of the Cento Vigne project. A member of more than 40 LinkedIn groups and active on 50 social accounts in total, with only one hour a day to manage them, he needed a tool that would allow him to organize this huge amount of work.

Through Hootsuite, he was able to achieve his goals. “I learned early on that people on social did not respond well to the ‘sell, sell, sell’ approach I was used to using,” explains the owner of Cento Vigne. “I started to listen and converse with my audience and from that moment on, social channels started to grow rapidly. Using Hootsuite to monitor and organize my business really worked”.

Through programming and planning, the work of Cento Vigne has changed for the better. One figure above all: in the first four months of working with Hootsuite, the number of followers increased by 400%.

Alternatives to Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a benchmark for those working in social media marketing. It is advanced, quite intuitive, and feature-rich. All true. This, however, does not mean that it is perfect. Opinions on it, as is always the case, are not unanimous. There are those who do not like the fact that the graphics are outdated and an update has been missing for years. Others complain of poor assistance, focused above all on customers in the ‘Enterprise’ category and only available by e-mail and not by telephone for ‘ordinary mortals’. Even when it comes to costs, for those who need to make advanced use of it, Hootsuite is not particularly cheap.

Well, the good news is that there are many other top-class tools for social media marketing. There are alternatives to Hootsuite and in some cases, for those who deal with specific sectors or have special needs, they may even prove to be better performers. Let’s see which ones.

Buffer

With Buffer, you can intelligently plan your content on a wide range of social networks integrated into the platform. Buffer, similar to Hootsuite, allows you to plan your posts for the future, even relying on the software’s automatic scheduling that will proceed to share content with your target audience at the best times during the day, ensuring the best chance of being noticed. Equipped with a Chrome extension, Buffer has an app for iOS and Android and valuable reports and insights to analyze and measure the effects of one’s campaigns. There is also an image processing tool, called ‘Pablo’, which allows images to be optimized for different social networks. Buffer is trusted by major companies such as Business Insider and Fortune, among others. It supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest and costs between $15 and $399 per month, in addition to the free version with reduced functionality (3 social profiles at most and no more than 10 programmable posts for each).

AgoraPulse

AgoraPulse is packed with useful and innovative features and it is no coincidence that it is chosen by global brands such as Pepsi or PlayStation. In addition to allowing the synchronization of various social accounts, it monitors the progress of one’s campaigns and communication activities. Audiences are classified through badges that indicate their degree of involvement and participation. AgoraPulse’s plus point is precisely the opportunity to obtain incredibly customized reports, made available in PowerPoint format with truly intuitive and appealing graphics. It is also possible to organize promotions, campaigns, and competitions directly from the platform with engagement benefits that are easy to imagine.

Undoubtedly a good alternative to Hootsuite. AgoraPulse guarantees a two-week trial phase during which you will have almost all features unlocked. At the end of this period, packages range from around $30 per month to over $200.

SocialPilot

SocialPilot is a rather complex tool because it is rich in advanced functionalities and therefore suitable for medium to large-sized companies with fairly structured digital marketing teams in order to be able to make the most of its enormous potential. Companies selling products or services online will appreciate the possibility of bringing together CRM and efficient social media management, thus transforming SocialPilot into a marketing platform. The integration results in appreciable savings in terms of time and money. Other features worth highlighting include the presence of a Chrome extension integrated with Bitly and the provision of an editorial calendar to organize publications enriched by a content suggestion system to compose one’s posts in a functional and original way. Rather expensive (the basic $8/month version is very limited, the later option starts at $25/month) SocialPilot also does not support very important platforms such as Snapchat and YouTube.

Tweetdeck

Not everyone needs to follow several accounts on different social networks: those who only need to dedicate themselves to Twitter have a ready-made solution tailored to their needs. Purchased by Twitter, Tweetdeck is the social network’s official tool: this completely free service allows users to manage an unlimited number of accounts. You can create a completely customized experience on the Twitter social network: you can organize lists and activities, search by topics, events, and hashtags, and monitor yourself and competitors with advanced social listening features. TweetDeck can be downloaded as desktop software and its operation is very similar to that of Hootsuite: a columnar organization with different streams updated in real time.digital marketing hootsuite

Are you passionate about this and want to make it your job? You can choose to attend the Digital Marketing Course, which will enable you to acquire all the skills you need to tackle the topics we have seen in this mini-guide.

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