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Hootsuite Review And Your Best Alternatives

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Table of Contents

If you’ve ever considered social media management tools to take your business to the next level, you have a lot of options to consider. 

Any conversation around social media management has to include Hootsuite. They are the OG’s. The first ones to launch a tool to help you automate your posts and grow your social presence on multiple social media platforms. And they are still the big kids on the block today.

Let’s take a deep dive into all things Hootsuite, so you can decide if they are the right tool for you. We also provide a few alternate options at the end and talk about $$$ and subscription levels. 

What Does Hootsuite Do? 

Hootsuite is a social media management tool that lets you manage multiple social media accounts and ad campaigns across your social media networks from a single dashboard. It unifies all the data and tools you need to increase your impact in one place.

Create & Publish Your Content

Hootsuite’s main gig is simply to make your life easier. If you plan to post to all your social media accounts separately on each platform, then you can create them all inside Hootsuite. 

You can easily use your favourite Canva templates directly from the Composer window. Grab any of your previously edited templates or create a new one from scratch. It’s easy to include your media, and you can use their AI hashtag generator to help you reach your audience. 

Would you like to save time each week? Hootsuite’s bulk social media scheduler has got your back. It allows you to plan hundreds of posts in advance, so you can focus on more important things. You can even schedule posts to go live at the best time for your audience and boost engagement rates.

It’s also straightforward to keep track of your published and scheduled content with their calendar or list view. Plan out your campaigns, identify content gaps, and work with your team in real-time. And if the unexpected happens, you can quickly suspend scheduled social media posts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD4QOsOAzt8

Improve Your Team’s Performance

Have you heard the saying, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure”?

Well, now you’ll know what to improve. Hootsuite gives you the data to prove your ROI from organic and paid social media efforts.

Are you worried about employee errors hurting your brand? You can create secure logins and control individual and team permission levels. You can also set up custom approval workflows to ensure nothing gets posted without first being reviewed.

Do you have some green recruits on your team? Send them to Hootsuite Academy. They can take free and paid courses to learn how to use Hootsuite as a tool and brush up on various social media skills. Hootsuite offers courses with industry-recognized certifications

Do you like to plan for the worst and hope for the best? A wise one you are. Hootsuite lets you prepare for a crisis and simulate how you want to respond ahead of time. You can set up automatic alerts to warn of unexpected spikes in social media activity.

Engagement – Are You Doing It Right?

How do you currently communicate with your community? Do you have to log in to each platform multiple times each day to monitor and interact with your audience?

If you are, there’s a better way. Hootsuite gives you a social media inbox that combines your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn messages in one place.

You can respond to messages quickly and reduce duplicated efforts by routing posts to the right person, department, or region. This includes negative reviews, private messages, and public comments and mentions. 

Are there specific words, phrases, or topics you want to avoid? You can use Hootsuite’s advanced moderation features to protect your brand while your team confidently engages with customers. 

Social Listening – What Are They Saying About You?

Enhance your marketing strategy with social listening software for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, and more.

How does it work, you ask?

Set up “Streams” to monitor mentions, keywords, and hashtags. You can listen to what people are discussing in your space and join relevant conversations. Reply to, save, and like public comments to reinforce your brand as an industry leader.

Put That Hot Gossip To Good Use

You can instantly see where your brand gets the most chatter and create more targeted campaigns. Dig deeper to discover the top hashtags, interests, languages, and emotions associated with your brand.

Want to see what your audience associates with your brand? You can create clouds to find out. They’re visual representations of the most common words and phrases associated with your brand. You can use clouds to compare your brand sentiment against your top competitors and track how your emotion volume and brand sentiment change over time.

Advertising

Hootsuite gives you more control over your ad campaigns. You can publish, manage, analyze, and report on your Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads in one user-friendly dashboard. 

Do you ever turn your top-performing organic posts into paid ads? If not, would you like to? 

You can set up triggers to automate this process if you’d like. You decide what triggers to set, your budget, and which posts you want to boost right from the Hootsuite dashboard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwFR07iFSl8

What Apps Does Hootsuite Connect and Integrate With?

Hootsuite supports over 150 apps, including the major socials. Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. And also Google My Business, Canva, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Shopify, and many more. Browse this list for full details

Social Commerce – Improving Your Customer’s Experience

In August 2021, Hootsuite acquired Heyday. If you missed the news, here’s a quick primer on Heyday.

Heyday is a customer messaging platform that uses AI to help brands connect with their customers on social and messaging apps. Basically, it lets you have personalized 1:1 conversations with your customers. The cool part is that it can seamlessly integrate with your website, e-commerce platforms, product feeds, and order-tracking management systems. 

So your customers can get virtual support and personalized recommendations anytime. Which leads to higher engagement and conversion rates

So what does this really mean for you?

You Can Leverage Heyday To Scale Your Customer Service Capabilities

Heyday combines conversational AI’s power with your team’s human touch. 

Many shoppers now expect to receive real-time customer service on social media or with on-site messaging options. But there’s no way you can afford to pay workers to handle every conversation.

Heyday’s powerful AI tech steps in as your frontline CS Rep for common questions and time-consuming interactions that can be automated. This gives your team the time to provide a human touch to conversations that really need it. And never leave your customers hanging.

You can also view and manage your customer conversations in one dashboard to provide seamless and personalized service. Meet them where they are at on social. 

So with Heyday, you learn what your customers are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. You can view data on what shoppers are looking at on-site, present in-chat surveys for feedback, and get an overview of your team’s conversations and response rates. 

Social Selling is one of the best Hootsuite features. It can completely change how you connect with your target audience once you embrace it. 

Social Selling – Give Your Sales Reps An Edge

So what is social media selling, and why should you care?

Hootsuite’s Social Selling platform helps your sales reps build and nurture relationships with customers on social media. You provide thought leadership content your reps can add to their social profiles to position them as experts. They can search for and find new leads in their region. And then engage prospects and customers and try to take the conversation offline.

You can also:

  • Onboard teams quickly. New reps have access to social skills training to get them up to speed fast
  • Manage platform access for reps, contractors, or partners as your sales team grows and changes
  • You can set publishing permissions. Only approved sales reps can post to your company’s social media accounts
  • Create pre-approved content for your sales team to share with prospects to stay on brand and compliant
  • Measure the success of individual sales reps, including their productivity and interaction history
  • Connect your social activity with your web analytics software to measure your social selling results
  • Understand which social channels drive conversions, leads, and sales with customized dashboards

So, How Much Does Hootsuite Cost?

Alright. As you’ve seen, Hootsuite is a robust enterprise-level social media management platform. It offers a ton of functionality, all in one place. Now let’s examine monthly Hootsuite pricing. 

The first bit of news…Hootsuite Free was put out to pasture. There is no longer a free plan as of March 31, 2023. The best they offer you is a 30-day free trial on their Pro or Team subscriptions.

We start at their lowest tier and work our way up. All prices are based on annual memberships and do not include tax.

Professional | $99/month

Hootsuite’s cheapest package gives you enough to manage social media for the first time. You get:

  • 1 User
  • 10 Social media accounts
  • Unlimited posts
  • Post Scheduling
  • Access to all social messages in one inbox

Essentially, you get all the basic level content creation and publishing features for one user. You can create, schedule and publish an unlimited amount of content. You get a social inbox where all your social messages unify in one spot. And you can access basic social media analytics reports. 

The rest is reserved for more expensive plans. 

Team | $249/month

The Team plan builds on Professional by allowing up to 3 users and 20 social accounts. Most of the features you gain access to enable team efficiency.

Your team can view a social calendar to view and collaborate on scheduled projects. Messages to your social inbox can be assigned to specific team members for follow-up. And you can set access permissions to control which features and social accounts your team members can use. 

If you decide to push pause on a scheduled post, you can suspend it for now and publish it later. You also get 1 vanity URL to use in your links, which now have automated tracking. This means you can shorten the links you share on social to tidy them up and measure the traffic that flows through them. 

Business | $739+/month

The Business plan takes a giant leap in price and available services. It offers everything from the Team plan and bumps you up to 5 Hootsuite users and 35 social accounts. You can now add additional team members and social accounts for a fee. 

For content publishing, Business unlocks approval workflows for your team. What does that mean? You can set up review checkpoints for content before publication to ensure a consistent brand voice.

Your account also integrates with bit.ly directly on Hootsuite. And you gain a content library where you can store pre-approved post templates and images your team can reuse. 

Crucially, you can manage ad campaigns for the first time. You can plan, create, manage, and analyze your social ad campaigns from one dashboard. Although it doesn’t include Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Those are reserved for Enterprise customers.

For social engagement, you get dashboard notifications for new social activity. You can also create and save replies to common customer questions. 

But by far, the biggest upgrade in the Business plan is the add-ons you can now purchase. You can now access the following:

  • Social Listening – find out what people are saying about your brand online
  • Review Management – see your brand reviews alongside your social mentions
  • Social Selling – give your sales reps an edge to find and engage new leads
  • Social Customer Care – improve your customer communication and engagement across all social channels, and unlock Heyday – your frontline AI CS rep

Things can get expensive in a hurry if you start adding features on. But if you run a large business and can afford it, the extra features really elevate your capabilities. 

Enterprise | Custom Pricing

You can contact Hootsuite for a custom quote if you want the whole enchilada. You can pay more to add on every feature they offer. You also unlock the following:

  • 50 socials included
  • Automated message tagging – create and use rules to automate workflows
  • Social ads campaign management – unlock Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – and get 10 ad profiles included (can pay to add more)
  • Social ads analytics & reporting – get paid and organic ROI analytics for all social platforms
  • Team tracking reports give you metrics to monitor response and resolution times
  • Customize logos on your reports and enhance distribution
  • Single sign-on – access all Hootsuite accounts with one username & password

Is There A Free Alternative To Hootsuite?

Now that Hootsuite has done away with its free plan, you have to look elsewhere to get started with a free social management tool. 

Your best bet is to try Buffer. The main difference between the two platforms is this:

Hootsuite is a social media management tool with powerful analytics, reports, and social engagement capabilities.

Buffer excels at scheduling and publishing your social media content. Its analytics is limited to post-specific metrics and doesn’t allow you to track campaigns or even posts across multiple channels.

Buffer has a comparatively generous free plan, with up to three social media accounts and 10 scheduled posts per channel (except IG stories).

Buffer could be for you if:

  • You’re a small team or solopreneur 
  • You’re just getting started with social media management 
  • You need a straightforward content-scheduling tool

Use Hootsuite if: 

  • You’re a social media marketer managing accounts for different clients 
  • You’re a large organization with an elaborate social media marketing strategy
  • You need a feature-rich tool that goes beyond post scheduling
  • You can afford it!

Hootsuite Recap (Including Cons and Bonus Alternatives)

Hootsuite was the world’s first social media management tool, launched way back in 2008. While some other intriguing options exist, it remains the most robust and comprehensive tool available. 

We covered a lot of ground, so here’s a quick recap of the Hootsuite app’s key features:

  • Plan, create, schedule, and publish your content across all social media platforms. Plus, you can optimize your posts for the ideal day and time on each channel for your audience
  • Manage your team with workflows, assign messages automatically, control access, and monitor and track team member performance
  • You get a social media inbox to centralize all of your social communication in one place
  • Use Heyday, an AI chatbot assistant, to improve customer service. Track and communicate with your customers across all social channels
  • Ad campaigns – do it all under one roof. Includes analytics and reports
  • Social Listening – find out what people say about your brand, and join relevant conversations on social media. Respond to negative reviews. 
  • Social Selling – your sales reps can find new leads to build and nurture relationships on your social networks

The Main Knocks Against Hootsuite Are Two-Fold 

  1. It’s expensive. And there’s no way around it. Their cheapest plan starts at $99/mo
  2. It’s complicated. Your dashboard displays so much information. It can overwhelm new users. Expect a steep learning curve to unlock its full potential

If you’d prefer to start out with a free plan or a simpler alternative…then check out Buffer and give them a shot first. 


If you’re in for more solid social media research, check out one of these posts next:

The 16 Best Social Media Conferences You Should Attend in 2023

The Power of Microcontent: How Small Content Drives Big Results

The Future of Video Editing: AI-Powered Tools

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