Hootsuite: One of the best social media tools for business
One of the biggest fears I come across from businesses or government departments & agencies contemplating taking the leap into social media is the amount of time it will consume and whether or not they can afford the commitment required.
A step in the right direction from the days when many assumed social media was a cheap (and sometimes free) marketing or community engagement alternative, primarily because many of the popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are completely free to set up.
Social media absolutely does require investment by an organisation, it needs to be taken seriously, and a real commitment must be given if you want to see returns from your investment.
that doesn’t mean your team will be wasting time on Twitter.com scrawling through an endless stream of tweets updated every 2 seconds from your growing community or spending countless hours on Facebook waiting to respond to every single ‘like’, question, comment or suggestion as soon as it appears.
There are a plethora of tools to help manage your social media activity and enable you to be more productive. We work with clients to assess and recommend the best processes (and tools) to fit an organisation, their culture, existing technology and internal communication processes to ensure they’ll readily adopt and integrate them into their already busy schedules.
One of our favourite tools we have a soft spot for is Hootsuite. Even without an active Twitter presence, Hootsuite is invaluable for listening to what’s being said about you, your competitors, your industry or topical issues and who’s saying it.
It’s a free platform with a ‘freemium’ version (small monthly subscription fee), as well as an Enterprise level for those with a more significant social media presence. It allows you to manage multiple accounts (Twitter, Facebook pages, LinkedIn etc) and to share the management of those accounts with others as well as measure the results of your efforts. A huge time saving tool as you can read, monitor, respond, post comments or updates and track conversations from a single platform.
You can use Hootsuite as a fairly sophisticated yet simple listening post or dashboard, even if you don’t have a Twitter account – particularly useful if you need to keep abreast of any key issues, trends or influencers in your industry or marketplace but still working out how your brand or organisation will engage in these spaces.
Whilst Hootsuite began primarily as a Twitter management platform, it’s interesting to note that now more Facebook accounts are added than Twitter. Its popularity continues to increase – Hootsuite now has three million users worldwide with the last million reached in just the last 6 months compared to the 2 years it took to reach its first one million users. In Australia, we just scrape in to the Top 10 countries at number 10 with 2% of users worldwide.
It’s available on iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPad and Ketai (?!) so no matter where you are you can keep connected to your own customised social media listening post.
My favourite feature on Hootsuite is being able to see who in your team has responded to a particular message on Twitter.
If you’re already converted to Hootsuite, what do you like the most?
Sarah Thomas (@sarahethomas) – Founder, The Social PR Consultancy