Hootsuite: A Brief Overview of an Amazing Social Media Tool

August 19, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                        return to JayVee Media Link LLC

“What exactly is Hootsuite?”  That is a question I have been fielding lately, particularly from new coaching clients.  Here is an introductory look at the social media tool.

Hootsuite owlHootsuite is a tool that simplifies a user’s social media experience by allowing virtually all duties across a multitude of platforms to be enacted within one easy to use dashboard. When a person signs up for the service he/she configures that dashboard by securely adding user names and passwords for any or all of the following platforms he/she uses: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, FourSquare, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr.  A WordPress blog site can also be added.  After configuration, one user name and password allows the client access to all his/her social media accounts, eliminating the need for continuously signing in and out of them individually.

Hootsuite dashboard screen shot

Hootsuite allows users to monitor activity on their social media platforms, and to post to them. Posts may be shared immediately, or they can be scheduled for release at a future time and/or date.  They can be easily edited and even deleted from the scheduled streams.

Another great feature of Hootsuite is its built in URL shortening service.  When sharing links to Twitter we can’t afford to have our 140 character maximum be taken up by long URLs. Furthermore, they are unsightly even on platforms that allow unlimited characters for posting.  We need only paste our long form links into Hootsuite’s status box, click “Shrink,” and a much more manageable version is generated and inserted into our posts.  As an added bonus, Hootsuite tracks the short links it creates. This puts the analytics for what we share right at our fingertips.

Hootsuite link shortener feature screen shot

Two features that help keep Hootsuite close by for easy use are its mobile app for our smart phones, and its Hootlet plug-in for our desktop/laptop browsers.  Both are straightforward, fully functional and very easy to use.

Hootsuite mobile app and Hootlet browser plug in screen shots

Hootsuite offers three levels of service.  Its basic level is free for use by one client, who can add up to five social media accounts.  Its Pro level allows the integration of up to 50 social media platforms, and one “team member” to assist in management duties.  The entry Pro level costs $8.99/month, but add-ons are available if a user needs to handle more for expansion of his/her social media business presence.  The final level is Enterprise, which is for big businesses with large staffs and much to oversee.

As users grow their social media presences they may find useful the more advanced features Hootsuite offers.  They may, for example, wish to configure platform streams to allow for monitoring of specific groups or keywords, including mentions of their companies.  Undoubtedly they will also want to take advantage of the tool’s integrated analytics for research and reporting.

Have you tried Hootsuite yet?  What is your impression?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Social Media Marketing Not Good for Ages 25+?

July 30, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                              return to JayVee Media Link LLC 

baby using a computerA social media firestorm was set off last week, when Cathryn Sloane of the University of Iowa posted in NextGen Journal her declaration that only people under the age of 25 were properly qualified to work in the field.  The premise upon which she based her claim was that, because her generation was the “right” age when platforms such as Facebook and Twitter began, and hence she and her peers grew up with them, their knowledge of the social media sites’ operations made them more qualified than any other generation to use them for social media marketing.

Reaction to Ms. Sloane’s assertion has been swift and unrelenting.  Much of it hasn’t been very nice.  I think we need to cut her some slack for her inexperience in all life areas OUTSIDE of social media, and acknowledge that she does make some good points.

It is hugely beneficial when marketers have an intimate knowledge of the tools at their disposal as they ply their trade.  When it comes to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, etc., the undisputed champions are indeed those members of Ms. Sloane’s generation.  They have an inherent knowledge of virtually every aspect of the sites’ functionality, and they are quick to grasp and make optimal use of the changes that are continuously rolling out.  However, understanding a tool’s functionality doesn’t necessarily impart knowledge of how to best apply it as a situation demands.  As one commenter wisely stated, “I am a great driver; I know how to use my car better than most people do.  Does that mean I am qualified to run the car company?”

I also agree that the people who comprise Ms. Sloane’s generation have unparalleled experience with using social media to be social…a fundamental concept of social media marketing that often eludes more seasoned marketers.  But what these young computer whizzes may lack is training in marketing techniques and applications, including elements such as timing, wording, and response etiquette, as well as the keen insights that only come from years of experience.

With all factors taken into account, I believe the best answer is a social media company that balances BOTH demographics, making optimal use of the best that each has to offer.

adult showing baby how to use computer

What is your response to Ms. Sloane’s assertion?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!