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!

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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!

Google: The Next Monopoly?

May 7, 2012
by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                             return to JayVee Media Link LLC

all of Google's service offeringsGoogle has changed its algorithms yet again as it strives to maintain its spot at the top of the search engine heap.  It has brought us the Chrome browser, Google Plus social profiles, Gmail, Google Maps, Adwords, Analytics, Google Documents, Alerts.  It has given us the Android phone along with tons of mostly free apps in Google Play.  It owns You Tube; it just rolled out Drive, a cloud based service.  These days, is it even possible to go ANYWHERE on the web and NOT use a service that has some connection to Google?

Back in the day, there was an entity through which ALL telecommunication was routed.  Mind you, there wasn’t much beside literally telephone communication.  The entity was known as Ma Bell, and it was unquestionably a monopolistic enterprise.  It owned all the equipment and all the lines, right down to the phones in our homes.  It was the only provider of telecommunication service.  It charged what it charged, and the only recourse we had if we were unhappy was to not have phone service.

In the 1970s, an Antitrust lawsuit was filed against Ma Bell.  Years later, when the dust finally settled, the big ol’ girl was broken up into several smaller companies.  A number of them have since merged back together, but Ma Bell itself is no more.  With the introduction of competition came an amazing set of phenomena.  Suddenly, prices were negotiable.  We could buy our own equipment. Phones became more stylish, more functional, and even wireless.  We saw the dawn of the digital age, and of fiber optic.  Competition also brought us our lifelines: our mobile phones.  And of course, we were able to hook in to the World Wide Web.

The question that arises from my stroll down memory lane is, has the time come to assess Google, and evaluate whether it is becoming our next big Ma Bell-like monopoly?  We all have probably heard the term applied to Google these days, along with its legal counterpart, Antitrust.

Google monopoly

The argument can be made that Google is not actively trying to drive its competitors out of existence.  If it was, then it would make sense to apply the moniker “monopoly” to it. As a business, it has every right to preserve its top rating.  Strategies to do this include striving to innovate and expand in order to offer its users the best possible online experience.  Its competitors are doing the same thing; as of now, though, they are not doing it as successfully or with the same foresight as the Google folks.  So is that Google’s fault?

I have my issues with Google. Most concern privacy rights.  Yet even so, I have to concede that Google would not be able to offer the broad, interrelated services it does, let alone offer them mostly for free, without more access to my private data than I am comfortable sharing.  On one level, it is my choice to continue using Google and its related services.  But on another, can I really have the benefit of access to all the features I enjoy via other services?  You Tube is a very significant platform in the field of social media marketing; how can I maintain a presence on it without being connected to Google if the platform is OWNED by that company?  And if I COULD sever my ties to Google, wouldn’t I still have the same privacy issues with its competitors, unless I would be willing to pay who knows how much money to use the services anonymously?  Again, that isn’t even feasible for some of the features.

In the end, I do choose to use Google and all of its wonderful offerings.  I fully support its quest to remain the best, so long as it doesn’t look to shut down its competitors.  And I do what I can to safeguard as much of my privacy as possible.

What are YOUR views about Google?  Do you think it’s a monopoly?  Should an Antitrust lawsuit be pursued against it?  What alternatives do you think we have?  Please share your perspective by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below.

menacing Google Penguin

Beware the Penguin!

Chill

March 5, 2012                                                                      return to JayVee Media Link by Jeanine Vecchiarelli

There’s a new platform on the horizon.  With all the buzz about Pinterest, one could easily miss it.  It’s about a month old, but it has already racked up impressive numbers: 500,000 visitors, with 4,000 daily shares.   Meet….Chill.

ChillChill is basically the video answer to Pinterest.  The layout is virtually identical, and it operates pretty much the same way.  Pinterest does allow pinning of videos, but it is essentially for pictures.  In contrast, Chill is a dedicated video site.

Now, with big platforms like You Tube and Vimeo, who needs another video site?  According to its Los Angeles based developers, Chill is much more functional for faster, more direct user to user shares than those bigger platforms are.  It’s also much simpler to use:  log in via your Facebook profile; find a video you like and post it to your account.  You can easily post a comment, or one of a series of emoticons to show how you feel about it.  You can also see who else has viewed it.  And of course, you can share the video with Facebook and Twitter accounts.

You can find just about anything on Chill. Presently, the main thrust appears to be personal, fun-for-posting videos.  Considering that video marketing is exceptionally big this year, though, I believe Chill is going to prove indispensible for wide exposure – especially if it continues growing at the rate it is currently showing.

Will you give Chill a try? Or do you think it’s a redundant platform?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!