Is HootSuite Pro a Smart Investment?

social media toolsHave you been wondering what’s so great about HootSuite’s new freemium model? Are you wondering if it’s worth the investment? Are you upset about having to pay for something that used to be free?

HootSuite just announced that they’ve passed their millionth user at the end of November, so it’s time to take a deep dive to see what HootSuite is doing and how it’s going to impact the social media space. Here’s a review of the latest and greatest with HootSuite’s new freemium service model.

Last fall, HootSuite announced that they were changing their business model to offer new “premium” services for business customers. All HootSuite users received a message asking them to choose a plan when they attempted to log in for the first time after the change.

Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, said, “We designed HootSuite to be a comprehensive dashboard for agencies, enterprises and consultants using social media to monitor brands, manage campaigns and analyze results. We’ve integrated with the leading social networks – including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – and now look forward to adding mash-ups through our API as well as adding more reports which business users seek.”

However, on the HootSuite blog, it clarified that the move wasn’t to cannibalize their customers by suddenly charging for services that used to be free: “We aim to continue providing free service to approximately 95% of our current users.” The big question is whether it’s worth it for business teams to pay for these expanded services. Well, here’s what has changed.

hootsuite pro

Social Profiles

The free version of HootSuite now allows management of up to five social networks, while the Pro and Enterprise versions offer unlimited networks.

RSS/Atom Feeds

This is the first time I’ve actually explored this option, but I realized how much time it could save me. It allows you to view RSS feeds right within HootSuite. I envision seeing a blog post, reading it and easily sharing the link on all of my networks.

Personally, I wish that it just allowed you to import your Google Reader Feed rather than individual RSS feeds but it’s a step in the right direction. I’ll probably only import a few of the most “important” feeds for now. If you’re on the free version, you get two feeds, and unlimited feeds are available for both the Pro and the Enterprise versions.

Team Members

This part got a little confusing for me when we upgraded our accounts. You get one free team member for the $5.99 per month charge. But if you have additional team members, they’re $15 each per month. I’ll comment on this a little bit later.

Social Insights

In the paid versions, HootSuite gives you a list of other social networks users participate in. I’m not 100% sure where these sites come from or how they’re gathered.

I took a look at Chris Brogan’s profile, as I figured he would have a robust set of sites and was surprised that it didn’t have his LinkedIn profile, his blog or his Delicious account. I’m not sure these are the networks that Chris would want to promote and I don’t see any way that I can control what shows up in my profile.

hootsuite chris brogan

Influence Scores

This score tells you how much influence HootSuite thinks a user has. It’s a useful tool for trying to understand who your followers are and who you’re following, but is more of an indicator than a hardcore measurement that I would rely on. You can also use it to track your own profiles to show growth in your influence as your network grows.

Overall I think these features are useful for a business user but the only thing that’s worth paying for to me is the team members feature. And this was tough to swallow because our team was used to getting it for free and we can still have that feature for free if we migrate back to TweetDeck.

The one challenge that I had was that we have people in our organization who “monitor” accounts and those who “manage” accounts. It would be nice if there were a “read-only” option for multiple accounts at a lower price point. We had to go through and prioritize our users, which forced us to limit visibility to some individuals who really could benefit from having insight into the conversations. For now, we’re migrating those users back over to TweetDeck.

Analytics

The big thing I’m seeing promoted as the real value in upgrading your account is the analytics packages that are available. I used a fairly new Twitter account for the sake of this review.

I used this account because it’s new and doesn’t have a lot of traffic yet, so it allowed me to look at a limited amount of analytics to digest the feature fully without impacting my own measurement strategy, which does not use the ow.ly URL shortener.

Ow.ly Stat History: The free version will offer 30 days of URL history while the Pro and Enterprise versions offer unlimited history.

This is great for those who use the ow.ly shortener, but if you use another shortener as your favorite, you’ll not have any data available.

For us this is very limiting because we use a proprietary URL shortener for campaign tracking purposes. For the purpose of the test, we did use the ow.ly shortener to see the results.

The stats that are available are daily clicks on a nice chart broken down by clicks by region and clicks from top referrers. You also get a list of your most popular messages and tweets by influencer. And if you want to get really granular, you can get down to the stats by individual message. This really gives you some insight into the social graph of the account and what is and isn’t working. From a management perspective I really appreciate this level of insight at the click of a mouse.

hootsuite stats

Google Analytics: This could be one of the most powerful features of the HootSuite premium package, and if you ask me, is currently their primary differentiator in the market.

Within the dashboard you can now overlay items like the number of tweets sent over your website traffic to look for trends. Even more powerful, they’ve integrated Google Analytics campaign features so that you can tag a URL with a campaign and track results.

We built a proprietary shortener at my company because there were no tools to do this at the time, but now tweet-level lead generation tracking is available to anyone who has Google Analytics set up on their site.

hootsuite analytics

This is a game-changer for tracking return on investment (ROI). It certainly has its limitations in that you must have some mechanism for conversion on your site that you can use to evaluate sales, whether it’s lead forms or actual online orders.

For service businesses, lead forms will likely be the only way you can measure sales interest using the campaign integration feature, but that’s far better than what we’ve had access to in the past.

Holmes mentioned that they’re working on integration with Omniture as well. This will open the doors for many mid- to large-sized businesses to use the tools, as Adobe-owned Omniture is one of the largest providers of integrated business analytics. Holmes didn’t give an indication of when the Omniture integration will be complete, but personally I’m anxiously waiting for that day because then I’ll be able to use HootSuite for end-to-end measurement. And having one end-to-end solution for management and measurement is huge.

From a cost standpoint, I think HootSuite Pro is reasonable with their $5.99 per month charge, and while I would prefer to have two levels of users to avoid the $15 per month per user charge for all of our users, with a corporate budget it isn’t unreasonable. This is certainly a nice entry point for businesses that are looking to have ROI-level measurement capability without dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars for costly systems integrations and custom development.

Enterprise Options

Behind the curtain, HootSuite has also introduced HootSuite Social 360, the Enterprise version. This is the big daddy and comes with everything including the kitchen sink. It gives you everything in the Pro package, includes 30 team members, a vanity ow.ly URL and 10 seats for their certification program.

They boast “enhanced” analytics, but because I only have access to the Pro version, I’m not sure what that means. At $1,499 per month it’s a hefty big brother to the Pro package, but I was surprised by the limited amount of information that was available. They offer a PDF with a few details and push you to schedule a demo. I suppose at that price point they want the ability to customize your experience and walk you through the system. I was hoping to find beautiful graphics of the expanded analytics that would make my mouth water!

Closing Thoughts

It will be interesting to see how HootSuite will start to impact users of other monitoring tools like Radian 6 and Meltwater Buzz. Monitoring tools have been held up as the Holy Grail for measuring brands since social media started to flood the market. They are very often confused with ROI measurement tools.

But their big weak spot has always been their inability to get to that level of measurement. Quite frankly, HootSuite allows you to do the monitoring and the measuring but there are tradeoffs. You won’t have easy metrics like share of voice across your industry and be able to compare yourself to your competitors with fancy graphs like you can in Radian 6.

But the question will become do you have the budget for both and how much value do mention metrics provide for your organization? With HootSuite boasting over a million members, it means based on their own math that of 5% of users who will be impacted by the changes, there are 50,000 users who are likely potential premium users.

Disclosure: HootSuite provided a 30-day free trial of their Pro model with multiple users so this review could be written. A free 30-day trial is available for all users.

Check these two great articles to learn about 8 Social Media Metrics You Should Be Measuring and 8 Easy Twitter Monitoring Ideas.

What are your thoughts? Have you upgraded your HootSuite account? If so, tell us what you think of the premium features. Are they worth the money? Are you also using monitoring tools like Radian 6 or Attensity? If so, how are the changes impacting your usage of your other monitoring tools? Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment so we can start the discussion.

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About the Author, Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the president of SME Digital, the digital marketing division of Social Media Explorer. They provide digital marketing strategy, implementation and measurement using the Full Frontal ROI methodology. Other posts by »




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  • http://twitter.com/freshatforty Sherry Shaffer

    I have not upgraded my Hootsuite. I don’t have any extra partners/administrators so I can’t see my way to paying a per month charge. While I still like it, I do miss the free insight tab. I might check on another twitter client now that I have fewer bells and whistles.

  • http://www.straightnorth.com Brad Shorr

    Great post. I upgraded to Pro immediately. It’s a great way for us to manage our client accounts and keep the lines of communication straight. Analytics are important, but our first priority is an efficient system to do the actual work. I haven’t found anything that beats HootSuite so far.

  • http://simplystatedbusiness.com Cathy Miller

    Like Sherry, I don’t have multiple administrators so there’s no reason for me to upgrade. The ads are annoying, but what do you want for free? Right now I don’t plan on moving to another platform. I appreciate your insight (pardon the pun) :-) on what the Pro plan offers.

  • Michael

    I’ve been looking at upgrading to Pro for a while now because I manage more than five Twitter accounts for the organization that I work for. If Hootsuite gives me a column that lists my new followers like Tweetdeck does, I’ll change over in a heartbeat. I just saw that they rolled out the ability to schedule 50 tweets at a time by uploading a spreadsheet, which is pretty boss.

  • http://emilysandford.com/ Emily Sandford

    I upgraded to Hootsuite Pro last week (using the 30 day free trial) because I wanted to start using a web-based app to eliminate the hassle of constant Adobe Air and Tweetdeck updates on multiple computers. I needed the ability to manage more than 5 accounts for both work and personal use, as well as track my links better. So far, the solution has been great- love seeing the top influencers from each account, plus most active tweets.

  • http://www.extremejohn.com/ Extreme John

    Hi Nichole, excellent write up about HootSuite. I’ve been using the pro version of HootSuite for a while now, if nothing else having many profiles that I can manage within one small area is key. I might play with some of the other features but being able to access information for multiple Facebook Fan Page, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles it’s a must have. I tried sticking to the free version, but couldn’t really find an efficient way to manage the accounts I couldn’t address with HootSuite.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Sherry – Thanks for your comment. I agree it’s tough to justify if you don’t need extra users and aren’t willing to pay for the insights. ~Nichole

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Brad – Thank you so much for your feedback. It’s interesting because for me I didn’t want to pay for multiple users, but found the analytics the driving decision factor. It’s always nice to see other perspectives. ~ Nichole

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Cathy – I think Hootsuite was probably pretty accurate when they said the free platform will still be the best choice for 95% of their users. I’m glad to hear you plan on staying on despite losing the free analytics. ~Nichole

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Mike – Boss is right. That’s a pretty sweet feature. I definitely miss the new followers feature. Maybe someone from Hootsuite will drop by and tell us if it’s possible and just takes a little tweaking. :-) ~ Nichole

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Emily – Awesome! I agree the constant TweetDeck updates are annoying. I’m surprised they haven’t invested in a web based platform yet, since that seems to be an important reason that people choose Hootsuite or another web based app over theirs. Enjoy! ~Nichole

  • Nichole_Kelly

    John – It’s great to hear that you are satisfied with the Pro version. Efficiency is a critical piece of choosing a solution and Hootsuite has that nailed! Thanks for taking the time to comment. ~Nichole

  • http://twitter.com/josvanliempd Jos

    I have not upgraded. In fact, I kicked out Hootsuite completely (as much as I liked usding it) because they decided to use in-timeline ads to ‘encourage’ existing users to upgrade to a premium version. That is an absolute marketing-nono.

  • http://www.seobooklab.com/ Ram Babu SEO

    i just joined free version, first time after using i can say something for it

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  • Eileen Connors

    I upgraded to the Pro! I just don’t understand why their Hootlet service doesn’t create an ow.ly URL by default, but rather a ht.ly! It doesn’t make sense to me. I needed to upgrade, and I actually signed up for their Certification program to see what that’s all about.

  • CraigEYaris

    Thanks for a great review. I feel like you enumerated all of my problems/concerns with Hootsuite.

    I grudgingly upgraded to the pro version, because I monitor and manage numerous Facebook and Twitter accounts and this gave me a one stop spot to do this. I have not found their analytics to be very useful, and am constantly looking for the next great think. I was very upset that they moved to this “freemium” model, as I was getting all of this funtionality for free. I have tried tweetdeck, but it doesn’t give me the control of the accounts that I need.

  • AlexJB

    Interesting article! I’m frustrated with HS for several reasons right now – their pricing model is very harsh for folks like me who have multiple people contributing to our social media content. It’s hard to imagine that the additional cost for them for each additional user is really three times the base account cost.

    Another issue I’ve had in the past is that ow.ly metrics weren’t getting tracked for links that weren’t posted to twitter (facebook only). Would be nice to know if they’ve addressed that. I’m surprised that the additional URL customizations aren’t more clearly highlighted for those of us who chose to upgrade. They’re an interesting feature that I wish I’d known about.

    I feel a bit over a barrel because there are so few competitors who have multi-user-coordinated post scheduling. HS definitely has the smoothest interface out there, but they immediately earned my resentment with their pricing model.

  • http://daviddoolin.com/ Dave Doolin

    If I used Hootsuite and found it useful, I’d be delighted to pay for it.

    It’s astounding to me, as a software developer, how much of my time and intellect people feel entitled to, *for free.*

    If it’s useful, it’s worth paying *something* for.

  • http://twitter.com/officialcoopy Greg Cooper

    It is possible to see who your new followers are. Click on the Owl, then to contacts. You’ll see it all there.

  • http://twitter.com/NathanRKing Nathan King

    Craig – I have also not found the analytics to be useful – or accurate for that matter.

  • http://buhlerworks.com/wordpress JEBworks

    I have upgraded to Pro as I consider it a fair amount for the features HootSuite provides, even if the analytics are not perfect. The products you mentioned like Radian 6 are at a much higher price point. Will definitely look into the RSS feed feature for which my main tool is Feedly.

  • http://www.automarker.net social bookmarking

    I upgraded to Pro at the end of the 30 day trial. Hootsuite is so easy to use, it pays for the price you pay. My main reasons were the RSS feature and the fact that I needed to be able to manage more than 5 accounts.

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    The timing of this post is great, as I had upgraded to the Pro version immediately, and I believe my billing cycles have begun. I had been pondering just how worth it the Pro version really is.

    While it’s just me and I have no other partners, I may in the future. I do manage several profiles/accounts, so it is handy for me to have everything in one place. And I like the unlimited stats option as opposed to 30 days. There are certain things I haven’t gotten around to using yet, but I try for a new trick every week now.

    You hit the nail on the head when talking about the jump in pricing options — whew! I’d love to hear from someone using the Enterprise level plan, though. Anyone care to share?

    Thanks, Nichole! :)

    ~Keri

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Jos – I expected that might cause a little bit of an uproar with some users. Thanks for the comment!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Enjoy! Let us know what you think.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hmm…That sounds like a quirk. Mine uses owly as default. Maybe there is a setting somewhere that inadvertently got changed?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Craig – It is really tough when you get something for free and then suddenly have to pay for it. You said you are looking for the next great thing. What kind of analytics would be great, in your opinion? Just curious since I write about measurement almost exclusively and it’s nice to hear other opinions.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Nathan – Thanks for your comment. What do you think is missing? What could they add to make it better?

  • http://rlebron.myopenid.com/ Roberto

    Doesn’t TweetDeck now have a web-based version for Chrome?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Alex – Bummer. I had no idea there was an issue with the stats not tracking outside of Twitter. It would be nice to know if that is fixed. There are few competitors, but I’ve heard good things about Co-Tweet for free multi-user tweeting from some friends, though I’ve never tried to use it exclusively so I can’t say whether or not it is a good solution. Thanks for your comment.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Dave – It’s true social media users have been spoiled with lots of free solutions. I think we all know that it’s business and these companies need to earn revenue somehow. For most corporate users, I think the paid model is worth it.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    JEB – You are absolutely correct, Radian is a much higher price point and has a very different level of monitoring available. I would guess that for the average Radian 6 user (likely similar to the 5% that Hootsuite estimated for the product) the cost of the Pro version is acceptable. Are there any other Radian users reading? If so, let us know if you find the cost reasonable or not?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Awesome. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://expertmarketingcoach.com/ Debra Zimmer

    I totally love Hootsuite. As a solo-preneur, I find it invaluable to be able to automate some of my repetitive tasks. And the new “schedule a message” feature allows me to more easily use it for campaigns as well as ongoing tweets. I write my marketing tips in 60 day chunks and used to have to use a different paid tool to schedule them but now I can use hootsuite. I am a pro user and find the $5.99 price trivial for the value it adds to my business and the time it saves me.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Keri – Thanks for your comment. I would really love to hear from an enterprise user on what is behind that door? It is actually pretty similar to Radian level pricing so I’m wondering if it adds all of those type of features as well.

    They are boasting expanded analytics. Is it a little guy back there behind your screen pumping out numbers or something? Is he hot? LOL

  • http://twitter.com/carleecomm Carlee Potter

    Love HS but I too find the multiple-team member price annoying, and confusing. 5.99/month is a fantastic price for such a feature-packed time saver – why on earth are extra team members 15/month instead of just another 5.99?

  • http://twitter.com/MykeFortier Michael Fortier

    Like Sherry, I have yet to upgrade my Hootsuite. I am currently searching for other tracking/shortening tools that can offer me just what I need, which is, RESULTS.

    Nicole, as a strong supporter and user of Google Analytics, could you expand on this for me, “Within the dashboard you can now overlay items like the number of tweets sent over your website traffic to look for trends.”?

  • René Power

    Really smart, well written piece Nichole. I’ve tried a few packages and really prefer Hootsuite over TweetDeck and the rest. l’ll probably migrate to Hootsuite Pro taking this post and others I’ve read on board some point this year in support of my blogging and online pursuits. Thanks again.

  • Corey Clayton

    HootSuite Pro has been such a big tool for our social media work at WWE. Highly recommended!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Debra – Sweet! At $5.99 a month you are right it is a no-brainer. You are way more organized than I am obviously! LOL

  • Nichole_Kelly

    I agree, I found that a little confusing…maybe they’ll come on and comment to explain?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Thanks Rene! I’m glad you found the post useful.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Carey – Awesome. Do you mind putting it into perspective for the readers? How are you using it? How many team members? How many accounts are you managing? What is your favorite feature? Thanks for commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/privateclubs PrivateClubLinks

    Nice post Nichole. I use Hoot and it biggest benefit for user is the ability to post to FB pages as a “company” post rather than as a “personal” post ….Have you seen or used shoutlet?

  • http://twitter.com/MEHarmon Matthew Harmon

    Nichole, Great post and just in time. I am working on a web-video series with a partner and we trying to collectively manage a our social media campaign. I have been testing all the tools and was trying to determine if HootSuite would give us the best bang for our buck. We are going to give it a try. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/socialrobinson Nick Robinson

    Hootsuite is an incredible engagement console. That is about it for me. I use the pro version to interact and monitor conversations that are happening. I use another service for analytics, as it produces more insightful reports. In order for Hootsuite to get to the next level, it needs to seriously think about overhauling its analytics.

  • http://www.1GoodReason.com ckieff

    Yes it does, it’s better for CPU loading but lacks many features.

  • http://www.1GoodReason.com ckieff

    Yes Tweetdeck has a new Chrome App, it’s better for CPU loading but lacks many features. I’ve been trying to determine which was the best. This article has me learning new features in Hootsuite I wasn’t aware of, many are mentioned in these comments. Such as viewing Klout Scores.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Great feature! That is really nice. We just launched our FB page so we will likely use that a lot. I actually just talked to Shoutlet and was considering using them. What do you like about them? It seemed like their big benefit was Facebook page design based on our current processes, but I could be wrong.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Matthew – Awesome! Let me know what you think!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Nick – Thanks for your comments. Just curious, what are you using for analytics?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    What do you think it is lacking Ckieff?

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Dave from HootSuite here to say thanks Nichole for such an in-depth review. I’ll re-up my coffee and try to follow up with some answers to comments above.

    Keep in mind, we have a stellar help desk full of articles at: http://help.hootsuite.com and a feature request channel with voting at: http://feedback.hootsuite.com plus the blog is loaded with knowledge at: http://blog.hootsuite.com.

    Enjoy!

  • http://twitter.com/nikbrockman Nik Brockman

    Only reason we would upgrade to Pro is because HootSuite has been the only tool I’ve found that posts media to Facebook as true media and not just a link. In other words, when I post a photo that has been uploaded to yfrog (or whatever photo service), the photo thumbnail will show in the feed. Other services I’ve used, such as TweetDeck and Seesmic, only provide a link to the photo in our Facebook feed. But this seems like an awfully expensive tool just for that one feature. Anyone know of other tools out there that can post to multiple social media accounts AND will show photos in the Facebook feed?

  • http://twitter.com/leanneruzz LeAnne Ruzzamenti

    Thanks for the post, Nicole. We recently switched to Pro and are finding it useful. This might be a separate blog post, but I’d love for you to talk more about using a proprietary URL shortener for campaign tracking purposes. We are wanting to code each of our shortened URLs for better tracking, but the process of creating and sharing all the links internally is overwhelming. Any advice would be helpful!

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Love it! Just for giggles, lets say he’s “hootin’ hot!” hahaha :D

  • http://twitter.com/socialrobinson Nick Robinson

    Sorry I forgot to mention the analytics service in my comment: I use Sendible (http://www.sendible.com) for all of my reports. It’s very affordable, especially for a small agency like mine. The reports are great for measuring social actions your audience takes when engaging in social media activities. It also has yelp and citysearch integration for monitoring those services. Finally it does have a decent brand monitoring portion of the service, which measures sentiment.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Ha ha! Hootin’ hot he is!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    LeAnne – Hi there! I just followed you. Send me a DM with your email. I have some ideas that may be helpful for you.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Nik – Thanks for your comment. I don’t know of any, but maybe someone will chime in here and give you some good options.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Dave – Thanks for stopping by, it looks like there is a lot of great feedback here for you product team and some questions you might be able to help out with.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    The klout scores are definitely nice. While they aren’t a sure fire metrics to rely on, they do help you with a benchmark as well as the ability to show improvement over time. Hmmm…I might have to check out this Chrome App as the next on my list. :-)

  • http://www.videocharacter.com Lucy @ VideoCharacter

    I have been using hootsuite for some time now but I opted for another service for my contents. I still use it for monitoring my mentions and retweets because they have a good service for organizing the feeds. I can see everything clearly and track where the conversation has gone.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Sure Michael. Essentially you can log into your Google Analytics account within Hootsuite. (Click on the owl, go to analytics, then site analytics) There should be an option to connect to your Google Analytics account. Then you can select social media profiles that you want to compare to your site traffic. It will basically overlay the number of tweets sent with your site traffic to see if there are any trends worth following.

  • http://samsunmonu.wordpress.com Samuel Sunmonu

    I’ve been using Hootsuite for a couple of months now, and just recently upgraded to the premium model. I think it’s a great service – not only can I post to any social network or blog I want, I can also get analytics, schedule posts, and view feeds.

    For a college student like myself who is very active online, Hootsuite is all I really need.

  • anndonnelly

    Hootsuite Pro is one of the only premium apps like this that I use. It’s enabled me to easily manage all my social media channels and those for my clients — without having to spend all day on it. I haven’t seen a free app that does as much – multiple account, multiple social media channels, searches — and the Hootlet has made it very easy for me to post to any account while browsing (and can schedule posts from there too). They are also very good at listening to what users want and I’ve had very little down time. The price is reasonable enough for me, though I currently don’t need more team members than the basic allowance. If I do need to add more team members — and can’t charge the additional to clients — then it may become too expensive for a small business.

  • Mark Bennett

    Great Article Nichole, I didn’t go for the pro version and removed multiple accounts to be able to continue with the free version. Hinde sight is a wonderful thing and I have to admit I miss all of the integration and the streamlined access I had through my network of social sites. The $5.99 per month would be well worth upgrading back to, although I agree that the $15 per month for an additional member.

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  • http://www.1GoodReason.com ckieff

    Chrome version doesn’t display follower count, like the desktop version. It does however offer a new “Blended” column which can combine multiple feeds. A nice feature. I wrote about how I use Tweetdeck here: http://www.1goodreason.com/blog/blog/2010/03/03/tweetdeck-twitter-power-user-tips/

  • http://www.connectingnonprofits.com Andrew Greenberg

    Thanks for a great review. I am going to upgrade to the pro today. I don’t have to worry about about teams right now. Thanks again! Andrew Greenberg

  • Ronald Huygen

    is there a url where I can see an overview of differences in radian, attensity en hootsuite?
    starting bussiness in social media management and content developement and not sure which app to use/buy

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Nick – I will definitely be checking Sendible out. It sounds like it is more of an engagement measurement system, correct?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Andrew – Sweet. Please let us know what you think!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Mark – Thanks for your comment. The streamlined access is really nice for sure. Good luck!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Ann – That’s wonderful. I’m so glad you’ve found it useful.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Samuel – Awesome! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Lucy – I’m glad you are still finding a use for HS. What are you using for content posting?

  • http://www.andyrockwellmarketing.com Andy Rockwell

    WOW! Hoot Suite looks SWEET! Thanks for your detailed post. I’ve been looking for something like this.

  • http://www.vinocartel.com Andrew Healy

    I LOVE the new HootSuite. I run over 20 twitter feeds for Wineries, Hotels, Restaurants, Non Profits and Public Figures and the new offering has literally changed my life. The ability to schedule from the phone is it’s biggest plus closely followed by being able to see which of my team has scheduled / replied to various tweets.

    No more embarassing double replies to Tweets or DM’s.

    It’s accessible from anywhere as it’s web based and doesn’t crash nearly as much as TweetDeck used to do. It leaves Tweet Deck in the dust…

    Andrew Healy, Social Media Director at VinoCartel.Napa, CA

  • Nichole_Kelly

    I’m not aware of any direct comparisons between them, but to my knowledge they all offer a free trial. Honestly, the first decision factor will likely be budget because there are vast differences. HS being the cheapest.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Andy – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for commenting!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Andrew – Thank you so much for providing your perspective. I also love the replied feature to know what has an hasn’t been replied to. Great feedback.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    I recall many months ago being asked to choose whether I wanted to use ow.ly or ht.ly. At that time, they were only delivering good analytics for ht.ly.They now let you choose which URL shortener you want to use for every update. When you paste a URL into the “Shrink” form, a drop-down menu appears that lets you choose ht.ly, ow.ly or a custom URL shortener.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    I agree with Craig Yaris, who commented, “I grudgingly upgraded to the pro version, because I monitor and manage numerous Facebook and Twitter accounts.” Those of us who manage multiple accounts on behalf of our clients really had no choice other than to switch platforms altogether (and who wants to switch, when Hootsuite has such an intuitive user interface?).

    So far, I haven’t noticed any added functionality to what my free account provided, except that Hootsuite added an Affiliate program for its premium account holders. I blogged about about it here: http://ht.ly/3K4r1

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Greg is correct – the Contacts view shows all your followers for all accounts organized from newest first. You can see a quick view of bio, followers and Klout score – then quick follow if desired and drag and drop into lists as well.

    Hope this helps.

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Great points. We think web is great because IT managers don’t need to install/upgrade and maintain a Air app, and your HootSuite is synchronized everywhere on web and mobile.

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Along with Klout scores, HootSuite displays influencers who have Re-Tweeted your Tweets and mentioned your brand. Just click the Owl and choose Stats to find the avatars of your supporters.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks for going Pro John. Be sure to let us know what you’d like next via the Feature Request channel at http://feedback.hootsuite.com

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    You can toggle between Ow.ly and Ht.ly by clicking the Owl and choosing Settings, Preferences then URL Shorteners.

    Enjoy!

    dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks for the feedback – we were diligent about announcing that the Freemium model was coming and attempted to keep most all non-marketing-specific features in the core basic product.

    dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Ditto, i’d like to hear more about the inaccuracies about analytics. Keep in mind, we have the Owly social stats, Google Analytics and Facebook Insights so many way to track results.

    dave

    PS we have a feature request and feedback channel at http://feedback.hootsuite.com

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Hmm, how did you identify this issue? Owl.ly stats measure any click to URL (asides from spiders, bots etc.) whether from Twitter, FB, IM, email etc.

    The Team Members is built as a collaborative business tool to add ability to assign messages as well as contribute. With the Pro account, you can add 1 additional Team Members + ability to become an Affiliate to help pay for the account.

    dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Dave speaks wisely ;-)

    - dave at HootSuite

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Both inside and outside of work, I think the RSS tool is awesome. For example, I feed in an RSS feed of all media coverage into the HootWatch account.

    dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks! Glad you going Pro.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks for the kind words Debra! If you are .csv savvy, you’ll really enjoy the Batch Scheduling message scheduling feature available for Pros.

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks for your feedback Rene. Once you go Pro, be sure to sign-up for the Affiliate Program to help bring your audience onboard.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    We analyzed user patterns carefully and determined cut-off points where we saw a clear distinction between hobby/personal users and business customers. The pricing reflects this delineation so we can continue to develop the features all users seek.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Hey great Corey and congrats on WWE’s Mashable Award win. We enjoy seeing what you are doing with HootSuite.

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Great to hear Matthew! Welcome aboard.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Cheers Nichole! Huge reaction to your thoughtful post. I worked through a cup of tea while following up on the many comments this morning.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks for the props Nik, the Facebook Pages posts was a result of listening to customers’ desires and working carefully with the FB API to make some magic happen. Works great from the Hootlet too.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Since you are HootSuite Pro, you can use the Custom URL Parameters to add campaign tracking to your URLs. It’s a beauty and sorts your campaign referrals to a very granular level which you can also see in the Google Analytics integration.

    Enjoy!

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Great to hear Samuel! As a student, you can get study groups and class notes coordinated using #hastags in HootSuite too.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Wow Ann, this is great to hear. I’m not sure i have a reply except, “thanks!”

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks for sharing your feedback Mark. We’re listening.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Welcome aboard Andrew!

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    As Nichole mentioned, using the free trial is ideal but you can also see the social bookmarks we’ve collected comparing HootSuite with other tools: http://www.diigo.com/user/hootsuite/compare

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Hurrah!

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Outstanding to hear. Sounds like you are really rocking the dashboard.

    - dave

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks again for this great article Nichole – see ya at SXSW?

    - dave

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Laura – Thanks so much for your comment. The interface is super slick…It’s interesting because the switch from features that used to be free that are now paid services seem to be the sticking point. Perhaps if they were new cool features that you didn’t have before it wouldn’t cause so many “grudging” upgrades.

  • http://about.me/jameshicks James Hicks

    For Greg’s comment alone on the new followers – I’m switching 100% to HootSuite (I was bouncing back and forth between TweetDeck and Seesmic for other functionality). Thanks !!

  • http://twitter.com/privateclubs PrivateClubLinks

    Yes Nichole….Regarding Shoutlet…..I’ve found their FB design ability is good and easy to use, especially given how popular that social tactic is nowadays. perhaps their biggest benefit is simply being able to push promotions, offers, info, etc. anywhere on the web through their “custom widget-builder” tool. They also have a strong Social CRM offering – so nice to have in all one place

  • Martin Fearn

    I’ve been using Hootsuite since the owl was first born and upgraded to Pro when it was offered as an option.

    As Dave said earlier, people these days expect everything for free, if you are a business or freelancer using a tool like this then $5.99 (or £3.77) a month seems like a very small price to pay. I do appreciate that for larger companies the price can rise steeply with additional members though.

    I manage 9 Twitter accounts and 8 Facebook pages for clients including global media companies, record labels and djs and find the scheduling a great tool for reaching different timezones (I need to sleep sometimes!), Klout integration helpful for identifying followers to connect with as brand advocates and the analytics as a starting point for deeper investigation.

    There are many additional things that would be good to see added to Hootsuite (such as exporting analytic graphs and charts at print resolution!) but the support staff are generally pretty responsive to suggestions and feedback.

    My only issue is that Hootsuite Uni is still lacking and really needs a huge injection of cash and content to make it worthwhile to continue subscribing. But one small negative point isn’t really that bad!

    Martin

  • http://www.videocharacter.com Lucy @VideoCharacter

    I use SocialOomph :)

  • http://daniellehatfield.com/ Danielle Hatfield

    Have to say that upgrading to PRO version of Hootsuite has made managing social campaigns and training teams nearly effortless. Having an iphone app was a BIG factor in my decision to upgrade and helped free my company from a fractured approach. Hands down – great investment.

  • http://paynelessadvice.com/ Donald Payne

    I really appreciate this information. I have to be honest, I had heard about HootSuite but I had never given it a second thought. The reason is because there are so many social media tools that unless someone explains them in full detail as you have done here. I tend to disregard them. After reading your article I can proudly say that I am officially enrolled in HootSuite U.

  • http://www.socialmarketingdynamics.com/ Sydney @ Social Dynamics

    I miss using hootsuite! It’s far easier to manage than most twitter apps, although it does lag on the analytics scale though. I really wish they can revert back to their free services, at least in some degrees.

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Congrats and thanks Donald – Enjoy @HootSuite_U

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Fantastic to hear Danielle – We’ll keep rolling out remarkable releases.

  • http://twitter.com/HootWatch HootWatch

    Thanks for your feedback and long-term use Martin. Sounds like you are truly digging deep in HootSuite’s features. As you know, we listen closely and we’ll keep rolling out new features.

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  • http://SocialMediarology.com Jeremy A Williams

    Nichole, great review overall. I’ve used HootSuite on and off for more than a year now and the only question I have for you is what you mentioned about the RSS/Atom feeds. In my experience, you can simply put in any feeds that you want to be pushed through to your twitter/facebook followers. I don’t see anywhere where you can “view RSS feeds right within HootSuite” like you mentioned.

    Am I missing something?

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  • http://www.mdurwin.com Michael Durwin

    A) I never understood why a site would put the Add Comment feature at the very bottom. It seems to me that most people want to leave a comment not read them all. Aaargh.

    B) Very helpful article Nichole. I’ve looked at HootSuite but the free version just didn’t have enough impact to bother with yet ANOTHER thing to monitor. The overlay features and multiple users did it for me. I too will be anxiously awaiting Omniture analytics.
    See you at SXSW or #140Conf NYC?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    You know what Jeremy…you are right. I just went in to set up a bunch of RSS feeds and it doesn’t function the way I expected. I thought you could have a stream that would bring in all the latest posts from the RSS feeds you selected so you can see the content and easily tweet it etcetera. But in fact, it actually is setting it up to auto post content from an RSS feed, which I personally would never do. Thanks for pointing this out!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Thanks for stopping by Durwin! I decided I just couldn’t miss SXSW and booked my flights. So yes, I’ll see you there. We’ll have to meet up for some bar-be-que or mexican food. My two favorite things about Austin!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Congrats Donald! I’m so glad you found the article helpful in making your decision. I’d love to know what you think after using it for awhile. :-)

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  • rob damiani

    I finally have settled on Hootsuite Free after trying all of the other mentioned Twitter Clients. I need a web based solution and HS is the best solution for me. One feature that I would like to see incorporated into HS would be the ability to type >140 characters a la Tweetdeck and Kanvaso. Kanvaso being web based, Tweetdeck being a Desktop Client.

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  • http://www.savvysleuth.com/ Savvy Sleuth

    Thanks fro this article.  I’ve decided that HootSuite free is the way to go for me, for now.  New to blogging and social media, but trying to juggle FB and Twitter posts all day long, this is a nice solution with room to grow.  

    Currently the 30 day trial w/ price for HootSuite Pro is $9.99 a month, but perhaps if you’re a Free member they float offers of $5.99 a month to have you upgrade?

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