In Getting a Handle on Social Media Management Tools, I shared my search criteria for "one dashboard to manage them all". I also took a look at two systems: BuzzBundle and Viralheat. My search draws to an end with Hootsuite Pro. Perhaps Hootsuite had the unfair advantage in that I've dabbled with Hootsuite Free off and on for several months. I dropped it months ago because of the limitations of the free version (five accounts only, no reports, very limited scheduling).
For $8.99 USD/month, I levelled up to Hootsuite Pro. This gave me up to 100 social network accounts, the ability to schedule posts, adjust privacy settings, the ability to have a team of up to nine people collaborating in Hootsuite and access to some reports.
My Hootsuite Pro Experience So Far
The various social media streams can be split into different tabs. For instance, I have a tab labelled "Twitter". It contains news streams for both my Twitter feed as well as Maestro's. I also have streams set up for our favourite lists, @mentions and direct messages. I did something similar with our respective Youtube channels.
For Facebook, I have streams for my news feed, my main Wall, as well as the wall for my Writer page and Studio page. One thing that has made a huge difference is that I am able to create newstreams for the teaching and Virtual Choir closed groups I am a part of.
I also have news streams for my Flickr account and all of my blogs. That makes sharing from those channels simply a matter of going from one tab to the next. Cross-posting is as easy as typing the message and then clicking on all the social network profiles I want to disseminate the information through.
The only social sharing site that I haven't worked in yet is Soundcloud. Until I set up podcasts, I do not have an RSS feed to link to Hootsuite ( #addtowishlist ). I have been using Hootsuite Pro for approximately one week. Observations worth noting are:
1 - I'm no longer
Pavlov's Facebook's Dog
How much time did I waste looking at my phone for FB notifications? How many times in a day did I jump every time my phone beeped and/or blinked blue? I shudder to think of the number. Since switching to Hootsuite, I find that I don't race to my phone or log in nearly as much as I used to.
2 - I'm more active on the other social media networks
I actually am looking at Maestro's and my Twitter News lists more regularly. "We" are also sending and replying to tweets more regularly. Ditto for Google+ and Linked In.
3 - When I do log into Facebook, I have a purpose
When I'm logged into Hootsuite, it's mainly to share information. It's all business and with the way I have it set up, it's harder to deviate from my goal.
Now, when I log into Facebook, it's with the express purpose of catching up with family and friends or participating more fully in the discussion groups. I no longer log in (multiple times) to see "What's New?" and get distracted by memes, jokes, articles and videos.
4 - I'm not on the computer as much.
Between Hootsuite's mobile app and Facebook Messenger, I get the important messages or posts. Therefore, I don't need to race to the computer like a dog in search of a new treat. Also, since Hootsuite alerts me to those important posts, I don't need to race to the phone either. It's much easier for me to "step away from the smartphone" and enjoy the sunshine.
5 - The top tools have a good support system
Social Media Management Tools Half-Time Review
I set out on this journey to find the ideal SMM Tool with the desire to have all my social networking accounts under one roof. Cross-posting certainly makes it easier to send out my posts and other information to different social networks. The ability to schedule posts to go up 30 minutes after a scheduled blog post goes live gives the sense that Musespeak Studio is busy online 24/7.
Sure, Hootsuite's user interface isn't as pretty as Viralheat's but it's pleasing enough. For this entrepreneur, Hootsuite does meet all of my SMM Tool criteria.
The unexpected bonus was the huge time savings, which I can't quantify any other means other than the number of posts that will be going out. There are less distractions (and no Facebook ads) so I am managing my time better.
Next month, I will explore the analytics and reporting end of Hootsuite Pro.