7 REASONS NOT TO USE HOOTSUITEBy Ian Anderson GrayHootsuite is one of the most popular and comprehensive social media tools out there. Yes, there is TweetDeck and cotweet, but Hootsuite is considered the “crème de la crème”of the Social Media Tools World. I’ve usedit for many years and I’ve recommended it regularly for my clients and still do.It was launched back in December 2008 by the digital agency Invoke Media. With a list of features as long as, well,something long, it’s hard to see why you’d never want to use Hootsuite.Here are some of Hootsuite’s many features:• Manage multiple Twitter, Facebook (profiles and pages), LinkedIn, ping.fm, Word Press, Foursquare and Google+ (business pages onlu) networks all from one place.• Schedule updates (including on a calendar and even upload from a spreadsheet (csv file)• Collaborate as a team (delegate replies, tweets, mark as done, track messages etc)• Mobile apps (iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry)• Customised analytics (including scheduled reports)• RSS integration (post updates from an RSS feed)• Helpful and comprehensive support pages and friendly customer support teamHowever, this article isn’t about the reasons why you should use Hootsuite, this is a article on why youshould not! I know the title is a little provocative, but I don’t mean to be overly negative. Hootsuite will be theright product for a lot of people– this article is about a few issues that may be a deal breaker for some people. I’d bereally interested in your thoughts, so please let me know in the comments on my blog. To get a more balancedview, have a read of my more recent post entitled 7 Reasons why you SHOULD use Hootsuite.It boils down to 2 main reasons and only affects (mostly) small businesses and individuals. The 2 points are costand lock down. Although Hootsuite has a free option, and the pro option isn’t exactly expensive (only $5.99 permonth it’s now $9.99 per month) there are some very expensive parts to Hootsuite which you may need. Anyway,here are my top reasons for NOT using Hootsuite…
1. Hootsuite Analytics are REALLY expensive Don’t get me wrong, Hootsuite have gone out their way to produce some awesome analytics reports. These can in great detail how your social networks are doing. You buy reports using points. Assuming you are on the Pro plan ($9.99 per month) you get 50 points to use every month. 50 points is equal to $50 worth of reports. 1 report costs $50. This means you get 1 free report each month. If you are serious about monitoring your social media performance then this is simply not going to be enough. Yes, there are free reports like the ow.ly one (more on this later) but the others are either $45 or $50 per report. As a medium-to-large size business with a large social media team this may well be fine, but for smaller businesses or individuals this is just going to be waytoo expensive. Some may say that these reports are worth it,and in some regards I’d agree. The Google analyticsintegration is just awesome and the Facebook report is amassive improvement on what Facebook give you. As I said,if you can afford these reports then great.Perhaps the ow.ly report is enough for some– this gives youthe number of click throughs, which location they were fromand the referrer. However, you are forced to use Hootsuite’sow.ly url shortener, which brings me on to my next point…2. Forced to use the ow.ly (or ht.ly) url shortenersOf course, where would we be without url shorteners? They started as a result of people wanting to add links totheir Tweets without using up as much space. Later on, url shortener providers offered tracking services, as theyalso had the advantage of tracking how many clicks were made on the link (and tracking information of the personwho clicked the linked link like location and what browser they were using). Hootsuite have their own urlshortners– ow.ly and ht.ly. That’s fair enough, but you are forced to use them (unless you add your own custom urlshortener– more of that in a bit).As well as broadcasting to everyone that you are using Hootsuite (which, to be fair, happens with any non-customurl shortener) you can only track any click throughs that have been added from within Hootsuite. This is a realproblem, as if like many, you use other services such as Buffer, Social Oomph, Twit Pic or even Tweet Deck, thenyou can’t track the links you’ve added here. The Hootsuite reports that you’ve paid for won’t give you the wholestory. If you use other analytics services such as Twenty Feet, bit.ly or Buffer App then they won’t show the clickthroughs from the Hootsuite links. You could of course monitor reports from each, but that’s no easy task.
Perhaps, that’s what Hootsuite want. They want to lock you in– they don’t want you to use other services. Forsome, this isn’t a big issue. For the big companies out there, offering customer services via Twitter, Hootsuite willbe the best option– they don’t need to use Buffer or Twit Pic. However, if you use multiple services on yourTwitter account then you are out of luck. Finally, although only a temporary blip, there was an issue whenFacebook blocked all ow.ly urls. Hopefully that won’t happen again.3. Expensive Custom URL Shorteners.This isn’t going to put everyone off. How many people actually use custom url shorteners? I use a custom urlshortener for the links I share on my social networks– to.iag.me. This personalises my links, makes them moreclickable and more professional. I use bit.ly for this, which allows me to add a custom url for free. Of course youhave to pay for the domain, but in my case I didn’t have to pay any extra as it’s a sub-domain.If you want to use a custom url shortener (or an ow.ly custom vanity URL as Hootsuite call it) then it’s $49.99.Well, I suppose that isn’t too bad, except that that is the cost per month. That means using a custom url shortenerwill cost you $588.88 per year on top of the cost of the domain! This is madness, especially since when youconsider you are still locked into only using Hootsuite’s reports.4. No Thumbnail & Summary previews in Facebook in CertainSituations. If you are posting or sharing a link to your Facebook page, ones with photos and a summary are far more likely to be clicked than ones with just a short text status. When you post a single update or use the standard scheduler in Hootsuite, it does post the thumbnail and summary. It gets this from the open graph tags on the web page or tries to have a good guess. However, if you use the bulk scheduler (uploadingfrom a csv file) or use the RSS feature (posting directly from an RSS feed) you are stuck. Facebook is only going toget the text in a Tweet-like status (see the screenshot on the left).I did contact Hootsuite about this, and to be fair they werequick in responding “Yes that is correct, if you schedule apost you can choose the thumbnail and it will post. Howeverthis is not a feature yet with Rss feeds and Bulk schedule, weinvite you to submit this idea to our feedback forumhere: http://feedback.hootsuite.com”. Hootsuite Help alsoreplied to a Tweet saying that it probably wouldn’t be added in the future due to “logistical reasons”.
5. No Data in Facebook InsightsBarbara Karnes (in the comments) came up with a 5th reason:When posting new content to Facebook via Hootsuite, those posts do not track the, likes, shares, and comments thatyou received in Facebook’s Insights analytical data for that post. The likes, comments and share do exist whenviewing from the front end Wall and Feeds, but the “credit” for getting them is not recorded in any way by Insights.6. Possible EdgeRank Score Issue when Posting to FacebookThis doesn’t just affect Hootsuite, but bare in mind that some people have seen a drop in the visablity of Facebookpage posts when using a 3rd party app such as Hootsuite. Although the EdgeRank score (which determines howlikely your post will appear on your Fan’s newsfeeds) isn’t supposed to be affected, many say it is. Now thatFacebook have their own scheduling system, it may be better to use Facebook instead.7. Multiple Users Expensive (Teams)I was under the impression that extra team users (on the pro account) cost $10 per month. Team users is one ofHootsuite’s killer features. It allows multiple members of a social media team to access multiple social mediachannels without needing to know the password for each one. This is very important for a security point of viewand is why so many big companies use Hootsuite. If you use Twitter for customer service, being able to delegatetasks between team members is going to be integral to your way of working. Hootsuite Pro and Enterprise shouldbe affordable by the big businesses that work this way.For smaller businesses however, Hootsuite users are going to be expensive. You get 2 user free per month on thePro account (and one of these users is you). The 3rd user costs $10 per month, and then each one up to 10 users is$15 per month. 10 users is going to cost $1,800 per year. If you want 11 users, you’re going to have to sign up forHootsuite Enterprise which costs an eye watering $18,000 per year as the maximum number of users for Proaccounts is 10. Here is a table that summaries the user cost (since it’s far from obvious from Hootsuite):
Total Users Description Cost/mth Cost/yr 1 Included in Free Plan $0 $0 2 Included in Pro Plan $9.99 $119.88 3 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 extra user at $10/mth $19.99 $239.88 4 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 extra user at $10/mth + 1 user $34.99 $419.88 at $15/mth 5 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $10/mth + 2 users at $15/mth $49.99 $599.88 6 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $10/mth + 3 users at $15/mth $64.99 $779.88 7 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $10/mth + 4 users at $15/mth $79.99 $959.88 8 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $10/mth + 5 users at $15/mth $94.99 $1139.88 9 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $10/mth + 6 users at $15/mth $109.99 $1319.88 10 2 are included in Pro Plan + 1 at $10/mth + 7 users at $15/mth $124.99 $1499.88 11+ The maximum number of users in Hoostuite Pro is 10, to add $1499 $17,988 more users you will need a Hootsuite Enterprise account.What should I use instead?I still use Hootsuite for certain tasks such as displaying multiple streams from multiple accounts. This is somethingthat Hootsuite does very well. Here are some alternatives depending on what you are trying to do…Displaying streams of tweets and Replying1. GrabInbox2. TweetDeck (try and get the older Adobe Air version before Twitter got it’s hands on it!)
Posting Tweets (including scheduling)1. Buffer App — RECOMMENDED!2. TweetDeckI’d also highly recommend Commun.it which is a full Twitter community management toolor CRM. I don’t have enough room to go into it here, but please see my Complete Guide onhow to Manage your Twitter Community using Commun.it together with its walkthroughvideo.There are plenty of other tools out there that offer similar services to Hootsuite. Have a look at some of thecomments below and let me know if you know of ones that you’ve personally used and would recommend.If you need any more help on getting started with Hootsuite or want more advice in whether or not Hootsuite is foryou, check out these posts…• HootSuite Tutorial Video (Basic Blog Tips)• Hootsuite Review (PC Mag)• HootSuite Review – 5 Reasons to Use HootSuite as Your Social Media Dashboard (Adam Troudart)• 7 Reasons why you SHOULD use HootsuiteSummarySo there you go, 7 valid reasons not to use Hootsuite. Of course, you may well feel these aren’t strong enoughreasons, but they are annoyances that I have found with it. Despite all this, I would still recommend Hootsuite tobusinesses in many situations. If they have the resources to pay for the extra features and especially if they want touse it for customer service.What do you think? Please do add your comments on the original article on my blog. And, don’t worry, I’ll beposting my top reasons to use Hootsuite very soon. I like to be balanced in my blogging!