As some of you may know, Hootsuite 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 used it myself in the past, and actually recommended it to a few clients and colleagues.
However, this post isn’t about the reasons why you should use Hootsuite, this is a post on why you should not! I know the title of this post is a little provocative, but I don’t mean to be overly negative. Hootsuite will be the right product for some people- this post is about a few issues that may be a deal breaker for some people. I’d be really interested in your thoughts, so please let me know in the comments.
It boils down to 2 main reasons and only affects (mostly) small businesses and individuals. The 2 points are cost and lock down. Although Hootsuite has a free option, and the pro option isn’t exactly expensive 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 (now $9.99 per month if you pay yearly as of May 2014) you get 50 points to use every month. There are some free reports but most reports are 45 points which will cost you $50 (or $45 if you pay yearly) on top of your 1 free report each month. If you are serious about monitoring your social media performance then trust me when I say that ONE report is simply not going to be enough.
Yes, there are free reports like the ow.ly one but the others are $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 way too expensive.
#2 ow.ly is Compulsory
(Forced to use the ow.ly url shorteners)
Of course, where would we be without url shorteners? They started as a result of people wanting to add links to their Tweets without using up as much space. Later on, url shortener providers offered tracking services, as they also had the advantage of tracking how many clicks were made on the link (and tracking information of the person who clicked the linked link like location and what browser they were using). Hootsuite have their own url shortners- ow.ly and ht.ly. That’s fair enough, but the bad news is you are forced to use them (unless you add your own custom url shortener- 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-custom url shortener) you can only track any click throughs that have been added from within Hootsuite. This is a real problem because you can’t track the links you’ve added. The Hootsuite reports that you’ve paid for won’t give you the whole story. If you use other analytics services such as SumAll, bit.ly, or Buffer, then they won’t show the click-throughs from the Hootsuite links. You could of course monitor reports from each, but that’s no easy task and very time-consuming!
Perhaps, that’s what Hootsuite want. They want to lock you in- they don’t want you to use other services. For some, this isn’t a big issue. For the big companies out there, offering customer services via Twitter, Hootsuite will be the best option. However, if you're a small business owner and use multiple services on your Twitter account then you are out of luck. Finally, although only a temporary blip, there was an issue when Facebook blocked all ow.ly urls. Hopefully that won’t happen again.
#3 Expensive Custom URL Shorteners
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 shortener will cost you $588.88 per year on top of the cost of the domain! You get a slight discount if you pay this in one big chunk per year- $539.88. This is madness, especially when you consider you are still locked into ONLY using Hootsuite’s reports!
#4 Facebook Image Problem
(No Thumbnail & Summary previews in Facebook in Certain Situations)
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 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 standard or bulk scheduler (uploading from a csv file) or use the RSS feature (posting directly from an RSS feed) you are stuck. Facebook is only going to get the text in a Tweet-like status that will confuse your readers and doesn't look the most professional. Not to mention, it most likely won't get any click throughs due to lack of connection with the audience.
#5 No Data in Facebook Insights
When posting new content to Facebook via Hootsuite, those posts do not track the likes, shares, and comments that you received in Facebook’s Insights analytical data for that post. The likes, comments and shares do exist when viewing from the front end Wall and Feeds, but the “credit” for getting them is not recorded in any way by Insights.
#6 Facebook EdgeRank Issue-- this is a big one!
This doesn’t just affect Hootsuite, but bear in mind that some people have seen a drop in the visibility of Facebook page posts when using a 3rd party app such as Hootsuite. Although the EdgeRank score (which determines how likely your post will appear on your Fan’s newsfeeds) isn’t supposed to be affected, many say it is.
#7 Expensive for Small Business Owners
Team users is one of Hootsuite’s killer features. It allows multiple members of a social media team to access multiple social media channels without needing to know the password for each one. This is very important for a security point of view and is why so many big companies use Hootsuite. If you use Twitter for customer service, being able to delegate tasks between team members is going to be integral to your way of working. Hootsuite Pro and Enterprise should be affordable by the big businesses that work this way. For smaller businesses however, Hootsuite users are going to be expensive.
I was under the impression that extra team users (on the pro account) cost $9.99 per month but on close examination it’s not quite as simple as that. You get 2 users free per month on the Pro account (and one of these users is you). The 3rd user costs $9.99 per month, and then each one up to 10 users is $14.99 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 for Hootsuite Enterprise which costs an eye watering $18,000 per year as the maximum number of users for Pro accounts is 10.
So there you go, 7 valid reasons not to use Hootsuite. But there is good news kids, there are alternatives to hootsuite available! Other than working with us to get your social media platform up and running, there are some great programs out there that can get the job done. Leave a comment or contact us today to learn more!
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