Hurray! Hootsuite has a FREE plan!
Within this post I will be sharing my first step into the realm of Hootsuite. All the content I write is based on experience I have gained either through work, my side gigs or my own personal social media ventures. I have been writing a lot about social media scheduling lately. It has come to my attention that I have yet to try Hootsuite.
Thank you to Rachael Stray from “Rachael’s Thoughts” for the insight! Cool name too by the way! I must admit, I didn’t even realise they had a free plan. I love to learn new ways to streamline social media. So why not learn together?
What do you get from the Hootsuite free plan?
- Manage up to 3 social media profiles
- Choice between -Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Google+ / Instagram / WordPress / YouTube / Pinterest
- 30 scheduled messages
- Basic analytics
- 2 RSS feed integrations
- 150+ free and paid Apps
- $100 of Boost ad spend
Now let’s compare this with the Buffer free plan
- Manage up to 3 social media profiles
- Choice between – Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Google+ / Instagram
- 10 Scheduled posts per social account (up to 30 at one time)
- Pablo: Image creator
- Video and GIF: Uploader
- Link shortening and tracking
Slight disclaimer: I have removed some of the features that both interfaces share, and some ones that don’t really bring anything extra to the table in my opinion. For example, both have mobile Apps, both have options for browser extensions and both have online support in some capacity.
It is quite clear that both interfaces also offer 3 social media profiles and 30 scheduled posts at one time. But since they are both vital elements of scheduling I have kept them in for your reference.
Initial Thoughts when Comparing Hootsuite and Buffer
Immediately I noticed the basic analytic option available on Hootsuite. As I mentioned in my previous post, at one stage Buffer included a weekly analytics report within their free plan. This has since been removed, and boy don’t I know it! It was an amazing tool to justify, analyze and improve social media activity. TRUST ME it is awful having to collate this data from each individual social media platform. *Cry*
It is clear in the comparisons above that Hootsuite offers more choice in their free plan when it comes to the platforms on offer. Going one step further than Buffer to include WordPress, YouTube and Pinterest. Very impressive! I personally use Tailwind to schedule my pins, but it’s really great that Pinterest has been included as part of the free service offer.
The inclusion of 2 RSS feeds within Hootsuite is also quite helpful. RSS feeds for the purpose of blogging, are an easy way to automatically post new content from your blog, or other websites to your social media. Upon looking into this further, this tool is no longer be applicable to Twitter and Facebook. Without putting it in to practice I couldn’t accurately judge how useful this feature is minus Twitter and Facebook.
I am undecided about Pablo Image Creator on Buffer. I mean I’m pretty content mixing between Canva and Pic Monkey to create my graphics. The fact that you can create and then share direct to social media removes a step from the equation. But is this a game changer? I don’t think so!
I’m a little bit offended that link shortening and tracking has been advertised as a feature in the Buffer free plan. This is included within Hootsuite and they haven’t even had to advertise it to draw people in. I mean just look at their over all service offer on the FREE plan? It feels like Buffer is clutching at straws here. Sorry not sorry!
I have similar sentiments about the Video and GIF: Uploader being advertised as a key feature. Hootsuite also has a video uploader and I’m pretty sure you can share Gifs through the Hootsuite Twitter stream? Please fact check me if I am wrong here 🙂
Ok so the final added extras from Hootsuite…They are LITERALLY giving you $100 to spend with their Boost ad feature. Is this too good to be true? I’m sure there will be a catch but I don’t know what it is until I try it out! I am also impressed by the addition of Apps within Hootsuite itself. Very cool.
I must admit at first glance Hootsuite is getting a glowing review! But the proof is always in the pudding.
Hootsuite Sign Up Process
Follow this link and then click “sign up.” The next screen is a little bit sneaky. Initially it looks as if they only offer paid plans. Just keeeeep on scrolling down until you find this sucker at the bottom!
After you click “Sign up now” the next screen will load. You can either use an email or social profile to sign up.
Once you have your free account. You can connect your first social profile. Since my last scheduling post was related specifically to Twitter… I am starting with this platform for good measure! It is no secret that I LOVE Tweetdeck. In fact I included it in my post “5 Awesome Twitter Tips for Bloggers“
So if Hootsuite can persuade me to use it to schedule my Tweets, then it really is something special!
Once you click your chosen social profile, it is the usual authorization procedure. You just have to sign into the relevant account to complete the process.
You then have the option to connect other social platforms. I skipped this for now. Partly out of curiosity – I wanted to see how easy it is to remove and amend social media profiles within the Hootsuite interface itself.
Cue more frustrating guff. But needs must! Sort this section out and you are home free!
It’s. just. so. BEAUTIFUL! Immediately I want to touch ALL the buttons. Err just me? I don’t want to run before I can walk, so I have stuck to the one “stream” for now. But you can add all 3 chosen social platforms as separate streams. JOY! Already I am noticing that this is looking very similar to Tweetdeck. It almost seems like Tweetdeck but for ALL the platforms.
Here is an overview of the tools available through the side bar buttons on the left. I am not sure if all of the below is actually available for use on the free plan. I have my doubts about the Assignments specifically. As this function would involve more than 1 user.
Streams – display the content from your social networks in your Hootsuite dashboard.
Publisher – view all currently scheduled content for your social profiles
Analytics – overview of analytics displayed to help you monitor all of your socials in one dashboard
Assignments – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram content can be assigned to team members.
App Directory – The app directory offers free and premium (paid) apps. Apps are integrated as either separate streams, stream plugins, content sources, or as media library apps.
I am not going to go into Tools for the purpose of this post and I feel like Help is always pretty self explanatory.
I really can’t wait to get started with the next stage of my Hootsuite investigation! In fact once I speak to big cheeses at work, Hootsuite may in fact supersede Buffer in our social media scheduling arsenal. I will revisit this in a further post and report back on my findings. I will be testing the Hootsuite interface to find out what works and what doesn’t.
As always I hope this is helpful content. Please leave comments and let me know if I have missed anything. Or even if there is a future topic you would like me to cover?
Once again thank you Rachael Stray from “Rachael’s Thoughts” for the suggestion 🙂
P.s. If you appreciate the content I share here, why not buy me a coffee? 🙂
Let’s connect on the socials!