Presented by Incubation Lab: Giving a Hoot(suite), About Managing Social Media

The Presented by Incubation Lab series shines the spotlight on popular social media tool, HootSuite this week. Montana West, Integrated Media Producer for New Hampshire Public Television, weighs in:

HootSuite is a web based social media management tool. It allows the user to manage social media interactions across many different platforms quickly and efficiently. Here at New Hampshire Public Television, we use it to manage a couple of Twitter accounts and a handful of Facebook pages. The customizable tabbed interface gives us the ability to see spam, mentions, retweets and direct messages from multiple accounts and pages without having to actually switch accounts or navigate to different pages which helps alleviate some of our resource challenges.

Among the best reasons other stations could use a tool like HootSuite is that it allows you to schedule posts. Being able to post evenings and weekends, without having to actually log-in on evenings and weekends, allows you to appear more active than you have time to be, and to spread your messaging evenly if you have a lot to say. In a perfect world, scheduling your posts also allows you to review pending posts (by you or by others) for copy editing and hash-tag-adding purposes.

HootSuite has a built-in analytics feature that (until last week) was one of my favorite things as it was the only service I’ve seen that links together Facebook Insights, Klout (twitter metrics), and Google Analytics (web site metrics) so you can try to gauge the impact of your social messaging efforts on web traffic. But as of last week, HootSuite’s reporting feature has changed significantly to a pay per report (!?!) model for custom reports. Also, the HootSuite analytics features use the built-in URL shrinker ( to track click-thru, so if you don’t use HootSuite for every post, these stats become less accurate.

There are a number of other features that may be interesting to some:
The ability to post to other social sites such as, LinkedIn, MySpace, and WordPress to name a few. Hootsuite also has the ability to import RSS feeds for posts. In addition, a robust “team management” feature (for Pro+ customers) can help manage workflow among groups of contributors; it also means that you can give a person permission to post to a Twitter account without sharing the username and password of that account which is quite useful if you have interns or other temporary staff helping with your social media.

I like HootSuite, but their hay-day of being a free & cool tool ended around 6 months ago. Since then they have become the poster child for monetization strategies (not that there’s anything wrong with that), creating various levels of service for payment, and moving popular features behind increasing pay-walls. This coupled with major improvements to Facebook’s and Twitter’s new interface have started to erode my official “HootSuite fan-boy” status. Though it may not be perfect HootSuite has helped us organize our social media efforts, which is a good thing. It is still free to try for the moment, and worth a look.

The Presented by Incubation Lab Blog Series tackles the digital media topics that matter to stations, while highlighting and celebrating the online efforts of stations. These regular profiles of products, people and trends can provide you with inspiration and potential collaborators for your own projects.

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