Social networking is an integral part of blogging, communication, and growth– and it can get really cumbersome to manage a bunch of social networking sites!
I've been using Hootsuite for several years now– and while it is far from perfect, I've found it best suits my needs for communicating with other bloggers, businesses, and readers on a regular basis.
(Note: by clicking on each of the images, you can see a larger version than is in the post. This will allow you to see more details.)
Hootsuite is a browser based social networking site– I love this because I can log in from home or work, without having to download programs on to my computer (especially good for work use!). It's one site that allows me to access Twitter and Facebook, along with sites like Foursquare, WordPress, LinkedIn, and more. I primarily use it for Twitter and Facebook, for home AND work.
You can manually adjust how many streams you see on each tab– I prefer three, as it easiest to follow (but it allows from 1-4 streams).
Easy Access to Lists:
One of the great features on Twitter is its ability to create lists: you can organize the people you follow in to various categories– above shows a sample page of mine: Business of Blogging. You can see the titles of the lists in each category.
Facebook Fan Page Management:
For me, one of the most valuable and useful parts of Hootsuite is the ability manage my Facebook fanpage without having to go in to Facebook. This could also be useful for bloggers who have employers that block Facebook (and Twitter, but may not think to block Hootsuite). I have both Facebook Fan Page columns set up: the option to see my page's stream, and to see pending posts.
Scheduling Tweets & Status Updates:
One of my favorite features on Hootsuite is the ability to schedule tweets and status updates on Facebook. I've found that, if you're active on Facebook, it's really useful to re-tweet new posts (I only do it once per every 10-20 tweets at the minimum so as not to spam people). But when you're working a full time job on top of blogging full time, it can be really hard to remember to re-tweet! Scheduling is a great way to remind people about your giveaways and more.
To schedule a post, you click on the little “calendar” button (I think it looks like a TV saying '30'). It pops up a screen with all of your scheduling preferences: time and date! Schedule in Bulk is a tool only available for Hootsuite PRO users, sadly.
Pros & Cons:
- Con: For those on a free account, there are occasional tweeted ads that will appear in your stream. I've never found more than 2-3 a day (when I'm really active that day) and many days I don't see any.
- Pro: Hootsuite's free features are pretty good for the most active user. You can manage up to 5 accounts on it: 5 Twitter accounts, 3 Twitter accounts and 2 Facebook accounts, 1 Twitter/Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn account, etc. It's in any combo you'd like! Anything beyond that you'd need the PRO account, which is $5.99 a month.
- Con: You can't have a “team member” manage an account without a PRO account. So, for example, I can't manage the IFB Twitter account from my Hootsuite account without IFB being on a PRO account.
For an extra opinion: The Difference Between TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and Seesmic
Admittedly, Hootsuite isn't perfect. There are days you can catch me damning it on Twitter. But for my own personal needs and uses, it's the best option I've found so far. Do you use a client like Hootsuite to help manage your social networking? Are you a fan? A hater? What are the perks and cons that I've left out (because I know there are many!).