HootSuite: All Your Socializing in One Place

It seems like there’s no shortage of social networks nowadays, with new ones popping up every minute. Maybe you have something important to say and you want to post it across multiple platforms, or maybe you’re a business owner who wants to manage and get statistics for their links. For those people, and those who just want to control their social lives a bit better, there’s HootSuite.

HootSuite takes all of your social networking sites and bundles them up in one simple location, then it allows you to manage your input and output to those sites, easily and quickly. It’s available for both the iPad and the iPhone, but the iPad is where the app really shines, with the larger screen and cleaner layout.

But you want to learn more, right? Of course you do. Just hit that little (more …) button down there and let’s discover what’s going on with HootSuite.

Managing The Chaos

I like to start these reviews off by way of example, so let’s do that again with HootSuite. I have several social sites that I frequent, including twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and each of them has a different purpose.

My LinkedIn is kind of like everyones: it doesn’t get updated frequently and it’s there for potential employers. Facebook holds my personal page and my business page, and the same rules apply to my two different twitter accounts.

The HootSuite Wizard makes setting up your account quick and painless.

The HootSuite Wizard makes setting up your account quick and painless.

So if I wake up and think of something funny to say, I want to get it out to the world. Before HootSuite, I’d first sign on to twitter, enter my hilarious comment, then copy the text before hitting send. Then I switch off to Facebook, paste the quote, and send it off to everyone there.

Now my joke is in the wild, ready for everyone to see. But other times, I want to post something on both of my Facebook pages and twitter accounts, leaving me with logging in at least three times just to get one message across. It’s frustrating. Then a friend turned me on to HootSuite, and now that’s one of my tools to manage my hectic social networks.

Creating and Organizing

Right off the bat, the HootSuite Wizard gets your accounts sorted quickly and easily. You first create your HootSuite account via the iPad, then you start plugging away into your social networks.

Currently, your options are Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and FourSquare, but I’m sure if something else jumps out, they’ll add that in as well.

HootSuite lets you choose between the big 4 social networks.

HootSuite lets you choose between the big four social networks.

Each account then verifies with their respective provider and you get to choose what you want to import. Maybe you just want to see your feed, or possibly you need more info than that, and want direct messages in or out as well. These are all options with HootSuite, so pick and choose what you like so your social feed doesn’t get cluttered.

Getting Out the Word

So you’ve spent some time setting up your various networks, and now it’s time to write a post. Ready?

This couldn’t be much easier. There’s a little paper and pen icon in the top right corner of the screen. Touch it with your finger, and the screen below appears.

Pick and choose where your posts go and more.

Pick and choose where your posts go and more.

At the top of the window are little icons representing each of your social networks. Touch one and a green checkmark appears over the icon, indicating that your future piece of wisdom will send out over that stream. Or touch all of the icons and send it out to all of your buddies.

By picking and choosing who gets your post, you’re cutting down on the amount of time it takes to get your message out.

View your feed side by side with your mentions, or any other option you choose.

View your feed side by side with your mentions, or any other option you choose.

You could just hammer out your message and hit send, or you can change it up using any of the options on the bottom of the window. Adding a photo is standard fare, but how about scheduling your post?

Maybe you want to get something out there, but don’t want to make people think you’re a social addict. Schedule it a few days out and you’re golden. If you shrink your links using HootSuite, you get access to statistics, so you can find out who clicked on your link and when.

Translate your links to different languages, or add your location if you want, but the biggie for me is the contacts list. Now sending a message or including a follower in your post is easier than ever, because you can pick it out as you go. That’s a huge amount better than the official Twitter iPad client, and a welcome improvement.

Further Customization

HootSuite has so many other features that it’s bit daunting to list them all. Each column in landscape view leads to another portion of your feed, so if you’re a big fan of seeing mentions, retweets and the like, just flip from side to side to see them.

You can also change how the tabs work on the side of the screen, and there’s even an experimental Instapaper add-on (and you know how much I love that app).  There’s a lot to delve into with HootSuite, so take your time to learn how it all works.

Customize to your heart's content.

Customize to your heart's content.

Verdict

So is HootSuite my new favorite social networking client? Well, yes and no. When I need to send out a post to multiple places, HootSuit is my go-to app, there’s no doubt about it. But, for day-to-day use, I find myself still gravitating towards native clients on the iPhone or iPad. Why?

For me, I find the extra tabs and columns add clutter to my daily grind when I just want to get some reading done. But for business, this is like steroids for my productivity, and having access to all those statistics is amazing.

Really, HootSuite isn’t for everyone. This is for the power user; The person who checks their twitter feed frequently and puts out 10-20 posts per day. For them, HootSuite is the way to go, no question. But, if you’re a casual user, all of the options may be more of a turnoff, because sometimes the mass of customisation gets a bit cluttered.

If you do have multiple accounts and want to post in two places at once, this is one of the most efficient ways I’ve found to do it, and better yet, it’s free. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close to it!


Summary

HootSuite is an aggregator for all of your social networking sites. Keep everything in one place!

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