IIA Toolshed #2
Social Media Publishing Tools
Tooler’s Choice? Hootsuite
Check out the detailed review below including Buffer, SproutSocial, and SocialOomph.
What is IIA Toolshed? IIA Toolshed is a group of digital marketers & digital experts who know how difficult it is to keep up with the ever changing array of tools at our fingertips, to supposedly make doing business easier! To make things simpler, we’ve come together to test, evaluate and share the reviews of a broad selection of tools & technologies, to ultimately make the decision easier for you, when choosing what tools might best suit your business needs. At the IIA Toolshed, we come together every 6 weeks to evaluate a set of tools for a particular business objective, and we’ll publish our findings right here.
Who are we? The Toolers are:
- Maryrose Lyons, Brightspark Consulting
- Eoin Kennedy, eoinkennedy.ie
- Felicity McCarthy, Sparkdigital.ie
- Dermot Casey, NearFuture.io
- Greg Fry, Contentplan.co
- Ailbhe Lee, iia.ie
- Sasha Kinch, inm.ie
- Alan Cronin, AIB.ie
- David Cuddy, Realex
- Laurynas Binderis, Talentevo
- Eoin Young, Electric Ireland
- Beatrice Whelan, Sage
|What Is It||Online scheduling tool that publishes to TW, FB, LI, G+ and now Pinterest. Ronseal!||A Social Media scheduling and reporting platform. |
You can schedule and manage content from your Facebook (Personal and Business), Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Wordpress accounts. It also has 100s of additional apps that gives your monitoring and commenting abilities on other sites including Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
|Social media productivity tool which allows you to|
publish and monitor social media activity
|Sprout Social is an online social media management, reporting and engagement tool that enables publishing (incorporating analytics's) to various social media platforms.|
|What’s It Like To Use?||Pretty easy and seamless. No real learning. Support was a bit generic. Dashboard intuitive - easy to remove accounts. When you move stuff around or change times, it caused a few problems.||Easy to set up and use. Just go to hootsuite.com and sign up. Easy to add Social Media accounts and search for add on apps. Its dashboard is easy to navigate, search social networks and see previous scheduled posts. Hootsuite has a mobile app that allows you to manage your activity on the go. However - would recommend that you do the bulk of your Hootsuite scheduling and reporting from the Desktop dashboard.||When it comes to giving access to another user, they must create a social oomph account, it's time consuming. The interface appears to be very poor but it does have some good functionality. Cons: It is not intuitive and learning to use it takes some time. The design is hard to navigate.|
Pros: It has feature called Queue Reservoir which helps to drip feed updates to selected social profiles. The Posting section does have a number of features such as creating and managing updates, creating updates from RSS feeds, and creating updates via email. The Following section facilitates follow-back and auto-welcome on Twitter as well as finding new people to follow function. The Monitoring section allows to set up regular email alerts for monitoring particular keywords found on Twitter. Other stats like mentions, retweets and following are also available.
|Set up on a free trial was painless with minimum effort and adding social media profiles was generally a 2-3 click process to add Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Feedly. It also incorporates google analytics and operates using a classic dashboard. Posting to different social profiles was just a matter of adding the content and clicking the profiles with the optional inbuilt scheduler allowing flexibility on when it would appear. The dashboard in general was intuitive with rapid report generation and useful exploring and search tools. (EY) No option to upload video or multiple images to Twitter via the Scheduling App. Reporting option is great, with the option to sort Facebook posts per engagement particularly useful. Overall, it has many of the features needed under one dashboard (scheduling, reports, assign tasks, Twitter Advanced Search), which makes it extremely useful.|
|Is There Anything I Should Know?||Nothing compelling to upgrade. Auto shortens links to buff.ly, but you can override. Time zone of scheduler is confusing. If you've already scheduled a post to publish, you cannot change the distribution e.g. just add in G+ after scheduled - instead set up new post :(||Hootsuite has a cool bookmarker called Hootlet that allows you to schedule content directly from your web browser. Hootsuite also supports RSS feeds so you can ensure you latest blog is automatically distributed to Social Media as soon as it’s published. It also offers suggested content - which is similar in nature to the content you share and allows you add it to your publishing schedule (hit and miss at present). Hootsuite integrates with Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook Insights and can create Social Media reports in seconds. Pro account holders are allowed create a number of reports for free, otherwise they come at an additional cost. Hootsuite allows you to add 100s of apps to your dashboard. E.g. Pocket and Feedly from Hootsuite and even manage YouTube Account. Finally - the only issue with Hootsuite at present is that it does not (currently) display visuals properly when posting from to Twitter, it posts as a link. And if you're posting a link, it posts 2 links if it's got an image in it.||45 mins to integrate a FB account. Not a good UI. Can schedule. Can bulk upload. Can integrate a bit.ly account and create a unique URL shortener. Very basic posting functions. Can create a Reservoir - can create a schedule to post at different times. Monitoring is basic - just mentions, and RT's. CLUNKY. Needs training. UGLY. Basic version can only add Twitter. 7 day trial you can add other accounts, big learning curve to learn it in 1 week. Support was quick enough, help section is descriptive - good - but it's a big time investment.||Follow up mails including offers of phone support from a dedicated person gave a nice personal touch to the experience. Sprout Social really comes into its own when you are managing teams with a powerful task manager and is very suited to larger organisations with disparate teams and multiple profiles. Its mobile version works well with similar functionality. One of the draw backs is the relatively low number of social profiles it connects to and would expect instagram etc.|
|Who would you recommend it for?||"An organisation (doesn't matter the size) who is already running its own publishing schedule, who wants to supplement with shared content. Yes,|
it's probably not as sophisticated as some, but definitely a great scheduling tool, and a lot of functionality comes for free."
|My favourite of all the platforms, but currently has a few issues with posting images (in particular to Twitter). Would recommend a PRO account that allows you to manage up to 100 accounts. I would use it to post to multiple LinkedIn and Facebook Groups.||We wouldn't!||A large organisation with multiple profiles and team members|
|Cost inc VAT||$10 per month Awesome (up to 100 posts and tweets + 10 social profiles per month) Freemium model. Free package is pretty good to get started. "Awesome package” has some analytics with export functionality, you can have more multiple admins on an account, and allows you to schedule more posts in advance. Awesome plan is $102 per year, Small Business Plan is $50/mth which is pricey. Discount for non-profits is nice touch.||Free account for up to 5 Social Networks. Hootsuite Pro (recommended) $9.99 per month (free 30 day trial available) - allows you to collaborate with up to 10 team members, manage 100 accounts and access free Social Media reports. There is a further paid option - Hootsuite Enterprise for larger organisiations.||€12.58 every fortnight, €27.26 monthy, €81.77 quarterly, €327 annually.||59 (USD) for Delux, 99 (USD) for premium and 500 (USD) for team version per month|
|Name of Tool:||Buffer||Hootsuite||Social Oomph||Sprout Social|
|Ease of Use||4||4||1||4|
|Social Media Platforms it posts||2||4||2||4|
|Schedules image posts?||4||3||2||4|
|Schedules videos post?||3||3||0||1|
|Any Restrictions? Gotchas?||3||3||1||3|
|Product Intuitiveness / UI||3||3||1||3|
|Team Collaboration Features?||4||3||1||2|
|Are we going to continue using it?||1||4||0||4|
One to watch: echobox – This new scheduling app might suit large publishers,
enabling them to curate ALL the content on their site to send to social. It forecasts ideal post times and layouts, AB testing each post. The range of features includes forecasting Page Views (which is the publisher’s bread and butter) and the algorithm learns what works and what doesn’t. One key aspect is you can flick a switch, and ultimately let it publish for you. Someone may be out of a job soon.
What’s next from the IIA Toolshed? Social Media Monitoring in June.
Summary: Hootsuite won, but Buffer closely followed. SproutSocial if you’re an enterprise. Avoid SocialOomph.