Good question. Why did I recently upgrade to Hootsuite Pro when there’s a perfectly adequate free version available?
What was it that made me start paying $9.99 a month when I’ve been using the free version of this social media management tool for the last year or so?
The short answer is that I got to a place where I needed more than just ‘adequate’. (The long answer is detailed below.)
Whether you’re a freelance writer with your own website, an avid blogger or a social media manager for somebody else, there’s no doubt it’s tough to juggle all the social media platforms you need in order to get noticed online.
And you not only need to be visible – you need to be engaging, informative, interactive and, well, social.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hootsuite, it’s a social media management system that allows you to login in with one username and password and manage all your different social media profiles in one single place. It also allows you to schedule posts for later so that you don’t have to do everything in real time, meaning you can effectively Tweet while you sleep and post to Facebook and the like while you’re busy doing something else entirely.
The free Hootsuite service offers you a highly interactive interface to manage all your chats, tweets and posts. It includes five different social profiles, the posting scheduling I’ve talked about and basic analytics reports.
What’s the free Hootsuite version like?
When I first started out as a freelance writer online, I had a few social media profiles, and this was perfect for me. It made my life a whole lot easier and I could crowbar much more into my busy working day as a result.
So why did I recently upgrade to Hootsuite Pro then?
The free service only allows five social profiles. Hootsuite Pro supports unlimited profiles
My reasoning: I was growing and expanding (figuratively speaking) and so were the networks I managed.
Hootsuite Pro allows an assistant, associate or team member to post on your behalf
My reasoning: You can assign tasks to this person and they can schedule messages and interact across your accounts when you’re busy with other work. The free version doesn’t include this feature.I’m a writer – this gives me extra time to write.
Hootsuite Pro comes with mass publishing and bulk delivery of messages
My reasoning: I like simplicity and this feature is incredibly simple to use – just fill in a spreadsheet with your posts and the dates you want them scheduled and submit – it’s saved me heaps of time.
While the free Hootsuite version supports two RSS feeds, the Hootsuite Pro comes with unlimited feeds
My reasoning: This supports the idea of having everything under one roof and feeling both well-informed and organised. I like feeling well-informed and organised. (Plus my clients kind of rely on it.)
Analytics. It’s all about the stats – whether across your own social media accounts or your clients’
My reasoning: The free version will provide you with superficial analysis reports suitable for the novice. When you get to a more advanced stage however, you need a reporting and analysis tool that goes a bit more in-depth. As some guy called Peter Drucker put it: “What gets measured gets managed.”
Hootsuite Pro gives you the option of enrolling in the Hootsuite University
My reasoning: The video tutorials are incredibly educational and informative – they cover pretty much every aspect of social media, meaning even social media newbies can become social media experts in no time.
Hootsuite Pro offers a free 30 day trial and is only $9.99 per month thereafter
My reasoning: I could try out Hootsuite Pro completely free for the first month – if I didn’t like it or use the extra features I knew I could cancel it at any time. I haven’t of course, but I just like to have the option! As far as the $9.99 goes, I spend more than that on lunch most days.
So, if you have many social media accounts and/or manage other people’s profiles and are beyond the beginner novice stage, it might be worth signing up for the Hootsuite Pro free trial to see what you make of it yourself.
If you already have a Hootsuite account or use another social media management tool please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
If you’re serious about earning a living from writing online, find out how I quit my day job and built a freelance writing career in The Complete Freelance Writing Online Course.