Why Choose Hootsuite Pro Over Hootsuite Free?

Hootsuite ProGood 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.

24 Comments

  • Monica

    Reply Reply May 28, 2013

    I’m also a big fan of Hootsuite Pro for the analytics, scheduling and assigning tweets to other team members. I do find some things a little restrictive such as only being able to have 10 streams under one tab but I am starting to get pretty organised with my tabs.
    I tend to have Tweetdeck and Hootsuite open at the same time so I don’t miss anything.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply May 28, 2013

      That’s a good idea Monica. I’ve got to say, I did find all the tabs in the Hootsuite dashboard a bit fiddly and confusing to start with but I’ve got used to it now and am a bit more organised too. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      • Darren Purves

        Reply Reply May 16, 2014

        Hi,

        How far in advance can I schedule posts using the free version over the pro version?

        Many thanks,

        Darren.

        • Kirsty Stuart

          Reply Reply May 18, 2014

          Hi Darren,

          I don’t think this is one of the differentiators between the two versions of the service, although, as I’ve said in other comments on this post, I am moving more towards Buffer these days so please don’t take this as gospel! I certainly can’t find anything from Hootsuite that says auto-scheduling is allowed further in advance compared to the free version, but again, I may be wrong. This post might be off use to you: http://blog.hootsuite.com/autoschedule/.

  • Jeri

    Reply Reply May 29, 2013

    I’ve been using the free version for about a year now, but your reasons to upgrade do sound tempting.

  • wendy mccance

    Reply Reply June 4, 2013

    I love this article. I have become overwhelmed trying to stay on top of all of my social media sites. I understand how important staying relevant on all of these sites is. I hadn’t really investigated Hootsuite, but now I must check it out. Thanks so much for the information.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply June 4, 2013

      You’re welcome Wendy – glad it helped.

  • Anca Dumitru

    Reply Reply August 16, 2013

    To me Buffer works best. I’ve been using them for the past couple of years already and I was so super happy with it that I didn’t look back to Hootsuite anymore. Straightforward, simple analytics, easy to schedule tweets and shares.

    With scheduling the RTs (with or without changing to quote), and now the custom scheduling, it’s even much more easier to manage what you share on social media. And that’s still the free version (since I use it to share on twitter and facebook only). Upgrading to “Awesome” it’s $10/mth or $8.50/mth if you pay the yearly full amount.

    And no, they didn’t pay me to write this comment. 🙂

    Good share though, Kirsty! Thank you.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply August 16, 2013

      You’re welcome Anca, and thanks for your thoughts. I’ve heard good things about Buffer too and may well check out their free version to start with…

      Thanks again.

  • Isaiah Joe

    Reply Reply December 9, 2013

    This is really interesting, i have been searching for a method on how to post on facebook and other social profiles unlimitely.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply December 10, 2013

      Glad it helped Isaiah.

  • Eileen Serapio

    Reply Reply January 5, 2014

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been trying to figure out whether to upgrade my hootsuite to pro or use another social analytics platform like Sprout Social (which is too expensive btw). Have you tried Buffer? I just want a platform that’s affordable and yet able to produce detailed reports.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply January 8, 2014
        Some time has passed since I wrote this post and I’m an active (and enthusiastic!) Buffer user now Eileen and can highly recommend it. I’m not sure if the free version includes detailed reports but it’s certainly super-simple and such a time-saver. I feel a review post of Buffer coming on…
  • Trina

    Reply Reply April 8, 2014

    I read somewhere that when you upgrade to Pro, you lose all our previously scheduled posts. Is this true?

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply April 9, 2014

      Hi Trina. That’s not my experience, no. I didn’t lose any of the scheduled posts I’d had in my free account when I upgraded.

  • Chris Foley

    Reply Reply May 8, 2014

    I’m not a freelance writer, but Kirsty, I really liked your comment about Peter Drucker.

    As some guy called Peter Drucker put it:
    ”What gets measured gets managed.”

    For those who may not be familiar with Peter Drucker, he’s somewhere between “some guy” and “the most influential business maverick who didn’t own a company of the 20th Century.”

    Kirsty Stuart, you are a good writer!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply May 8, 2014

      Hehe – thanks Chris. (I think!)

  • Ashish

    Reply Reply February 23, 2015

    I commented to ask why the font-size of your bullets are so small?

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply February 24, 2015

      I’m not entirely sure Ashish, but I took them out, stripped them of their html code and reinserted them using a H3 tag. That seemed to do the trick! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • Dale

    Reply Reply November 11, 2015

    For those on more of a budget with fewer features, Im finding that slacksocial and twittimer to cover most of my needs. Still testing out both of their free user accounts.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 11, 2015

      Great, thanks Dale. Will check them both out…

  • HonorableSEO

    Reply Reply May 13, 2016

    Do they only have a few social platforms to choose from?

    I’m trying to figure this out. I’m looking all over the place for a list of their social platforms they offer, and somewhere I see they had mixi and ping.fm but I’m not getting any other sites confirming this. I signed up for a free account, but I’m not sure if I’m just not able to see the other ones… or if they really only have facebook and twitter and the basics that anyone can get from a free wordpress plugin.

    Hope you can help,
    Thanks,
    -HonorableSEO

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