I’ve been using Hootsuite’s free social media scheduler to plan my content marketing for a number of years now and have found it a useful part of my social media strategy. Today I’m sharing a simple walk-through of how to set up your first social post using Hootsuite to help you get started over there.
How I use Hootsuite’s free plan for social media scheduling
My thoughts on Hootsuite’s free plan
Having used several social media schedulers over the past eight or nine years I have realised my preferred way to implement my weekly social media strategy. In that time I’ve tried a number of software platforms to make it work for me and whilst I haven’t found the perfect one-size-fits-all package I think Hootsuite has been pretty far up there in the rankings of good software to use. So here are my pros and cons of their free plan;
Video uploads - Hootsuite allows video uploads on their free plan, where most do not.
Social listening – social listening is the act of following relevant hashtags to see what’s trending or being said. You can also use this to track what’s being said about your own brand.
Interactions – Hootsuite allows you to comment and answer interactions on posts you have sent, or from those accounts you follow. It also allows you to answer your channel messages too.
Mobile App – this has ben fairly useful especially for posting to Instagram. It’s basic, but has been useful!
Statistics – Hootsuite gives a basic statistic report in the free plan which is great if you want to follow what’s happening on your channels closely.
Help library – they do have a good help library that allows you to learn how to use their software better.
Useful newsletter – I’ve found their newsletters useful in the past also. They are full of interesting information about social media and trends. You can also find this information under their resource pages.
30 pieces of content – for the longest time Hootsuite allowed 90 pieces of content in your free plan account to be pre-scheduled at any one time. Now it’s just 30. This is a big problem if you want to schedule ahead more than 10 days across 3 channels… or less if you multi tweet per day on Twitter!
The system can be clunky to get started with and I don’t find it the most intuitive.
Not able to view my content in a weekly layout – this may not be a problem for most, but as a visual planner I do like to see what my content looks like over a period of time, so that I can make sure my message is on track.
Very occasionally the system will fail to post. This does happen with most software and will usually be a result of implemented upgrades. It can be a bit tricky to find those failed posts to reschedule them though!
On the free plan my experience has been that there is really no software support. Emails often go unanswered if I’m honest, so if you want the software to work for you, you have to be very hands-on when it comes down to tracking down answers to problems you come across. This is where I feel their library shines.
Whilst I do recommend Hootsuite’s free plan for small businesses who are on a budget I do have to be open and honest and say that I use Hootsuite these days just for posting my video content once a week and some social listening. This is because I have another software package that I use daily. This has mainly come about as my personal preferences and business needs have changed over time.
Hootsuite is a great tool if you are starting out with pre-planning your social media content. I do recommend trying out their free plan and seeing what you think.
If you want more information on creating a social media strategy for your craft business then check out my blogs posts;
And here’s another scheduling tool, just in case you want alternatives - How I use Buffer’s free plan for social media