If you’re like me, you find yourself endlessly flicking between different social platforms, struggling to actually stay up to date with any of them.
Keeping on top of your social networks is no easy feat. In an ideal world, there’d be one social network to keep up with. Perhaps the next best thing is a platform that consolidates several of your social accounts and feeds into one place.
Not too long ago, there were multiple platforms like this to choose from. But thanks to restrictions that networks like Facebook and Twitter place on third party apps, many of them closed with little warning or simply became too restricted to be of any use (Yoono and Feedient are two examples).
But Hootsuite has stood the test of time. It’s not perfect, but it’s by far the best option. You won’t be able to use it for all of your social needs, but it can definitely help you stay up to date with more social networks, both via your browser and on mobile.
Hootsuite is mainly aimed at internet marketers. It allows you manage your social accounts and interact with audiences all from one place. And it has a whole load of other powerful features, too.
But Hootsuite can also be used by individuals to post to multiple social platforms at once, schedule to Instagram, browse different feeds (including RSS), like and comment on posts, and more. There are a few limitations, though.
Facebook does not allow third-party apps to display your newsfeed. This applies to Hootsuite. For this reason, you’ll always have to use Facebook natively. The same pretty much goes for Instagram.
Hootsuite can manage Facebook Pages, however, and will let you schedule Instagram posts. There are a couple other basic features, too. You just won’t be able to see your feeds. It can also help you keep on top of other networks, like Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
It’s not perfect, but it can make your social media life a lot easier.
What Can Hootsuite Actually Do?
Here are the things that Hootsuite can display:
- Twitter — Your main feed, mentions, retweets, inbox, list feeds, likes, and more.
- LinkedIn — Your main feed and a list of your updates.
- Google+ — Your main feed, feeds from individual circles, a list of your posts, and posts based on search terms.
- Facebook — Your own timeline (what you post), a list of upcoming events near you, and a stream of posts from Pages you follow. You cannot see your main newsfeed.
- Instagram — Your posts, posts you’ve liked, and streams of posts based on search terms that you input. You cannot see your main photo stream.
- YouTube — You can only manage a YouTube channel rather than you personal account.
And, of course, you can schedule, comment on, and like posts on most of the above networks as well.
Free or Paid?
By signing up to Hootsuite’s free account, you can add up to three different networks to your account. This’s often enough. I use this account to keep up with my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts. As mentioned, I continue to use Facebook natively.
If you’re more of a social media obsessive, you can pay $10 per month (after a 30-day free trial) for the Pro plan. This lets you add up to 50 networks, and is usually used to manage multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages.
WhatsApp, Pinterest, and Snapchat, however, are not supported.
Adding Profiles to Hootsuite
The first thing you’ll want to do after signing up is to connect your profiles to Hootsuite. To do this sign in, click on your profile in the top left corner, then click Add a Social Network.
When you add a network, you’ll have to give Hootsuite permission to access the feeds on those profiles. On my own account, I’ve added three profiles (Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+), the maximum for the free plan.
Setting Up Your Streams
Head back to the Streams section. This is where you can organize how you want to view your streams. If you’re only connecting three profiles to Hootsuite, you might be able to squeeze everything into one tab. Each tab can hold 10 individual streams.
Personally, I prefer to have a different tab for each network, like below. This makes organization a lot easier.
Click on the tab where you want to add a stream from one of your profiles, then click Browse all streams. This shows you all of the streams available for each profile you’ve connected. Select which ones you want to add.
Below, you can see I’ve added three streams to my Twitter tab: Home, which shows my main Twitter feed; Mentions, which shows all tweets mentioning me; and Tops, which is the stream of one of my Twitter lists. I could also add streams based on keywords and hashtags.
I can reply to, retweet, and favorite any tweet from within Hootsuite itself. I can also post my own tweets.
On my LinkedIn tab, I’m able to see my main LinkedIn newsfeed and a list of my own updates (including status updates and posts I’ve commented on).
From within Hootsuite I can post my own updates, as well as like and comment on posts.
And on my Google+ tab, I’ve added my main stream and updates from a specific circle. I could also add results based on a specific search term.
From within Hootsuite I can post Google+ updates and comment on posts.
As mentioned, you could also add Facebook and Instagram to Hootsuite, though with limited streams to choose from.
Posting to Multiple Profiles
To schedule to several profiles at once, click on the Compose section at the top of the screen, and write your post. Upload any images you want to include in your post, then select the networks you want to post to. You can then either post this immediately or choose to schedule it.
Hootsuite also offers apps that add to the functionality of the platform. You can search these in the Hootsuite App Directory. These are different from your social networks, so you can add apps even if you’ve already added three social networks to the free Hootsuite account.
Below, for instance, you can see I’ve installed the free Hootsuite Syndicator app. This allows me to add RSS feeds to my Hootsuite account, turning it into my own RSS reader. On the free version of the app, I can click the link to open the content in a browser. If I paid to upgrade the app, I could choose to save the article to Pocket, Evernote, or other apps.
Other free apps include Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Vimeo, Scoop.it, Google Drive, Flipboard, Soundcloud, and others. Paid apps are also available.
A Simplified Online Life
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to combine all of your social feeds into one place (the lack of a Facebook newsfeed is particularly annoying). But what Hootsuite offers seems to be as good as it gets — at least for now.
Once you’ve set up your Hootsuite account, you can quickly scroll through a large number of feeds on your desktop. Flicking between these streams is also extremely easy on the mobile apps.
Taken together, this could go a long way to simplifying your social media life by bringing more of that content to one place.
Do you think using Hootsuite could help make your social media life that bit easier? Or have you found an even better app to do the same thing? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below!
Image Credit: nopporn via Shutterstock.com