The average small business owner and entrepreneur in today’s environment knows that they have to have an online presence and that social media plays a large part of that presence but most feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of 'keeping up with it all.'
According to a study of web users done by Microsoft, the average online user has about 25 accounts that require passwords and 60% of those studied felt like they ‘couldn’t possibly remember all of the numbers and letters.’ Add scheduling, new technologies, meetings, telephone calls, webinars, daily surfing and researching, and family life to the mix and it’s easy to see why ‘keeping up with it all’ can seem so daunting to so many.
But, even with time being our most valuable commodity, and the 'there aren't enough hours in a day' American culture, SMB’s have no choice but to find a way to carve a presence online while at the same time gracefully managing the everyday demands of their businesses if they’re going to succeed at 'keeping up with' the competition.
That’s why it's no surprise that savvy time-saving technologies like Hootsuite are proving to be such smashing successes! Hootsuite not only makes it easy to cast content out to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter simultaneously, but it provides necessary listening and reporting tools that beg the 'cats meow.'
While there are a number of different social media management tools to choose from, Hootsuite is my top pick for helping busy Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners manage all of their social media platforms in one easy to navigate interface. Gone are the days of logging into several different accounts and working ‘lone’ in each individual ecosystem one-at-a-time. Hootsuite puts each of the different ecosystems [or platforms] all in one ecosystem making it easier than ever to not only manage but to scale your online presence. You can see your Tweets, Facebook posts, comments, likes, and shares alongside your Youtube channel comments and likes, for example. This makes it easy to see what people are saying about your business and to learn both your strengths and your weaknesses to improve and grow.
One step further, it is also designed for you [and your team, if you’re lucky enough to big enough to have one] to ‘listen’ to conversations online that are relevant to your business so that you can ‘show up’ and respond appropriately. It’s more than a ‘casting’ platform and that’s important if you want to see genuine ROI [return on investment]/ ROT [return on time]. And again, one step further than the first step further, it is designed to measure so that you can analyze your results and act accordingly to optimize your social media efforts and scale.
Hootsuite interfaces with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, FourSquare, Wordpress, and Mixi and also boasts a list of 70+ additional ‘add on’ apps [*3rd party apps] that plug into the engine for further maximization of this renowned social media ‘mother ship.’ Some of the ‘add-ons’ include Youtube, Salesforce, SoundCloud, Instagram, MailChimp, EverNote, and Tumblr just to name a few.
Let’s talk Differentiators:
The fact that Hootsuite interfaces with Google+ Pages is one of the biggest differentiators between Hootsuite and similar platforms, as not many of them do. Another note-worthy differentiators is price-point. Hootsuite offers a light version that allows users to plug in 5 social media networks and for many small businesses this is all they need. What’s nice is that as a business grows, Hootsuite is set to grow with it. There’s a ‘light’ version for users with 5 social profiles or less, then there’s a ‘Pro’ version that offers ‘advanced’ features and 50 social profiles, and finally, the state that all SMB’s hope to grow to, ‘Enterprise’ level that offers ‘advanced’ features and unlimited social profiles. Of course, companies previously mentioned partake in the ‘Enterprise’ offerings but for SMB’s, Hootsuite’s offerings are just as appealing. For a small business, ‘Pro’ version is only $8.99/month. I recommend this over the ‘light’ version mostly because it allows ‘Google Analytics’ and the light version does not. Either way, Light or Pro, it's AFFORDABLE and you won't have to change to another technology as you grow. It's ready to go 'Enterprise' whenever you are.
One additional feature that makes Hootsuite the smartest choice for SMB’s is Hootsuite University; a learning center designed to make learning the interface and maximizing all of the bells and whistles a breeze.