Why I Love Hootsuite, Hate Sendible, and Why “Social Media” Doesn’t Matter Anymore
Well, I was almost right.
Three years ago I made the claim that, three years from then, the word “social media” wouldn’t meaningfully exist anymore, because everything would be “social” so it would just be considered “media” again. That was in 2011. Well, it’s now 2014 and people still say “social media” even though the term is now somewhere between ubiquitous and meaningless. Today, even if people don’t realize it in casual conversation, the term “social media” means a whole lot more than “a Twitter account” and is in fact so broad that it basically covers most electronic things the average person uses.
“Social media” as an everyday term doesn’t mean anything anymore.
For example, I have a buddy with particularly good taste in music. My buddy’s Spotify account is linked to his personal Facebook account, so every time he listens to music, his Facebook tells me what he’s listening to, making his good taste easy for me to enjoy. He’s also got a smart TV (which basically just means it has an Ethernet port), allowing him to run Spotify as an app directly from his TV (no Roku, Apple TV, phone, nor computer required). So, when he listens to music on his TV, his Spotify account tells his Facebook account, which tells my iPhone. His television is now a “social media” device connected to my phone. This seems pretty “social” on the surface, but I don’t think it’s necessary to call any of those activities “social”, because all of those activities are social. It’s redundant. I found music through his (social) Facebook account, which got the info from his (social) Spotify account, which got that info from his (social) TV. He probably heard about it in the first place from a (social) music blog, which probably heard about it from the artist’s (social) Twitter account.
So, navigating the Internet of 2014 is not about navigating merely social media, it’s about navigating media itself more broadly and comprehensively, and simply being aware of a social layer. In 2003 when Facebook launched, it was interesting to distinguish the two. Now, nothing is gained — and perspective is lost — by narrowing down media to social media alone.
This is why I use Hootsuite (and why I’m now officially a “Hootsuite Ambassador”). I very rarely log in to use individual social media websites, instead opting to view everything at once with Hootsuite. It’s so much better juggling all my media in one place. The Hootsuite dashboard has become the simplest and most thorough option for me to navigate this intense media landscape. I used to be on the fence about Hootsuite, but they’ve since definitely won me over and proven themselves to be the best option for maintaining control of both my production (read: uploading) and consumption (read: downloading) habits when it come to the Internet. All of my online accounts are managed through Hootsuite, as are all of the accounts of all of my clients.
Why? Because Hootsuite understands my need to monitor, engage with, and produce content as simply as possible. They do it better than any of the popular competitors including Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, and most of all gaddam Sendible (more on that in a moment).
By this time next year, over 50% of all online traffic will come from mobile devices, and Hootsuite knows it.
With Hootsuite, I regularly create, automatically find, automatically post, and automatically monitor content — for over fifty accounts — from my iPhone.
Hootsuite lets me set up tabs to monitor just about anything, from Google Alerts and RSS, to WordPress and YouTube feeds. Once I find content within my tabs that I like, I can share it — and even translate between multiple languages — with most any of my other accounts, at the tap of my thumb. That content is then algorithmically filtered to only post at optimized times when my posts have historically gotten the best responses, saving me the trouble of worrying about my audience. Again, the goal on the surface is to create “social” engagements, but more truly what I’m doing is acting across all of accessible “media” more generally on a macro level — which can only be meaningfully done with correct tools like Hootsuite.
I used the incorrect tools for years, which is why I love Hootsuite today. I previously used the unbelievable-pain-in-my-ass service Sendible, and for a while even pushed my friends to switch from Hootsuite to Sendible, because Sendible (at the time) had reasonably similar functionality but also included email marketing features similar to MailChimp and Constant Contact. And better sounding yet, Sendible remained free or at least cheaper, while Hootsuite began charging. Seeing Sendible’s offering and price, what marketer wouldn’t want to have all of their email and “social” accounts in the same place!? Well, me, the day I realized Sendible was an inferiorly managed company than Hootsuite and negligently bit off more than it could support.
At the same time Hootsuite was building it’s stunning mobile app (which is literally now my favorite app on my iPhone), Sendible was destroying my precious email list segmentation.
I was a touring stand up comedy act at the time, and had developed excellent email list segments filtered by geography (“Los Angeles people” vs. “San Francisco people” etc). These lists were invaluable to me. They represented actual humans at actual shows of mine, physically walking up to me and giving me their personal information, hundreds at a time, essentially opting in to whatever I did next. Those lists represented loyalty in about as clear a way as one could digitally hope for, so I uploaded all of these individual lists into Sendible. What happened next is the stuff of marketing nightmares. Sendible’s customer service (if you’d care to call them that) promptly and intentionally merged everything into one giant list, removed all segmentation, and then refused to make a fix because of how much work it would be for them to untangle my segments after ruining them. Did I have a backup copy in a CSV? Of course not, it wouldn’t be a good story that way. I was wrecked. Two years of hard-earned touring audience data, two years of real people who actually cared about my work both online and offline, ruined and gone forever. I vowed to never use, and actively campaign against, Sendible after that.
Hootsuite gives me the best control over the social layers of my media than anything else I’ve encountered.
This is not an apples to apple comparison, because Hootsuite does not offer email marketing — and that’s a good thing. It’s good to deal with expertise and not put all of your marketing eggs in one basket. It’s also good to use as few solutions as possible with individual problems, and I learned the hard way that “social marketing” and email marketing ought to be thought of as individual problems, not one big problem. For Hootsuite’s full feature set (a “Pro” account), I’m only charged $6.99 — less than Netflix, and worth every penny considering how often I use the service (hourly). Perhaps most importantly considering this is a paid app, Hootsuite’s cutomer service is incredible. I believe that they would never screw me over like Sendible did, and I’ve literally only had good experiences with them. You get what you pay for.
For email, I stick with proven winners like MailChimp. For pretty much everything else online – all the social layers of media which I have access to — I use Hootsuite, and you really should too.