If you subscribe to social media tools like HootSuite or Buffer for promoting your comic or videogame or website (or anything) – then you should definitely, regularly review their usefulness and effectiveness in your social media efforts. And even if you use free apps or free versions of apps, you should be checking whether they’re still worth using. Here’s why:
- You may no longer be using it in a way that makes the most of the paid plan you’re on or the free version may no longer be enough
- The service may have changed since you signed-up and no longer meets your needs
- You may have started using another app that has similar features, but does things in a way that’s better for you
- Simply: you’re not using it that much any more
- You’re not getting the data you need from your tools to improve how you use social media
Today, I re-assessed HootSuite Pro against the above criteria.
Having used Pro for almost a year, I had found that since Christmas I hadn’t been using it that much, certainly not for all of the non-personal social media accounts that I manage. I hadn’t been using the HootSuite app on my phone and not the desktop version anywhere near as often as I previously did. My usage habits had definitely changed.
At the latter end of last year, I subscribed to Buffer. Buffer with their scheduling tool having set slots to put content into was proving to be more useful to me than individually scheduling posts or using HootSuite’s auto-schedule feature, (which for me, always put posts too close together for the kinds of follower numbers my social media accounts have). I’d also linked Buffer with IFTTT to help me post content from some of my favourite blogs.
And I’d found that HootSuite on my phone wouldn’t bring in the titles of articles I wanted to share from Feedly. But the Buffer phone app would bring in data like the article title. I’d also gone back to using TweetDeck on desktop because I was finding the user interface easier to handle. Maybe I couldn’t remember the last time I’d used it to post to Facebook or Google+.
Plus I’m not one for running reports (HootSuite Pro can run basic reports (costs more for more in-depth ones) on activity across your accounts), but I do use Google Analytics to track which social media channels are bringing my sites traffic and how much.
Today I downgraded and prioritised which accounts (you’re only allowed to use 5 with it on the free plan) to use with it.
Tracking RTs, clicks and things
Ideally, if you’re using apps to manage your social media they’ll give you an indication of audience engagement levels. And at least Facebook provides page managers with some quite detailed stats. Even Buffer’s basic analytics can be quite helpful, showing you the stats for clicks, faves and RTs to tweets, Facebook and Google+ statuses sent through the service.
Using something like the free version of Bitly. could help me track clicks on links when using TweetDeck. (HootSuite, when you’ve configured it and Google Analytics correctly, can help you track clicks from links to individual articles, but I wasn’t using this feature.)
But if there’s one thing you need to be able to do when you’re managing social media for a brand (even an indie one): you need to be able to monitor your social media beyond mere likes and RTs. Knowing whether your tweet led to people clicking through to your site means that you can look at the way you wrote that tweet, the time it went out and the content included with it to help you figure out frameworks and formats for future messages that will lead to audience engagement.