I have been in search of a program to help manage multiple social networks for Catholic Web Services. After consulting with a number of good review websites and fellow webmasters, there seems to be a clear winner–hootsuite. Hootsuite offers a Media Dashboard to help me keep track of my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ postings all in one handy and user-friendly window. It is amazing to keep track of the rapid growth of social media companies on the internet, but these three seem to be the key players for most organizations, churches, and businesses. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has now recognized the importance of these social networks, and is currently hiring for the first time, a full-time employee to manage the Social Networks (Facebook & Twitter) for the USSCB (way to go Cardinal Dolan!).
The dashboard is easy to use and you can see all the postings and easily switch between tabbed windows for all your social media networks. Hootsuite is capable of supporting many social media including: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, MailChimp, Constant Contact, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare, WordPress, and more. One nice feature is being able to send out Twitter length messages to all your social networks with one posting. Hootsuite also offers support for ow.ly web addresses, which generates a shorter web address, so you can have more room for other text in your postings. There is also a Hootlet plug-in App (using Google Chrome browser) that allows for quick sharing of your current website displayed and sharing it with your social networks in a few keystrokes. Another major feature is that you can schedule to send messages anytime in the future with convenience. There are content apps that can integrate with hootsuite including YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram. Hootsuite also is supported by a free iPhone and Android App for all mobile needs.
There is a FREE version of Hootsuite that runs very well, but only has support for up to 5 RSS social network feeds. The PRO version of hootsuite is $9.99/month, but offers more features including Google Analytics support for all your social networks and collaboration capabilities for peers and business. The FREE version is adequate for most schools and parishes, but larger organizations may find the data analysis and collaboration abilities well worth the subscription costs.
Another good feature is that Hootsuite will also display klout scores. If you click on the picture/graphic of the posting it will display Follower #, Following #, Updates, and Klout #. The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure on a scale of 1-100:
True Reach: How many people you influence
Amplification: How much you influence them
Network Impact: The influence of your network
You can find out more in the links below to hootsuite where they have great training videos and on-line support for their product. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also has an excellent website for guidelines to help guide parishes in how to best use social media with link below.
Do you use any other social media aggregator programs? Do you have any suggestions for managing and using your social networks?