To manage our social media activity at Social Media Advance I have started to use the HootSuite social media management platform.

Being that we’re still just familiarising ourselves with the service *cough* and maybe that we’re a bit tight, we’re just using the free version, which is readily available for anybody looking to use the social media service either online or via one of their mobile applications.

Don’t get me wrong, the premium version looks great offering services such as the ability to simultaneously manage multiple social media platforms, integration with Google Analytics, Klout integration, user permissions to assign responsibility and much much more, its just that our requirements aren’t that great at the moment.

The reason that I was drawn to HootSuite was simple; it just works. Compared to a number of the free social media platforms available for management, HootSuite offers seamless support for all major social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google+ (just added). Supporting this it’s the management tools intuitive design that makes managing your social media simple for even those non-techie marketers to understand.

Whilst my opinion of HootSuite is very positive, when I use tools like this it always gets me thinking about other areas where developers could add additional functionality. Don’t get me wrong, the chaps at HootSuite are pretty smart and may have discounted these ideas long time ago, but if they did it’d be interesting to know why? Maybe get a conversation going?

App Store

The app store offered on HootSuite is great but it would be better if it was broadened in scope. The current app store syncs with tools like ZenDesk, Evernote and HubSpot, it would be even more powerful if it tied in with CRM tools like Salesforce and Highrise enabling companies to make social media more of a common place within organisations.

Visual Analytics

With infographics becoming such a prominent part of social media it’s interesting to see that HootSuite have not based its analytics offering on these principles. Not only would they be easier to digest by their user base but also would be more readily shared to others supported by a HootSuite watermark for word of mouth marketing.

Static to Text

From my experience of HootSuite, whilst it integrates with lots of other forms of social media, it is still very much engrained towards Twitter, its initial offering. When you click to other tabs I would like to have the ability to input other information/content that is not just static to text. Whilst there is the ability to upload an image or document, I feel that they could offer more. Take for example within Facebook’s recent launch of page post targeting – this is not available within HootSuite requiring the user to still login to the Facebook interface to achieve this.

Content Management

Building on the point of that the ability to upload content is quite static, so too is the ability to manage your content and the appearance of each of the social media channels served. If Hootsuite could offer the ability to not only manage your updates, but manage all of your content (similar in offering to ThisMoment) it would give much more of a rounded user experience.

Email Alerts

When you’re doing social media monitoring for your business it’s very easy to let things slip, especially if you have a lot on. HootSuite offers a nice keyword search across different forms of social media, this is great but it requires to be logged in. It would be great if HootSuite offered a function to which you could monitor keywords as they happened by sending the emails directly to you – or if really important – by text.

Video Support

With video being such a large part of the web experience and a definite growth area for the future it surprises me that you cannot upload video to multiple video sharing platforms at once via HootSuite. One great example to HootSuite could model a similar offering would be TubeMogul, this free offering lets you upload your videos simultaneously to YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe and lots of others enabling active video sharing and great SEO benefits.

100% Accuracy

HootSuite is very accurate, but not 100% accurate, which means that you cannot 100% rely on the tool, still requiring the need to login to the relevant social media interfaces on a regular basis. For example within Twitter, not all @ mentions, ReTweets and Favorite Tweets get through which from an engagement perspective can be quite frustrating as you may wish to connect with people as things happen.

What to other people think of the service? Where has it particularly worked for them? Has anybody had trouble with it?