Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this post, called Why You Shouldn’t Use Hootsuite to Post to Your Facebook Page.
In an effort to streamline how I posted to my networks (I manage several pages, and often post things to multiple networks), I used Hootsuite one day to schedule up a post to my FB page. What I found was that post got much lower views than my normal views (I would normally use the FB scheduler to create my posts in advance if I needed to pre-schedule stuff).
I need to say right off the top that I love Hootsuite. They are a local company who’s done well, I have friends who work there, and every time I teach Twitter, I teach my classes about it and encourage them to use it.
However, I pretty much only use Hootsuite to mange and schedule tweets. One common practice that I don’t agree with, is people who hook all their feeds (FB, twitter, LinkedIn, G+, etc) up to their Hootsuite account and then just write one update and let it auto-post to all their social networks. I’ve been pretty outspoken about this. I feel like it makes you look lazy, but more than that, I don’t think you’ll get the same bang for your buck than if you take the extra 30 seconds or so to go to each network, and personalize your message for that platform (meaning, tagging individuals or businesses in each platform, using hashtags–or not–depending on the network).
Okay. Putting that aside.
We’re all struggling with numbers right now. A year ago, the situation was not so bad–we were just learning about FB’s algorithm, and my average views at the time were between 200 and 600. Now, I’m happy if I break 200, even though I have 1,000 more fans on that page. It’s a sorry state of affairs, but that’s where we are.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks mining some data. Over the last 20 days, I have posted to one page, half of which I used FB for, and half of which I used Hootsuite. I tried my best to post similar types of posts: a mix of plain text, images, and link posts. Most days, I posted around the middle of the day, or late morning.
Here are the results:
You’ll notice there was one day when I posted to FB where I had freakishly good day, with over 1200 views. I thought I’d remove that day from the running, then average how many views per day I got using FB and how many I got using Hootsuite.
Here’s the math:
Total views using Facebook to post (minus the 1200 day): 2369 / 10 (the amount of days I posted) = 237 average views per day
Total views using Hootsuite to post: 1487 /9 (the amount of days I posted) = 165 average views per day.
According to my experiment, you’ll get, on average, 70+ more views per day if you use Facebook instead of Hootsuite to schedule your posts, which is an increase of about 40%.
A couple of last quick words:
If you do choose to use Hootsuite to post to your Facebook page, here are a couple of useful tips:
1. After Hootsuite loads your preview (if you are posting a link), delete the URL. That way, there won’t be any tell-tale signs (like a link that starts with owl.y) that you’re using Hootsuite.
2. Remember that returns are backwards in Hootsuite from how they are in Facebook. When you post to FB, you use shift + return to create a new line, and return to post. It’s opposite with Hootsuite: return to create a new line, shift + return to post.
3. You can’t tag anyone when you post from Hootsuite to Facebook. Whereas, if you use Facebook for your posts (or to schedule them), you’ll be able to tag in friends and/or businesses or events.
4. Views aren’t everything. What are your goals for posting to FB? Are you making conversions–that should be what drives your analytics.
For me, I’m going to continue to use the FB scheduler primarily. I will sometimes use Hootsuite, simply out of convenience. I’d love to hear if you’ve had a similar experience, or the opposite, or if anyone wants to repeat my experiment to see if they get the same data??