With so many social media management and marketing tools out there, how do you know which one to use? Well, as with most things, it depends on what you’re trying to do – but we think there are three major features to look out for:
2. Social engagement
3. Analytics reporting
At Huble Digital, we’ve been using HubSpot’s social media tool for eight years to help our clients establish their online channels, drive traffic to their websites, and become thought-leaders in their industries.
HubSpot claims their social media tool allows you to: monitor brand mentions and relevant conversations, track engagements automatically, and schedule your social posts to be published when the right people will see them, but is it worth it?
Below is our honest review of HubSpot’s social media tool.
1. Publishing in HubSpot
HubSpot’s social publishing tool manages the uploading and scheduling of social media posts. It’s mostly intuitive, so you’ll learn the ropes within a few minutes of playing around.
The tool comes with a handy bulk scheduling feature for long-term planners, and you can use it to post directly to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
✅ Pros of HubSpot’s social publishing tool:
Bulk scheduling social media messages is fast using HubSpot’s ‘Schedule in bulk’ feature. Simply download the Excel or CSV import template offered on screen, pop in your copy and links, select the posting time and date, choose your social channels and select a campaign from the drop-down list. It even has a column that tells you the character count of your post and accounts for shortened links! Once you’re done, just drag and drop the file into HubSpot to upload. Efficient.
What if you want to upload one or more posts at a time? Well, HubSpot’s social publishing interface makes it hard to go wrong. You can…
Schedule a post for any time or publish right away,
Connect campaigns to social posts to trace traffic to the correct source,
Easily toggle between social networks while using the tool,
And attach images, videos and emojis to your posts.
Also, HubSpot automatically shortens links so you don’t have to. Once your posts have gone out to the world, HubSpot lets you easily sort them, with a single click, by number of clicks, interactions, date posted, campaign, or by user. What’s more, you can clone your favourite social messages if you want to use them again!
❌ Cons of HubSpot’s social publishing tool:
HubSpot’s publishing tool generates a link preview (including the featured image) so you know what your post will look like to your followers. This is a really cool feature that, unfortunately, doesn't always fire. If for whatever reason the link preview isn’t generated, we’d recommend trying the following steps:
Try again by restarting the post. If this doesn’t work, try a different link. If the link preview appears for the new link, chances are the previous page doesn’t have a featured image or the image isn’t being pulled by HubSpot.
Upload your own image. If all steps fail, you can still upload your own image. Make sure you get the image dimensions right for the channel you’re posting to.
Another feature of the publishing tool that misses the mark is the calendar. The calendar allows you to view your scheduled posts by day, week or month. It has small tabs for each post which can be hovered over and clicked for information.
If you’re juggling multiple campaigns and social channels, the week or month views might not be as useful, as the small tabs convey little about the content. Having said that, the calendar view provides a ‘big picture’ view, making it easy to spot gaps in your social publishing schedule.
2. Monitoring and engagement
As well as publishing posts, a good social media management tool lets you monitor social mentions and connect with your most engaged followers. HubSpot’s social monitoring tool allows you to manage various social media accounts from a single, easy-to-use interface.
✅ Pros of HubSpot’s social monitoring tool:
The monitoring tool really packs a punch in terms of functionality. You can…
View all inbox activity, including new followers,
Check the profile bios of those who follow you and follow back Twitter followers with a single click,
See interactions, such as likes and retweets,
And track and respond to conversations to between you and your followers.
All of the above can be filtered by network, of course, and users can take their HubSpot Social Inbox wherever they go with the HubSpot mobile app. You can also create custom twitter streams; a powerful feature for tracking keywords on Twitter, allowing you to monitor trends and conversations around your business’ core topics.
❌ Cons of HubSpot’s social monitoring tool:
One feature that would make this tool even more useful is the ability to search for Twitter profiles. This would allow you to find and follow accounts without having to sign into Twitter and do it manually. Currently, you can’t follow people on LinkedIn or Facebook through HubSpot’s social monitoring tool, although this may be down to how LinkedIn’s and Facebook’s APIs interact with HubSpot.
3. Analytics reporting
HubSpot’s social reports tool has several out-of-the box reports (audience, published posts, interactions, clicks, shares, impressions, sessions, new contacts, top posts), all of which come with easy-to-read graphs and charts. Users can also use the reporting tool to attribute leads to specific sources, giving them the added advantage of business intelligence (BI).
✅ Pros of HubSpot’s social reports tool:
This tool allows you to access specific data about your social media performance, and fast. You can…
Customise your date range for accurate reporting,
Select a campaign or select a social network to analyse,
Track metrics for audience/followers, number of published posts, interactions, clicks, shares, impressions, and top performing posts,
Access YouTube video metrics, including shares, watch time, and average view duration,
And toggle on or off the option to compare date ranges.
Using the tool, you can assess the impact of social activity on website sessions and new contacts, which is vital for assessing the success of your lead generation efforts. Moreover, all this data is delivered graphically, making it remarkably easy to digest.
If you need more granular data, HubSpot allows you to export all published posts and their associated metrics in an excel spreadsheet.
Finally, you can connect campaigns to your social posts, the same campaigns you’re using for landing pages and other content. This helps streamline reporting and makes it clear where your traffic is coming from.
❌ Cons of HubSpot’s social reports tool:
When it comes to optimising your social media activity for engagement, it’s useful to be able to see performance trends at a glance. With this in mind, HubSpot’s social reports tool could be made better with the addition of such metrics as, for example:
performance based on the time of day,
performance based on character count,
performance based on use of images or videos.
In any case, we’d recommend exporting the data into excel for better analysis.
HubSpot also warns that data older than a year may not display on social reports. In fact, HubSpot counts in reports may vary from what you see in your social media accounts (as social media accounts count clicks on other elements: profile pictures, account name), whereas HubSpot only counts clicks on the shortened URL.
HubSpot’s social media tool provides an (almost) one-stop-shop for your social media marketing activity: you can upload posts, engage with your followers, and extract valuable data using reports. Its features are versatile, simple and designed to connect a user’s entire journey – from clicking on a social post to becoming a paying customer.
So, how does HubSpot’s social media tool stack up against common alternatives? Its closest competitors: Hootsuite, Loomly, Sprout Social, Zoho Social and Buffer all offer social tools with similar functionality, with the last two providing additional features.
But what about price?
Hootsuite £99/mo for 3 users and 20 social profiles.
Loomly £45/mo for 6 users and 20 social profiles.
Sprout Social £77/mo for 5 social profiles.
Zoho Social £20/mo for 3 users and 6 social profiles.
Buffer: Publish £50/mo for 2 users and 8 social profiles; Reply £27 for 10 social profiles; and Analyze £27 for 8 social accounts.
HubSpot £655/mo for professional Marketing Hub (including many more tools and features).
HubSpot can seem expensive when compared to other social media marketing and management tools, but that’s because it’s not one of them.
HubSpot is an all-in-one solution that brings together all of your marketing, sales and customer service activity, including social media, blogging and content creation tools, SEO and content strategy, landing pages, marketing automation, website traffic analytics, campaign reporting and much more.
There’s certainly room for additional social features in the future, but HubSpot is in a league of its own thanks to its award-winning customer support and service teams. These teams will answer your questions, help you master the inbound methodology, make sure you’re getting the most out of your tools, and provide the resources you need.