Should You Use HootSuite to Post to Facebook?

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:

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 7.48.13 AM

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??

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 25

  1. Interesting article, I was looking at using Hootsuite today, more as a management tool. But I think I will stick with using FB Scheduler clearly its still being preferred by Facebook.

    Thanks Donna

    1. I use Hootsuite every day. It’s an awesome tool, especially if you are managing multiple twitter accounts. I’d still encourage you to try it out!

  2. Hi Rebecca,
    I have to admit I haven’t checked my results as detailed as you have but it is interesting the results you got.

    You also have another one up on me. I didn’t know FB had a scheduler. I will be checking on that.

    Have a great day, Monna

  3. Hi Rebecca,

    I do use Facebook Scheduler and it makes a huge difference. I also started using Pagemodo (there is a free and paid version) Since I’m scheduling with that, I can get more creative and even got more shares.

    I like to use Hootsuite for Twitter. Thanks for sharing your stats.


  4. Thanks Rebecca. What you say about owl.y is interesting and I wonder if it applies to all link shorteners? I can understand that when a url is hidden the link may be less trusted and less likely to be clicked on.

    But I think what you are saying here is that the post on FB itself gets less views which seems to indicate that Facebook is not showing it to as many of your followers? Did I get that right or are you talking about click through rates?

    As my follower base is mostly in US and UK, and I am in Australia, schedulers are more important so I am posting during the day over there. I need to do it more often. I find FB and Buffer scheduling quicker than Hootsuite.

    1. Yeah, my guess is (and I can’t prove this), that Facebook somehow punishes you in their algorithm for using a third party app to post to FB. My next experiment should be to try exactly the same process, only with Buffer and see if I get the same results. I’m talking about views–how many people see your FB post–not click-throughs, or even engagement.

  5. Hi Rebecca, I’ve just come across this post and it’s very interesting to see your results. I’ve recently started using hootsuite but have just realised I can’t boost posts from there? Do you know of a management tool that allows this? Thanks

  6. Glad I found this. I was really starting to wonder about how HootSuite posts to FaceBook. I don’t think I have enough data to draw the same conclusions that you did about the view counts, but the way it posted just didn’t feel right.

  7. we’re just trying out the hootsuite system to see if it is something that clients would like to use. First impressions are that it’s a pretty impressive system. There are a few limitations like @mentions which may be useful, but then you can always go directly to FB if you need to do this.

  8. Hi Rebecca,
    I’m trying to figure out why my scheduled posts that are created within FB aren’t showing up on my scheduled feed in Hootsuite. I came across your blog and you seem very knowledgable, and no one else has written about the topic that I can find.
    Do you know why this happens or is this more along the lines of what you wrote above – that scheduling FB posts should be done in FB. Any insight would be great, thanks!

    1. Sorry, I’m confused by your question!

      By “sheduled feed in Hootsuite” do you mean your future posts? The ones you find under the airplane in hootsuite? If you are using the FB scheduler to schedule posts to FB, they will not show up in this feed in Hootsuite. Only posts you’ve scheduled using Hootsuite will show up there.

  9. Alexis. Rebecca is right. The hootsuite scheduler is not connected to the one built into facebook (that would be a nice feature to have though )
    I believe if you want to manage the scheduled post with hootsute, then you will have to create the scheduled post from withing Hootsuite

    1. This article is actually not the first, FIRST time I’ve written about this. I wrote the first one a year before: Why You Shouldn’t Use Hootsuite to Post to Your Facebook Page.

      I haven’t tested it recently, but as far as I know, nothing has changed. This is no reflection on Hootsuite–I’m a big fan of Hootsuite, and I use the tool every day. It’s about Facebook and its API and algorithm. I think it’s third party posting in general that FB doesn’t like. But maybe I should test that using.. say, Buffer? 😉

  10. Hello Rebecca !
    Thanks a lot for your post – I’ve read one post about this in somes site but they did not elaborate much and just mentioned it b.t.w style, whereas your post does help and explain a lot !
    Since it is a little old, I would love to hear if there has been anything new in this front ?

    1. I haven’t done this experiment again since then. I did, however, do it with Buffer more recently. The goal was to see if it was just Hootsuite, or ALL third party apps, and it turns out I had a similar experience with Buffer:

      My guess is, somehow Facebook can tell if you are using a third-party app to post to your FB page, and they don’t like it.

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