Recently I and Akshay have been trying hard to automate our Social Media activity. By automating, I don’t mean spamming by posting junk into our social profiles/pages. We actually wanted to automatically post into out Facebook Fanpage Wall whenever we publish a new article on our blog, so that it reaches to maximum fans directly. Actually it becomes hard for us to maintain so many social media profiles. Once we publish an article, we have to tweet about it, we have to post it on our Facebook profile wall, post it on the Fanpage wall and finally post it on Google+ Business Page manually.
After struggling hard, we found RSS Graffiti – a very popular Facebook app which can post into your Facebook profile and your Fanpage wall directly from a RSS Feed. It is very much similar to NetworkedBlogs which is another FB app and does almost the same thing. But, I felt that RSS Graffiti does it better. I was also using HootSuite for quite a long time, but never explored all the features available to its free users until recently.
A few points worth mentioning about RSS Graffiti and HootSuite
- RSS Graffiti: This Facebook app is one of the most popular apps and also one of the most widely used auto-publishing tools used by many bloggers and webmasters. RSS Graffiti currently has 1.5 million monthly global users which is a huge number.
- HootSuite: This is currently not available as an app and you have to manage everything from their Social Media Dashboard at http://hootsuite.com/. I do not have any statistics about the number of users using HootSuite but of course there are many big brands/blogs like Mashable and SmashingMagazine to name a few who use HootSuite.
Advantages and Dis-advantages of RSS Graffiti
- It posts well on FB profiles and walls and does it consistently.
- A very good and easy to use administrative panel for the APP.
- Option to enable/disable publishing through RSS Graffiti on the account level.
- Option to manage existing feeds as well as adding new feeds. You can also enable/disable individual feeds right from the application home page.
- A quick glance at you statistics – right from the number of times the feed was checked to the number of articles posted on FB, the fetch rate and the number of errors.
You can see a preview of how your feed looks like when posted on your profile/wall. You can set the source info, post style, filtering options, message options, set the updating frequency and publishing limits and lastly set the publisher and service account. All there you can access through the tabs available.
Advantages and Dis-advantages of HootSuite
- The main advantage of HootSuite is that it is a Social Media Dashboard meaning that it gives its users an option of managing all their social media accounts right in one place. This is really a social media dashboard in the true sense. You get all the major social media sites integrated all together into HootSuite. You can connect to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace and mixi accounts.
This in itself is a very big advantage of HootSuite.
- You can have all the latest updates/streams from several social media sites as tabs.
- You can schedule messages and select which profiles to send your message/updates.
This is another great feature which I liked a lot.
- You can set a RSS Feed to post directly to your twitter, Facebook profile and fanpage wall.
Right on one window you can enable/disable and edit your feed settings. You can set on which profiles you want to publish directly from your feed.
- The main disadvantage that caught my attention is the inability to post images from feed though the RSS Feed is valid and also contains the image url wrapped inside the ‘enclosure url’.
- Another thing worth noting is that HootSuite is not totally free. Some of the features are available to premium/paid users though it makes sense to invest $5.99/month on such a service which works almost flawlessly. Free users are restricted at several points and are suggested to upgrade to the Pro account to unlock several features. Like for example, the analytics and the report feature is available to the Pro users with only few/limited access to the free users. Analytics is a feature which every webmaster likes to monitor regularly and continuously to track visitor reach and user interaction. This is one feature which makes me strongly considering upgrading my account to the pro account. The pro account also has the feature of adding Team Members to your social media components.
- Another disadvantage is that HootSuite is not available as a FB app and you cannot access it directly inside Facebook. For using HootSuite, you have to register an account on HootSuite but that is worth since you can manage almost around 7-8 social media.
Well I guess this post is becoming is very long and it might be boring to some of the readers. So, I’ll stop this article right here and probably write an extended review about RSS Graffiti and HootSuite individually in two different posts. Let me know if you liked this in-depth review of the two most popular social media apps so that I’ll write more about them.