Friday, May 26, 2017

Hootsuite Implements Limits on Scheduled Posts for Free Accounts

Many of you might be familiar with Hootsuite, a platform for managing such social media sites as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. Since it was founded in 2008 it has proven popular with users, particularly Twitter users who prefer its interface to that of the Twitter site itself. Unfortunately last night Hootsuite made a bit of misstep. Quite simply they implemented limits on the number of scheduled posts that can be made at once by free accounts. At the moment the limits have been rolled out to only a few free account users to gauge feedback. It also seems as if the limits currently vary from user to user. Last night when scheduling posts on Hootsuite I was stopped at 10 scheduled tweets (I had to do the rest on Buffer), but then I have seen tweets from other users that they were allowed 20 scheduled tweets.

Regardless, I think that implementing limits on scheduled posts on Hootsuite is a very bad idea. It is true that other social media management platforms have limits. For example, Buffer only allows users 10 scheduled posts at once. That having been said, just because many other platforms are doing it does not mean it is a good idea.

Indeed, the fact that Hootsuite allowed its users with free accounts unlimited scheduling gave Hootsuite an advantage over its competitors. Why use Buffer when one is only allowed to schedule 10 posts at once when one could use Hootsuite and schedule several more at once? As it is now, I suspect the limit will drive many Hootsuite users to other platforms. While Buffer and several other platforms have limits on the number of scheduled posts one can make at once, there are free alternatives out there. Indeed, one can schedule tweets using Tweetdeck without concerns about a limit.

As to why Hootsuite would implement limits on scheduled tweets for free accounts, the official reason is to make sure the number of posts one can schedule reflects the volume of social networks available to users according to Hootsuite's payment plans. That having been said, I have to suspect the primary reason for implementing limits on scheduled posts is simply to make money. Quite simply, Hootsuite is hoping that users with free accounts will buy a plan in order to have access to unlimited scheduling. If this is the case, then I think Hootsuite is being extremely unrealistic. The base plan for Hootsuite costs $19 a month. That comes out to $228 a year. Many users don't have that kind of money to spend simply to have unlimited scheduling, and those who do may not want to use that money for something like Hootsuite. Indeed, to give you an idea of just how expensive Hootsuite is, it costs more to pay for Hootsuite a month than it does to get the basic subscriptions to both Hulu and Netflix each month!

Given the cost of Hootsuite's basic paid plan, I rather suspect most users with free accounts will simply opt to use a different platform. Some might do what I did last night. Schedule their ten posts and then switch to a different platform to finish their posts. Yet others might well switch to a different platform entirely.  Tweetdeck, Edgar, and Social Oomph both allow unlimited scheduling. Other services don't allow unlimited scheduling for free accounts, but are cheaper. Twuffer only costs $5.99 a month. Twittimer only costs $6.99 a month and allows for 500 scheduled posts a month. Hootsuite users who are unhappy with the limits on scheduled posts then have a variety of platforms to choose from, and I suspect that they will simply use one of them instead of Hootsuite. Indeed, today I saw a tweet from a Hootsuite user saying that she guessed she would have to start using Tweetdeck to schedule posts.

Ultimately I  think it would be a mistake for Hootsuite to go forward with limits on scheduled posts for free accounts. Hootsuite has always allowed its users with free accounts unlimited scheduling, and that has given them a big advantage over their competitors. To do away with unlimited scheduling for users with free accounts will most likely drive them to other platforms. Even if Hootsuite does decide to go forward with the limits on scheduled posts, they should be much greater than 10. Most Hootsuite users I know use it for Twitter, a social media site where individuals make many more posts than on Facebook or Instagram. Ten scheduled tweets is then overly restrictive. I personally think 20 would be a good limit, but I saw several tweets complaining about that as being too restrictive. I have to wonder if they go forward with limits on scheduled posts at all that it shouldn't be well over 25 at once. Regardless, I think in imposing limits on scheduled posts Hootsuite has made a significant error, one that could seriously damage the company if they are not careful.


Mindy said...

I was one affected by this change. At first I thought I could schedule 10 each day, then realized I can only have 10 scheduled posts in the hopper at a time.

Read this post and am changing to Social Oomph this morning.

Thanks for the info. Was trying to read more about the change this morning and found your post.

Terence Towles Canote said...

You're welcome! It is so very frustrating! And after 7 years of using HootSuite I feel a bit betrayed that they would do this. I'll continue to use HootSuite for now, but I'll have to supplement it with Tweetdeck.