Q: I own a small bakery and most of our business comes from word of mouth. But I think it’s time to expand our reach through social media. Any advice?

A: Well, needless to say, you’ve come to the right place. Social media is a small business’s best friend as chocolate is to a girl. By not being on social media, you are losing very valuable advertising. Not just any advertising…free advertising. I don’t know about you, but I rarely say no to free (especially if it’s chocolate).

There are definitely a number of different social media platforms out there and each one fulfills a different purpose. It is just a matter of finding what works best for you and your company. Creating a social media presence is as easy as simply creating the accounts.

There are so many to choose from such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Whether you have one or a combination of these accounts, keeping them current and updated is the real challenge. Not to worry though. Per usual, we PropellerHeads have the answer (not that we’re bragging or anything).

Hootsuite (hootsuite.com), a social media management tool, allows you to connect to your platforms all in one place. It allows you to see all of your posts and updates along with the comments and likes that they have received. But the most useful feature that Hootsuite provides is the ability to schedule posts to your social media timeline.

Regular postings are key when it comes to staying connected with customers and keeping them updated. However, one of the hardest things about managing any social media account is simply remembering to post. Hootsuite reduces this possibility by allowing you to schedule post weeks in advance.

No longer do you have to remind yourself to remember to post about the marble cheesecake that is being added to the menu (it’s my favorite) simply to forget when it really matters (no worries, happens to the best of us). You will be able to build and schedule a post on the spot the moment it comes to mind.

Although there are a number of different social media management tools out there (ow.ly/btc430dxRZw), such as Everypost (everypost.me) and Buffer (buffer.com), Hootsuite is one of the few that offer analytics. It analyzes how well your social medias are performing, which allows you to better understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to audience engagement.

Hootsuite also understands that people have different needs when it comes to social media and therefore offers different plans to fulfill those needs. Whether you are an individual, a small business, or a large enterprise, Hootsuite has a plan best suited to your needs. For a small business, the professional plan, which allows for up to 10 social media profiles, is the best choice. But, 10 social media sites are a lot to manage, so I recommend keeping the number under five.

With the Hootsuite Mobile app, you are able to change, update, and edit your posts on the go. There is no need to pull out your laptop every time you get a brilliant idea for a post (which I’m sure happens all the time) when with a few simple strokes of your finger, the post is scheduled and ready to go.

Although my experience with Hootsuite has mainly been positive, there are certain aspects that can be a little…annoying.

We all make mistakes, some more than others (guilty as charged). Whether it’s dropping chocolate cake on your white shirt (that can’t just be me) to misspelling something on your post; once something is posted, Hootsuite does not allow you to edit it. This means if you make a mistake, you must log into the desired platform and fix it from there. This becomes very inconvenient when the scheduled post was for more than one social media platform.

Hootsuite also doesn’t allow you to post multiple pictures on Facebook in one post which is inconvenient when trying showcase that new marble cheesecake (are you getting the hint?) from different angles.

Even with a few drawbacks, Hootsuite’s ability to help you keep track of all of your accounts in one place and access to analytics make Hootsuite the reason why we use it to manage our own social media.