Free stuff, also known as swag, is beloved by social media professionals

[Updated] Stuff Social Media Pros Like

We first launched this post in the summer of 2014. One year later, and several new tools and trends have emerged, so we felt the need to update this list.

Being a social media professional means knowing your audience. Here at Hootsuite, our audience happens to be largely composed of other social media professionals.

Social media pros in general share many commonalities: they have overlapping responsibilities, they face similar challenges within businesses and on their own, and they often share a specific set of interests that fuel their online activities.

So what are the things that bind us together? Here is a list of “Stuff Social Media Pros Like.”

Debating which is better: Periscope or Meerkat


In social media circles, when something innovative is launched, it usually doesn’t take too long for a similar product to emerge as competition. Less than a month after live-streaming app Meerkat was released to much fanfare at SXSW, Twitter had released Periscope. These two apps were very similar, in style and purpose, and the debate over which was better quickly became a hot topic. Chances are, if you’re a social media manager, you had this conversation with someone else in the space.

This is just one example, but there have been many over the years. Were you on team Vine or team Instagram video? Do you use Instagram’s editing tools or an external app like VSCOcam. Social media managers love these debates, and most of us also love picking a side and vehemently defending it. Maybe it’s less about the tools themselves, and more about a general love for debate.


Hey, did you read that post in which a teen shares his thoughts on social networks? Or that post about why we can’t read anymore? And that hilarious post on the terribly built burrito?

If you understand even two of these three references, you probably work in social media. Why? Because all of them were hits on Medium, and social media professionals love Medium.

Screenshot from Medium Post by Andrew Watts

While mainstream media sources talk about social media, it’s often framed in a way that makes it appealing to a mass market of readers, and consequently very basic or useless for social media pros. Medium, on the other hand, quickly became a place where people went to write more technical, advanced or insightful posts on social media news, technology or what it’s like to work in this industry. It became a place where the niche thrives, and even the boring writer can have his day.

It also became a content hub that countless social media professionals use every single day to find posts that they can share with their networks. Many of us have even been inspired by Medium posts and have written our own takes on these stories or themes. All this to say, I would bet that a good chunk of Medium’s email newsletter list is composed of social media managers.

Hating on Ello and other failed experiments

Do you remember Ello? Of course you do, because you’re a social media manager and you were one of the first people to sign up. You were also probably one of the first people to realize that it wasn’t going to catch on, and ditch your account.

Ello’ing is the new planking. #Ello #ElloLife #ElloTshirts #whateverhappenedtoello

A photo posted by Jaime Stein (@jaimestein) on

But that wasn’t enough. In addition to ditching Ello, you had a good time making fun of Ello. It’s a cruel world out there for start-ups, full of competition and fluctuating interests. Still, that’s not a reason to let them get off easy. So, you maybe had a laugh with a colleague, or even sent out a Tweet saying, “Wait… did people ACTUALLY think Ello was good?! I’m confused…” This may not be one you’re proud of, but social media professionals love making fun of dumb apps and failed social networks. From Ello to Yo!, no one is safe.

Photos of their feet

Don’t ask me why, but it’s true. Don’t try and deny it. Those ten toes are somewhere in your Instagram profile.

Snow over rain, any day. A photo posted by Evan LePage (@evlp) on

Great ads

Did you see that recent surfing ad from Samsung? Westjet’s tear-inducing Christmas video? And Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign? Social media professionals love a great ad. First of all, because we’re all content marketers and we’re jealous that we didn’t think of the idea or concept first (that’s healthy jealousy). And secondly, because we recognize a good campaign when we see one. We know what works on social, what will get shared and will find its way into AdAge in a few hours. That understanding, being able to grasp what makes a success on social media, that’s something we’re proud of. So we get really excited when we see an ad that checks off all the boxes. We want to be one of the first to share it, to say “called it!” And there’s definitely nothing wrong with that.

Late night television

It’s just one of those things we all seem to enjoy. Maybe because late night television and social profiles have a lot in common. They both try to capitalizing on news and trends, while making people laugh and getting them to check back in tomorrow. Or it might just be that Jimmy Fallon is our spirit animal.

Using their phone to document every. single. situation.

Customer service - mobile push notifications

In the eyes of many parents and grandparents, this is an epidemic. Phones at the dinner table, phones at weddings, phones at a party… we’re using our phones everyone. The difference with social media professionals is that they’re usually not checking their phones because they’re bored or because they feel awkward in social situations (though both of those things might be true), in general they use their phones to document whatever is going on. If they’re not checking in on foursquare, they’re posting photos to Instagram. Maybe they’re live-tweeting the party they’re at or posting to the bar’s Facebook page to let them know about the awesome waitress they had. For a social media professional, social media is an appropriate part of almost every situation.

Working on weekends, even when they don’t have to

“Social media never sleeps” could easily be expanded with  “and social media professionals never sleep either.” Whether or not there’s actual work to be done, social media pros just LOVE working on weekends. They fiddle with social networks, check for new messages, scan analytics, see what their followers or competitors are posting, etc. Unlike the factory worker or banker who would actually need to go into work to work, the social media professional has work in their pocket whenever they need it. So, we tend to work from bed, from the couch, from the bus or car, at the restaurant, at our friend’s weddings, etc. When working for the CFL, Hootsuite’s Senior Manager of Social Media Jaime Stein would even “respond to CFL fan Twitter comments on my BlackBerry during Christmas holidays from the chairlifts at Whistler in between runs.” We can’t let it go. Thankfully that tends to pay off when something actually goes wrong.

“Evergreen” content

Evergreen content refers to content that is not associated with any specific time or event. It’s not news or an announcement, but a video, blog or graphic that maintains its relevancy through time. In other words, it’s as valuable to our audience at 5 a.m. today as it will be at 8 p.m. six months from now. Social media pros like evergreen content because it fills the gaps between the timely or newsworthy content we post to social networks like Twitter and Facebook. So often businesses ask how we can create enough content to send 15 or 20 Tweets a day, and the truth is that over half of the Tweets we send point to old evergreen content. These are tips posts, lists or videos that we created knowing they would have a long lifespan. Not everything you post needs to be new. Space it out for different time zones and use it sporadically over several months to really get the most out of your evergreen content.

Game of Thrones

Social media pros, and everyone else. #amirite

People who understand what they do

“You Facebook for a living? What are you a professional Farmviller?” LOL, you’re hilarious. Oh wait, no you’re not. Social media is now contributing to the success of sales teams, human resources, marketing and beyond across nearly every industry. It’s contributing to the bottom line in a big way and revolutionizing business techniques that have been used for decades. Yes, we are social media professionals. The people that aren’t surprised or offput by that fact earn big kudos from us. For everyone else, think of us like the guy that installs your internet at home. His job didn’t exist 20 years ago either, but you don’t question him.

Talking to other social media pros

It’s hard to deny that social media pros are a bit of an incestuous bunch, but when your parents and friends don’t understand what the hell you do for a living you tend to find the people that do. Social media pros love to take part in Twitter Chats with each other. They love to Tweet about attending conferences with each other while they attend conferences with each other. They absolutely love it with the social media managers of big brands talk to one another publicly. We love each other. Deal with it.

Free stuff

There are perks to having a sizeable audience. Maybe you won’t wear that random startups t-shirt ever again, getting it in the mail for free still felt awesome. Free #HootKit? Need it. Twitter t-shirt? Need it.

hootsuite uk swag


This post should do well on Facebook.

Coffee and Carbs


We want this to be a constantly growing list of things social media professionals like. Please share your ideas, funny and serious, with us in the comments or using the hashtag #SSMPL. We’ll add the best ones to this post.