HootSuite –The Ultimate Time Saver for Social Media
“How do you do it?” I get that question a lot. People want to know how I manage to run a business and still squeeze in all the tasks necessary to implement a successful and comprehensive social media marketing strategy.
According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry report, 64% of marketers are using social media 6 hours+ each week and 37% use it 11 hours+ each week. 19% of marketers spend more than 20+ hours per week on social media. The reality is, however, that unless you are able to outsource some of your social media tasks, most small businesses just don’t have that kind of time to invest in social media campaigns.
I live in a small geographic area with little chance for face to face networking. That means 100% of my business comes from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, etc. It’s absolutely mandatory for me to maintain a high level of visibility online in order to continue to grow my business.
So back to the question I’m asked a lot, “How do you do it?” People want to know how I manage to post, tweet, comment, blog, etc and still have time to handle my clients, manage my VAs and run my business. Oh, and I also have a life :) The answer is simple. I have a system. I have many systems and tools in place that help me stay organized and on top my marketing efforts. One of my favorite tools is HootSuite.
I’ve used HootSuite for many years and it quickly became one of my favorite social media management tools. It allows me to tweet on Twitter, post on LinkedIn and Facebook (pages and profiles), stay on top of Instagram, check my Gmail and most importantly, it lets me manage multiple accounts and do it all without logging into and out of each site. It also provides me with some fabulous analytics so I can measure the results of my activities.
Many people I speak with are intimidated when they log into HootSuite for the first time. I’d like to change all that by giving you a quick lesson so you can get started using HootSuite in the next few minutes.
First create an account. Go to http://www.hootsuite.com and choose “Sign up ”.
Choose either the free or pro version. I normally try and recommend free versions whenever possible but I have to say that at $9.99/month HootSuite’s pro version has a lot of really great features. The free version works quite well but if you really want to begin utilizing this tool seriously and measuring the success of your activities then the pro version is a great value.
Create an Account
Go ahead and create your account. Please keep in mind as I begin showing you some screenshots that I have the pro version. If you opt for the free version, you may not have all of the capabilities below.
Add a Social Network
Opening a New Account
When you initially create your account, you will automatically see this option to begin adding social networks
Click one of the buttons to add a social network and you'll get a pop up asking you to authorize the app for that particular networking site. Go ahead and enter your password for the networking site you are authorizing and allow HootSuite to connect.
Congratulations! You've added a social network!
Now click the Continue button and choose Done Adding Social Networks
You Already Have an Account
If you already have an account created, you can add social networks by going to your member dashboard (just click on the small owl in the upper left). Then click the button to add a social network.
Once you have chosen to add a social network, the box below will pop up. Choose the social network you want to add on the left and then choose the Connect with... button.
Once you've done this you'll get a pop up asking you to authorize the app for that particular networking site. Go ahead and enter your password for the networking site you are authorizing and allow HootSuite to connect.
Congratulations! You’ve now added your first social network!
Customize Account Streams
Streams allow you to monitor specific activities and conversations from the lists and people of your choice. You can monitor specific @mentions, retweets, lists, etc. See the box below for more suggestions. At this point in the account creation process, you can go ahead and click on a box to add a stream.
Next, you'll want to create some tabs to help you organize the things you're most interested in. For example: You may want a tab for work and one for personal. If you have multiple streams of income, you may want a tab for each area of interest. You may want a different tab to help you monitor different target audiences through lists you've created or different hashtags. The possibilities here are endless! In my example below, my tabs are simple. Tabs would be Janice_Clark on Twitter and BizMSolutions on Facebook. Streams would be my Home Feed and Mentions. This would allow me to monitor my home newsfeed as well as anyone who mentions me on these accounts.
If you aren't sure where to begin with streams, let's do this... you are going to want to be able to quickly review your @mentions, direct messages and pending tweets whenever you’re in HootSuite so let’s go ahead and set that up. Click on “Add Stream”.
The following box will pop up.
Choose your social network on the far left. Choose your profile by clicking the little down arrow in the Select a profile box. Then choose the stream you would like to add by clicking the green plus button next to the information you want to see in your dashboard.
Congratulations! You've created a stream of information!
Add Additional Social Networks
Want to add more accounts? You can add another Twitter account or you can add your Facebook profile and pages and your LinkedIn account. If you’d like to add another tab simply click on the little owl in the upper left corner of your screen. Then choose Add a Social Network. Keep repeating the previous steps to add your social networks to one dashboard.
When you’ve finished adding your accounts and customizing the streams for each account it may look something like my account below. You can click on any of your account tabs to see your customized streams.
Now you’re all set up and ready to begin posting! What to do next? Simply log into your HootSuite account each morning and go ahead and schedule your posts for the day. You can also schedule posts out a week or more in advance if you’d like. I always recommend scheduling at least a few things in advance so you have quality information going into your streams automatically on a daily basis. This also frees you up so you can focus on running your business instead of always being worried about getting tweets/posts out. Just make sure you come back at regularly scheduled intervals to thank people and engage in honest conversations as well!
In order to schedule a tweet just log into HootSuite. Choose which account you would like to post to by clicking on the drop down arrow next to Findprofile. Then post your tweet in the Compose message window.
When you click on the Compose message window, it opens to give you more space and a place to shink long links. Compose your tweet and then paste the link you’re adding to your tweet in the link window and click “Shrink”.
Next click on the calendar to schedule the tweet or simply click on Send Now to send the post right now.
If you have scheduled the post it should show up in the Pending Tweets stream for the accounts you have chosen.
If you are a pro user, you also have the option of scheduling bulk tweets. From this same window, click on the owl in the upper left corner and choose Bulk Message Upload.
From here you'll get a pop up window allowing you to upload a spreadsheet. You will be able to schedule up to 350 messages across all your social networks and you will not be able to schedule duplicate messages. Bulk messages are a great way to schedule posts for social media campaigns or events when you won't be able to tweet live.
HootSuite offers some wonderful analytics to assist you with measuring your ROI in social media. Click on the little owl in the upper left corner and choose Analytics.
From here you can view stats for each of your linked accounts and even link your Google Analytics account to HootSuite. Once you do, you’ll be able to see an overlay of your tweets/posts versus your web traffic. This is a great start to measuring whether or not your activities are effective at bringing traffic back to your site. The analytics here are excellent and you can even create custom reports. It's important to note that these items do come at an additional cost. HootSuite pro automatically gives you 50 points to use toward these types of things but you may need to purchase more if you want more detailed analytics.
Now let's talk about a feature that too few people take advantage of in HootSuite. It's the App Directory! Click on the little owl up in the far left and choose App Directory.
The app directory is a collection of extensions and applications you can add to your dashboard to create a more customized experience.You can share and track email campaigns with MailChimp, you can search, monitor and engage on Instagram and even blog through the HootSuite dashboard! Access your Dropbox files for easy sharing, manage your YouTube account and stay on top of your Gmail! HootSuite offers an incredible number of apps! Some are free and others are paid. I highly encourage you to scroll the the app list and try a few. You may be surprised at just how easy it becomes to manage your social campaigns once you've got HootSuite fully in place!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. There’s really so much more I could say about HootSuite! It's a robust platform with extensive functionality. It’s a wonderful place to manage all of your social accounts, stay on top of posting and track effectiveness. And you can do it all in minutes without having to switch from one platform to another! I will definitely be addressing more in future posts!
Bulk Upload File
I recently had a wonderful conversation about HootSuite and the topics I've discussed in this blog post with the listening audience of the Social Media Help Not Hype Show on Word of Mom Radio. I promised one of the callers that I would create a sample bulk upload file and share it here on my blog for all to download. Here it is! The HootSuite Bulk Upload CSV File. Be aware that I'm showing you two different ways to post within this file. The date goes in the first column (that's non-negotiable). Your post goes in the 2nd column. Your link MAY go in the 3rd column. If you put your link in the 3rd column, HootSuite will shorten it for you. If you have a bit.ly link or another link you want to use and you don't want that link changed, then put your entire post in the 2nd column, hashtags and everything! Happy posting!
Do you need some help managing your next social media campaign? Are you in need of individualized training? Contact us today and let's see how we can partner together for big results on your next social media campaign!