Hootsuite Pro got a shout out in Social Media Scheduling 101: The Basics but I wanted to take some time to show how I use it in more detail. In fact, I had a special request from a few gal pals, Brittany from NerdyGirl Writers and Herchel from Gym, Craft, Laundry as to the method behind my madness. How I use Hootsuite Pro may differ from many other users and I do not claim to be an expert by any means, but this is what works best for me and how I utilize the tool to streamline my workflow and save time.
Let’s start from the beginning. Here is what my dashboard looks like (tiny pic, but I want you to see the 13+ tabs along the top):
The main reason why I love using Hootsuite is that I can go into one program and work all of my social media accounts. No signing in or out constantly, no million tabs open. One stop shop. For efficiency, speed and cross-posting, this is ideal and an absolute necessity given how many creative and professional projects I manage.
Here’s the rundown of what accounts I work on Hootsuite:
Katy Blevins Facebook (Personal)
Emily Speaks Twitter (Anti-Bullying)
If you’ve been keeping count, that’s 20 accounts that I manage on one internet tab. In fact, linking all of those accounts up just reminded me how long it took me to work in them before I got Hootsuite Pro. Holy cow, managing those individually would be a nightmare! Was a nightmare!
Let’s do a quick rundown of what I can do in each platform via Hootsuite Pro:
Facebook: In my Facebook groups, I can monitor the discussions occurring between members, like comments and posts, share new topics and schedule posts to publish when I’m away. For example, we do Small Business Mondays each week, so I can pick my discussion topic and schedule it to post if I happen to have a meeting that morning. For my business pages, I can schedule new blog posts to go up, holiday announcements or other client information.
Twitter: This is the platform that gets the most love from me on Hootsuite Pro. I have a couple of options for sharing information across my many profiles. I can schedule or post on the fly to up to 5 accounts at once, or I can post on one account and jump to the other accounts to retweet. I also love using the Auto Scheduler feature that schedules posts based on rules I set up determining frequency and timing. So I can tweet on one account and then auto schedule a retweet on another account that will pop up later in the day (vs. retweeting instantaneously). You can also attach image files to tweets and shorten longer URLs to more manageable links to maximize your 140 characters. (NOTE – You can also schedule to platforms other than Twitter these ways.)
The biggest bang for the buck with Hootsuite Pro is definitely the Bulk Scheduler. A lot of the features I’ve mentioned thus far are available in the free version, but the Bulk Scheduler is worth its weight in gold. With the simple upload of a .csv file, you can schedule 350 tweets at a time! What would normally take literally hours and hours can be accomplished in less than 2 minutes. Wham bam, thank you ma’am! The longest part of the process is setting up the .csv file. NOTE: Twitter will not let you upload 350 of the same tweet. No duplicates are allowed, so you have to make each tweet unique. The easiest way “around” this for content you want to share regularly and repetitively, is to copy the tweet but then use different hash tags or combinations of hash tags to make each entry slightly different, or to slightly change the wording every so often.
LinkedIn: Schedule updates to my personal page.
Google Plus: Schedule updates to the business pages and interact with those people in my circles. I can add comments and see who has +1’ed a post, but I can’t +1, so that’s a minor set back. I also can’t wait until you can link up your personal page (where I’m more active) to schedule and engage.
Instagram: This platform is an add on application. That means I can like, comment and share anything from my feed, but I can’t schedule posts. While I’d love to be able to schedule, that really goes against the point of Instagram, which is why the API isn’t quite there yet and they try to avoid scheduling tools. But by far, this is one of my most useful tabs, because I really slack on this platform when I’m on my phone. I’ll post a lot, but I struggle to go through my feed and actively engage. It’s so much more of a breeze for me on Hootsuite Pro.
StumbleUpon: This platform is an add on application as well. I can click on links to open up StumbleUpon and stumble from there or I can share to other platforms from Hootsuite. Truth, this feed is there just to remind me to be active once in a blue moon. Otherwise, I almost entirely forget this platform even exists.
I should probably talk a bit about streams too while I’m here. Hootsuite Pro (and free) allows you to select streams to populate feeds for each of your platforms. For instance, I like to see what I have scheduled (so I can see where I have gaps in activity), who has mentioned me (so I can thank them and retweet) and who my “tribe” is (so I can actively engage daily with the people most important to me). I usually keep my home feed nearby as well so that I can initiate new relationships and curate interesting content for my followers. It’s as simple as clicking Add Stream and selecting from the available options. You can drag the columns back and forth too, so that your most important ones are farthest left and the first that you see.
A few other features that can be a lot of fun and extremely useful when gauging the growth of your reach are the Contacts options and the Analytics/Reporting. On the Contacts tab you can get a quick view of all of your followers, along with some basic qualifying statistics for their reach and level of engagement. You can make on-the-spot decisions to follow or unfollow people based on what you see, moving quickly to update your profiles and narrow down your engagement to those relationships that are truly mutually beneficial. On the Analytics tab, you can use the standard reports or create your own to give you a run down of your overall progress and average growth. This information can be invaluable to us as small business owners, because what we “think” might be occurring may differ greatly from what actually “is” occurring. You’re able to highlight trouble areas, see trends and focus your energies in the appropriate places.
The one area of Hootsuite Pro that I know I can get a lot more out of and need to spend more time exploring is the Teams feature. I’m able to add on my business partner to my Pro account and develop different projects across the platforms that we share professionally. We can communicate, plan strategy and manage the accounts together in one spot. You can add additional members for a slight fee as well. I’m just barely digging into this, so I’ll be sure to share more when I really get it rocking and rolling.
The great thing about Hootsuite Pro is that you can try it for free. I’m sure it feels overwhelming to like at a few pictures in a blog post and translate that to your own social media strategy. Give it a whirl! It you like it, FABULOUS! If not, there’s something else out there for you. If you’re really stuck and need some one-on-one, don’t be afraid to sign up for a free consultation with us at The Hampton Roads Creative and we can chat more about how we can take your social media to the next level.