- Content Distribution
- Reader Engagement and Interaction
- Brand Management
- Reputation Management
- Search Functions and Discovery
Then, if you compound that with running multiple blogs, or even just having multiple social media profiles, it can be a big challenge. However, there are tools out there that can help – and I’ve tried them all over time.
I wanted to share with you my experience with HootSuite – my use of it, my setup, and how I leverage it to get results. I’m not shy about sharing the results – just look how I tripled my Twitter traffic. All it takes is a little planning and using the right tools.
Before stumbling onto HootSuite, I tried a wide variety of social media tools. I used TweetDeck for a long time, but it was mainly just a Twitter client. As I started getting more blogs, it became more difficult to manage the multiple social media accounts that were associated with them. That’s when I started searching for other options.
A second big concern of mine was security. You see too many stories on the news about social media accounts being hacked or even misused by their employees. Since I was going to be using my virtual assistant to manage my social media scheduling and planning, I wanted there to be an additional layer of security. I just didn’t feel comfortable giving up all of my social media account passwords.
Those two factors combined led me to HootSuite. HootSuite allows you to add all kinds of social media accounts into their software. Right now, I have 6 Twitter accounts, 6 Facebook pages, 20+ LinkedIn Groups, and more. As for working with my virtual assistant, HootSuite allows you to create teams to manage your social media profiles (this is part of the Pro Edition, which I do pay for). I am able to create a separate user account for my virtual assistant, and then delegate which social media profiles I’d like her to schedule for.
For example, I retain control of my personal profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, and she has access to all the business accounts. Plus, she accesses them through her HootSuite login, and she doesn’t have access to the main account passwords. Control and security is a plus.
My HootSuite Setup
Where HootSuite is a little intimidating at first is the setup. HootSuite has two main displays – tabs across the top, and streams (the vertical columns) going from left to right. Here’s an example:
As you can see, I use the tabs across the top to control each individual social media account – in this case Twitter. The streams, then, are made up of information from each account. In the image above, you can see the @CollegeInvestin account is active, and the streams include: Home Feed, Mentions, Direct Messages, Sent Tweets, etc.
All of that is pretty standard stuff. Where HootSuite gets impressive for me is the additional sections that you can setup (and I highly recommend you do).
For each website I own, I also setup the following streams:
- Search: websitename.com – This creates a stream that includes all the tweets that mention your website name. This is really handy because it allows you to see if your website is being mentions, and maybe they didn’t use the “@” symbol to tag you. This happens a lot if your readers use Buffer or other software that doesn’t put the “@” on your posts for you.
- Hashtags: I also include a Keyword stream for relevant hashtags for my websites. For example, for The College Investor, I include a stream for #investing, #studentloandebt, #stockmarket, etc. This allows me to monitor conversations that could include relevant information for my sites. For this site, I maintain hashtags for #blogging, #freelancing, #entrepreneur, and many more. Keeping them grouped in one tab allows me to access everything I need for my website in one place.
Finally, I also include tabs for random Twitter chats I’m a part of each week, so that they’re always ready to go, and I also maintain a tab for my Quitters Checklist eBook, which readers can tweet out stories and information for each chapter. This helps me stay engaged with readers while they are going through my eBook.
When I Don’t Use HootSuite
There are still a couple instances where I don’t use HootSuite. In some cases I could, but I choose to go directly to the social media network to do my promotion. Here’s where I still rely on the good old fashion way:
- Facebook: I still craft my Facebook posts on the Facebook Page. The reason? HootSuite doesn’t always seem to format the posts correctly. As such, to make sure they are correct, I like to do them directly on Facebook.
- LinkedIn: If you’re posting links to LinkedIn, they also sometimes do not get formatted correctly. I find that the LinkedIn sharing button works best.
- Google+: Google has been very fussy about sharing their API for Google+ with developers, so HootSuite still only has limited functionality with Google+. Hopefully this will change in the future, and make HootSuite even more robust.
Great HootSuite Add-Ons
Finally, a great perk about HootSuite is that is has a lot of different Add-Ons that can make it even more powerful. Right now, there are over 60 applications that you can install to improve the robustness of HootSuite. I only use 4, but I love the 4 that I have installed.
The 4 add-ons that I use are: Social Bro, StockTwits, Evernote, and Reddit. Social Bro is a great Twitter analytics platform that connects directly with HootSuite. Reddit is another social media channel that I love, and so I follow several sub-Reddits in HootSuite. StockTwits is another social media platform geared towards investing, and that works great for The College Investor. And finally, I use Evernote for everything, so it is great to be able to take notes right in the HootSuite interface.
Beyond add-ons, if you use Chrome, you can also add the “Hootlet” to your application bar. Just like using Buffer, you can simple click the Hootlet and you can schedule the website you’re viewing to be shared on any social media channel hooked to your account. This is a great, simple way to get your content out there without even having to log onto the HootSuite platform.
Do you use HootSuite? Are there any other tips or tricks that I’m missing?