For today’s AtoZ Challenge, a month long, alphabetical blogging challenge, the letter “H” is for Hootsuite
Here’s a little secret—I post to both of my Facebook accounts and Twitter from six to ten times a day. Every day. Whether I’m on vacation, shopping, sleeping or watching the Detroit Red Wings not make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in twenty-five years. (bitter? who, me?) I’m all over these social media outlets like dandelions on a spring lawn.
How do I do it?
With the social media tool known as Hootsuite.
Like BoardBooster, a Pinterest tool, which I blogged about here, I pre-schedule my Facebook and Twitter posts days, sometimes months in advance. Realize Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday is May 22nd, but it’s now September? Pre-schedule a Happy Birthday message eight months ahead. Want a certain Tweet to be seen at a certain time to have the maximum impact on your audience? Use Hootsuite.
You can use Hootsuite to post to the following social media platforms:
The caveat is, you will have to pay for a monthly plan if you want to manage more than three social media profiles. Plans start at $9.99 a month. But if you’re looking to save time on two or three platforms, choose the one that’s free. No brainer, right?
Three options to send posts
After signing up, from your dashboard, go to publisher (paper airplane icon) and compose your message. Set up and choose which profiles you want to use (Hootsuite will keep track of your character count, so you won’t go over Twitter’s 140 character limit). Use the add a link box to truncate any URLs (they will have an ow.ly prefix like this: http://ow.ly/szBo309XaUu), and attach media if wanted.
From the calendar icon, you can choose to send now, autoschedule or schedule manually schedule. With autoscheduling, Hootsuite will determine the best times to send out the message for optimal impact. I like to manually schedule my messages, spreading them evenly throughout the day.
What else can Hootsuite do?
- Reports. The free version offers limited reports, but from Hootsuite’s analytics I can get a profile of my followers and what they’re clicking on. This information helps me tailor future messages.
- Campaigns. From Hootsuite, I can run:
- Photo contests
- Video contests
- Instagram contests
- Twitter contests
- Create a signup sheet
- Capture images from Instagram to create a new message
- Use text, images and video from Twitter to create new messages
- See who’s following me on each of the profiles I’ve selected as well as who I follow. This is great information if you want to follow the influencers, cull your list, or narrow it to your ideal audience.
- Set up a social media stream. If you want to follow who’s posting/Tweeting about a certain subject, say, writing, you can set up a stream, using keywords. Hootsuite will scour your platforms and display a constantly updated stream of posts and tweets about the subject. See who’s retweeting you, or who has a question in your field you can answer.
How I use Hootsuite
I love efficiency when it comes to staying on top of social media. I’m a writer. It follows that my time should be spent on writing. The internet is a time-sucking vampire.
How can I most efficiently do both?
(Listen up, I’m about to give away the social media bank) When I find a link I want to share, I first post it to a Pinterest secret board. Once or twice a week, in batches, I’ll reopen the link and:
- Stumble the page on StumbleUpon (more about this in my post of the 23rd)
- Pre-schedule a message on Hootsuite to my social media platforms, Twitter more than Facebook. Often, I’ll create a second or third message, scheduled several weeks out and at a different time than the original message.
- Pin the link to a secret Pinterest board (more on Pinterest on the 19th), checking the Twitter box so Twitter is hit again when BoardBooster schedules the pin.
By going through these steps, my post will be seen on social media 10-12 times. Not bad for a one time deal, eh? I usually batch the posts at night, while watching television (like the Detroit Red Wings not make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in twenty-five years. Who’s bitter? There’s always the playoffs, which last until June.)
Similar programs like Buffer and CoSchedule, will perform the same tricks, but this is my AtoZChallenge*, and I’m reporting on what works for me.
Tuesday’s #AtoZChallenge* will focus on the letter “I”.
Blessings until then,
If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the AtoZChallenge* and to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.
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*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career.