Ch7 - Hootsuite

(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)



Social Media Marketing Primer

Chapter 7: Hootsuite



Introduction


Welcome to the Social Media Marketing Primer. If you’ve come across this material on its own – it has two homes – one is a site where you can download copies of the chapters or read them online, at http://tinyurl.com/casa-mktg - the other is a LinkedIn Group, Social Media Marketing Café, where you can discuss the material and ask questions: http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe


In This Chapter


In this chapter, we’re going to look at Hootsuite, a tool that helps you to manage social media, through providing assistance on developing and posting content to multiple social networks. So it’s part of the “skill toolbox” that I’d recommend exploring. If you haven’t created a blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn Page yet, I’d recommend reviewing the first chapters in this book, available at http://tinyurl.com/casa-mktg - and making those accounts. You can get something out of this chapter simply by reviewing it, but I’d recommend setting up those accounts and then “connecting” them to Hootsuite. The LinkedIn page is strictly necessary – but I’d just recommend setting the goal of having 2-3 social media accounts to post “to”.


I’d also recommend considering your blog as “home base” for social media, the central place where you develop and post content initially – which you then post to various social media properties. Part of the reason for this is because with a blog, it’s literally “your” social network – that is, unless Google or Wordpress goes down in flames, your blog will be around for as long as you want it, and you control it. You could argue the same for Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn – at least the likelihood of them continuing, but the primary purpose of a blog, is around content, and you have much more control over things.


At any rate, if it all sounds too abstract, the best way to try things out is not just to develop a social media presence, but to develop one and see what happens when you post content on an ongoing basis. Then you’ll start to see the satisfaction and excitement when people comment on your blog post, or “like” your post on Facebook, or you get more followers on Twitter, and so on. And you may also encounter what thousands of people have encountered – where they have a burst of initial enthusiasm, set audacious goals, and then get so busy (or overwhelmed), that the amount and regularity of content trickles off. (raises hand – don’t ask me how many blogs or websites I have).


This is why over time, I’ve tended to gravitate towards free tools – because when I’ve used paid website accounts, etc. – it might look nicer, but in some cases, sustainability is more important than looking nice – i.e., better to have a free site you don’t have to pay for, than one you have to struggle with whether to pay for on an ongoing basis. And I’m primarily speaking of personal sites – when you get into business or non-profit sites, it probably makes sense to have the most professional site you can – but I still recommend considering what is sustainable.


And since social media is in my opinion, primarily about content – show and tell – I think it’s important to think about what is sustainable, in terms of time spent, and return on investment, from the beginning. At the very core, anything that makes it easier, less hassle, to develop and post content, is a good thing. This is why google tools are good, because you can spend less time, less hassle fiddling around, and focus on the content.


And Hootsuite fits right in the middle of that. When you develop the content, Hootsuite will help make it as hassle free and easy to post content to multiple networks, including scheduling things ahead of time.



Understanding Hootsuite


To get a sense of the kinds of things you can do in Hootsuite, I recommend taking a look at www.hootsuite.com, and glancing at some of the menus at the top – Products/Solutions/Plans/Services




It’s not critical to understand all of the options (remember, way back when, in an earlier chapter, the discussion about choosing some “doable” things, focusing on learning some basics, so that you don’t get overwhelmed).


But the Plans and Pricing link might be worth looking at – it’s nice to know there’s a free version – in general the tool revolves around managing the creation and posting of content. It can also be used for “social listening”, to get a sense of what people are saying about you, on your social media sites.


Hootsuite University


Hootsuite University can also be a nice place to start, to watch a few videos on social media in general, and on Hootsuite in particular:


https://www.youtube.com/user/HootSuiteUniversity


Here are a few of the titles that can help give perspective on social media:



.I’d also recommend taking a look at the dashboard video, and possibly the social listening and engagement videos (and maybe come back later when you want to explore “expanded use” of Hootsuite, and watch them again).



Hootsuite Help


The Hootsuite Help section is also worth exploring, including the Getting Started link:


https://hootsuite.com/help



It gets down to the basics and can help you understand some of the things you can try. Again – there’s all kinds of things you can try – later in the chapter we’ll go through creating an account and posting a message; installing apps and “going mobile” might be something you’d want to wait and try after you got going on the fundamentals.


At the help section there’s also a link to Live Webinars:




Which you can also get to at this link: http://media.hootsuite.com/webinars/


And if you scroll down there are also “on demand” (recorded webinars):


You might want to try “Introduction to Hootsuite Free”, and maybe once you start posting things regularly, come back and try “essential social media analytics”



Creating and Configuring a Hootsuite Account   


So let’s get started with a Hootsuite account!


Note: if you’re already signed into any of the social networks (ex: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), the screens may appear differently, but the set up process is fairly straightforward; and just like all the other social networks, the screens seem to change periodically. Never fear, just think of it as an adventure!


To get going, go to hootsuite.com, and click Sign Up:



I’d suggest just starting with the Free account for now – even though there’s a free trial of the more advanced account (See the plans and pricing diagram from earlier).


Just click Get Started Now:



Then enter your email address, name, a password you can use, your location, and click Create Account:



.Next Hootsuite will walk you through the process of “adding social networks”. This means establishing a connection to social media accounts you have, so that you can use Hootsuite to post to them. If you don’t have any “official” accounts yet, you can always add them later, but to get started, I’d suggest adding three personal accounts – for example, I just added my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.


To add social networks, just click on them (ex: Twitter)



Then you’ll need to authorize Hootsuite to connect to the account. If you’re already signed into any of the networks, the authorization may be different, but you’ll probably need to sign in. So you fill out your info, and click Authorize App. It will also make your life easier if you click “Remember Me”:



After you add a network, it will be represented in the “Added” area, along with your profile icon:



Next, try Facebook:


And click “Okay”:


With Facebook, it will give you a list of items that Hootsuite can post to; starting with your personal profile, and then any Facebook pages you have created.


So at this point, if you haven’t created a Facebook page, (from chapter 3, available at http://tinyurl.com/casa-mktg) – you might want to do that; but you can always add one later. You could just also add your personal profile and see what it’s like to schedule a post to that.



I recommend starting with a single item from Facebook, either your personal profile, or a Facebook page. (Hootsuite may limit you to posting to a total of three “items” across 3 social networks in the free version)


So just click the + sign next to an item you want to post to.


And then click Finished Importing:


.

Next, you might want to try adding LinkedIn – it would be fair to say that strategically, including for a Social Media Marketer, even if you haven’t created an “official” LinkedIn page, you can always post to your LinkedIn profile, and regularly sharing blog posts (nudge nudge), and posting them to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, could be a good way to get things out there. It could be as simple as an account of your adventures trying different things, and sharing projects when you create them.


And adding social networks doesn’t mean you “always” post to them – you have total control of what you post to, and when. It’s just giving you options. Hootsuite is a big timesaver.


So try clicking on LinkedIn if you like:


(Note: the free version allows “3” social networks)



Then you’ll need to enter your login info for LinkedIn and click Allow Access:



.And then you should end up with a screen something like this, with a list of networks/pages you have added.



Then click Continue:



And click “Continue to your dashboard”:




.Configuring Hootsuite


So in an attempt to be helpful, as part of the setup process, Hootsuite will also take you through a series of steps to help things get started. I don’t think there’s any harm in going through the wizard, but you can skip it at any time (especially if you’re just starting out and your eyes start to glaze over):



If you click Get Started, it will suggest adding “streams”, which is basically Hootsuite’s “social listening” capability. If you want to know more about that, see the “Learning More” section at the end of the chapter, and check out the related social listening video.


Basically Hootsuite will set up a feed of people who are mentioning you.


The way the wizard is set up is for you to try adding a stream of a type of social media post – not ones you make in this case, but ones other people make. The type of item will depend on what network you added, but if you added twitter, it will look something like the below (and you can always click “Skip Tour”).


To add a stream, click on something like @Mentions (this is if someone is on Twitter and uses @yourusername – this is a way of communicating on Twitter – see Chapter 5 – the Learning More section – for more information on Twitter – ch5 is available at http://tinyurl.com/casa-mktg)





It will turn green. Then perhaps click on Followers, and Scheduled:




This will allow you to have an at a glance way of seeing what’s going on, on Twitter, in relation to your account. The Scheduled stream will allow you to see what posts you have scheduled.


Next you can add tabs:



At this point I’d just suggest clicking Skip tour, so we can go into Hootsuite as it will normally appear and learn about the interface:



Depending on what you’ve added, the “stream” screen will look something like this:




Getting Around Hootsuite


The main way you get around Hootsuite is through the toolbar on the left hand side:



When you roll your mouse over it, it will expand.






As with any social media tool, there are a variety of options with Hootsuite, but I think the best one to get started with is “simple posting”, based on the toolbar at the top:



.Posting with Hootsuite


To make a post in Hootsuite, you can go to the toolbar at the top of the screen, and click on the little drop-down triangle to choose “where” you are going to post:



You will have a list of the social networks you added, so you just click to select them:



For example, this little view shows how I will post to Twitter, as well as the NPOEx Facebook page:



To get a sense of how helpful this is, you may very well want to enter into the world of social media marketing, by manually posting things. Go ahead and sign into Facebook, and then in a separate tab, sign into Twitter, and also LinkedIn. And try manually posting and signing in to all those social networks. Pretty soon you’ll see how nice it can be to have a central place to easily post to all of them. And then you might come back to Hootsuite!


.When you are using the quick compose area (roll over it at the top of the screen), and you choose the social networks as we’ve shown, there’s an interesting indicator at the bottom, which shows how many characters you can post to each network (the length of the message).



So you might want to type in a test message by clicking in the compose message area, and then click the Send Now button:




And you should get a Message posted button:



What will happen is if you post a message that’s longer than Twitter can handle (140 characters), then the first part of it will appear on Twitter, along with a link to the entire message.


After you post your message, you can go and check and see how it will appear:


(ex: https://twitter.com/toddkelsey)



.And you can go on Facebook similarly:



Voila!


I had trouble with the post appearing on LinkedIn – in theory it should appear when you click on the Home button:



But posting to LinkedIn didn’t work for some reason until I tried clicking “only” on LinkedIn:



And then it appeared fine:


The Joy of Scheduling a post


This might be another area where you could go and try using social media for awhile, and maybe manually posting at different times of the day or week. You could do it manually, to multiple networks. When working with social media marketing, generally you want to keep a regular stream of content going, whether it is content you develop yourself, or an interesting article you find.


TIP: For some thoughts on how often to post, see:

http://www.nimble.com/blog/posting-and-analyzing-on-facebook/

and http://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-frequency-guide

    (and try doing a google search on the topic of how often to post on social media)


If you try to do it manually, it can be really easy to forget, and it becomes uneven, and sometimes trails off – this is a fundamental issue with many social media marketing efforts – initial enthusiasm, maybe posting a bit too much, and then dropping off, because of being busy with other things. I suggest using hootsuite to do the opposite – slowly starting out with some regular posts, once a month, once a week.


So when you are getting a “pipeline” of content going, it can be really nice to schedule things in advance, so that you can work on developing content, and get a “week’s worth of work” done.


In Hootsuite, you can go to the top, click on compose message, type in something like “hello” as a test, and then click the little calendar icon:



.Then you can choose a day/time for your post, and click the Schedule button:



Then you should get a confirmation message:



And you can always roll your mouse over the toolbar on the left, and click the Publisher, to check on your scheduled posts:



.The posts will appear in a list, something like this:




ROI Strategies


In Hootsuite, there’s analytics, and advanced monitoring capability; using Hootsuite to measure return on investment ultimately depends on how you measure ROI. I certainly think it is worth learning about, even though it seems like ROI can be somewhat fuzzy sometimes.


Personally, I think it’s pretty solid to say that Hootsuite and ROI could most likely connect in developing a regular stream of content about a business or organization, which delivers relevant information about its products, activities, or its heritage – the “story”. This invaluable content, which could be posted on an official website or blog, not only helps with search engine optimization (getting ranked will in google search results), but it also helps people coming to your site. And it’s perfect content for business. The return on investment is building a base of information about the company, the search engine optimization value (it can help sales if you’re selling something so you can tie SEO to $$). So content is rock solid, and Hootsuite helps you to share it on social networks.


However, there are some other ways to look at ROI, and I would recommend taking a few minutes to look through these blog posts, to get a sense of the kinds of things people are doing, and the language they use around ROI and social media:


http://blog.hootsuite.com/build-and-measure-social-media-roi/


http://blog.hootsuite.com/webtrends/


http://blog.hootsuite.com/measure-social-media-roi-business/


http://blog.hootsuite.com/8-tips-for-social-business-7/


http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-roi-introduction/


http://blog.hootsuite.com/webinar-content-converting-social-media-roi/


And perhaps, to earn superhero social media awesome points, I would *highly* recommend getting in the habit of doing Google searches on topics like “ROI and ______” (fill in the social network or tool)


If you will forgive one Star Wars reference in this book, I command you in the name of Obi Wan Kenobi, to try Google searches around ROI and tools. And see the articles and blog posts. People share their experiences, share principles, share best practices.


(And nudge nudge, you can blog about this too! The more exploration of ROI, the better, even if you’re just writing about what you don’t know – even that can be helpful and encouraging to other people, who are out there doing the same kind of Google searches.)


Learning More


Congratulations on making almost all the way through the chapter! Remember that there’s some good resources out there for learning about Hootsuite and related topics.


TIP: For some thoughts on how often to post, see:

http://www.nimble.com/blog/posting-and-analyzing-on-facebook/

and http://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-frequency-guide

    (and try doing a google search on the topic of how often to post on social media)



Some of the most helpful learning material on Hootsuite can be found on Hootsuite University, and in the Help section in Hootsuite.


Hootsuite University


Hootsuite University can also be a nice place to start, to watch a few videos on social media in general, and on Hootsuite in particular:


https://www.youtube.com/user/HootSuiteUniversity


Here are a few of the titles that can help give perspective on social media:



.I’d also recommend taking a look at the dashboard video, and possibly the social listening and engagement videos (and maybe come back later when you want to explore “expanded use” of Hootsuite, and watch them again).



Hootsuite Help


The Hootsuite Help section is also worth exploring, including the Getting Started link:


https://hootsuite.com/help



It gets down to the basics and can help you understand some of the things you can try. Again – there’s all kinds of things you can try – later in the chapter we’ll go through creating an account and posting a message; installing apps and “going mobile” might be something you’d want to wait and try after you got going on the fundamentals.


At the help section there’s also a link to Live Webinars:




Which you can also get to at this link: http://media.hootsuite.com/webinars/


And if you scroll down there are also “on demand” (recorded webinars):


You might want to try “Introduction to Hootsuite Free”, and maybe once you start posting things regularly, come back and try “essential social media analytics”


.Conclusion/Discussion


Thanks for reading this chapter. I think Hootsuite is a good tool to be familiar with for a Social Media Marketer – an essential item in the “toolbox”. As helpful as it is, it doesn’t create the content for you, so in some ways, I think that chapter 2, on Content, may be the most important chapter of all. But anything that can make it easier to work with content, frees up time – to develop the content.

Invitation


You are welcome to visit and join the LinkedIn Group at http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe - if you want to come on and say “huh?” or if you would like to set me straight on something, or just have some feedback.


Remember, there are NO DUMB QUESTIONS. If you have the question, someone else surely also did.


--

(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)


Ċ
Todd Kelsey,
Jul 29, 2014, 8:24 AM
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