by Susan Murphy
It’s true, effective use of social media never starts with the tools – it must always be based on your goals, strategies and tactics. The tools are just the conduit through which your ideas are shared and your goals get met. However, it is important to choose the RIGHT tools for the task at hand. And, if you find yourself in a position where you’re putting your social media strategy into practice, then you are going to make your life a heck of a lot easier by using the right tools.
If you’re managing multiple accounts, the right tool for the job is, in my experience, HootSuite. There are others out there, and I’ve tried them all, but I keep going back to HootSuite (and no, they don’t pay me to say that).
On any given day I’m managing 4-8 Twitter accounts, and 12-20 Facebook pages, depending on the needs of our clients. I also have LinkedIN, Google+ and other networks that I monitor and post to. If I was trying to do all of these things by logging in and out of web pages, I’d never achieve much. HootSuite allows me to aggregate my accounts all into one place so I can easily listen, search, post, and respond. It’s easy to get set up, just poke in your credentials and you’re off and running. But if you want to take your HootSuite use to the next level, here are a few ninja tips you might find helpful.
(Note: Some of these tips require a Pro Account – worth the cost if you’re managing multiple accounts or working with a team).
Tabs Tabs Tabs
One of the best features of HootSuite, in my opinion, is tabs. I don’t just use HootSuite to monitor my own accounts. I’m continuously searching and monitoring keywords and hashtags on Twitter for information, links, and people to connect with. I do this listening for myself and sometimes on behalf of clients. I have tabs set up for some Twitter lists I’ve created around specific topics, as well as search terms and hashtags I want to follow. Sometimes I’ll categorize them into topics (for example, I have a tab for “Science” right now, because a couple of our clients are part of the scientific community). Then, I can easily visit my tabs and scroll through to find the stuff that’s important.
I’m a fan of scheduling posts, to a point. Scheduling is no substitute for actually being there. You need to do some stuff in real time – don’t be a robot! Make sure you are there to respond, and also post things live. People will appreciate you being there, and will be more forgiving of your scheduled posts if you are actually responsive and interacting with them.
With that said, I do a lot of social media for events, including running the social media for Cracking-Up the Capital, a comedy festival that happens annually in Ottawa. If I didn’t have scheduling at my disposal for that event, I’d be sunk. And, HootSuite not only makes scheduling super simple, they also have a bulk uploader tool. This is brilliant for any time sensitive stuff and especially for events. I can work with my team to compose the tweets that need to be scheduled throughout the event at certain times of the day, plunk them all into a spreadsheet, and upload and go. I can still go back afterwards and edit or remove anything that’s uploaded. It’s saved me oodles of time. It even gives you a sample CSV file so you can make sure you get your formatting right!
Team and Collaboration Features
Quite often, we will work in collaboration with a team on social media activities. Sometimes, we work alongside our clients until they get the hang of things. This is where HootSuite’s collaboration features can come in really handy. First, I can set up team members for a specific account. Once that’s done, I can share posts directly with the team members, or I can even assign posts to a team member. The team member gets a notification that a post has been assigned to them and then they can efficiently respond to that post. It’s a huge time saver and saves a lot of emails and tracking.
How are you using HootSuite? Please share your own tips in the comments!
(On Thursday, June 27th, I’ll be guest posting on the HootSuite Blog about choosing the right social media tools for your business. I’ll post the link here once it goes live!)