What is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is a wonderful tool for auto-tweeting. It is a vehicle for either syndicating your own content (blogposts, advertisements, reviews, etc.), retweeting a specific message or someone else’s, or advertising your own links. The best part is, it is minimal effort, and you don’t have to be around to babysit.
How do you use it?
- Simply log on to Hootsuite and register (all you need is an email address and your links to social media sites).
- The main page (getting started) has a box in the middle with different options. The first option you need to select is ‘add another social network’.
- Enter the applicable information and suddenly your profile will pop up as a tab on that page. Add in your desired social media sites (I think the free package offers you five, after that you have to pay).
- Once you’ve completed all your social profiles, you can then schedule tweets by pressing the ‘compose message’ bar or simply clicking on the ‘compose message’ field to the upper left of the page.
- Enter in your tweet and then a link (if applicable) by either copying and pasting into the ‘add a link’ field, or simply typing it in. Then press ‘shrink’ and it will generate a shortened link with the ‘ow.ly’ extension.
- Once you’re finished, go to the field to the right where it says ‘click to select a profile’. When you click on the arrow button, it will show a drop down menu with all your social media icons. Select which one (s) you would like this ‘tweet’ to be posted to.
- When you’re done selecting profiles, you can either click ‘send now’ or schedule your tweet.
Tip: If this tweet is something you think you’ll re-use, hit the ‘save’ button (looks like a floppy disc) and it will automatically save that message, including the chosen profiles. (If you want to have the choice on profiles each time you send, simply save before selecting your profiles; it will save it without the profiles so you have the option to choose next time you select it). To select a saved message, hit the arrow key beside the save button and select which message you want. Then follow the steps below.
- To schedule your tweet, you have two options. You can either autoschedule, which lets Hootsuite select the time to post your message depending on when your other messages are placed in the queue, spreading them out in somewhat of an even consistency, or you can schedule the times yourself. I personally prefer this method, that way I can schedule my posts at half hour intervals (or 15 minute intervals, depending on how much traffic I would like to see).
- Press the ‘schedule’ button (looks like a calendar with the number 30 on it). You’ll see the ‘autoschedule’ button, which you can select by clicking on or leave off. Then you’ll see today’s date (you don’t need to touch this unless you want a schedule a post for another day). You’ll also see drop downs for hour and minute and a button for AM and PM.
- Select the time and date you would like to schedule your message to be broadcast and hit ‘schedule’
Tip: You can also select ‘send me email when message is sent’ if you want to ensure you see proof; I used this in the beginning but soon realized it isn’t necessary.
- To view your scheduled messages, hit the ‘scheduled’ button on the left sidebar (looks like a paper airplane). This will show you all your messages, links you’ve shortened, time it will be sent and which profile(s) the message will be broadcast to.
Tip: Don’t select the ‘schedule in bulk’ button: this is a paid service. If you want many messages scheduled for a couple days, you’ll have to do it manually. By using the ‘save’ button, you can save loads of time retyping messages. I’ve got about twenty saved messages and I mix them up throughout the day.
Why should you use it?
- To block out the noise.
If you’re on a syndicating tribe like I am, or even Triberr, you’ll need to ensure you have lots of your own posts popping up on Twitter. If you follow the philosophy that I do (RTs instead of thank yous), if you don’t have lots of your content for your followers to RT, you’re not going to get a lot of exposure for your own posts.
- To post tweets when you’re not available to do it yourself.
Tip: Make sure you’re still manually retweeting and connecting with people, otherwise your Twitter account will scream bot, and lose that sense of community. Again, I follow the RT philosophy at least 90% of the time to avoid this issue.
- Save tweets so you can tweet your book or just for advertisements to avoid having to re-type endlessly.
- Shorten links automatically using the shrink button., which saves characters and allows you to expand more on your tweets.
- Keep a tweeting schedule so you can remain consistent.
Tip: Remember to remind yourself to update your Hootsuite schedule, otherwise you’ll run out of scheduled tweets and if your community is used to consistent tweets, you’ll confuse them and they won’t have anything to RT from you!
I’ve only scratched the surface of what Hootsuite can do in this post. There are endless possibilities, just experiment with the free services, or even sign up for the paid ones, they aren’t terribly expensive.
Have you used Hootsuite? Any tips? What do you think of it? Do you recommend it?