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How To Get the Most from Hootsuite

I’ve used Hootsuite on daily basis for years. I don’t use it for all my social media needs, but of all the tools I’ve tried this one is the most useful and does most of my heavy lifting. It does have some limitations but it also has some powerful features you can take advantage of.

This handy social media management tool promises to save your time and your sanity, by giving you the ability you to increase your productivity and manage all of your social networks with the HootSuite dashboard, which is designed to help you listen, engage and measure all of your social networking activity from one place.

You can use HootSuite to manage multiple social profiles, schedule messages, posts, tweets, to track mentions, analyze social media traffic and more. It is designed to help you streamline your social media marketing efforts in several different ways, including the ability to add multiple social networks to your dashboard like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, Foursquare and WordPress accounts, as well as others.

The value of Hootsuite is having all of your social networking profiles in one convenient place but it’s much more than that. Two of the “power” features I love are the RSS poster and scheduler. I use the bulk scheduler so much that I’m constantly hitting the limits and have contacted them about raising it!

You can also give access to your assistant or staff to manage your social media accounts as a team.

As you go through this guide, keep in mind that if you don’t understand parts of it, you can always ask me.

Hootsuite Solution Partner In addition to being a Hootsuite expert, I’m a Certified Hootsuite Partner. If you upgrade your Hootsuite free account to Pro, I will personally help you get started using the software and teach you how to use the powerful advanced features of Hootsuite. But you need to use my partner link to get my free assistance. Please click the badge to the left or use this link to sign up under my partnership account:

Hootsuite Pro

After the Software Walk-though section I posted a great video in this guide that should help you get to know Hootsuite.

What can you do with a tool like Hootsuite?

By managing your social media better you’ll be able to work smarter, instead of harder, gaining knowledge about your company, your competition and your audience. Just being part of social media isn’t enough for your business. You really need to know how to use it properly as well as knowing when and what content to post, whether as new content or as replies to consumer-generated content.

Due to the proliferation of multiple social media networks it’s getting harder and harder to properly manage all the outlets that exist. It’s not enough to say that you’re on social media. In order for it to provide a return on investment of the time and resources used it’s important that you truly manage each social media network that you choose to be a part of. If you manage your social media channels correctly you will see a better result from your efforts.

  • You’ll Be Able to Get More Done — Using a social media management software like HootSuite will enable you to get more things done. You can do it yourself or you can hire someone to manage it for you, enabling you to get even more done than before. Time saved from social media is time that you can be spending creating products and services to benefit your audience and doing all the other things that you have to do as a business owner.
  • Better Branding — Hardly anything is more important than branding your business well. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the concept of branding, but essentially a brand is how your customers (and potential customers) see your business. What promise do they feel like you’re making to them? Remember, you control those promises by getting to know your audience well enough that you can explain the promise to them in multiple ways. Your brand might signify value, honesty, superiority, exclusivity, high-quality, or something else. Make sure that you choose wisely and appropriately for the size of your business. For instance, you don’t want to be the low cost value brand if you’re a super small business. You simply cannot compete with a large business in this area.
  • Keep Tight Control on Your Reputation — With a system like HootSuite you’ll be able to monitor many social media networks at once. You’ll therefore save a lot of time and you won’t skip anything and miss out on some important ways that you can manage your reputation. You’ll never miss the need to respond to a potential customer or an actual customer. You will be able to keep track of all the buzz about you in a simpler more organized manner.
  • Your Customer Service will Improve Dramatically — By using a system to manage your social media networks you’ll catch customer service questions faster and be able to contact the customer or answer, when appropriate, the customer service question directly on the social media channel. Plus, when you can respond so much faster with a software system that helps you, you’ll seem like a social media rock star.
  • Get to Know Your Audience and Competition Better — Social media is an excellent research tool when it comes to really and truly getting to understand your audience. Even if you don’t have your own audience yet, you can find and interact with your competition’s audience. Read what they have to say, get ideas on content that you can produce, curate and share. Lean how your competition and their audience interact on social media. Find links outside of social media to more online assets that can give you the information you need to expand your knowledge and then pass it on to your own audience. Using social media tools to enhance your understanding of your competition is an important way to use a system like HootSuite. You can find out how many likes they have, what sorts of things they share, how much engagement they receive and more. You can learn how to do better than they do by observing their social media activities.
  • Generate More Leads — Social media is an excellent lead generation system. Think of your website or blog as the center of all your online marketing efforts, and social media as the means by which you can distribute all the information that you have. With the right calls to action, and the right fan base, you can be shared multiple times over, thus generating more traffic back to your online assets and more leads.

Being able to do all this on social media is a boon for small businesses everywhere. Face it, using social media can be a huge time suck. If you want to avoid that sucking sound as you sign onto each social media network, then using a system like HootSuite will help. Avoiding the time suck will make a huge difference in giving you the ability to reach your goals and objectives.

Why Use HootSuite?

Using a system like HootSuite you’ll be able to view streams of activity from all your social media accounts in one dashboard. You’ll also be able to use the software to reply directly when needed. Since it’s a cloud based tool you can use it from any computer and any location with an Internet connection.

Being able to schedule updates for future publication, post updates live, and more with HootSuite will save a lot of time and effort. If you can save time, that will give you more time to do other things that will enable you to earn more money.

  • Save Time – No matter what you do there are still only 24 hours in a day. And you have a lot to do in those 24 hours. You have to take care of your family, your home, participate in your community, and sleep. Work is the means by which you can afford to do all of those things. Because those other things are so important, your work should not be taking up too much of the time in your life. Anytime you can find a way to work smarter and save time, you free up time for other activities.
  • Outsource Easier – If you have a good organizational system, you can outsource more easily. Many business owners struggle with the idea of outsourcing mainly due to lack of organization. Being able to use software to organize all your marketing and publicity is a great start in enabling you to outsource.
  • Terrific Dashboard – HootSuite is always upgrading their dashboard to make it easier to use, and to create better reports so that you can better identify various metrics. You’ll be able to manage all your social media in one place, connect all your social media profiles, schedule updates, communicate and collaborate with your team, and get all the reports you need. You’ll literally be able to use HootSuite for most of your social media needs.
  • Mobile App Available – We all know that being able to do things on the go is an important component of making your business more flexible. You can get HootSuite for mobile, and it works on iOS and Android systems. It can do most of the features of the PC based dashboard from analytics, to scheduling, handling multiple networks, searching, and more.
  • Offers a Custom Link Shortener – Working with long URLs for your blog posts, products and services can be made easier with a link shortener. URLs can help encourage clicking on links. Using special links can help keep better metrics, allow you to post more information about each link (due to the space limitations of some social media outlets), and get more information out to your followers. By using the shortener from HootSuite with Ow.ly you can get a better idea of how your links are working.
  • Keeps Track of Keywords, Topics, Hashtags – Using HootSuite you can keep track of the keywords, topics, #hashtags and searches. You can even use HootSuite and RSS feeds with Twitter on multiple accounts. This is going to make it a lot easier to conduct research, post information to your accounts and more.
  • Integrates with Google Analytics – You can boost your social media efforts by having an understanding of what you’re doing by looking at the analytics. Since you can integrate Google Analytics with HootSuite via your HootSuite account by opening your HootSuite account and going through the process to add your Google profile.

Using a tool like HootSuite can make it easier for you to get done all that you need to accomplish using social media to make your business better. Creating goals and objectives is only part of what you have to do when trying to manage your social media accounts. You also have to find a way to manage every aspect of your social media in an easy way.

A Social Media Toolbox

HootSuite provides a complete set of tools all designed to help you manage and improve your social media presence, which include:

Streams

These allow you to monitor and manage your social networking accounts, including your mentions, dm’s, news feeds and more. They appear as columns within your HootSuite dashboard.

Tabs

These are the separators along the top of your dashboard. They help you organize your streams by topic and content. Tabs are customizable, which allows you to arrange them, rename them as well adjust the time that they auto-refresh.

Publisher

This handy tool is the backbone of the system. It gives you the ability to preschedule messages, tweets and posts for multiple social networks, that can then be drip fed into your content streams over a scheduled period of time. This is great, especially if you don’t have time to spend posting content across multiple networks on a regular daily basis.

The publisher also gives you the ability to view posts that require approval. This way if you have team members scheduling and posting content for you, you can monitor their assignments and approve or disapprove their posts before they’re published.

Analytics

Another key feature that can be used to measure analyze and report social media data from multiple platforms, so that you can keep track of your progress and optimize your HootSuite strategy. Not only will this tool help measure your web traffic, it can also be used for market research, so that you can easily measure the results of your social media campaigns.

It can help you gauge return of investment (ROI), as well as provides data on traffic and popularity trends. HootSuite make this very easy by providing ready to go templates that integrate with Ow.ly Summary Stats, Facebook Insights as well as Google Analytics and to make it even better all of the reports are editable, adjustable, and revisable.

Apps

The App directory is full of third party apps developed specifically for to work from inside your HootSuite dashboard. It gives you the ability to can integrate with Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, MailChimp, HubSpot and many other social networking sites from your dashboard.

They also have mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android which you can download from your app store, making it easy for you to manage your accounts and schedule posts from anywhere.

As you can see HootSuite can be a valuable tool that you can use to manage and increase your social presence online. If you don’t have your own HootSuite account yet you can register for a free account at: http://HootSuite.com

HootSuite offers three levels of membership:

Free – This includes three social profiles, message scheduling, quick reports and two RSS feeds, which makes it a perfect starter account.

Pro – Has a little more flexibility and includes unlimited social profiles, message scheduling, two users, enhanced analytic reports, Google analytics integration, Facebook insights integration and unlimited RSS feeds. You can get this right now (as of the date of this guide) for as little as $8.99 a month when paid in advance. You can use 50 social media profiles for this price, along with enhanced social media reports, message scheduling, team members, app integrations, RSS, security and more. HootSuite offers a free 30 day trial for new pro users.

Enterprise – Is for power users and gives you the ability to add unlimited amount of team members and social profiles. It also provides social media security, enhanced analytics, unlimited reports, priority support and unlimited RSS feeds. You’ll need to call for pricing options as it’s not posted on the site.

When it comes to choosing the right HootSuite plan level to suit your needs there’s no need to worry! They don’t require any long-term commitments, they are very flexible I giving you the ability to change or even cancel your plan whenever want. Start with the free plan then move up to Pro later, which is what I did. You may find that the free plan meets all your needs although the limit of only three profiles may make that unrealistic for you.

Software Walkthrough

Hootsuite is browser based (unless you are using the app on your mobile device) meaning that you’ll use the software in Firefox, Safari, Chrome or whichever browser you normally use. It requires an internet connection. Though there have been “offline” versions in the past I don’t think Hootsuite still supports them (please correct me if I’m wrong).

Once you first set up your account, as you sign in you’ll be promoted to increase the security of your account. This is a good idea because you will be running all your social media accounts (or most of them) through HootSuite. Security is important don’t skip this step.

Security Set Up Prompt


After you set up your security take the time to look at how the Dashboard looks.

The Dashboard

At the top of the page you’ll see your photograph and then to the side a box labeled “Compose message,” as well as several icons and the ability to click to see select messages.

This area allows you to perform a few different activities such as:

  • Compose a Message – If you click in this area a window comes up where you can type or paste a message.
  • Attach a Picture or File – When you compose a message you might want to include a picture or other file with it.
  • Schedule the Post – If you want this post to go out some time after you create it, you can use the calendar to schedule the post.
  • Add in a Location – Want to localize your post? You can by adding a location to your post.
  • Choose From Various Privacy Options – Depending on your other settings you can choose various privacy options.
  • Send the Message – Using the Send now Button you can send the message but first you have to choose the social network.
  • Choose the Social Networks – The right side of the area is where you choose which social networks you want your message to go to. You should have already signed up and connected with them to be able to choose them.


Further to the right of the “Click to select a social network” area there are two icons:

Quick Search – You can use this icon to search for Twitter or Facebook content from your HootSuite Dashboard. If you click the magnifying glass you’ll bring up a window that looks like this:

You can click the little down arrow beside the Twitter icon and it will give you choices for searching Twitter, to finding Twitter users, to also searching Facebook.com. Choose the one you want, and type in your keyword to the right of the circled icon.

You can also choose to search only in your location, or to conduct a broader search. This is what a result looks like for the term “content marketing” on Twitter.

Notice that you can click “Save as Stream” if you want to keep this search going for a longer term.

Conversations – This feature is a way to have conversations with anyone internal or external to your organization. This feature makes collaboration really simple. To get started just click on the icon pictured to the left, and then click “get started now” if this is your first time using it. A screen that looks like this will be revealed.

As you can see you can invite colleagues automatically by importing their contact info you’re your Google Mail or Yahoo! accounts. But you can also enter their email address in to invite them even if they do not have either of those types of email accounts.

When you invite them they will become a member of your organization. Now when you click on a comment you’ll have a choice to “send to conversations” so that you and your team can discuss a particular comment or update from social media.

Using these features will bring added functionality to your HootSuite account because you can use it for research as well as communicating within your team in a new and more productive way.

Dashboard Information

On the left of the screen you’ll see various icons starting with the “Stream” button that looks like a house. These icons have a vertical instead of horizontal orientation. Let’s talk a bit about each of the icons in turn.

Home / Stream – By clicking on the Home / Stream button you can add streams, create tabs, and organize your streams however you want. For instance, you can organize tabs by topic, network, search terms, campaigns and more. It’s up to you.
Publisher – Under the publisher tab you can organize and schedule your messages. You can even schedule bulk messages using the bulk upload tool, which allows you to arrange messages according to date, time, network and more. You can even see a schedule of past messages, add an RSS feed or view an RSS feed.
Reports – One of the most important aspects of any social media marketing campaign is being able to analyze the work that you do. If you can view the data, and quantify the results, then you can be an even better marketer. It’s hard to know if you’ve succeeded with your goals if you don’t have the data. Thankfully, HootSuite makes it simple.
Assignments – To add assignments you must first have an organization. Your organization includes teams, team members and networks that are relevant to a particular project or business. You might have a different team for each business you manage, for instance.
Contacts – From the contacts menu option you can see all your contacts in each network and any lists you have created in HootSuite. You can follow and un-follow, and connect with your Google+ page contacts as well.
App Directory – You can add apps to increase the functionality of your HootSuite account. There are both free and premium apps to choose from. Some examples of apps are YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, RSS Reader, MailChimp, WordPress and others.
Settings – This is the area you complete your profile, upload a picture, write your bio and fill out your preferences, posting schedules and more. You can also modify or upgrade your plan from the settings area.
Tools – From here you can view HootSuite University, partner programs, mobile apps, extensions and downloads as well as install an add-on for your browser to help you “hoot out” pages that you visit easily.
Help – Anytime you need help you can go to the help area of HootSuite by highlighting the Help icon, then clicking what you need. Your choices are: Help Desk, Feedback, Blog, FAQ, Company, About, Terms, and the all important Privacy Policy.

Anytime you are doing anything in HootSuite you can always go back by using the icons to the left. Once your security settings are done, you can move on to setting up the different social media networks you use.

Add Social Media Streams


Click “Add Stream” as circled above in order to start adding your different social media streams to HootSuite.

You can choose from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, or mixi (a social network popular in Japan), and other apps. Choose which one you want to add, then click Add Profile.

Once you click Add Profile you’ll follow the prompts, as HootSuite leads you through how to do most things. Just follow along, and if you’re not sure what something is you can check out the Help Section and the FAQ. Add all the profiles you want to add so that you can keep track of your social media in one place.

Plus, until you add various social media accounts to your profiles you can’t open up all the features and functions. After you add your Facebook account, for instance, you might see a screen like this below:

You can now add different streams to your tabs based on the profile you choose. You can also add a search query by clicking on “Search” and choosing a profile then entering a search term. See below:

Once the above search query was added you’ll find another tab appears like the one below (yours will look different based on your own networks). The result may or may not be relevant, as it’s only going on the keyword.

Just as when you do a search with Google, the results sometimes aren’t pertinent. But it is a good way to search on your social networks so that you can monitor the buzz about your industry, topic, and learn insights that you can use to better serve your audience.

You can have many searches to help you find discussions that might be relevant to your needs. This type of information can help you find ways to market your business better. Researching the competition is an important component in using HootSuite to its maximum capability.

As you go through the list, adding the different social media accounts to tabs, you are essentially creating your dashboard. You can also change the name of tabs easily by simply clicking on them, highlighting and then typing in a new descriptive name.

You can make a different tab for each social network, and then see in one glance the wall posts, search terms, messages and events for each. Here is an example of a set up to monitor a group owned by someone else. You can watch the stream, search the group and see any of your scheduled posts.

If you want to “like” the post from here you can do so by clicking the little “thumbs up” icon.

If you click the down arrow that’s highlighted above, you will bring up a short menu that allows you to perform other actions, such as; creating a comment stream, sending to email, assigning it to someone on your team to deal with, or sending the conversation to an organization that you have set up. By using the “Add a stream” button in green on the right, you can add more networks to this one tab, or a new tab, or add apps like Instagram, YouTube.com and Google Drive.

If you create a comment stream from any page or group that you have followed, joined or liked, then you can easily comment on any of the discussions right from the HootSuite Dashboard.

It will create a new area that looks like this:

A comment stream opens up the ability to comment on any post right from HootSuite. Instead of having to go sign into the particular account that you want to send a message from, you can just do it right from the HootSuite dashboard.

HootSuite is a very powerful social media management tool. It is likely that you could use it for a solid year and still not realize all the powerful potential that it has. What’s important is that you take the time to try it out and experiment with the different functions, to find out how you can best use it for your needs.

The following video covers some of the topics described above:

HootSuite Apps

These are not apps for your phone, though Hootsuite does have that. These are third-party applications that you can add to your HootSuite dashboard to make it more functional as well as help streamline your experience and easily manage all of your social network interaction.

You can browse these in the HootSuite App Directory.

These 3rd party Apps and extensions give you the ability to add additional social networks, tools and functionality to your HootSuite dashboard, including; Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, as well as other marketing focused tools like MailChimp, SocialFlow, InboxQ, Constant Contact and more. While the majority of the Apps are free for all users, some are only available to Pro and Enterprise users.

Installing Apps

If you had a chance to poke around your HootSuite Dashboard you may have noticed the App Directory under the tools tab in the vertical menu bar on the left side of your dashboard.

Installing an App is extremely easy and only takes a few seconds.

All you have to do is:

  • Hover over the “Tools” menu, click on the “App Directory”
  • Browse the available Apps and click on the one you want to install.
  • A notification alert will pop up when the installation is complete.

Once the app is installed you will notice that it had a green check mark and that this “Settings” button will be active, so that you can begin customizing it to suit your needs.

If you decide that the app you’ve been installed isn’t for you can uninstall it just as easily by repeating the process and clicking on “Installed Apps” within the App Directory and clicking on the trash can icon.

Installing Extensions

Extensions install basically the same way as Apps do. Simply hover over your “Tools” menu, click on “Extensions and Downloads” browse and install. The only difference between Apps and extensions is that your extensions install into your browser instead of your HootSuite dashboard, so you will be taken to a third-party website to complete the installation process.

The Hootlet

There are a wide variety of extensions to choose from including browser extensions, toolbars and desktop application. For instance, you can install the Hootlet, which is available for all browsers and can be used to post and schedule messages directly from your browser toolbar.

It’s a great time saver giving you the ability to send out a message to any of your social networks directly from any webpage you are visiting. Making it extremely easy to share links and interest in content with your followers. It also automatically includes the title of the page and shortens URL with ow.ly so that you don’t have to making it quick and easy to use.

Installing the Hootlet is as easy as dragging and dropping it directly onto your browser toolbar. You’ll find it on the left-hand vertical menu when you hover over the “Tools” tab.

As you can see there are wide variety of applications and extensions for you to explore from within your HootSuite account, all designed to help increase functionality and flexibility. The best way to find out if an application will help make your HootSuite experience

better is to take it for a test drive. Don’t worry you won’t break anything and as we discussed earlier you can delete it as quickly as you can install it.

Getting the Most From HootSuite

Using HootSuite and all its abilities and features will take a while because there is simply so much to learn. But, here are a few truly creative ways to use HootSuite right now.

  • Send a Message – Now that doesn’t seem that creative does it? Well, the fact is, having the ability to compose a message, add in a link and shrink it, as well as add a hashtag, then schedule the message to go out whenever you want and wherever you want it is very creative. It’s simple and oftentimes simple is as creative as you need to be.
  • Cross-Pollinate – Believe it or not you cannot know whether everyone following you on Twitter is also following you on Facebook, and so forth. So using HootSuite to send the same message to multiple social networks is a great idea. However, consider setting them up separately to go out at different times so they can be slightly different and unique so that those who are following you on multiple platforms don’t get bored with your updates.
  • Use RSS Feeds – Distributing blog content using RSS feeds is a great way to use HootSuite. When set up properly, you can update all your social networks with any new blog posts by simply setting up the RSS feeds to automatically post where you choose and when you choose.
  • Get Organized – With HootSuite you can get super-organized with all your social media. You can create different tabs in your dashboard, and then have several streams within each dashboard. Create a tab for Twitter, and then within that tab have several streams in order to keep track of mentions about your business. You can separate your tabs in strategic ways to monitor each social media network at a glance, and then activity within each network at a glance.
  • Get Visual – Today visual content is more important than ever. Get creative with your visual content by uploading pictures and/or screenshots that you take yourself with each update. HootSuite makes it simple to add pictures to your updates for all your social media accounts.
  • Use Apps – As mentioned, there are many apps that are perfect for marketing, research and more. Try different apps such as WP HootSuite Dashboard, TrendSpottr, and ContentGems, which will up the ante in your online marketing exponentially. Try a couple free apps first, and then move on to some premium ones as you test out their capacity.
  • Stream Information Live – By using the right hashtags you can set up a temporary stream to watch information being shared about a topic, subject or event. The information that you gather can be fodder for future blog posts, curated content, and other information that you can use to connect to your audience.
  • Manage Lists – With HootSuite you can use public and private lists with Twitter to keep track of specific people or businesses that you want to follow. This will ensure that you don’t miss anything from them. You can even create a list just for @mentions of your business, industry or a particular topic.

Monitoring

There is no doubt that the HootSuite social media dashboard can help you monitor and manage all of your social media accounts (as we well know), but that’s not all it does!

With a little bit of Hoot savvy you can use your dashboard to track and measure your brand, so that you can decide whether or not you’re getting a good return on investment (ROI) from your social media efforts.

As we discussed, HootSuite integrates with a variety of social media platforms, including; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress.com, Google+, Foursquare, Ping.fm and more.

We also know that updates from all your different social networking accounts appear in the HootSuite dashboard, making it easy and convenient for you to keep track of all of your social activity.

What we haven’t discussed yet is how you can use HootSuite to effectively monitor your brand. One way that you can do this is to monitoring the mentions and keywords from your Twitter account.

Monitoring Mentions

Monitoring mentions is extremely easy because there is a dedicated column inside of the HootSuite dashboard specifically devoted to mentions. By keeping a close eye on the activity in that column you can gain insightful information about your business, Keep track of feedback, interact with consumers and take advantage of relationship building opportunities.

Monitoring Shout Outs and Keywords

When it comes to posting tweets not everyone will remember to include your Twitter handle when mention your business, products or services, sometimes, you will get mentioned without the traditional @yourtwitterhandle.

For example, @HootSuite might get mentioned simply as “HootSuite” or “hoot suite”. Since they are a Social media platform, they may also want to track the terms “social media” or “Social Media Management” (among others), so that they can have the opportunity to track related mentions and connect with people who are looking for help in their area of expertise.

To solve this problem you can create a keyword tracking stream in HootSuite.

All you have to do is click the “+ Add Stream” button, a window will pop up that says, “Add Stream” and choose your Twitter profile and click on the keyword tab. from there you will be able to add the keywords that you want to track when you are finished simply click “Create Stream” in a new column will be added to your dashboard showing you all the tweets related to your search terms.

You will be amazed at how much you can learn by simply monitoring and responding to mentions and keyword posts. You can literally set yourself apart from your competition.

Measuring your Social Media ROI

When it comes to measuring the success of your social media campaigns HootSuite the job all whole lot easier by providing you with metrics and insights that aren’t readily available on other platforms.

As I mentioned, HootSuite easily integrates with Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and more, so that you can track your campaigns and measure your ROI.

They also give you the ability to customize and create reports with a built-in report builder. You can find the report builder by hovering over the “Analystics” tab on the left-hand side of the dashboard’s vertical menu.

There you will be available to choose from more than 30 measurement modules that include metrics for your Twitter profile, aggregated Ow.ly click stats, Facebook Insights and Google Analytics. They also provide you with readymade templates to make the job even easier.

When it comes to using HootSuite to manage your social media campaigns and measure your social media ROI successfully, the truth is there is a little bit of a learning curve, but don’t get discouraged, because once you get the hang of it you will be able to use it with yourself ahead of the competition in no time!

Organizing Your Dashboard

With HootSuite’s built-in themes you can change the look of your dashboard to suit your personal preferences. Currently you can choose from 3 themes; Blue Steel, Classic and Magnum. to change your theme offer over the “Settings” tab in the vertical menu on the left side of your dashboard, click on “Preferences” and pick a theme from under the themes tab.

Column Width

You can quickly adjust the width of the columns in your streams on the HootSuite dashboard for any of your social networks by using the handy slider located in the top right hand corner of your dashboard. It will adjust the number of columns in view as well as automatically adjust width of the columns to fit the available space.

Drag and Drop Columns and Tabs

HootSuite lets you drag and drop columns and tabs, so that you can quickly reorder them the suit your needs. All you have to do is click on the tab you wish to move and drag it to its new location.

Drag and Drop Mentions

To quickly mention someone in a Tweet all you have to do is click on your profile image then drag and drop it into the compose message field at the top of your dashboard.

Save as Stream

When you use the HootSuite search feature from within your dashboard to look for topics and keywords you can quickly save the search results as a stream on your dashboard by clicking on the “Save as Stream” button. This way you can continue monitoring the topic for as long as you like. When you are finished monitoring the topic you can simply delete it by clicking the down arrow located in the upper right corner of the stream.

Add a List

Adding Twitter lists to your HootSuite dashboard can help you track and monitor people and topics that interest you. To add a new list click the + Add Stream button on the left-side of the dashboard and choose the Lists tab from the pop up window. From there you will have the option to import list’s that you’ve already created in your Twitter profile or create a brand new list.

After you have created a list you can edit it by choosing preferences from the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of list stream. This will allow you to add and delete people from your list, to help refine your results even further.

Saving Drafts

In HootSuite it is possible to compose messages in advance and save them for easy access. To do this simply enter in the message in the Compose box, choose the social network you want to send it from and then click on the floppy disc icon located at the bottom of the box near the Send Now button. To access your drafts click on the down arrow next to the floppy disc icon. From there you can choose to send or delete your drafted messages.

Filtering Columns

To help reduce clutter and find the information you need quickly you can filter the columns in your streams by keyword or Klout score. This can be a big help if you’re researching a specific topic or looking for people who meet a certain criteria.

Geo-Locate Search Terms

HootSuite has a built in geo-located search that you can use to filter your search results according to distance so that you can messages posted only from people in your area. You can search by industry, keywords and brand mentions all based on your location. This can be extremely beneficial especially for off-line business owners who are looking for new customers or trying to spread awareness.

RSS Feeds

With HootSuite, you can take an RSS feed from any site and update it to your social network accounts automatically. To do this, go to “Settings” on your vertical menu bar, choose RSS/atom and click the + button to add a new feed. A box will pop up allowing you to add your feed URL. From there you will also be able to schedule your feed to post on your social networks automatically.

Tips for Success Using HootSuite

Using HootSuite to help you manage your social media is really a no brainer. It’s inexpensive, effective, and feature rich. Social media is an important element that you must use for all your online marketing if you want to be successful. But, regardless of which social media you use, or even the tool that you use, there are some tried and true tips for success that you need to consider.

  1. Decide Your Goals & Objectives – Once you try out the different functions that HootSuite has to offer you can set out to create a few specific objectives and goals. For everything you do in your business it is important for you to have a plan, because without goals and objectives it will be hard to move forward.
  2. Develop Your Strategy & Tactics – Your strategy consists of what you are going to do to reach your objectives and goals. Your tactics are how you will those objectives and goals, including which tools you’ll use. For instance, you may have a strategy to improve engagement through social media. The tactics you use might be to implement more commenting on social media, using HootSuite as the tool to do so.
  3. Create a Plan of Action – No objective, goal, strategy or tactic can be completed without a solid plan of action. By creating actionable steps to do each day to reach your goal you’ll be more likely to reach or exceed your own expectations.

When you think about it, anything that you do requires those three considerations. Understand your goals & objectives, know what strategy and tactics you’ll use, and be able to share it with your team while creating a plan to follow through until the project is successful. HootSuite.com can make the process of social media marketing easier by managing your social media in one place, on one easy-to-use dashboard.

These are just a few of the tips and tricks that I have found useful while using HootSuite. You can find plenty more tip’s on the HootSuite blog: http://blog.HootSuite.com or by performing an online search for the keyword “HootSuite tips”. With thousands of members logging into HootSuite every day there’s no shortage of tips and advice available.

Bottom line, HootSuite is an extremely powerful tool and it can have a bit of a learning curve as I’ve mentioned before, but it truly can help you take control of all of your social networking activities and expand your social presence online. Again, as I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions if you need help.

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