Debbie has provided us with a great explanation of how to use Hootsuite here. She explains it and shows you how to use it properly to save a ton of time!
Yesterday on my Day 5 update, I shared that I used Hootsuite to save time posting to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and I got a bunch of questions about how I used this, so I thought I would explain.
What is hootsuite?
First, hootsuite is a FREE program you use to SCHEDULE your status updates on social media. This is a huge benefit because rather than going in every day or 3-4 times a day (whatever your preference), you can do it all at once. I don't know about you, but I'm rather busy so I'm always looking for ways to save time. Plus, I forget to go into these forums every day.
Not only does hootsuite allow you to schedule tweets/updates for the future, but you can simultenously post to multiple social media places all at the same time. So, I will send to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter ALL AT ONCE. You can choose which posts get posted where...so, for example, if I do a Follow Friday for twitter, I only post to my Twitter account; if I am sending a flooring update, it goes to my FB fan page, Twitter and LI; if I'm scheduling a fun post (not about flooring), I will also send to my personal FB page.
Hootsuite also allows you to shorten URL's (since you have a limit on characters and/or don't want to clutter your status updates. And, hootsuite allows you to track clicks and improve on your effectiveness. There is also a paid version, but for my needs, this is not necessary. There are other programs that are similar and you ccould use one of those if you want. They all pretty much do the same thing w/ a few nuances here and there.
How do I use hootsuite?
So, here's my process. (My goal is to have at least 1 status update a day...I prob. average 1.5/day...you can figure out what's right for you).
1. I write the title of blog post and then I copy the short URL (you can do this at the bottom of your AR post or by placing the URL into the box on hootsuite). This is the same process I would normally use.
Hardwood flooring - which types are best for pets? http://ow.ly/7p0Xh #hardwood #pets
(Notice also how I used the hashtags (#) with my key words of hardwood and pets...this helps people who may be searching for your terms, esp in twitter and it may slightly help your SEO)
2. I then schedule this for a future date...Underneath the word hardwood, there is a calendar icon which is blue, so I hit that, and then the calendar pops up. I select a date/time...I selected for later today.
3. Then, I select which social media I want - in this case, I checked off Twitter, my FB biz page and LI.
4. Then, I hit the "schedule" button and it is all set. But, before I select schedule, I copy and paste my line so I don't need to retype it. This is IF you want to schedule multiple times.
5. Now, we are on to "rinse and repeat." So I take the same line and I will schedule it for 3 other dates. (I had read somewhere it's ideal to post updates 4 times for each post. So, then, i'll schedule it for about 1 week later, then 2 weeks later and then maybe 1 month later. I try to mix up the days of the week and times to get different audiences.
This way, each post gets more play, and it saves me time in trying to figure out more updates. If I have a really good post, I may schedule it several more times...even up to 6-12 months in advance (especially for the ones that are not time specific/timeless).
6. For twitter, I do a series of #FF (#Follow Fridays) which is where you recommend others to follow. It's a good will gesture to help build others' followers and often they will do the same for you or retweet to their audience. I have 6 or 7 of these...and what do I do? of course I schedule them all at once and copy and paste for each week. It simplifies life.
I will spend 1-1.5 hs pe month taking care of all my status updates for the month. This was way more time effiicient vs. going in there every day and multiple networks. I just did this for the month of December...and as luck would have it, half of January is already filled up. Then, when January comes, I look at which dates don't yet have status updates and I fill in for those days.
Please note that this does not suffice for the true interactive portion of social media. I'm not doing that nearly as much as I should, but that is a factor of me prioitizing my time. For me, blogging is much more important and getting me much more biz. This is a way to prublicize my blogs to a wider audience...and an audience of people that already know me. My objective in this is to have higher top of mind awareness so that when my friends/colleagues need flooring, I want them to think of The Flooring Gril.
I'm hoping they add Google + to this soon. I read somewhere that was planned soon.
Feel free to share other ways that you use hootsuite (or other similar programs).
Update: It appears that as of mid November, Hootsuite is offering Google+ but only to Enterprise Members. I don't know how much this costs. For me personally, I would get back in the game of Google+ if they added it for free, but I'm not going to pay to use this (given my priorities).
Hardwood Flooring - Carpet - Tile/Natural Stone - Laminate - Refinish Hardwood - Backsplashes
Debbie Gartner, President and Owner
"The Flooring Girl"
"We bring the store to your door."