How many social media platforms does your brand use? If you’re using more than one, it might be worth your time to employ a social media management tool. There are several to choose from including Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Sprout Social.
What’s so great about a social media management site? The biggest benefit is that you can access, monitor, post, schedule and track all of your posts and platforms from one central location. That’s right; you don’t have to log into a bazillion sites, post to each one and read metrics on a variety of dashboards.
For Matthew Iscoe, the marketing manager for Thriving Firm, a company that helps accountants create a sound practice, Hootsuite is the way to untangle his social media mayhem.
“I use Hootsuite because I can instantly view feeds and incoming messages, plan content publication aligned with our marketing calendar and track the success of our work,” he says.
With his help, we created this eight-step guide to getting started with Hootsuite.
1. Select the right plan
For free, you can set up and manage three social media accounts. You’ll be able to create and schedule posts, access basic app integration and get an analytics report.
If you want to manage more than three accounts and you’d like to give several team members access the account, you’ll need to upgrade to the $9.99 a month plan. Check out Hootsuite’s website to compare plans.
Iscoe suggests playing around with the free version before you commit to the paid version. “Get acclimated with the controls and the scope of the program,” he suggests. “If you like it, you can upgrade.”
2. Create a sign in
As with any site, you’ll need to create a username and password.
3. Add the social platforms you want to manage
Hootsuite will walk you through the steps to add each social media account. Basically, you need to allow Hootsuite to access the account by entering in your username and passwords for each site. Currently, Hootsuite supports the following accounts:
There are also apps that can help you add YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr.
4. Set up your streams
When you log in to Hootsuite you can customize the incoming feeds you want to view. From your Facebook newsfeed to your Twitter timelines and mentions, you get to select which feeds you see, Iscoe explains.
Any stream that exists within a social media channel can be pulled out and highlighted in columns across one screen. For instance, in the example below you can see scheduled tweets, Twitter’s homefeed, Twitter mentions and LinkedIn updates. You can add streams, delete streams and rearrange them with ease.
If you have a large number of streams, you can organize them under tabs to keep things straight.
5. Post and schedule messages
With everything set up to your liking, you can start posting to your social media sites. You can publish instantly, or use the scheduling feature, which is one of the biggest benefits of Hootsuite. From one location, you can schedule messages on each platform.
In the top left corner, you select which platform you want the message to post to; you can also post to several platforms simultaneously. In the box next to your selection, you’ll create your message. You can tag others and include links in the message. Hootsuite will even shorten a link for you so it doesn’t take up precious real estate in the 140-character Twitter world. Below your message, you can select a date and time for that message to appear.
6. Check the apps
Once you learn to navigate Hootsuite, Iscoe suggests exploring the apps and integration tools. For example, you can integrate your contacts into Salesforce, edit your blog in WordPress and manage your videos on YouTube through some of the available apps.
7. Go mobile
There is a Hootsuite app that functions in a similar way to the desktop version. With it you’ll have access to all of your accounts on the go.
8. Customize your reports
You no longer have to log in to each account to track your metrics. Now you can get a single easy-to-read report that includes stats for all of your sites. Plus, you can customize your report, Iscoe points out.
“The Hootsuite reports are professional-looking and in-depth enough to share with your boss’ boss,” he says. “They’ll help you track your success and make future plans.”
Are you a Hootsuite user? Share your tips and experience in the comment section below.