Social media, if you haven’t already noticed, is a monster in our new connected online world. According to Statista, in 2016 approximately 78% of U.S. citizens had at least one social media profile. And this number is continuing to rise. As a business owner it is probably obvious at this point that your company needs to have a social media presence or you could be missing out on these potential consumers. The problem, however, is with all of the social media platforms out there how can you successfully manage all of them without taking up your entire day? That’s where social media tools come in to help ease the work load.
At webFEAT Complete we use many different services that help us manage our clients social media accounts. The great thing about these tools is that they are, for the most part, completely free to use and help you save hours of time. So, without further ado, our first tool is a popular one and probably one you’ve heard of before:
Originally released in 2008 as a free tool that let users manage multiple Twitter accounts, Hootsuite has evolved into a full on marketing must-have tool that lets you manage multiple social media networks and accounts. With over 10 million users in 2014 Hootsuite has become the go-to tool for social media managers and businesses alike.
Hootsuite offers a few tiers. If you are a single business owner the free version will probably be sufficient enough for you to accomplish what you need to. There are the options of a Pro or Business Accounts also which are well suited for agencies or larger companies.
The Hootsuite Dashboard:
The Hootsuite dashboard is the meat and potatoes of what Hootsuite is. Once you have set up your social media accounts you are greeted with your dashboard which is fully customizable. You can add:
- Home Feed
- Messages (Inbox)
- Messages (Outbox)
- My Posts
- Scheduled Posts
- New Likes/Followers
You can add any number of streams to each individual network which is great because you can put the information you want to see at the forefront of your dashboard. Along the top above the streams are your individual tab areas where you can create boards and separate by client, social network, or any other means of organization you prefer. This dashboard area makes it easy to keep track of what is going on in your networks in one unified area.
The Compose Area
The Hootsuite compose area is where most of your work will take place. This is where you can choose to which social networks you want to post to and for which profile for each social network. For example, if I wanted to post something to our Twitter and Instagram accounts I simply click the drop-down and select which profiles I want to post on. You are given all of the options you’d expect to see on each respective social network website (attach photos, videos, locations, etc.)
Below the compose screen is probably the most useful part about Hootsuite, which is the scheduling function. This feature is where you will save the most time on any given day. You are able to choose specific days and times for when you would like your post to be sent out. There is even an “AutoSchedule” feature that lets Hootsuite choose the best time to post for you. So, in theory you could schedule a month’s’ worth of social posts for every single one of your social networks in just and hour or two without having to worry about it the rest of the month.
One of the issues many business owners encounter is the inability to see all of their analytics from all of their social profiles in one combined dashboard. Hootsuite fixes this by combining all analytics from all networks in one easy to read dashboard. Drill down by network or board for even more fine grained reporting.
Other Useful Features
The Hootsuite extension is useful for when you find interesting content on the web that you would like to share. Simply click the extension and you are given the same compose field you would see if you were inside the Hootsuite website which will let you schedule interesting content you come across in as little as two clicks.
Hootsuite has a full-fledged app directory that gives you even more options should you need them. For example, you can have the ability to add Dropbox to Hootsuite for easy file transfer and sharing. Or add the YouTube app extension to schedule automatic uploads to your YouTube page.
Struggling to come up with content? Or just don’t have time to post something for the day? Enter Hootsuite Suggestions. The way it works is like this. Enter three keywords that are most relevant to your business. Hootsuite will scour the web to find interesting content related to these keywords and present them to you. All you have to do is go through and click “schedule” and these will be posted automatically at your scheduled time. It’s an easy 5-minute solution to make sure you aren’t stagnant on social media.
This is just the beginning of what Hootsuite can do for your social media efforts. This post only scratches the surface of all of the useful features found within the Hootsuite application. We know making time for social media is hard but if you want your business to be as successful as possible online you must not ignore this key piece of the puzzle. And Hootsuite is one way to help achieve your goal.