How to use HootSuite to Curate and Share Content

How to use HootSuite to Curate and Share Content

HootSuite is a tool for social media management that we've talked about and referenced many times. I am a Certified HootSuite Solution Pro, which means that I have been trained on not only how to use HootSuite, but how to help business owners understand how they can use HootSuite to manage and monitor their social media accounts. We are continuing our series on How to Make the Most of Your HootSuite Account by reviewing how businesses can use HootSuite to find and share great content to their social networks and demonstrate industry expertise.

Social Streams

A good rule of thumb for businesses who want to present a well-rounded and effective social media presence is to maintain an 80/20 ratio for posted content. 80% of your social media posts should be from or about other people, while just 20% should be from or about you. If all you're doing is talking about yourself, fewer people will be interested. Therefore, finding and utilizing sources for great content to share and re-share is a real challenge. That's where HootSuite can streamline the process.

First, make sure that on your key social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+), you are carefully following and connecting with people who provide valuable content and information. If you're following random people just to get follow-backs and ramp up your follower count, you'll dilute the value of your home streams (not to mention have tons of followers who likely aren't genuinely interested in you).

Next, set up Streams within one or more Tabs and connect the news feeds from your social networks. For Facebook and LinkedIn, you will be able to see the latest updates from your connections. For Twitter and Google+, you can connect your Home stream as well as specific Lists or Circles you've set up.

As you continue to create new connections and curate great Lists and Circles of thought leaders and influencers, you can jump into this Tab and see a steady stream of fantastic updates and shared posts. Any time you see a great post, you can choose to share it right within HootSuite.

But wait, there's more.

What makes HootSuite particularly valuable for this purpose is that not only will have you have a single place to go to check out updates from all your networks, if you find an update on one network, you can share it to any of your other networks! If you've just hopped into Twitter, all you can do is retweet to the account you're logged into. But when I call up my Technology News list within HootSuite and see an interesting tweet from someone, I can send it to either my personal or my branded Twitter account, as well as any of my other social media accounts, and I can also choose to AutoSchedule it and space out my posts, rather than sharing a bunch of posts all at once.

Check your streams once or twice a day to look for great content from interesting people, and share it with your followers. Add in some of your own thoughts and information where appropriate, and use HootSuite's AutoSchedule to space everything out.

HootSuite Syndicator

The other method for finding outstanding content and news stories to share is by using the HootSuite Syndicator, a feature released by HootSuite earlier this year. The Syndicator allows you to set up one or more RSS feeds from whatever websites and sources you're interested in. For instance, business advisors might subscribe to feeds from Forbes and Wall Street Journal and Business Insider.

This video from HootSuite provides a great overview of why HootSuite developed this capability and how people can use it:


Just like with the Social Streams, you can set up a new Tab or create one or more streams within an existing Tab. I like to have an RSS Tab with one or more streams within it to keep things organized. You can put all your RSS feeds into a single stream, or perhaps have different streams for different topics, or even one source per stream - whatever makes the most sense to you.

Time-saving Tip: Set up a stream with an RSS feed from your own site. This makes it easy for you to re-share versions of your latest blog post to Twitter, which you'll want to do at least a couple of times.

Click on Add Stream, select the Apps tab, and click on HootSuite Syndicator. That will add the RSS app to your account.

You'll have an empty stream and if you click on the RSS icon for that stream, you'll open the HootSuite Subscription Manager.

HootSuite Subscription Manager

Here you can add as many RSS feeds as you'd like. Once you have one or more subscriptions, they will appear in the list and you can delete or edit them as needed. You can also group them into categories, which is great if you have a number of different RSS feeds for different purposes.

If you've previously exported your Google Reader feeds into an .xml file, or perhaps run a quick export from Feedly or whatever other RSS reader you're using, you can upload your .xml file and import all of your feeds at once.

The other method for adding new subscriptions is even easier if you're using Google Chrome as your web browser. Simply install the Chrome Extension for HootSuite, Hootlet, and now any time you click on an RSS feed icon or link, a small HootSuite dialogue box will come up prompting you to subscribe to that feed [link to Chrome Store].

Once set up, all you have to do is check your RSS tab each morning and look for great articles to share. For instance, I often share really fabulous posts from Jeff Bullas, Heidi Cohen and Copyblogger. They publish articles daily that provide tremendous value to those interested in learning more about content marketing and social media. By sharing them, I not only help my own followers, but I add variety and interest to my social network streams.

Some articles I will share to multiple accounts, and others maybe just one or two, depending on the topic. For instance, informational articles, particularly on blogging and content marketing, I will usually share to all four of my branded accounts. Platform-specific articles, like something on Facebook Contests, I might only share to Facebook. And I usually reserve Tech news for one or both of my Twitter accounts.

When you see an article that you're interested in sharing, you can first click on the title and the text of the article will open in a pop-up window, giving you an opportunity to read or at least review the article and make sure it's work sharing. You might also highlight a bit of the text that you can quote in your post. Close that window and then click on the left arrow icon to share the post using HootSuite. This will grab the title of the post and the shortened link and populate the Compose dialogue box.

How to share a link using the HootSuite Syndicator

Now that you have an initial message ready, you can edit it as much as you want. Here's where you can paste in that quote and add some commentary of your own, as well as edit the Title and/or add some Hashtags to help link the post. Select one or more social networks and then send. Just like with the social shares above, I recommend using the AutoSchedule. AutoSchedule will ensure that your posts are shared at the optimum time for each network, as well as space out each of the posts so they're staggered.

Sharing a post from HootSuite Syndicator

If you use the AutoSchedule, or manually schedule each post, you can take a few minutes in the morning to review the latest articles and share whichever ones seem most appropriate and interesting. You can then go about your day knowing that your social networks will be sharing interesting content throughout the day.

These are some of the ways businesses can use HootSuite to maintain a consistent presence on social media that provides real value to your followers and potential customers.

Next time, we'll get into how to use the HootLet Extension available for HootSuite users.

If you haven't yet signed up for a HootSuite account, you can get a free trial here, and you can contact me if you would like additional training and support.

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Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner

Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner - a title he invented to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award-winning Blogger, Speaker, and Author at The Social Media Hat, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse (formerly CMO at SiteSell).

As Brand Evangelist, Mike works directly with other social media educators, influencers, agencies and brands to explore and develop profitable relationships with Agorapulse.