There’s no doubt that the single most popular aspect of HootSuite, the reason that it’s the most popular social media management tool, is it’s capability to share content to multiple social networks simultaneously, and that it supports the broadest possible spectrum of social profiles.
And for many, that’s likely enough.
But one of the reasons I made a point to blog so much about HootSuite, and to publish a book about the tool, was to help business owners and social media marketing agencies understand the full potential that the dashboard offers.
If all you ever do is use HootSuite to share to Facebook or Twitter, you’re missing out. (And if you haven’t yet tried Hootsuite, you can sign up for a free trial once you’ve finished this article. [affiliate])
Connect All Social Profiles
First and foremost, one of the aspects of HootSuite that I really enjoy is the fact that not only does it support Facebook and Twitter, but also LinkedIn and Google+. In fact, you can set up Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and of course multiple accounts. With the addition of select apps, you can even add support for networks like Instagram or Pinterest or YouTube.
So make sure that you’ve added all of your possible profiles! If you have a lot, you can pin the ones you always share to for easy access, or mark some as favorites so they’re displayed first in the compose box social profile list. Also, in the new social selector, you can type in “Twitter” and only see Twitter profiles, to further filter your choices (in Firefox).
The only way you’ll be able to ensure regular activity to one of your profiles or groups starts with having that profile configured, so begin there.
Set Up Tabs & Streams
Within the HootSuite dashboard, you can have a number of tabs across the top, and streams of data within each tab. The “normal” way to set up tabs is to create a tab for each social profile, and then create one or more streams within that tab using that profile’s normal options.
For instance, you might have a tab for your Twitter account that has streams for Sent Tweets, Mentions, Retweets and Direct Messages.
What if, instead of clicking through a bunch of tabs to check the same function on multiple profiles, you created tabs based on use rather than network. We’ll have some suggestions for you in a moment.
Curate Great Content
I also have a tab just for RSS feeds that, using the Syndicator app, brings in streams of recent articles from my favorite sources that I can then share to social networks as curated content.
This way, each morning, instead of jumping around to different sites, I have a single place to go to see the latest blog posts from industry experts and news sources that I trust. I can open them and read them, and click a single button to send the article to my compose box, complete with a shortened link.
Listen to Social Channels
For instance, you might have a tab for Monitoring that has streams of data communicating when you’ve been mentioned, on a variety of platforms.
You might also have a tab for Listening that uses saved search streams and Google+ Circle streams to see topics being discussed or recent posts from influencers that might be of interest.
Monitor Success Via Analytics
But of course none of that matters if your aren’t monitoring the success of your efforts. With HootSuite reports, you can set up saved reports or create reports on the fly to see things like follower growth, retweets, click-throughs, and more.
Reports can be branded if you’re using HootSuite to monitor someone else’s social presence, and can be set up to be automatically compiled and emailed on whatever schedule you determine to whatever email addresses you designate.
Now, I know there’s been quite a bit of confusion regarding the HootSuite Analytics and point system. I talk about that extensively in the book, and will be blogging about it more soon, but here’s the gist of it.
HootSuite reports are made up of modules so that you can pick and choose which modules you want to include in whatever report you’re building. Modules all have point values, starting at 0 and going up from there. HootSuite Free users have access to all free reports. HootSuite Pro users get an allotment of 50 points and can purchase more if needed. You use points only when you save a report. Any time you want, you can start over and have your full 50 points available. There is no “monthly” anything so forget you ever heard about “points per month” or anything like that.
This Infograph may help you work through everything:
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So hopefully this has motivated you to spend a few more minutes in your dashboard! Your social media presence will thank you. And when you’re ready to take your HootSuite usage, and social activity, to a totally new level, pick up my book, “The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management.”