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 to use HootSuite’s Team capability, including why you might want such a structure, and what the potential uses are.
What are HootSuite Teams?
HootSuite allows businesses to create a hierarchy of structure and functionality within the dashboard in order to facilitate internal communication and workflow. HootSuite’s Team structure is comprised of Organization, Teams, Team Members and Social Profiles.
Organization: this is the highest level entity in HootSuite and would typically represent your entire business and account. An Organization contains Teams, Team Members and Social Profiles.
Teams: these are groups of users collaborating together on various Social Profiles within an Organization.
Team Members: these are users invited to manage Social Profiles within a Team.
HootSuite account administrators can completely tailor their organization by creating and customizing Teams, shuffling and assigning Team Members, and adding and arranging Social Profiles to best suit your needs.
With this structure in place, administrators can manage a variety of Teams and permission sets. The permission levels are very granular, but default permissions can be set and applied to each new Team Member as they are created.
New Teams can be be created on the fly, and multiple Teams can be merged if needed.
How to Create HootSuite Teams
To get started, you first have to have one or more Organizations. Go to your Profile within the HootSuite Dashboard and click on Start Collaborating. This will get you started on creating your first Organization. You can specify a name for the organization (typically your business), and you can select all possible Social Profiles that are associated with that Organization.
Once finished, you’ll see your Organization control center that displays all of your Teams, Team Members and Social Profiles. Initially, it will be just you, and you’ll have no Teams. You can add more Team Members by clicking on the Invite Members tab and inserting their email addresses. If you have Teams already set up, you can assign them to appropriate Teams immediately.
To begin creating Teams, simply drag one or more Team Members into the Teams area, or click on Add a Team. Similar to your Organization, you will be prompted to create a Team name, and to assign relevant Social Profiles. Again, this is where Team functionality is so appropriate, as your Marketing Team may not need access to the same social networks and accounts as your Customer Service Team.
Once you have your first Organization, Team, Team Member and Social Profiles set up, your dashboard will begin to look something like this:
You can create multiple Organizations and switch back and forth as needed using the selector in the upper left corner. Within each Organization, you can add and edit your Teams, Team Members and Social Profiles easily. Each Team, Team Member and Social Profile has a settings icon in the upper left corner if you mouseover that entity that gives you access to manage assignments and permissions.
HootSuite Message Assignment
As mentioned, if one Team Member sees a tweet or status update that another Team or Team Member needs to see and respond to, they can Assign that Message to whomever it would be appropriate. This initiates an internal workflow where the initial message, assignment and resolution is all documented, and your HootSuite administrator view and monitor assignments as needed.
HootSuite includes an internal chat system for Teams and Team Members that they can use to communicate with each other without having to leave the HootSuite dashboard. While great for team communication, particularly for remote teams, the real value is in it’s integration with the rest of HootSuite.
Team Members can send any tweet or message from any connected social network into a Conversation. Teams can then discuss the message, like or ReTweet or even broadcast back out to social networks.
Using Conversations, Teams can discuss issues or opportunities that come up on social media, come up with a plan of action and response, and then implement it. With the breakneck pace at which social network communication flies, being able to quickly identify, collaborate and respond to such messages can be critical.
When teams of people are involved in communicating your brand and responding to customer needs and issues, it’s important to have the option to discuss response strategies and communicate approved messaging.
For instance, suppose that a customer makes your team aware of an issue with your online ordering system. You can immediately communicate that message to your technical team, and initiate an internal discussion with customer support and ownership on how to publicly respond and communicate the issue. Once decided, team members can respond to the original customer, as well as push out approved and crafted messages to all branded and personal social channels.
Conversation windows can also pop out of the dashboard so you can monitor the conversation while working on other tasks.
Free versus Pro
Teams are a feature that is only found within the HootSuite Pro and Enterprise editions. If you’re an individual blogger or sole proprietor, or even a small business, Teams are not likely a required feature. Larger businesses, corporations and organizations though should already be using or considering a Pro account, and therefore have access to set up Teams.
Your HootSuite Pro account includes 1 Team Member and up to 9 more can be added. Each additional Team Member is $9.00 a month. The plan also includes up to 50 social profiles. If you need more users and/or profiles, HootSuite Enterprise is a great option.
Examples and Uses
Businesses who have a Marketing Department and a Customer Service Department might share the same Facebook Page with both department Teams, but have a separate Twitter account just for “help”. Whenever the Marketing Department monitors a customer service issue where the client mentioned the primary Twitter account, the tweet can be forwarded to the Customer Service Team and they can respond and assist using their Twitter account.
Corporations who have a CEO and other C-level individuals and plan to use HootSuite for managing their personal social networks can isolate those networks to an Executive Team and leave the branded accounts for the Marketing Team.
Companies can use a Business Development Team that is assigned sales leads that come in as comments and responses to social network status updates, and the Team can be given access to the networks and profiles most appropriate for lead generation and business development. For instance, such a Team may need access to LinkedIn profiles, company pages and groups, but not a branded Facebook Page.
Agencies and Individuals who want to use a single HootSuite account to manage multiple businesses and brands can use Teams to represent each different brand, and connect and assign that brand’s profiles accordingly. Though my personal preference is to set up a new HootSuite account for each business that way have complete ownership and control over the HootSuite profile.
These are the ways businesses can use HootSuite Teams to complement internal organizational structure and ensure consistent levels of communication and campaign management. 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.
Next time, we’ll get into how to set up and use HootSuite’s URL Shorteners.
Image courtesy of Perspektivet Museum, Flickr.