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. This is the first in a new series I’m offering on How to Make the Most of Your HootSuite Account.
I have extolled the benefits of HootSuite on a number of occasions, but it’s probably a good idea to run through the Greatest Hits here so you’ll be motivated to keep reading.
First and foremost, HootSuite supports brand and company pages for your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (while Twitter doesn’t have a separate business account type, it’s common to create a company account along with personal accounts to represent CEOs, business owners and employees). That makes HootSuite the ideal tool for an active business who has a presence on all of the major networks.
Second, HootSuite provides a robust sharing and scheduling tool. With HootSuite, business owners and designated team members can craft a post, include a shortened link, and even attach a photo. They can choose which networks to share it to, and share the post immediately or at a scheduled date and time. HootSuite even includes an Auto Schedule feature that will space out posts and publish them at optimum times.
Third, HootSuite includes the option to actually set up teams and members. For larger organizations, this allows for a much greater degree of flexibility and usability for social media management. Certain teams can be granted access to select accounts, and team members can share social media activity, like direct messages, with other team members for action.
Finally, HootSuite offers a rich set of metrics for analyzation of the impact of your social media activity. This is an area we’re going to dig into a lot more in the future, as measuring your results should be a critical aspect of your social media strategy.
If you haven’t yet signed up for a HootSuite account, you can get a free 30-day trial of HootSuite Pro here [affiliate link]. Once you’ve signed up, make sure that you also download the appropriate app for mobile access to your account and functionality. [ iTunes | Android ]
Which plan should you choose? The free plan is actually fine for most users, as it supports up to five social networks and two RSS feeds. So, if you want to use HootSuite to manage your four branded profiles, and perhaps a personal Twitter account, it will be great.
The Pro plan adds support for up to 50 social networks. The networks supported is the same for both plans, just the total number of connected networks. Since I have both personal and branded accounts on all the networks, I use Pro. I also connected key LinkedIn Groups.
HootSuite also offers an Enterprise package that includes an unlimited number of social networks, far more users, education and support, and other features.
Once you have selected the plan that you wish to use, and I would encourage you to take advantage of the free trial, the first thing to do is to begin connecting your accounts. For each social network, you will need to authorize HootSuite to access that account and post on your behalf. For Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, once you connect the account you will be asked to choose which profile, page or group you want to connect.
To add more connections, click on your profile image in the upper left corner, or go to https://hootsuite.com/dashboard#/member. Click on the Add a Social Network button and select the network you want to add. In addition to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, HootSuite supports Foursquare, WordPress and Mixi. Additional networks like YouTube or Flickr can also be added via Apps, which we’ll cover in more detail at a later date.
Next time, we’ll cover HootSuite Tabs and Streams; how to set them up and some best practices and options. We’re also going to be talking about scheduling and automation, twitter chats, crafting posts, reports and more, so stay tuned!
Image courtesy of SalFalko, Flickr.