Many business owners spend time every day researching and reading interesting articles and websites that they would like to share to their social media accounts and with their followers. While you can copy and paste URLs into status update windows to compose posts, that’s a manual and time-consuming process and a poor ploy when you want to share several articles in a row.
On a completely different tact, social media research is an important part of a successful social media strategy, but it’s often overlooked. Since business owners aren’t always sure how to see what people are talking about online, they don’t think to look, and end up missing conversations about their brand or industry which might apply to them and be opportunities to jump in.
The folks up in Vancouver who run HootSuite have been working on something that knocks out both challenges with a single shot:
The NEW HootSuite Hootlet
We’ve talked about the Hootlet extension for Chrome before. It’s foremost feature has always been making it easy to take an article you’ve found online and share it using HootSuite – giving you the ability to share to multiple social networks and to schedule that share for whenever you want. With this updated extension, this core feature is still there, just better.
The entire extension and sharing window has received some design changes which give it a more contemporary, streamlined look, much like HootSuite’s mobile has for iOS7.
Another change that I love is that with the old Hootlet, if I had AutoScheduling turned on in my Dashboard, which I usually do, the Hootlet automatically assumed that would be the case for on the fly shares as well. In order to share a post immediately using the Hootlet, you would have to turn off AutoSchedule within the share box and then click on Send Now. While I love using AutoSchedule to space out posts that I find, when it doesn’t matter when they’re shared as long as they’re not all shared at the same time, there are some posts and articles I’ll want to share immediately. With this update, you always have the option to Schedule or Send Now, allowing me to share a post immediately without having to turn off AutoSchedule.
Taking a page from Buffer, the new Hootlet share will also allow you to highlight text on the page, click the Hootlet Share button, and have that text that you’ve highlighted show up as the text you’re sharing, rather than just the article title. Again, this is a feature that is really outstanding, and demonstrates an understanding of the realities of social media marketing: anyone can sure links – it’s the insight that you have to offer that makes you special and unique. Quoting from an article and commenting on that quote will set your social shares apart from other people.
Similarly, grabbing a sentence from your own blog posts and sharing that is a great way to create those second and third tweets for a post after you’ve tweeted the post once using the blog post Title.
The extension also extends the ingrained sharing capability that was previously present. Before, if you were to click on an article’s built-in share buttons, like a Tweet button, the share dialogue would include a custom HootSuite button that would give you the option of sharing that post through HootSuite. The new extension adds HootSuite sharing capability to Instagram images, Flickr images, Pinterest pins and YouTube videos!
More than just a Sharing Tool
What makes the Hootlet so interesting and helpful though is that it’s more than just a sharing tool. The Hootlet has included the ability to take over default social sharing dialogues, and as we just mentioned, has added the ability to share Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube content right from the content. Building on that capability, HootSuite has added far more research and social signal information to other websites.
View Related Tweets
When doing a Google Search, you’ll now be treated to an option box that will display tweets from users related to that search. The tweets are displayed to the right of your search, and can provide immensely valuable information.
See how easy it is to combine search and social for great content discovery:
View Geolocated Tweets
When searching Yelp or Google Maps, you can see what people are tweeting about near to the locations that you’re viewing.
When Apple was announcing their new iPhone 5s and 5c, HootSuite staffers plugged in Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA and started to watch the tweets that were pouring out from those attending the event during Tim Cook’s keynote.
With these related and geographically related tweets, you can find potential customers, potential vendors, influencers and experts. For instance, you might do a Google search for companies whom you might want to target as potential clients, and be able to quickly see what businesses are actively tweeting on the same topic or industry.
Everything about the old extension is still there – nothing has been retired in terms of functionality. And these new features help bring to the fore one of my favorite aspects of the Hootlet, the HootSuite Syndicator. Earlier this year, HootSuite added the capability to set up RSS feeds and bring their new content and posts directly into your HootSuite Dashboard. I use it daily to find great content from sources I trust that I can share to my own social networks, and I recommend the same for clients. The Hootlet
HootSuite’s Passion for Small Businesses Shows
I spoke with Michael Tippett, The Director of New Products from HootSuite, and he had this to say about the Hootlet: “If you’re a social media professional, there are a lot of bits and pieces that you can pick up. You can use four or five Chrome extensions that do these different tasks, but the Hootlet is the only extension that does everything you need to be able to do, like cross posting. Whether you’re on Pinterest or Flickr or Google Images, and want to share to Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, you can use HootSuite and the Hootlet to find the information you want and publish it.”
One thing that continues to impress me about HootSuite is their focus on helping businesses who understand that they need to use social media, but perhaps aren’t sure how. Michael said about business owners and social media managers for small businesses, “They only have an hour a week, say Monday morning, to get through their checklist. We wanted to find a way to help them. One of the things that we’d heard from our users is that most people don’t spend their entire waking day in the HootSuite dashboard. We spent a lot of time analyzing what sites they went to and what they needed to be able to do, and tried to determine which options and features from HootSuite could and should be highlighted and embedded in those sites.”
“It’s about making the HootSuite dashboard available to you, wherever you are on the Internet.” ~ Michael Tippett
These are just some of the features and uses for the new HootSuite Hootlet. As I discover more and find other great use-cases, I’ll share those with you. In the meantime, if you haven’t yet started using HootSuite, I would encourage you to dive into my series on HootSuite: How to Make the Most of Your HootSuite Account, where we cover the basics like setting up your dashboard and scheduling content, to more advanced topics like Teams and more. You can also grab a free trial of HootSuite, or contact me directly for help getting started.[Chrome link]