I really love Hoot Suite, and not just because of the cute owl mascot – although it would be just like me to want to use something because of the cute mascot. In this case, however, there are many practical reasons to use this online social media management platform. I started using Hoot Suite only a few months ago, which shouldn’t surprise anyone because I’m a very late adapter of technology. Most people find this hilarious, because they assume that since I have a blog I’m fusing motherboards on the weekend. Um, no. It always takes me awhile to try something out, especially online. The good news for you is that I love Hoot Suite and I’m about to tell you why – and why it can be useful for you as a blogger.
Before I begin, I will tell you that there is a basic (free) version of Hoot Suite and then there is a pro (paid) version. I have the pro version, so I will talk about what I use and what works for me, but you can still benefit from the program’s free version. For a side-by-side comparison of basic vs. pro, go here.
Now I get to talk about the good stuff. What do I love about Hoot Suite? So many things. Here’s how it makes my online life so much easier.
- I can add and manage all my social networks in one place. You know what a social network is! It is your Twitter account, your Facebook account, your second blog Facebook account, your Facebook fan page, WordPress, LinkedIn, Foursquare, mixi or Ping.fm. Just so you know, I have no idea what mixi and Ping.fm are. Now you feel better, don’t you? Anyhoo, here’s a look at my virtual “underwear drawer,” also known as my Hoot Suite dashboard. Each social network has a tab that you can see toward the top of the page:
The first tab when I log in is always my modpodgerocks Twitter account stream, divided into three sections. The far left is my “Home Feed,” or all Tweets of the people I’m following. The middle column is mentions of @modpodgerocks. The right column is tweets that I (@modpodgerocks) have sent. ALL IN ONE SCREEN. Sorry for screaming, but I seriously love this.
- I can schedule posts to any of my social networks. I use this feature primarily for Facebook. I get a lot of submissions, and unfortunately I can’t feature them all on my blog. The good news is that I have a pretty good-sized, very active Facebook group, so I like to post links there because I know they will get a lot of attention. I can scheduled posts from the main dashboard area – upper left. After you enter your post information and shrink/attach the URL, you can choose the social network it goes to. That’s what all the icons are to the right of the schedule box – select the picture of the correct social network, schedule and hit “Send Now.” You’re done.
- You can view analytics and create your own reports. When you share a link in Hoot Suite, it gets shortened to an owl.ly web address (you’ll learn more about this if you choose to use the service). You can track how many times the link was clicked on and where it came from (which is useful if you shared it on multiple social media sites). Wondering if your readers enjoyed a particular post or what your most popular link was for the week? You’ll have your answer.
- You can integrate Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. This is a little different than above in that you can bring outside analytics tools INTO Hoot Suite. You can actually overlay blasts you made from Hoot Suite on top of analytics or insights to see what the effect of a “campaign” was. This is great for giveaway blasts, Etsy coupons or even posts that you think might be a hit and are really proud of. How did your readers receive them?
- You can add team members and assign things to them. This helps for projects such as Crafterminds where multiple people are involved – and I know many of you have blogs with more than one team member. Let’s say someone asked you a question in a tweet and your team member knows the answer. You could assign that tweet to her to follow up on. It’s also a great way to delegate and simply avoid work, at least until your team members figure out what’s going on.
I won’t get too crazy with explaining HootSuite features, so this is a sampling of what’s available. You can see how much more it can do for you by signing up for the free trial. I know many of you use Hoot Suite, and I’m curious – what is your opinion? If you don’t use HootSuite, what do you use?
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