In previous blogs we’ve talked about the importance of blogging and posting content frequently to social media. The problem is that sometimes if you are a small business, its hard to allocate time to sit on social networks all day posting interesting and informative updates to the network.
In this blog I wanted to cover Hootsuite. In particular, how to automate social media posts and display some of the benefits of using automation software combined with real time engagement to achieve social media success with minimal stress.
There’s a fine balance to be struck when it comes to using automation software on social media platforms. You shouldn’t be looking to bulk-send a ton of updates out over the course of a few days without even checking in to reply to enquiries on Twitter, private messages on Facebook or general engagement with content you’ve posted. You should look to utilise automation software such as Hootsuite in conjunction with real time ‘manual’ monitoring and engagement in order to achieve the best results.
Getting started with Hootsuite
You should be able to register a basic account with Hootsuite for free, although this will have a few limitations, the free version has enough features to allow you to get started with automating your social media updates for certain times of specific dates.
When you first log in to Hootsuite and click on the button to create a ‘New Post’, you will be met with the above screen. As you can see in the image, you can specify which network(s) to post the updates to, the content of the update and options for media upload or media browsing. You can also choose to post the same update to multiple social networks at once saving a lot of time if you have a blog you have written that you want to share with all your followers. The template on the right of the image will automatically update to give you a preview of what your update will look like. As you can see at the bottom of the image, you will be able to choose either ‘Schedule for later’ or ‘post now’. If you click on the ‘schedule for later’ button you will be given a screen that lets you choose which date you want your content to be posted.
In addition to being a great scheduling tool, Hootsuite brings together all of your social networks into one place to save you having the headache of having to log in to each account individually to check messages and interactions.
Streams in Hootsuite
You can choose to add columns called ‘Streams’. When you choose to add a new Stream you will be given the window below where you can choose which type of information to display from the selected network.
This is a great feature for bringing all of your social media together but in addition to that, it has some great features for basic social listening. You can choose to add a ‘search’ stream which will display conversations where a specified search term is mentioned as you can see in the example below.
Once we specify the search term and profile, we can see all the results inside the Stream that has appeared in front of us. You can browse through the list of results and see which ones are most relevant to you.
From here, you can choose to interact with any of the results if their query is relevant to the service or product you offer, and it is appropriate to do so.
Hootsuite also offers some great analytics features with their pro account upgrade allowing you to view detailed information about the demographic type that interact with your posts, their location and much more allowing you to really fine tune your marketing and future updates based on the information you have acquired.
We hope this proves as a good starting point to those looking to get their feet wet when it comes to social media marketing or social media automation in general.
At Opace we offer a wide range of social media marketing services including running your social media accounts for you with appropriate strategies and targets based on what you are looking to achieve. Feel free to visit us on Facebook, Twitter or by filling out the contact form on our website for more information.