So I’m sure many of you have heard of the new site out there called HootSuite.com and I’m sure nearly as many have simply passed it off as yet another social media platform or just another account to manage in an already cluttered drawer of complicated social media management tools. I admit after taking a first glance at the site, I said to myself, what’s the point? Why would I take the time to learn how to use this new site when I can just as easily skip across accounts by clicking between tabs? But after giving it a better look and poking around with for a few minutes I realized there is a lot more to it than simply consolidating all your social media accounts onto one page, and I have to admit, I will certainly be using it more from here on out.
So what is HootSuite exactly?
HootSuite is a dashboard that helps organize your social media accounts to increase the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns in a couple of ways. It helps you find targeted audiences and then provides a platform for you to send targeted messages across multiple social media platforms simultaneously.
The HootSuite dashboard allows you link multiple social media accounts to your one HootSuite account to keep track of multiple “streams” from all your accounts at one time. You can manage your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and more, each with customizable streams to keep track of. Some examples of what you can manage include:
Your Facebook news feed or wall
Sent tweets or retweets
LinkedIn messages and status updates
And much more…
Once you have linked your desired accounts with HootSuite, the dashboard allows you to send messages across any and all of the accounts that are linked, as well as giving the user the ability to schedule times for pre-recorded messages to be sent and to what accounts it should be sent to.
Perhaps the most beneficial feature of HootSuite is the ability to monitor conversations through key word streams. A key word stream gives you the capability to see all of the tweets people have made on Twitter about that specific keyword. These tweets will include people that you are not following which opens you up to a whole new audience to interact with. For example I created a stream with the key word “web design”, instantly I was able to see all the conversations pertaining to web design and all the questions people were asking, then I was able to respond to those questions and reach out to people I would never have found otherwise. This is an incredibly effective way of targeting an audience and growing it.
Here’s how to set up a Keyword Stream:
Choose “Add Stream” at the top of the HootSuite dashboard
Choose “Keyword” from the choices
Type in a keyword or a few keywords into the box, ex: “Web Design”
Hit create and boom, you now should have a stream with specific tweets relative to the keyword(s).
As well as monitoring conversations and managing social media accounts HootSuite offers a built-in URL shortener, which gives statistical breakdowns of link click-throughs for each twitter message. You can breakdown the data by region, popularity and date range. It also allows access to your Facebook insights and Google analytics account to track and record what your social networking is doing for your business.