Nick Lewis explains how a new platform can help you manage your social media output easily and efficiently
If you are serious about social media marketing you must find ways to maximise your efficiency on the various social networks, whether that be posting to them or reading what others have published online. Logging into each of your social networks in turn to post and to interact with others is a very wasteful exercise, and this is the issue social media tools such as Hootsuite address.
Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/) is a third-party online application that allows you to post to all of your social media channels from one dashboard, and from which you can view and interact with what others have posted.
Hootsuite can be accessed via a web browser on any device connected to the internet. It can also be accessed through dedicated apps for the various mobile operating systems, although the functionality of the apps is more limited and restricted to certain social networks.
With Hootsuite, you can access and manage social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare. In addition, you can also publish to a WordPress site through Hootsuite.
One of the major selling points for me is its user interface or UI, which is based around a one-page dashboard within your web browser or Hootsuite app. Within this dashboard, the user can set up a variety of tabs which are fully customisable and can pull information from a variety of streams from the social networks that you attach to a Hootsuite account.
Social media at a glance
In other words, a Hootsuite user can display information from their social media channels in whatever way they choose. Some may want to have a Hootsuite tab for each social network they’re on. By doing so, you can see all the streams (Home Feed/ News Feed, Mentions, Direct Messages etc.) associated with that social media channel at a glance.
From this dashboard, I can also reply to people who have mentioned me on Twitter or retweet posts visible in my Home Feed. I don’t have to navigate away from HootSuite to do this on Twitter; it cuts out a lot of wasted time navigating from network to network.
The Hootsuite search functionality within Twitter is also incredibly powerful and useful for internet marketing, as you can set up permanent streams within your Hootsuite tabs for certain search terms.
Viewing social media feeds is one thing, but what most users want to do is broadcast to their own social media channels, and Hootsuite gives them this functionality in spades.
In the top left-hand corner of the web-browser version, you have an open field into which you can type your post, attach images and shrink URLs (which are unique to your post via Hootsuite and can be used with Hootsuite’s analytical functions). In the box to the left, you will see a series of avatars that reflect which social networks your post will be sent to, and you can toggle these as required.
Hootsuite gives the user the option to post either immediately or at whatever pre-determined time is require. This can range from five minutes into the future to the middle of next year.
Scheduling is key
Being able to schedule your posts in advance is a huge selling point of Hootsuite and comparable products. Unless you have a dedicated marketing resource posting in real time, who can honestly afford the time to break away from their work to post at an ideal time on a social network? Scheduling is key to a vital yet sane social marketing campaign.
On top of this, Hootsuite has an autoscheduling function that chooses the ideal time for your post to appear on your various social networks, based upon the success of past posts and the online activity and habits of your connections on those social networks. I use autoscheduling a lot in my social media campaigns, and I’ve noticed that engagement with my posts is greater when I activate it than when I don’t, so this feature comes highly recommended.
Hootsuite is a powerful tool that is essential for a sensible, structured and efficient social media marketing campaign. Its main drawback is that its full functionality is currently weighted towards Twitter, but it still has many uses with the other social networks.
There are rival products on the market such as TweetDeck and Buffer, and they have their advocates and offer similar functionality, but for me Hootsuite has been a reliable and core resource.
• Nick Lewis is a communications professional of over 15 years’ experience. He offers social media support via www.nicklewiscommunications.com
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