How to use Hootsuite for your social media marketing
Managing your social media marketing doesn't have to be a burden. Hootsuite can help
Social media marketing can be a difficult task. Keeping up to date across multiple platforms and profiles, posting regularly and engaging with your audience is time-consuming.
Fortunately, you don't have to resort to keeping multiple tabs open in your browser and flicking back and forth between them in a fog of social media overload. There are a variety of tools that make managing social accounts easy and efficient.
Hootsuite is one of the industry standard platforms for managing social media accounts. To get the most out of it, you'll need to understand how to use it.
Create your profile and link your social account
Your first step will be to sign up for a Hootsuite account. The platform offers a 30-day free trial if you're still uncertain about whether it's the right solution for you. Once the trial ends, you can choose between four different plans:
- Professional. This account lets a single user manage up to 10 social profiles, and schedule unlimited posts. It costs $19 USD per month.
- Team. A team account allows three users to manage up to 20 social profiles. You can assign tasks to team members and generate custom analytics reports. You'll also get a custom branded URL and one social media certification. It costs $99 USD per month.
- Business. Business accounts allow 5–10 users to manage up to 50 social profiles. In addition to Team subscription features, the Business subscription includes premium app integrations, four social media certifications and priority customer support. It costs $499 USD per month.
- Enterprise. The Enterprise subscription is custom tailored to the subscriber, and includes support for social media marketing, selling, customer service and advertising. It also offers APIs to integrate Hootsuite with existing business software. The pricing is bespoke.
After you've chosen a subscription model, you'll connect your social accounts. Hootsuite can connect to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, LinkedIn and several other social platforms. You can choose the platforms you want to connect, after which you'll be prompted to log in to the platform and give permission for Hootsuite to access its data and post on your behalf.
Add your streams
Your streams are where you can view your social media activity. You'll see your posts and mentions across different social accounts. You can also use your streams to monitor mentions of specific hashtags and keywords, but we'll delve into that more later.
To add a new stream, simply click "Add Stream" and choose either the social media account you want to add or the keywords you want to track.
You can also choose to see only certain features of a social account. For example, you could add a stream that shows you only your Facebook messages.
Create new tabs
The streams window also allows you to add custom tabs.
This can be handy for organizing your social media accounts. You can choose to view every social media platform stream in a single tab, split different social platforms into different tabs or, if you have multiple accounts on the same social media platform (for instance, different Facebook accounts for different businesses or business units), you can group them together in tabs.
You can also use tabs to group together similar streams. For example, you could have a tab that shows your mentions across every social platform, one that shows your posts, one to track keywords and one that shows your messages.
Scheduling posts is one of the best time-saving tools at your disposal. Rather than ad hoc social media posting, you can plan your posts in advance, upload them to Hootsuite and then have them published at a specific time.
To schedule a post, you can click on the green "New Post" button in the top right hand corner of the screen.
You'll enter the content for your post, choose the social platform and then choose whether to publish now or schedule for a later time.
You can also create posts from the "Publisher" tab in the left hand sidebar (it's the one with the paper airplane icon). This brings up a calendar view. Simply click on a day and time, and a modal window will allow you to create a new post or Pinterest Pin.
As we mentioned before, your streams can show you more than just your social media feeds. You can use streams to monitor social media trends.
When you create a stream, you can choose to monitor keywords or hashtags. To do this, create a new tab. You'll be offered the option of monitoring posts and mentions, monitoring "My Industry" or "Browse All Streams." Choose "My Industry."
Next you'll be asked which social platforms you want to monitor in the tab. Choose the ones you want and hit "Next." In the next window, you'll be asked to add keywords, hashtags or even the names of other accounts you want to follow.
Analyze your impact
To track how your posts are performing, head to the Analytics tab (the icon that looks like a bar graph). Here you can see data for each social media account you have connected to Hootsuite.
You'll see data for a certain date range. You can change the date range using the calendar toolbar in the top right corner.
Don't worry if you see zero clicks. It just means you haven't used Hootsuite's built-in link shortener, Ow.ly, to put links in your posts.When you paste a link in a post, Hootsuite will give you the option to shorten the link with Ow.ly and add tracking. Without this, Hootsuite can't track the clicks in your account.
Each account will show you the number of posts you've done during a specific time, the number of followers you have and the change in followers over the time period, the total number of engagements your posts have had during the time period and your total traffic for the time period.
You can also see the number of inbound messages for each social account. This includes more than just messages to your inbox. It also includes comments and posts on your page from other users.
Finally, you can see a table of your individual posts. Each one will show you how many likes, comments, shares and clicks each post received.
Assignments are only available for team accounts or above. Assignments allow you to delegate answering messages to members of your team. When you receive an inbound message, whether it's a direct message, comment or post, you can click on the message to assign it to a team member.
In the Assignments Manager (the tab with the clipboard icon), you can see messages assigned to you and messages assigned to other team members. You can use this tab to keep track of team members' responses to messages, and you can reply to messages assigned to you from within the tab.
There are a wealth of both free and paid apps you can add to Hootsuite. In the App Directory tab (the one with the puzzle piece icon), you can browse apps that add new functions and features to your Hootsuite account.
The apps available cover a broad range of functions. You can add apps to provide deeper analytical insights, provide you with stock photography for your posts, add chatbots to your social media accounts, translate messages written in other languages and integrate other social networks into Hootsuite.
There are a dizzying number of apps available, but a few of our favorites are Slack and Jira integration and UpContent, which provides you with curated content you can share with your social media followers. You can also integrate Dropbox or Google Drive, and add your Google My Business account to your Hootsuite stream.