“How do you do it?” I get that question a lot. People want to know how I manage to run a business and still squeeze in all the tasks necessary to implement a successful and comprehensive social media marketing strategy.
According to the Social Media Marketing Industry report, 56% of marketers are using social media 6 hours+ each week and 30% use it 11 hours+ each week. 12.5% of marketers spend more than 20+ hours per week on social media. The reality is, however, that unless you are able to outsource some of your social media tasks, most of us just don’t have that kind of time to invest in our social media campaigns.
I live in a small geographic area with little chance for face to face networking. That means 100% of my business comes from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. It’s absolutely mandatory for me to maintain a high level of visibility online in order to continue to grow my business.
So back to the question I’m asked a lot, “How do you do it?” People want to know how I manage to post, tweet, comment, blog, etc and still have time to handle my clients, manage my VAs and run my business. The answer is simple. I have a system. I have many systems and tools in place that help me stay organized. One of my favorite tools is HootSuite.
I’ve used HootSuite for quite some time now and it has quickly become one of my favorite management tools. It allows me to tweet on Twitter, post on LinkedIn and Facebook (pages and profiles), lets me manage multiple accounts and allows me to do it all without logging into and out of my networking sites. It also provides me with some fabulous analytics so I can measure the results of my activities.
Most people I speak with are intimidated when they log into HootSuite for the first time. I’d like to change all that by giving you a quick lesson so you can get started using HootSuite in the next few minutes.
First create an account. Go to http://www.hootsuite.com and choose “Sign up now”.
Choose either the free or pro version. The pro version is a fairly new option at HootSuite. I normally try and recommend free versions whenever possible but I have to say that at $5.99/month HootSuite’s pro version has a lot of really great features. The free version works quite well but if you really want to begin measuring the success of your activities then the pro version is a great value.
Create an Account
Go ahead and create your account (either free or paid):
Add a Social Network
Once you’ve created the account a box will pop up allowing you to add your social networks. If you want to use Twitter (first make sure you are signed into Twitter) then go ahead and highlight Twitter on the left (as shown) and choose Submit.
If you are already signed into Twitter then this box will appear:
Go ahead and allow HootSuite to connect with Twitter. Congratulations! You’ve now added your first social network!
Now close that window by clicking on the X in the upper right corner. Your HootSuite screen will now look like this
Notice the status update window where you can add your tweets/posts. Right beside it is the “Send Now” button and right next to that is your profile picture from the Twitter account we just added.
Customize Account Streams
Next let’s customize things a bit. You should see two tabs. One that says “Featured” and one has the name of your Twitter account. You can delete “Featured”. That’s one that HootSuite automatically gives you with the HootSuite family in the stream but unless you want to follow their stuff you can get rid of it. Go ahead and click on the X next to “Featured” and it will delete that one for you.
You should now be left with only the Twitter stream you just added. You are going to want to be able to quickly review your @mentions, direct messages and pending tweets whenever you’re in HootSuite so let’s go ahead and set that up. Click on “Add Stream”.
HootSuite typically already gives you the “Home” tab, the “Mentions” tab and the “Direct Messages” tab. I like to also have a ‘Pending Tweets” tab so I can see which tweets I have scheduled and make sure everything went out on time. In order to add an additional stream click on “Add Stream”. The following box will pop up.
Choose your social network on the left. We just added your Twitter account so that’s the one you’ll want to choose first. Click on the drop down box under “Select the type of stream:
Now you can select “Pending Tweets” and choose “Create Stream”. Under your tab you should now see “Home Feed”, “Mentions, “Direct Messages and “Pending Tweets”.
Add Additional Social Networks
Want to add more accounts? You can add another Twitter account or you can add your Facebook profile and pages and your LinkedIn account. If you’d like to add another tab simply click on the little owl in the upper left corner of your screen. You’ll get a drop down menu. From this drop down menu choose “Settings” and then choose “Social Networks”
Once you’ve chosen “Social Networks” from the “Settings” link you’ll see the box below. Go ahead and click on “Add Social Network”
Does the box below look familiar? It’s exactly the same as above when we added your Twitter account. Now you can choose another network and add it to your HootSuite account. Follow the same procedures as above to add this account and add streams to it so you can see Pending Tweets or a stream of nothing but your tweets that have been retweeted, etc.
When you’ve finished adding your accounts and customizing the streams for each account it may look something like my account below. You can click on any of your account tabs to see your customized streams.
Now you’re all set up and ready to begin posting! What to do next? Simply log into your HootSuite account each morning and go ahead and schedule your posts for the day. You can also schedule posts out a week in advance if you’d like. I always recommend scheduling at least a few things in advance so you have quality information going into your streams automatically on a daily basis. This also frees you up so you can focus on running your business instead of always being worried about getting tweets/posts out.
In order to schedule a tweet just log into HootSuite. Post your tweet into the status update window. Next post the link you’re adding to your tweet in the link window and click on “Shrink”. Notice the social account pics you’ve chosen have a green check mark in them now? That tells you which accounts this post will be going to.
Next click on the calendar to schedule the tweet or simply click on Send Now to send the post right now.
If you have scheduled the post it should show up in the Pending Tweets stream for the accounts you have chosen.
There’s one quick item I’d like to touch on before I finish this post. HootSuite offers some wonderful analytics to assist you with measuring your ROI in social media. Click on the little owl in the upper left corner and choose Stats. Now choose “Site Analytics”.
From here you can link your Google Analytics account to HootSuite. Once you do, you’ll be able to see an overlay of your tweets/posts versus your web traffic. This is a great start to measuring whether or not your activities are effective at bringing traffic back to your site.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. There’s really so much more I could say about HootSuite but this should be a great start for you. It’s a wonderful place to manage all of your social accounts, stay on top of posting and track each campaign’s effectiveness. And you can do it all in minutes without having to switch from one platform to another!
If you are interested in learning more about how to successfully plan and launch your content I encourage you to join me on November 4th for a webinar I’m co-hosting with Apryl Parcher Copywriting Services, “Three steps to launching and tracking lead-generating content”. For more information click here http://on.fb.me/bTdvn2
Do you have a favorite social media time management tool? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment and share your ultimate time saver!