Hootsuite – Your Social Media-Posting Super Clone
Found In: Social Networks
Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have taken personal and business communication by storm. What started out as a few high school and college age students conversing and sharing photos of one another on the internet has grown to become the preferred social medium of over a billion people young and old around the world.
For individuals, it’s a way to stay connected with friends and family in a way never before possible. No matter the physical distance between two people anywhere in the world, with social media they are always a few clicks away from connecting.
For businesses, the opportunities for connecting with current and future customers are virtually endless, but so are the responsibilities that come with it. Now more than ever, consumers can make their opinions heard with companies themselves, as well as with friends and family.
These days, it’s hard to find a successful company that isn’t active on at least two social media websites, and some are active on several more. For smaller companies trying to make their voices heard in an ever-expanding marketplace, it can be difficult to find the time and resources always to be engaged on social media. But even simple engagement like posting helpful tips and articles relevant to customers can make a big difference in a company’s reputation and presence online.
Thanks to a service called Hootsuite, companies big and small can create a social media influence that’s much larger and more prolific than their actual size would suggest. With Hootsuite, you can schedule Tweets (on Twitter) as well as posts on Facebook, Google+ and more so that your fans can hear from you or your company throughout the day, even when you may not be at your computer. In short, Hootsuite creates the illusion of a company that is interacting with its fanbase around the clock, even on holidays and outside normal business hours!
Signing up for Hootsuite couldn’t be easier. Hootsuite is what’s known as “freemium” software because it allows people to use its basic features free of charge while some extra or “premium” features can be purchased if you decide to at a later date. For now, though, we’ll stick to the no-obligation, 100% free version.
First, just type the following address into your Google Chrome, Mozilla, or Internet Explorer website browser: https://hootsuite.com/. You can also simply search “Hootsuite” in your favorite search engine such as Yahoo! or Google.
Once you’ve clicked on the Hootsuite website, you’ll be taken to their welcome page. To sign up, you’re given four different options for how to become a member. Instead of choosing to sign in with Facebook, Twitter, or Google, let’s just click “create a new account” right below those three options so that we can use our email address instead.
Now you just need to type in your name, an email and choose a password. Don’t forget, every website has different standards for how unique your password should be. On Hootsuite, they recommend it be at least eight characters long and contain at least one uppercase and one lowercase letter. Type in your password slowly and make sure to write it down somewhere safe in case you forget it. Not to worry, though, Hootsuite can always send you an email to reset your password should you ever be unable to remember it. If your password has three green check marks, click “Create account”!
Since Hootsuite is all about saving you time and energy on social media, this next page you’re on is going to give you the opportunity to add any “social networks” you’d like to use.
Hopefully, you already have the social media accounts you’d like to use all setup. But if there are any you don’t have that you’d like to use with Hootsuite, just visit their respective websites and sign up for your free new account.
Since Twitter is the most commonly used social media website for Hootsuite users, we’ll start there.
Once you’ve clicked on the Twitter button, a new website window should pop up on your screen with a question for you, “Authorize Hootsuite to use your account?” Technically, we don’t agree to let Hootsuite use our account, so you don’t have to worry about Hootsuite going rogue and sending out tweets with your Twitter account. But we are telling Twitter that we’d like to use the Hootsuite software for posting things on our Twitter account.
If you happen to be already signed in to Twitter, you might see some of your information already filled in the boxes. Great! If not, simply type in your username or the email address you use for your Twitter account, and then the password. Keep in mind, we’re typing in our Twitter password, not our Hootsuite password, so be sure to use the right one. Once you’ve got all the right information filled in, click “Authorize App”.
Congratulations! You’ve officially connected your Twitter account to your new Hootsuite account. You can continue adding other social media accounts if you’d like, but for now let’s just click “Continue” and then “Done adding social networks.” Have no fear, we can always add later if needed.
On this next page, you should see a welcome greeting from the Hootsuite friendly owl. Go ahead and click “Get started” for a brief tour of Hootsuite. If you’d like, you can complete some of the tasks Hootsuite suggests to use everything Hootsuite has to offer, but it can be a little confusing, so you can also just click “Skip tour” on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
Now you should be on the page known as your “Dashboard.” Your Dashboard is your home base where you make everything happen. But the main reason we’re using Hootsuite is pretty simple: To schedule social media posts as if we had our personal clone working around the clock, so we don’t have to!
With your mouse, move to the top of the screen where you’ll see a “Send to…” box. Once you have your cursor hovering over that box, you’ll be allowed to select which social media account you’d like to use for your post. Select one by clicking it, and then click inside the box that says “Compose message…”
Type any message you’d like to be automatically posted to your social media profile. You can even add a picture (just like on your normal Twitter profile) by selecting the paperclip icon. Most importantly, though, you can select the icon that looks like a calendar to… you guessed it, schedule some tweets in the future! You can choose a day and a time that you think is best, click schedule, and let Hootsuite take care of the rest. Not bad, right?
For anyone seeing your Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ posts, they won’t know the difference between a pre-scheduled Hootsuite post and one that you did yourself live. They look and function exactly the same.
Now there’s just the matter of finding things to do to fill all the time you’ll be saving on social media with HootSuite, but we’ll leave that to you…