Our preferred platform when it comes to managing multiple social media accounts is Hootsuite. The interface is pretty easy to use and understand, it’s affordable, has multiple plug-ins available, and its analytics feature is fairly robust as third-party analytics goes. Its free version is decent, too. Hootsuite has been a huge timesaver for me and my clients and allows us to collaborate on social media in real-time.
With all that said, most of the time Hootsuite is underutilized. That’s why we dove into some of the most valuable, but perhaps little-known, Hootsuite hacks. If you currently use Hootsuite for your company’s social media, definitely look into these features. If you don’t use it yet, some of this post might confuse you. Feel free to message us with specific questions.
- Organize Tabs
- ID Audience Personas
- Monitor Competitors
- Hootlet Chrome extensions
- Retweet Scheduler
- Bulk Composer
- Segment Audience Type and Location
This isn’t a hack in a traditional setting, but a best practice. Most people tend to organize Hootsuite tabs by social network: one tab for Twitter, one tab for Facebook, and so on. Another way to organize tabs is by purpose. For example, one tab might be for Twitter search and keyword terms, so you can easily monitor brand, industry, or service mentions. This is a form of social listening.
In Hootsuite’s recent redesign, it automatically reorganized inbound messages from all networks into one section. In it, you can view your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram inboxes at once. You can filter the inbound messages if you only want to be notified for certain types of messages, and you can assign messages to members of your team. Respond right within HootSuite. It’s a timesaver and an easier way to stay organized. Plus, Hootsuite will keep track of inbound message sentiment over time.
Identify Audience Personas (or HR recruiting candidates)
Another option: organize tabs by buyer personas. Every business should have profiles of its target audience. When you know exactly who you’re targeting and how you provide value to them, persona-based streams can help you understand if your social media content is reaching them. How to do it:
- Set up a new tab and label it with your persona name, i.e. “Construction CFO”
- Add a new stream (“Browse all streams”)
- Choose either Twitter or Instagram
- Select ‘Search’ from the list of Stream options (“Hashtag” for Instagram)
- Input as many as 10 search terms or three keywords per stream
- Search terms should be interests and well-defined keywords associated with a specified audience persona, allowing you to see posts and join the conversation easily; when used for prospect research/social listening, search terms should mimic what your ideal target would talk about
To come up with your search terms, get inside your persona’s head. What are they talking about? What’s important to them? If you have a few clients who are active on social media, their accounts would be a good place to start for ideas.
In the image above, pay attention to the list of examples Hootsuite provides to help you narrow down an effective search query.
Monitor Competitors (or Prospects) on Facebook
If your company has a Facebook page, you can use Hootsuite to do a fair amount of competitor research for you. All you need to do is add a new stream.
- Click “Browse all streams”
- Select Facebook as the social network
- Choose “Pages”
- Type in the name of the Facebook page you want to monitor
Of course, you can use this as a social listening tool, too – or as a prospecting tool for potential clients. It also works great if you want to keep an eye on what your competitors are saying.
Hootlet Chrome Extension (update for 2021: this extension has been disabled)
This one’s easy. If you have Hootsuite, install the free Hootlet app for Chrome. You can publish social media content without needing to be on the dashboard at all. So when you see something cool in the course of research or casual browsing, you can save time by never leaving the browser window. Hootlet is a useful little tool that lets you share content from the page you’re on to social media, with the click of a button. Just make sure you’re logged into Hootsuite on another browser.
Hootsuite was basically built for Twitter, to the detriment of other networks (especially LinkedIn, which got the short end of the stick when it comes to Hootsuite integrations). So it makes sense that there’s a lot more you can do with Twitter in the Hootsuite dashboard than any other network. For example, schedule retweets.
See something in your Twitter feed (on the website or on the dashboard), and think it would be a great post to share with your followers – but you already have a scheduled tweet in an hour? No need to overwhelm your followers. Just schedule the retweet.
How to do it:
Within the Stream, click the down arrow beside the retweet symbol, then choose either Edit or Quote.
From there, you’ll be able to add your own comments (if you want) and schedule the retweet for some time in the future, as shown below.
If you really want to save time on social media, bulk composer is the way to go. In paid versions of Hootsuite, you can upload up to 350 scheduled posts at a time using their bulk composer (even in the free version, you can schedule multiple posts in advance). A huge timesaver. You’ll need to use their template, which is in a .csv file.
Other benefits of using Bulk Composer are that your messages can be more consistent, and reach multiple time zones, all in one upload.
To do it, navigate to the Publisher section, then Content. Then, look for the button on the left to start the Bulk Composer process and download a template directly from Hootsuite.
Word of caution: always evaluate whether scheduled social media posts are still relevant. Whether in times of crisis or changing rules (think: Paycheck Protection Program guidelines), social media posts scheduled two or three weeks ago might be outdated by the time they’re supposed to go live.
When in-person events can resume again, you might be interested to know what attendees are saying about them as they’re happening. Events notwithstanding, when people are close to your office (or even your competitors’ offices), geosearch filters on Hootsuite can be a huge value-add. You’ll get to see what people are saying about your company within a specified geographic radius. This feature only works on Twitter.
(Image credit: Hootsuite)
Segment Audience Types and Locations
If your business has offices in more than one location, or the post you’re writing isn’t appropriate for every one of your followers, you can set audience exclusions and targets within the post composer. When scheduling or writing a new social media post in Hootsuite, you have a couple of options depending on the network.
For LinkedIn, you can set audience targets based on industry, job seniority, job function, location, and/or business size. You’ll need at least 300 followers on your LinkedIn page to enable these features; once you get there, this is an easy way to segment your messages and reach audience segments easily, from one place.
You can also use these types of posts to Promote (aka paid advertising), directly from Hootsuite.
These are just some of the reasons why we love working with Hootsuite for more efficient social media management. It doesn’t replace some of the tools and tricks of the native platforms, so it’s still a good idea to do some posts directly from Facebook or LinkedIn. But for the bulk of the content, Hootsuite will save you a ton of time.
Do you have questions about using any of these hacks? Did we leave off a really good tip that other social media managers should know about? Let us know!