I think most of us will agree that social media has a reputation for being a time-suck. For many people, it’s real easy to lose precious minutes out of your day, reading Facebook posts, or pinning images to Pinterest. Those minutes are especially critical if you’re using social media for business. You don’t have time to waste. That’s why it’s critical that you use a social media management tool.
I’ve tried several management tools over the years, but the one I keep coming back to is Hootsuite. It’s easy to use and inexpensive too. You don’t have to pay a thing if you only want to manage 3 social profiles. For example, your Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn profile.
But three profiles is pretty limiting, considering what Hootsuite offers. For as little as $8.99 a month, you can post to 50 different social profiles. Why do you need that many? Let’s say you belong to a dozen LinkedIn groups. You could manage ALL of them from Hootsuite, and still be able to post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+!
Before we go too much farther – I will tell you that I am a Hootsuite affiliate. So if you click on a Hootsuite link in the article and decide to buy their service, I will get a small referral fee.
Save Time by Scheduling Social Media Posts
Let’s get back to WHY I use Hootsuite and recommend it to busy entrepreneurs and small business owners. Probably the main reason you’d want to use Hootsuite is to schedule your social media posts. You can go up to a year in advance (although I’m not sure that’s really practical).
I don’t recommend that you schedule ALL of your social media posts. You need to be spontaneous sometimes. If you come across some breaking news in your industry, share it right away.
Scheduling really comes in handy when you’re promoting a special event, like a webinar or telesummit. You can create a dozen different tweets and spread them out over a two-week time period.
If you’re not sure when to post, you can always use Hootsuite’s autoschedule feature which allows you to post up to 10 times a day, 7 days a week. You can also schedule and post hundreds of messages to your networks in a single click by uploading a .CSV file. And you can save time by creating draft messages that you can use to quickly respond to common questions or customer requests.
Manage Social Media Accounts & Engage Prospects
The other major appeal of a tool like Hootsuite is that it allows you to view activity across your social networks, so you can look for opportunities to engage with your target audience. For instance, you can set up a stream with up to three different keywords related to your business. This way, you can look for opportunities to respond when someone mentions one of those terms.
I also love the Hootlet extension for Chrome, which allows me to schedule posts on the fly from anywhere on the web.
When I first started using Hootsuite, I wasn’t very impressed with their analytics. But they have gotten better. You can track your follower growth, and measure clicks, likes, retweets and more to learn what content works and what content doesn’t. With the free account, you only get 3 basic reports. The Pro plan that I use is a little better. I can monitor activity on Twitter and get some reports on Facebook. But I still have to pay extra to get an aggregate Facebook report, and insights from my LinkedIn company page.
Want to try Hootsuite for yourself? Click on the image below to take a free trial!