HootSuite has two options for sign-up. You can do the free version or you can pay a certain amount every month to get more features. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to stick to the free version.
(The paid version’s features are useful for people interested in keeping track of who visits you, much like with a blog or website. I would recommend the paid version for businesses but not for personal accounts. The point of a writer being on Twitter or any other social media site isn’t to see how many followers you have, but to interact with your followers.)
Once you get set up with the social media sites you’re on, you can click through them on the top part of the panel. Let’s start with a look at the Twitter tab.
If you look directly under the Get Started and Twitter tabs, you will see where you can add streams. As you can see on the picture above, I have several streams that I’ve added from the original that pop up. It’s pretty easy to figure out if you know what you want to add. You can put up a stream from one of your lists, from a hashtag, or a keyword.
The next tabs are Facebook and Facebook Page. (The tabs can be rearranged to put your social media sites in the order you like.
These tabs are fairly straight forward. You have your news feed, wall posts, and news feed photos. Your Facebook Page will be a little different. You can add events and scheduled messages, but your wall posts is the only stream you start out with.
Next are WordPress and Google+. With WordPress, you can only add one blog, so if you have multiple, pick the one you post on most. On this tab, your streams consist of blogs feed, your sent posts, and your scheduled posts.
Google+ is specifically for pages. I got a page specifically to test out the tab. It posts the same way that a regular profile works with your home feed and your scheduled posts. You can also add circles and sent messages streams.
Now, let’s take a look at the sidebar menu.
- Hover over the sidebar and it will pop out.
- The first icon is your identifying icon. Clicking on it will lead you to your HootSuite profile page.
- The next icon looks like a house. It just takes you to your streams.
- The arrow icon is a list of all posts you have scheduled on any social media platform.
- The graph icon is for analytics which is more useful for paid accounts.
- The checkmark icon is for any assignments you might have if you belong to an organization. You can create your own and add members or you can be invited to join one. This icon will let you know if you are supposed to post anything to any particular social media platform.
- Down from that is contacts. This is a list of people who you follow or follow you on Twitter and who you have or has you in circles on Google+.
- The puzzle piece icon is the app directory. These are apps you can add to HootSuite for other social media sites that are not offered in the main set-up.
- The gear wheel represents settings. From here you can view your account profile without leaving the tabs, change the theme to one you prefer (dark blue, default white, and black). You can view archives to the organizations you belong to, and set up RSS feeds to view in your social media networks.
- The tools icon lets you access HootSuite University (a paid program to help you learn how to market through the social media manager), the Affiliates program (you get paid for everyone you get to sign up for University and HootSuite Pro), Mobile Apps for your smart phones (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Kietai), and a list of browser extensions.
- Last is the Help icon. It speaks for itself.
Composing a message is simple.
First, choose which social media platform you want your message posted to. On the right hand side of the text field for composing your message, click the arrow and there you will see a list of the social media platforms you have connected to HootSuite. You can choose all of them or just one. From there, type your message. You can schedule posts, add links, add pictures, add your location, and set the privacy of your message.
HootSuite is more in depth than TweetDeck and would be more useful to people who like more control over their social media experience.
Do you use HootSuite?