Since I am engrossed in social media on a daily basis and because Hootsuite may be one of the most used social media dashboards, I assume everyone has heard of Hootsuite and it felt almost silly to compose this blog post. However, what would be silly is assuming ALL solopreneurs and small business owners know about this tool. Especially when they are busy with their own business which is most likely not social media marketing. :)
Even if you have heard of Hootsuite, you may want to consider reading the rest of this post since they have recently added new features you may not be using or taking full advantage of.
So before moving forward with details on this week’s Have You Heard Of, let’s start with answering an important question.
What is a social media dashboard?
Many of us, when we think of social media, think “too time consuming.” Though with this thought we visualize managing each social network by logging in individually. Thanks to social media dashboards, logging into each social network is no longer necessary. A social media dashboard is an organizational tool to help you manage all of your social networks in one place. Two of the main benefits of using a social media dashboard is time management and productivity. You log in to one place to schedule posts to multiple networks seamlessly, view comments, mentions, sent messages, competitors, track hashtags, perform advanced searches and much more.
Social Media Dashboards are great for solopreneurs and small businesses and they play a vital role in effective social media marketing.
What I love about Hootsuite compared to other social media dashboards is their simple interface. You can view and customize multiple streams like Mentions, Sent Messages, News Feed, and Scheduled Posts on the same page. Hootsuite lets you manage common social networks including: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, LinkedIn, MySpace, WordPress, and Mixi. In addition to these social networks, Hootsuite offers an App Directory which are extensions and applications you can add to your dashboard. Some apps you may recognize are Evernote, MailChimp, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, and Flickr.
Another great feature and benefit of using social media dashboards like Hootsuite is being able to see your stats and analytics within customizable reports. Social media is an investment and you want to make sure it’s working for you, right? These reports give you the answers you need.
Honestly, I was not fond of Hootsuite’s reporting in the past but they have made a lot of changes that make it more appealing. Hootsuite offers customizable reports with a variety of modules including Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Twitter Profile Stats, and Ow.ly Stats (reporting on your shortened Ow.ly URLs), Google+ Page Analytics and others.
Now let’s say you have a Virtual Assistant like muah :). You can build Teams in Hootsuite to manage social networks, collaborate and assign messages. No worries; you have control of permissions for every team member.
So, where’s the real time management? With Hootsuite you can create message drafts, schedule status updates for the future, and even create a CSV file of multiple status updates and bulk upload them into Hootsuite. Of course you don’t want to completely automate your social media and make your business look robotic, so use the scheduling features wisely. Don’t forget to add a personal side even if you have to login for 10 or 15 minutes each day in addition to your scheduled posts.
Leaving the office but want to stay connected? Hootsuite offers a super convenient mobile app for almost every type of phone plus the iPad!
Hopefully, I haven’t overwhelmed you (yet) with all this information because there is more! Hootsuite has recently made a couple additions.
AutoSchedule – I was very excited about this feature since I was using Hootsuite plus two other social media dashboards just to get this and other features I need. Hootsuite was quick to listen and catch up to the competition by adding AutoSchedule. I love this feature because it eliminates the need for me decide the times to schedule my posts. All I need is my content. AutoSchedule lets you automatically queue messages for suggested times. The suggested times are based on your netword and the times that your posts will receive optimal impact.
Conversations – I have yet to try this feature but apparently this is meant to simplify communication with team members, collaborators and anyone you share messaging with. It’s objective is to get you away from long email threads and communicate using the “in-dash tool” right within the dashboard.
What do you think about Hootsuite? Are they any features you were not aware of? Are there features you like that I did not mention? If you have never used a social media dashboard, do you feel it can be beneficial? I look forward to your comments!