How HootSuite Can Help You Manage Facebook and Other Social Media

HootSuite is a free, web-based app you use to manage Facebook and other social media accounts used for marketing your brand. Because it’s web-based, you can run the application from its website and have access to it from any computer. By comparison, TweetDeck is a program that you download onto your computer and run from your desktop. It’s also worth mentioning that HootSuite and TweetDeck both have mobile apps for your smartphone.

HootSuite is a free app, but it does have some nice perks if you upgrade to its paid Pro Plan at $5.99 per month. The Pro Plan includes features such as the ability to adding more than five social media accounts, the ability to have a team member monitor the same social media accounts, and Google Analytics integration.

To start using HootSuite, enter your name and e-mail address, choose a password, and then click the Sign Up Now button to get started and walk through the configuration steps.

With HootSuite, you can add multiple social profiles by clicking your picture icon in the top-left corner of the page and then selecting Add a Social Network in the boxes on the lower part of the tab.

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A dialog box appears; you can add your various social profiles by selecting the sites on the left side of the dialog box. With the HootSuite tool, you can update Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, MySpace, Mixi, and Foursquare. You can add your Facebook personal Profile, as well as any Facebook Page that you administer.

Having your personal Profile and Facebook Pages all in one place with HootSuite means that you can do all your updating in one place. You can also see your News Feed and comments within HootSuite.

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The Compose Message field (top-left corner) is where you enter your status update for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or some combination of all these websites.

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Next to the Compose Message field is a series of icons, all indicating the social media profiles that you can update at the same time. Left to right, are social media profile pictures with small icons for Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Page (a flag), and LinkedIn. The icons appear in the bottom-right corner of the pictures.

Suppose that you want to post a message and send it to your Facebook personal Profile, your Facebook Page, Twitter, and LinkedIn at the same time. You could click to select each of those profiles, enter your message, and then click Send Now to update all your profiles simultaneously.

Notice that you see a Facebook preview link below your post when you check any of your Facebook Profiles. This preview link gives you the ability to customize the photo you attach to the post, just as you can do when you post a link in Facebook directly. Make any adjustments to the post and then click Send Now.

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HootSuite can also schedule your status updates. If you’re going to be gone for the day or for a vacation, you can schedule a few updates to post to your social profiles when you’re gone. HootSweet!

Scheduling updates is good for your business so that you aren’t completely out of sight while you’re gone. Many businesses even let their community know that they will be gone but will be posting useful content or some of their best past blog posts. This technique is a good practice, because your community members will know not to expect immediate return messages if they respond to a posting.

To schedule a post with HootSuite, compose your message just as you would a normal message; select the social media profile(s) to which you want the message to be sent; and then click the calendar icon below the update window to choose the time and date to send the message.

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After you have the time and date set, click the Schedule button, which replaces the Send Now button.

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