a blog on the craft of writing
It’s Labor day, and I’m taking the weekend off, so for my fourth post in the series about my tips for organization I’m posting an article on my favorite social media organizational tool: Hootsuite. If you missed the previous three articles you can read post one Goal Setting Survival HERE, post two Flying Past the Lure of the Toilet HERE, post three Wasting Time to Make Time HERE.
I’ll be working on my short story attempt for the Third Writer’s Platform-Building Campaign. This is the first challenge issued by Rach Harrie in the campaign so check back on Tuesday (probably late!) and see what I come up with!
Hootsuite, A Defense Against the Onslaught of Social Media
Are you ready to step up your social media use? Have you signed up for Twitter and Facebook only to find they are time consuming and steal time away from your writing? Are you overwhelmed, overworked and about to overflow with internet responsibilities? The solution is out there and it is called a social media dashboard.
What is a social media dashboard? In short it’s a way to help you control the flood of tweets and friends that now barrage your internet use. Tweetdeck, Seesmic and Hootsuite are all versions of this type of management tool. I’ve been using Hootsuite and it freed me up and made controlling my social media a breeze. But what does it do?
When you sign up for Hootsuite you input your social media URL’s. Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and LinkedIn are all available (as are Foursquare and Myspace). I’m assuming that Google+ will be available too as it grows in popularity. Each of your social medias will be under a separate tab at the top of the main page. I’ll use Twitter as an example.
When you input your Twitter URL Hootsuite channels all your feeds onto one page. I have my main feed, my CRW list, my mentions, and my re-tweets all visible on the page and I can scroll across to any of them. This way I can see all the happenings on Twitter and nothing is lost in the Twitter stream of hundreds of tweets a day. Important tweets stay there for me to see and I no longer miss important announcements.
At the top of the screen is a box which gives me the ability to Tweet from Hootsuite. Just like on the Twitter mainpage I can type in my tweets and send them off with a click of my mouse. But I’m also able to send the same tweet to Facebook at the same time. And, if I choose, it will show up as a blog post too. And I don’t have to send it to all of them. I can pick and choose any and all of my social media for any of my mini-blogs. One of the common problems when dealing with the limits of one hundred and forty characters is that sometimes it is tough to add a long URL to a tweet, you run out of characters. When a URL is too long, Hootsuit gives you the option to shrink it into aTiny URL. That helps tremendously when trying to shrink posts.
Another benefit is the ability to schedule your posts. When I went on vacation I had my blogs pre-scheduled to be sent out via my WordPress site. But I needed to announce that they were going out and that usually happens on Facebook and Twitter. By using Hootsuite I was able to schedule posts to go out on both Twitter and Hootsuite all week. Some posts promoted my blog, some were just conversational, so it seemed like I was still home working and not lying on the beach in Mexico.
Hootsuite also has a search for Twitter. Are you interested in finding promotions or book releases? Search them out. Or search out your own tweets and see if they are coming up under what you want them to. Another benefit of Hootsuite are the analytics. You can see how your tweets are retweeted and even link to Google analytics and analyze the traffic stats.
Signing up at Hootsuite was very easy, just go to Hootsuite.com and follow the step-by-step instructions. If you don’t understand everything, don’t worry. Hootsuite sends out occasional emails with step-by-step instructions to help you get started. The basic dashboard is free and has all the above features but if you feel you need more there is also a PRO version for large companies and virtual assistants.
I don’t think I would have had as much fun and learned as much about Twitter without Hootsuite. It’s given me the tools I need to manage my growing promotional platform. As important as promotion is we all know the true place we need to spend our time is on our writing. Without the writing, there is no book. Without a book to promote, a social platform is irrelevant. Hootsuite and other dashboards like it will enable you to promote yourself and keep your sanity and let you to spend your time where you should be, writing.
Additional information sources:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3570zCbMJ0c&feature=fvst Short video presentation on Youtube that has a quick overview of Hootsuite.
http://hootsuite.com/about Visit Hootsuite itself and see all the benefits.
http://www.socialbrite.org/2010/11/09/top-10-social-media-dashboard-tools/ Has an overview of the top ten social dashboards so you can find the right fit.
Have you used Hootsuite or Tweetdeck? I have since downloaded Tweetdeck, but I’m struggling with it. Leave me a comment and let me know what you do to control your social media.