HootSuite 101: What it is and Why Bloggers Need it
How do I sign up?
Signing up for HootSuite is easy. Head over to this landing page and choose between their basic plan and their pro plan ($5.99/month). Next, fill in your email address, designate a password, and set your time zone. On the next screen, you will add your social network accounts and create streams of information you're interested in. HootSuite published a quick start guide for new users and those looking to make the most out of their HootSuite experience.
What are some of the tasks you can accomplish with the tool?
HootSuite has a number of useful functions to organize your social networking life.
• Multi Network: Though HootSuite started off as a Twitter companion, it has expanded its reach to encompass all major social networks used today. Now you can stay up to date with your friends' status updates or tweets on LinkedIn, Twitter, your personal Facebook and your fan page, Ping.fm, MySpace, Wordpress, and Foursquare - all from one screen.
• Multitask: If you are managing several social network accounts, or have more than one account on the same network, you can access them all from one page. For example, if you have a personal Twitter account and one for your blog, logging in and out of both accounts can be tedious. HootSuite allows you to add up to five accounts on their free version, and you can switch between them using a tab at the top. You can also update your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter with the same message at the same time using HootSuite.
• #Hashtag Help: HootSuite allows you to create lists based on specific search terms or hashtags, which is great for industry-specific blogs. For instance, a travel blogger might create a list to follow tweets that contain #traveltuesday, #matadorn, and #lp. Monster enthusiasts might follow #zombietalk (yes, it's a real hashtag). The hashtag lists contain tweets from all Twitter users, so it's a great way to find new people to follow in your industry.
• User Info: From within each social network, you can click on the user's name and find out about them in an easy-to-read summary. For Twitter users, you can read their Twitter profile, see their website URL, how many followers they have and how many are following them, tweets that mentioned them recently, scan their individual tweet feed, and follow, unfollow, or DM them straight from HootSuite.
• Scheduling: It's hardly time efficient to log onto Twitter every half hour looking for something new to tweet. With HootSuite, you can schedule your tweets, retweets, and status updates for whenever you like. It even comes with a URL shortener, so you can copy and paste those cumbersome links to make them friendly.
How will HootSuite benefit my blog?
• Stay up to date with industry leaders
• Find new people to follow or friend, making it easy to connect with others in your field
• Interact with fans and others who retweet or like your posts
• Add fresh content to all your networks quickly and easily