Social Media Tools: Hootesuite

The Social Media Time Drain

Social media platforms can be dizzying, dramatic waste of time if you dive into all of them.

Facebook has over a billion people. Most of them are inputing content onto the site. That’s a lot of reading to do! The posts can be long or short, but rest assured, if you hop on Facebook and begin scrolling through your news feed, you are going to see everyone’s activities. If you aren’t careful, you will be bleeding from the eye sockets by 2:00 a.m.

Twitter can be a minefield. There are rapid fire conversations in what seems to be an echo chamber of your favorite indexed (e.g. hashtag) concepts. Sometimes the echo chamber reveberates into the territory of people who don’t share your views, which normally would be a good thing. Apparently on Twitter, it’s a drama starter. Glenn Greenwald and Sam Harris can be intellectually jousting to the death and you are watching it unfold 140 characters at a time. Before you know it, you’ve spent 2 hours looking at the number of interesting conversations Taye Diggs has with his fans and you can’t remember how you got to Taye Diggs in the first place.

Instagram will have you flipping through 100s of photos as the ours pass by. Did you see 50 cent’s beef with Rick Ross in real time? I didn’t. But then again, I didn’t have to, as it exists on Instagram and I can scurry over to check out the awesomeness of millionaires acting like immature children. Or…it’s not that awesome…how did I get here…ugh. Social media.

The same it true for really any social media. As I mentioned in the Brick and Mortar Scenario, social media represents the opportunity to step into a building with millions of people and say hi. Whereas stepping into a normal building of a couple hundred, maybe couple thousand people, you simply didn’t expect much from the limited physical connections you could meaningfully produce.

It’s hard NOT to spend gargantuan amounts of time on these platforms because they are tantalizing you with connections of all kinds; humerous connections, entertaining connections, serious connections, meaningful connections, and hyper-meaningful connections.

If you run a school and the thought of operating multiple media platforms sounds terrifying, don’t worry. You won’t lose all of your time representing yourself on social media. In fact, we can amplify our agency by utilizing some powerful tools at our disposal.

Today I would like to briefly look at Hootesuite as the main tool a person could use managing multiple social media platforms. Be advised that their are numerous options out there, and we encourage you to jump in and play with whatever floats your boat, but Hootesuite will be the only one we are profiling for now.

Hootesuite

Hootesuite is your social media dashboard. It allows you to log into only one place, Hootesuite, and post to numerous social media sites. It posts quite well to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Posting to Instragram is a little clunky but doable.

 

Here is your Hootesuite dashboard…

hootesuite blank

Notice that the first three columns have a litter Twitter bird and the 4th column has an orange flag. That represents Facebook.

What this allows you to do is break down your social media networks into “streams” that you can organize horizontally. Currently, I am creating a stream of “mentions”, “my tweets”, and “scheduled (posts)” on Twitter. With this, I can see what posts are coming in Twitter, who has said anything about us, and what I have recently said, all without logging into Twitter! The application is technically logged into Twitter for you, but for your intents and purposes, you aren’t scrolling into oblivion on that platform.

hootesuite streams

The same is true for Facebook. I only have two streams for Facebook currently- “scheduled posts” and “home”, which is out of the screen but scrollable. The great thing about hootesuite is this all customizable. Change your streams to however you want. Find the “add streams” button in the top left.

Scheduling Posts

Ready to make a post? When you place your cursor over the “compose message” box at the very top, this screen pops up and allows you to write a message…

 

hootesuite blank compose message

…and you will notice that you can choose to what networks your content will go to via hootesuite. Yes, you can send important posts to ALL of your networks!

I am currently using the free version of Hootesuite, which allows 3 networks and their components to be streamed. You have to use your personal Facebook to get started, so that leaves the Network Facebook and the Network Twitter. The pro version does not have this annoyance.

Go ahead and write something…if it’s for Twitter, it will tell you your character count. (Did you know there was a character count for Facebook, too? Hootesuite also monitors that.)

hootesuite compose message filled

All you have to do is click any or all of the platforms on the left and write your message. The buttons on the bottom right allow you to attach media files, schedule the post for a later date, geo tag your post, and target your post.

In this dashboard snapshot above, I have an ALC Network Facebook post involving a yoga photo on the right with the first words being “be agile!”. That is being sent on December 5th currently. (All scheduled posts can be changed at will.) I will send this mock post a few hours before it so you can see it pop into the Facebook “scheduled” stream…

hootesuite compose message scheduled

See how the scheduled “be agile!” posts just gets bumped down? Everything is nice and tight on Hootesuite.

Practice Makes Perfect

 One needs to practice using Hootesuite to get over the first time jitters. Hootesuite is a great tool for one to use multiple networks without feeling like you are getting bogged down by each network.

Feeling creative in one sentence or less for some reason? Go ahead and schedule a handful of crafty twitter posts for that week you won’t be in the country. Your social media account with still have activity and you won’t have to think twice about it!

Learning Curve

I found hootesuite’s dashboard overwhelming at first. The streams concept did not come naturally to me. At times, I wanted to double down on my feeling that this was silly, but I committed to using it. After two to three weeks of consistent use, it did become more second nature.

Problems I Have Encountered

Posting on Hootesuite has led to some problems, but nothing that makes me want to go back to posting on each social media site. I will post here the problems I have run into and hopefully I will make future posts about how I figured them out!

-tagging people

On facebook, you simply write “@” and a person or page, and Facebook will allow you to tag them in your post. That means they are alerted that this post has happened. You can’t do this on Hootesuite, or somehow I am not doing it right. it just sends the text as an @ symbol.

-Posting with multiple images

I once sent a Facebook post to scheduling with 3 images. Curiously, Hootesuite posted 3 times. It used the same text and substituted the images for each post. Ooops. I would imagine you can send more than one photo, but perhaps not?

 

Be Social And Smart 

This is an introduction to Hootesuite. If you are a part of the Agile Learning Network and would like to know more about Hootesuite, message me here or email me at aaron.mahnaz@gmail.com. Or on facebook!

@abbyo @annhansen @ryanshollenberger @nancy @alex @sarataleff @ninablanco

 

(If you’ve been tagged, I believe this information could be more suited to you as a facilitator who may find themselves managing a Center’s social media! I don’t know everyone, however, so feel free to chime in if I am missing someone.

I am available for help on social media at any point. Plus, I am looking for your insight into the network social media as well. Stay tuned on how to get involved!)

 

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Aaron

An autodidact interested in the rammifications of sound ideas and their potential. Facilitator of all that is self-directed.

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