Setting Up Your HootSuite Social Media Dashboard

Greetings from the Owl – Setting up your HootSuite Social Media Dashboard

Today we’re talking about HootSuite, a free web based product designed to help you manage your Social Media accounts across multiple platforms. These platforms include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, YouTube, Flickr & more.  It’s one of the few applications I have open 24 x 7, and I predict that once you learn it you’ll never be without it!

With it you can post updates, add images, and monitor feeds across all your social channels. For instance, you can manage Twitter accounts,  create lists and keyword tracking streams, as well as monitor mentions, direct messages, sent tweets, favourite tweets, and more in dedicated streams.

You can monitor and update your Facebook profile and business/fan pages and LinkedIn profile. You can check-in and shout via your Foursquare account, schedule messages to send in the future, and much much more!

Free and Pro Versions:

HootSuite is a great Vancouver based company and has just passed its 5 Million user benchmark. Many folks get along fine with the free version which allows one user and a limited number of social profiles (5).  I like the Pro version which costs under $10 a month and supports unlimited profiles and multiple users (2). The Enterprise version offers unlimited profiles and ‘Team’ user support, for a big jump up in cost.  Which version are you using?

Starting:

Getting started is easy! Go to the HootSuite website and create your account.  Add your social profiles and you’ll start to see the social data feeds in your HootSuite Dashboard.  The vertical columns are called Streams, and each Tab can hold 10 Streams. You choose the exact type of data Stream to configure  your most efficient and comfortable dashboard.  Using the intuitive ‘drag & drop’ functionality you can easily position streams to suit your needs. You will find tons of further training available on YouTube and the wider web. Search for “HootSuite dashboard”. If you find a great resource, please share it in the comments section below.

Training:

HootSuite U. is a paid ($21/month) interactive on line training resource offering certification in the HootSuite dashboard.  I completed the certification in short order and consider it useful. (Full disclosure, I receive no benefit for sharing this information here.) You can also join the associated free and open TweetChat each Tuesday at 11am PST using the Twitter hashtag  #HSUchat

Note: For the Holidays, HootSuite is offering a discount of 50% off 1 month of HootSuite University.  Coupon Code: HSUHOLIDAYS   Feel free to pass along this limited-time coupon code and help others advance their social success with HootSuite University. This coupon code can be applied on the billing page when signing up for Pro and enrolling in HootSuite University, and it expires January 31st, 2013.

There is also a forum and Help Desk at http://help.hootsuite.com/home

Mobile:

Mobile apps are available for tablets and smart phones eg; Android, iPhone and Blackberry. They let you do most everything a laptop/desktop can (though plainly with much less ‘screen real estate’). What percentage of your HootSuite dashboard use is via mobile?

Custom Analytics:

Network stats, Facebook Insights and Google analytics are integrated to efficiently track conversations and measure campaign results. Pro versions offer various custom reports to share and display outcomes of social media activity and campaigns. This is important to share information up the reporting chain and with clients.

Teams:

Pro and above versions support multi person Teams with channel assignments, privilege levels, and conversation ownership tracking. This is necessary at the Enterprise and larger organization level.

Conversations:

Internal communications within an organization can be brought into the Dashboard using the new ‘Conversations’ feature which lets you scan, search and track internal dialogue securely using the standard HootSuite toolset.

App Directory:

Support of new Apps is constantly being added via the HootSuite App Directory. Apps like Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, as well as marketing focused tools such as MailChimp, SocialFlow, InboxQ, and Constant Contact. More keep being added. You can even vote on which apps you’d most like to see. I have done this and it’s pretty cool!

There’s so much to like in the HootSuite Dashboard we’ll need another post to share more. I think you’ll agree, once you start using it you’ll find it becomes ‘the Tool you never want to be without!’.

And don’t be shy, share, Tweet and leave comments below to help drive the Social Media train!

Mark McLaughlin

Victoria Businessman Owner Best Color Video Services Mark lives with his family in Victoria BC. where he is a presenter and a service provider in the Social Media space through his company Best Color Video. Using video production, website design, and Social Media campaigns, Mark creates content and guides brand engagement for a wide range of clients. Passionate about Social Media, Mark was thrilled to be a presenter at Social Media Camp 2012, speaking on the HootSuite Social Media Dashboard.

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