One part of your weekly schedule should be posting a link to your blog post on various social media sites. It can be a time-consuming process, but you need to use social media to extend your reach beyond people who read your blog or get your email newsletter.
Social media dashboards allow you to post to multiple social media accounts in one place. Two commonly-used dashboards are Tweetdeck (which is software that you download and install or an online service) and Hootsuite (which is an online service). Both are free for the basic plan.
I started with Tweetdeck when it only had a software option but switched over to Hootsuite over a year ago and am very happy with it. Using a dashboard will save you a lot of time!
Here’s a screenshot of my Change the World Marketing Hootsuite dashboard. I’ve blurred the messages to protect the privacy of the people who tweeted.
Add your accounts to Hootsuite
When you sign up, from the launch menu on the left, click your user profile icon. Then, under My Social Network, click Add a Social Network and provide your user name and password for one of the supported social media sites. This adds a tab to your Hootsuite dashboard. Each tab can then have several columns, as I explain below.
Posting in Hootsuite
To post, follow these steps:
- Click the text box at the upper-left corner and type a message.
- To add a URL, enter or paste it into the Add a Link box and then click the Shrink button. Hootsuite has its own URL shrinking tool.
- If you want to attach an image or other file, click the Attach Image or File button — it looks like a paper clip.
- To choose which accounts to post to, click in the Click to Select a Profile box and choose the accounts. Unfortunately, the icons are small and hard to distinguish but you can select a default set of profiles to post to — in the Profile drop-down list, click the Pin button to the right of any profile.
- Click Send Now.
In an instant, your post goes to all of your accounts. If you’re posting to a Facebook page, Hootsuite will include an image from that page (you can choose which image). If you’re including Twitter, stick to the 140-character limit or your tweet will be truncated.
A great feature of Hootsuite is that you can pre-schedule posts. This saves you lots of time, especially if you want to double post or specify a future date and time. You can even schedule a week’s worth of posts in advance!
To schedule a post, write it and then click the Scheduling button. There you can set a date and time.for the post to go out. Sweet!
Do you have posts that you want to send regularly in addition to your weekly blog posts? Perhaps you want to advertise your free download or your products and services. Whatever it is, you can save a post as a draft and use it over and over, whenever you want. Just type the post and click the Save Message as Draft button (it’s to the left of the Send Now button).
To send a draft, click the View Drafts button, a down arrow at the bottom right of the message text box. Choose the draft from the list of saved drafts and send or schedule it.
Keeping track of conversations
Remember that Twitter is more than just broadcasting micro-posts and links. Truth be told, most people who are following more than a few hundred people never look at their feed.
Most of the value of Twitter is in conversations. When people reply to you publicly or mention you within a tweet, their tweet includes the @ symbol, as in @changeworldmktg. When people send you a message privately, it’s called a Direct Message and their reply is preceded by DM, as in DM changeworldmktg.
On your Twitter tab, Hootsuite sets up a column for mentions (@) and direct messages (Inbox). This lets you easily monitor your Twitter conversations.
You can also read Facebook page posts on your Facebook tab.
Finally, Hootswuite sets up a column for your sent tweets.
Keeping track of topics or hashtags
But there’s more! You can create custom columns in Hootsuite. Usually, you do this to display a search of a topic or hashtag. You can also display the tweets of a Twitter list.
Click the Add Stream button, click the Search tab and then enter your search term. It can be anything you want!
Try me and see if I respond!
Send a tweet mentioning me and see if I respond! From your Twitter account (or from your Hootsuite dashboard), send a message and mention @changeworldmktg somewhere in the message. I bet I’ll see it and reply!