Twitter is a very powerful tool for marketing and promoting your blog or company, yet utilizing all it has to offer effectively is not always easy. As a company, you must engage with your customers in whatever forum they prefer and due to its popularity, Twitter cannot be ignored. The worst thing that can happen is people might be complaining about your product on Twitter and if you are not there to respond/help, your brand image can be irreversibly damaged. Twitter also offers a great tool to release news about product updates or to promote sales and encourage customer interest. Managing a busy Twitter presence can be extremely time consuming and may require task delegation within your organization. Following competitors and others in your industry is important to make sure your product offerings are competitive and current. HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com ) offers an app package of tools to help you deal with everything. First, I’ll give you a little information and then tell you about my experience using the product so far.
HootSuite allows you to link all your social media outlets and update them all in one online app. The online aspect is quite useful as it allows you to log in to your dashboard from any computer without installing any software. HootSuite supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkIn, Foursquare, Myspace, and WordPress (as of recently). You can link an RSS feed to your HootSuite account so it will automatically release tweets as new information becomes available. HootSuite allows you to set how often it should check the RSS feeds and select which Twitter accounts you want to tweet from. You can use HootSuite to manage multiple Twitter accounts. Setting up access for multiple users is easy and HootSuite allows you to set personalized access for different users at your company. You can use the assignments feature to assign certain tweets for different people to follow up on. This makes it easy to manage your account if you have many direct messages or tweets to respond to.
Scheduling tweets is important as you don’t want to bombard your followers with everything you have all at once. Spreading the tweets out throughout the day, or focusing on certain times when your target users are most active is important. HootSuite can help you do this for all of your twitter accounts. Keeping fresh and useful information posting throughout the day is a great way to make people stay aware of your web presence.
The analytics offered by HootSuite can assist you with your decision as to how best schedule your tweets. You can track clicks per day, geo-location, referring websites, and can break all this information down to the individual tweet level if you desire. This is a good way to determine what is working for you and what is not. If many people respond or click a certain topic, you should consider offering more similar content. I find it interesting that even if you share a link to another website (other than your own), you can still track clicks. This is a good way to help determine the influence you are having on your followers. HootSuite offers a “Klout” ranking on all Twitter users which presumably determines how influential they are. It takes in to account followers, interaction, tweet popularity etc. While not a great judge (necessarily), it is interesting when considering who to personally follow/emulate, you may want to consider users with higher Klout scores. You can search by keywords in HootSuite and find who is most influential when talking about those particular terms/phrases. If you observe who your followers follow, and what they are saying, you can work on tailoring your own tweets to be of more interest to your following. You can also encourage more participation, thereby creating more buzz around your brand and utilizing the full potential that marketing on a social platform has to offer. Creating lists of people with more Klout is a great way to cut down on all the noise and links flying around. You can focus your attention on more important topics. This is a double edged sword however, because your followers are facing a similar wall of noise given the number of tweets that go out. They may be looking for new ways to organize the people they follow as well, and you want to be on those lists!
So now that you know some things about HootSuite, I’ll talk about it for my personal use. First off, some features require you to upgrade to a plan that has a monthly fee. For example advanced analytics and Facebook insight features are not free. These features may be of some use, however since right now I’m just working for myself starting up a consulting company, I will not be spending money on that kind of thing. It was a little disappointing because when I was reading up on HootSuite those feature apparently used to be free and only recently did they switch to fee-based. I really did like the way HootSuite lets you organize all of your feeds using what they call columns and tabs. I have columns for my homefeed, direct message box, and @mentions. I also have other tabs set-up with columns showing different Twitter search results and keyword searches. This was helpful for finding some of the people I want to be following and is much more robust than regular twitter search.
Now for my favorite part! The Hootlet app is actually really cool. You drag it to your bookmark bar and then it lets you tweet out any website you are on. This is really great because if you are like me, you are constantly browsing the web. If you come across sites your audience might feel are interesting, you can quickly get them out there – or not! You can choose which Twitter account you want to send the tweet from, and schedule it right there on the site you are looking at without having to leave or do anything else. This is a quite useful feature and one I think will be very helpful for me personally. I hope this blog was helpful (or interesting) – I’m still new at this – so please give me comments/feedback!!