Stephen Smith

HootSuite: My Social Media Swiss Army Knife

Every morning, I come into the office, fire up the computer and open up my Internet browser. The first page I visit is my email. The second page is HootSuite.

Managing the outbound content on my personal blog, the Incept blog, two company Twitter accounts, my personal Twitter account, my LinkedIn network, the Incept Facebook page, and my Facebook profile would require me to juggle no less than 5 open internet windows simultaneously, at any given time. However, with the help of Hootsuite, everything is condensed into one neat, little window.

The Swiss Army Knife

I refer to HootSuite as my “Swiss army knife” for one basic reason: a Swiss army knife is meant to be the only tool you need in a survival situation. It has multiple gadgets to help you through just about anything you might get into in the wild. HootSuite serves the same function for me online, doing just about anything I need it to.

I use HootSuite for 5 main functions across all of my social media networks:

  1. Hub – Because I can connect to any of my profiles from one page, HootSuite acts as my hub, or base camp, from which I can branch out into a conversation on any of my networks at a moment’s notice. Not having to open a new window and jump between sites means quicker communication, which also means stronger relationships.
  2. Scheduler - Maintaining an online presence 24 hours a day meant drinking pots of coffee and not sleeping a few years ago. Nowaday, however, with the help of HootSuite’s handy scheduler, I can program content to go out on any of my profiles at any time of the day. I don’t have to be at the computer to be in front of my network. A bonus is that I can actually customize the content to make it more effective by choosing pictures for my Facebook posts or using the URL shortener to save valuable tweet space.
  3. Real-time Communication – By using HootSuite’s content streams I can keep a watchful eye on what’s being said on any of my networks and react in real time. Personally, I like using the HootSuite interface to send messages on Twitter more than I like using Twitter itself. Cycling between profiles and accounts, sending messages on multiple accounts to reach more followers or cross-networking with followers on my other profiles is all made super easy, because it’s controlled from one window.
  4. Team “Crossroad” - One of my favorite features of HootSuite is that it allows me to interact with people on my team. If Tim has a conversation with a follower on one of the Incept profiles and I need to lend a hand, I can take over that conversation seamlessly. If a post I scheduled needs to be updated before it’s sent, a team member can jump in and make changes if I can’t get to a computer. It’s the ultimate back-up system.
  5. Listening Tool – By far, my favorite way to use HootSuite is as a “listening” tool. By setting up streams focusing on keywords and searches, or following a particular person’s conversations, I can get the drop on opportunities I might have otherwise missed. I can listen to what’s going on in my extended networks, watching what the friends of my friends are doing, so I don’t miss anything useful. It’s kind of like having your ear to the rail on the train tracks but being in the middle of the train yard. I can listen to all sorts of conversations, then pick which ones have the most potential and engage them – all from one window!

HootSuite serves as my Swiss army knife, my go-to tool. Of course, I also use other programs to complement what I can do in HootSuite. Heck, you wouldn’t go off into the woods with just your knife if you had the choice right? But when I know that I need something to rely on, I turn to my good friend, the HootSuite owl!

What tools do you use to organize your social networks?

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meredith November 2, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Good comparison! HootSuite works really well for me, too.

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