Saturday, October 26, 2013

Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 2

My disclaimer from Part 1 of this post still holds true. Today I'll discuss a free online service called HootSuite, which, like IFTTT, can help you automate and streamline your social media presence. HootSuite offers many features, including tools to manage multiple social networks and schedule messages and tweets to multiple websites at optimal times.

The free plan offers the following features:
  • Manage up to 5 Social Profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Blogger,WordPress, Reddit, and Stumble Upon are most of the big ones available);
  • Basic Analytic Reports (profile overviews, engagement summaries, page insights);
  • Message Scheduling (automatically at times you choose to the sites you choose); 
  • App Integration; and
  • Up to 2 RSS feeds.
I've been using HootSuite for several weeks, but am by no means an expert. From my limited exposure, I've listed my personal Pros & Cons below:

  • I use the auto-schedule tool to post to Facebook and Twitter at the 'optimal times' as determined by HootSuite. You can also post whenever you want, without using the auto-schedule.
  • HootSuite lets me see my Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger feed from one dashboard.
  • I can't access my Google Plus personal page (which is my personal favorite social media), although I can access my G+ page (which is not the same as my personal stream).  Pinterest and Delicious are not currently supported directly, either. Connecting to your Gmail is available, but not free ($2/month).
  • HootSuite doesn't let you customize the feed options like the individual social media websites do (for example, in HootSuite, I see posts from all my Facebook friends, even ones I've limited or restricted on Facebook).
Instead of re-inventing the wheel or pretending I'm an expert, I'd like to refer you to a couple of very informative posts relating to HootSuite. Both articles were published on one of my favorite blogs; Indies Unlimited and have lots more tricks and tips to share from experienced users:

Author Update: Mirrors & Mist, Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is still being edited with a vengeance. Meanwhile, I'm working my way through the second edition of Crimson & Cream, currently on Chapter 24 of 28. October 2013 will not go down as one of my favorite months, but hopefully November brings better days.  Best wishes to you all!

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