I’m not going to lie. Twitter is my preferred social media network {although, I have been loving Facebook more and more}. When I first started using Twitter, I did whatever one else did. I used their site to manage my Twitter account. As I grew my following, I knew I was missing out and needed something more for my social networking.

I tried Tweetdeck and liked it at first. But then the notifications on my desktop distracted me and turned me off {yes, I know I can turn the off as well!}. I know a lot of people like Tweetdeck for that reason but for whatever reasons, it doesn’t appeal to me. That’s when I turned to HootSuite. And I fell in love!

how to use hootsuite tutorial

What is HootSuite?

HootSuite is a web based application that you run in your internet browser. The interface is grid based and made out of streams. Each stream contains specific kind of tweet: mentions, DMs {Direct Messages}, Sent Tweets, and Hashtags you may be following.

HootSuite offers a two different account options: free or HootSuite Pro account. The free account allows you to add up to 5 social media networks ans 2 RSS feeds. The Pro account gives you unlimited social media networks, advanced message scheduling, 1 additional team member, unlimited apps and RSS feeds. The Pro Account is $9.99/month and is perfect if you are a social media manager managing the social media networks for other people and companies.

How to Add Social Media Networks

After you set up your account, you want to start adding your social networks. At this time, you can manage many social networking sites such as twitter, a personal Facebook page, Facebook business page, Facebook fan page, Google+,  LinkedIn, foursquare, WordPress, My Space, and mixi.

Click on your name and avatar on the left hand side of the screen. There you will see all of the social media networks you have added.

add a network to hootsuite

To add a network, click on the “Add a Social Network” button. Choose the network you would like to add and follow the steps.

adding a network to hootsuite

Customize Your Grid

You can set up your columns for what ever you want. Let’s take a look at my Twitter tab. Every tab can hold up to 10 streams.

hootsuite grids

I have my Twitter feed, mentions, and Direct Messages. I then added a column for a Twitter list I created that has all my friends and a list I subscribe to of some local bloggers. I also added a column for #PhotoADayAGL so I don’t miss any of the pictures that are tweeted out.

To add a column, simply click the “Add a Stream” button. You can choose the type of stream you want: which feed {home, mentions, sent, etc.}, searches, keywords, or lists.

adding a stream to hootsuite

You can do the same for your other social media networks.

Scheduling Tweets

One of my favorite things about HootSuite is the ability to schedule tweets. Compose your tweet and, instead of hitting the send button, click the calendar icon. A calendar will open and you can choose the date and time for the scheduled tweet.

schedule a tweet in hootsuite

You can view your scheduled tweets in the Publisher tab.

viewing scheduled tweets in hootsuite

Extensions

Hootlet Link Share

hootsuite hootlet extension

The Hootlet will save you time when sharing social content. It’s a secret weapon because it allows you to link share easily. As an extension in the Google Chrome browser or an add on in Firefox, the Hootlet automatically takes content you want to share and pops it into a message, ready to go. No need to leave the web page. Plus, with one click, you can Auto Schedule your posts, ensuring that your links are shared at optimal times.

HootFeed for Live Twitter Streams

hootsuite hootfeed extension

Want to spice up your special event? Set up an interactive HootFeed and start streaming your Twitter feed live. HootFeed is free, easy to customize, and an innovative way to involve your guests.

HootSuite Desktop

hootsuite desktop extension

Run HootSuite directly from your desktop using Application Shortcuts in Google Chrome or as an independent application on your Mac.

What about you?  What social media dashboard do you use and why?

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