Like many of you, I’m a member of so many social media networks, the last thing I wanted to do is join another one. But this Twitter thing just kept coming up over and over again. I kept thinking what am I going to do with a microblogging service that is limited to only 140 characters? My time is limited as it is, and if I’m going to invest my time, like any business expense, I want to know my ROI. Yes, it really comes down to how is getting a Twitter account going to make me MONEY!
Well, after creating an account, and identifying and following key people in the my industries, I knew this was like nothing else out there. Not only did I create one Twitter account for business-related tweets, but I quickly created another account for my Foodie alter-ego. I use twitter to keep up to date on the latest breaking news, industry trends, my competition, as well as getting creative ideas for articles and marketing.
As I added followers, and people started following me, one thing became abundantly clear, there is a lot of information to keep track of. To make all the Tweets I receive manageable, I created multiple groups in TweetDeck.
The next problem was how am I going to contribute to the twitosphere, but still have time to actually work and spend time with my family? Like Tim Ferris says in his classic book, “The Four Hour Work Week,” you need to automate, and that is where HootSuite came into my life.
HootSuite allows me to efficiently: schedule tweets, link my existing RSS feeds and tweet them out, utilize Ping.fm tweet broadcasting, manage multiple twitter accounts, track tweet statistics, and allow for multiple editors so I can get a break!
The primary reason I chose HootSuite is for its ability to schedule tweets. I originally was using Tweetlater, but I like the HootSuite interface better (its the Mac guy in me), plus it allowed me to link RSS feeds from my blogs and tweet them out automatically. Scheduling allows you to create a series of tweets and send them out at whenever you want. For a business, this is great since it allows you to create a series of tweets that may lead to a “special” deal. Or you could be promoting a special event or webinar. Of course the other nice thing is it allows you to take Friday’s off by scheduling all your tweets earlier in the week! Scheduling tweets is very simply in HootSuite, you simply click the “send later” button in your tweet box. You will then see a calendar option for you to schedule the date and time of when your tweet will be released.
While I was navigating around HootSuite, I discovered another great timesaving tool, RSS feed integration. Found in the Settings section, this tool allows you to link up to 5 RSS feeds to your HootSuite account, and it tweets them out when you tell it to. I don’t know about you, but I find it annoying when I see a 5 tweets in a row come from one twitterer. A nice option for the RSS feed integration tool is to only take a maximum of one RSS story every hour (or 2, 3, 6, 12 or 24hrs). It also allows you to prepend tweets with a some relevant words (i.e. “Latest News:” or “Jeff Says”). This also has the added benefit of helping you promote your blog. This took me a whole 5 minutes to do, and now HootSuite is automatically promoting all of my newest blog postings without me needed to do any additional work!
For even more automation, HootSuite also allows for Ping.fm integration. Now you can have your tweets automatically sent to all your social networking accounts you have set up in Ping.fm (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, flickr, friendster, friendfeed, yammer, etc..).
HootSuite will also shorten urls for you, and it will also keep track of the statistics of how many people have clicked those tweets. You can click on the stat’s button of a specific tweet, or you can see the stats of all your tweets. It also give you a summary of your most popular tweets. One caveat here is that you must use HootSuite’s url shortener (ow.ly) in order to get these statistics.
If you run a small (or large) business, another great administrative tool is that you can have multiple people manage your HootSuite account. As well, if you have multiple Twitter accounts, you can easily add them here and watch them all on the dashboard.
One additional tool that HootSuite has is an add-on browser app called the Hootlet. This great tool allows you to quickly tweet out a webpage you come across within 10 seconds.
As with many of the great Twitter tools available, HootSuite is currently free, but with all these great time saving benefits I strongly recommend you make a donation.
With the multitude of great time saving features, HootSuite is a must have for any busy business or blogger.
Have you tried HootSuite? Leave your thoughts in the comments…