How to Use HootSuite for Social Media Monitoring

In the course of just a few years, social media marketing has skyrocketed to become the new go-to way to effectively get word out about your business without breaking the bank. However, that doesn’t mean a mere presence on Facebook and Twitter is going to get the job done. Once you start leveraging some of the newer players, such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, you may find your market presence growing at unprecedented rates. You’re not necessarily going to have total success on every platform, so it’s essential that you try your hand on several, carefully monitor your rates of success on each, and use that data to adjust your strategy going forward. Once you know where you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck, you can better concentrate your efforts and improve your chances of success. If you haven’t been monitoring how much traffic you’re getting and where it’s coming from, the time to start is now. One of the best social monitoring tools on the market today is HootSuite.

1. Set Up Your Account
Setting up an account on HootSuite is simple. Enter your email address, name, and create a password. From there you can link to as many as five social media accounts with its free version, or as many as 100 if you choose a paid plan, which costs $8.99 per month. When you set up your account, be sure to take advantage of HootSuite’s secure profiles, so you can restrict who has access to your accounts. This is a vital long-term consideration when you add or remove team members from your marketing staff.

2. Create Your Streams
One way to begin the monitoring process is to set up what are called “streams.” A stream is basically grouped content that appears on your dashboard based on the parameters you set. To create one, go to the “add stream” button on your dashboard and enter the keywords you want to monitor. A few good places to start would be brand mentions of your company or specific Twitter hashtags from a recent initiative of yours. It’s a great way to monitor what’s being said about your business on your social media accounts.

3. Familiarize Yourself With Analytics
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. HootSuite recently revamped its analytics package, and now includes more than Google Analytics or Facebook Insights can offer (you can integrate Facebook Insights into your HootSuite interface, by the way). A lot of this information was available previously, but now you can collate it into a customized report. This includes measuring and tracking follower growth through Twitter, demographic information behind who’s liking your business on Facebook, and an easier-to-use dashboard.

4. Communicate Monitoring Goals Through Conversations
Wouldn’t you like to have a way to communicate with team members about a social media campaign within the tracking tool itself? That’s exactly what you can do through HootSuite Conversations. Communicate across your entire organization, increase collaboration, and cut down on separate and unnecessary email threads that people have to keep up with.

5. Monitor While on the Go
We’ve all heard the phrase “there’s an app for that,” and it couldn’t be more true than with HootSuite. Whether you own an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, a mobile app is available for download. Use it to keep up with projects and take better advantage of your downtime by checking in on the progress of your social media growth and the success of specific initiatives no matter where you are.

6. Keep Your Accounts Secure
While not necessarily a monitoring strategy, utilizing HootSuite’s security features can go a long way toward keeping your accounts safe from both hackers and from team members who could otherwise cause a social media crisis just by clicking the wrong button.

When running a small business, it’s important to know when to spend money and when to keep it in your pocket. There’s a free version of HootSuite which is more than viable, but your business is going to be better served going with the broad scope offered by the paid upgrade, which comes with a 30-day free trial. The free version limits you to only five social media accounts, and you won’t have access to improved technical support or collaboration tools. The cheapest paid version only costs $8.99 per month, and with the results you can expect it’s easily going to pay for itself in short order.

Do you have any experience with HootSuite?

Tony Campbell is a social media specialist who writes tips for small businesses to increate their reach online.