HootSuite offers many great features that can aid bloggers in managing their Twitter accounts for blogging uses including promotion, monitoring, keyword tracking, reputation management and more. The following are reasons I chose to use HootSuite as my primary Twitter management tool, and the ways I use it to help in my blogging.
Inside Kikolani’s Twitter Management for Blogging in HootSuite
This is the reason I chose HootSuite in the beginning. It doesn’t require you to download and install any software – you can access it from any web browser. So if you need to monitor your Twitter accounts from home, work, Macs, PCs, etc. you can just login to your account and you are all set.
Manage Multiple Accounts for Multiple Blogs
If you are like me, you have multiple blogs that require you to have different Twitter accounts with a unique set of niche followers. HootSuite allows you to create tabs for each of your Twitter accounts, so you can easily see your tweets, mentions, lists, direct messages, and other relevant information under the tab of each account.
Manage your Twitter lists by including a column for your favorite lists under each account, or creating a tab full of lists. Some great ideas include the following.
Follow Industry Experts List
Whether or not you like them personally is not the thing to think about. There are experts (or at least people who know a lot more than others) in every area, and it is good to create a list of the ones that you find the most helpful to you in terms of sharing valuable information. Following one will lead you to others, as most will retweet and chat with other experts. See what they share and how they interact to learn more about engagement with your own followers in your niche.
Follow Your Readers List
It’s not just the big wigs that count. Your readers are essentially your customers, and since it is important for businesses to use social media as a listening tool to listen to their customers, so should bloggers use social media to listen to their readers. I have a list specifically tailored to include regular commenters on my site and people who regularly retweet my posts. It still has a ways to go, but is growing by the day. It is amazing the kind of relationship you can build with your community simply by following and listening to your readers.
Follow Your Collaborators List
Are you on a contributor on a multi-author blog, such as Famous Bloggers?
Go beyond just content contribution and contribute to the overall well being of the blog by helping promote other authors as well by following lists created specifically with blog members, contributors, supporters, etc. And if your multi-author blog does not have a list like the Famous Bloggers Twitter List, now might be the time to create one to help build community between your bloggers to help boost sharing and promotion.
Another great feature of HootSuite is the ability to create columns for particular searches so you can monitor anyone who is talking about a particular subject. Here are some ideas on things you can track that will help your blogging.
Keeping up with particular keywords that are related to your blog will help you get to know what people are talking about. If someone else starts talking about a new idea on a particular topic, then you obviously won’t be the first one to break the news to the world, but you still could be the first in your community to do so.
There are many, many ways that keyword tracking and custom searches can help you generate new writing ideas.
Another way to come up with new ideas on what to write is to monitor people who are asking questions on a particular topic by creating a searches such as:
- personal development ?
- lose weight ?
- make money online ?
- social media ?
- how to wordpress ?
- ways to followers ?
Also, if you find that your search is producing more people promoting their own posts as questions as opposed to people asking general questions, simply add -filter:links to your search query to remove any tweets that already have links in them.
Keyword + Question Tracking in HootSuite
Aside from generating writing ideas, this can also be a great technique for promoting your own posts. Keep in mind that you should only send someone a link to your post if it is 100% helpful in answering their question. If you are doing it in a helpful, non-spammy way, then you will receive thanks and maybe even gain a new reader! I try to limit these kinds of @replies to those who are asking a question to all of their followers as opposed to a specific person, the latter which may be considered jumping into a conversation that you weren’t invited to.
Monitoring Your Brand
Another great use of social media is reputation management. There are many ways to use HootSuite to monitor your blog and personal brand.
Monitor Post Retweets
For the first week (possibly two, depending on post popularity) I like to create columns to monitor my post retweets. Sure you can watch your mentions, but some people come across your post and tweet it using methods other than the Tweetmeme button that may not include your @username.
Post Retweet Tracking in HootSuite
Typically a post will be tweeted with the title, so I like to create a search using a short, unique part of the post title to monitor such as Fetching Friday for all of my Friday post mentions, top link building resources for my post on link building resources, top free Twitter tools for my recent Top Tenz post, and so on.
There are two other ways this search can be beneficial besides just getting to see how many times your post is tweeted and by whom. It is particularly useful when you are guest blogging and the retweet tools on the host blog are set up to only @reply the blog owner as opposed to the author of the post. It can also help you find out if someone has scraped your post content and is claiming it as their own, or if someone has written something on a similar topic.
Monitor Name Mentions
Monitoring your name, pseudonym, website name, brand, etc. can not only lead to other retweets of your posts (in the form of check out the latest post by Kristi Hines on Twitter), but can also lead to (hopefully) positive comments and recommendations made about you that may not have been directly @replied to you. On the flip side, if someone says something negative about you, knowing it as soon as possible will help you in making a constructive reply in defense.
Keeping Track of Other Networks
Along with Twitter, HootSuite can also connect you to your Facebook (profiles and pages), LinkedIn, Myspace, WordPress (.com blogs), Ping.fm, and FourSquare accounts. I don’t have accounts with the latter three services, so I am not sure what information they pull in and what you can post to them, but with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Myspace you can create columns to view your friend’s and your own status updates.
TwitterFeed for HootSuite
TwitterFeed is a service I have used to set RSS feeds from particular blogs to automatically tweet new posts from my account. HootSuite also offers this functionality. So if you have favorite blogs whose new posts you always retweet, you can set their feeds up to automatically tweet new posts through any social networks you have setup on HootSuite.
RSS Updates to Social Networks in HootSuite
One difference between TwitterFeed’s service and HootSuite is TwitterFeed offers the option to only post updates from the RSS that relate to particular keywords. This would come in handy for a blog feed that covers multiple topics, but you would only want to tweet posts on one particular topic.
Also, I like to add a RT @blogauthor before the tweet (option in both services) or via @blogauthor at the end of the tweet (option in TwitterFeed). Plus, be aware of the time intervals you set for the feed service to check for and post new updates from your favorite blogs. If you tweet something that you want to stay up on your account for a while at 5:59 and you have your feeds updating every hour, that tweet may only be your latest for one minute before the feed updates.
You can send status updates simultaneously to any Twitter or other social network account that is linked to HootSuite. Keep in mind how you have interconnected your accounts prior to sending updates through HootSuite to all of them. For example, if your Facebook is pulling in all of your tweets, and you send a status update to your Twitter and Facebook account through HootSuite, you could end up with duplicate updates on Facebook. Ditto if you use Ping.fm to update your accounts and you send an update to Ping.fm along with Twitter, Facebook, etc.
The rise of multi author blogs may ultimately lead to the need of multiple users being able to update one Twitter account. HootSuite just announced team collaboration capabilities so that multiple members can manage a single Twitter accounts when needed via HootSuite.
Team Collaboration in HootSuite (screenshot from HootSuite’s blog)
Along with all of the great things with HootSuite, there are also a couple of things that I do not use or would like to change. These items include:
I think the name is cute. But I just have a personal preference against using URL shorteners that sort of hijack the URL of the post in the address bar, as it can be an inconvenience when you are not paying attention and end up Stumbling the Ow.ly link. This is why I still use my Bit.ly browser bookmarklet to shorten URLs and then paste them into the status update field for HootSuite. And why I also have the habit of changing the URLs in my retweets to Bit.ly (sorry). To Ow.ly and HootSuite’s credit, they do have a nice tracking feature within HootSuite to see clicks and retweets of Ow.ly links, but only if they are Ow.ly links.
Other Social Network Options
As mentioned previously, networks other than Twitter only allow you to see status updates. It would be nice if you could see your inbox / private messages, friend requests, and other relevant information for each of your social accounts within HootSuite.
Update: HootSuite Goes Freemium
As of August 2010, HootSuite has moved from being strictly free to offering free limited plans (up to 5 users with ads) and pro plans. Learn more about HootSuite Freemium Plans.
Do You Use HootSuite?
Do you use HootSuite to manage your Twitter accounts for your blog? Are there any other great uses of HootSuite for blogging that I forgot to mention, or other drawbacks? Would you recommend another tool over HootSuite with these same or better features for Twitter management?
Just to clarify, this post is not sponsored in any way by HootSuite. It’s just my personal review of the service. Also, for more information on HootSuite, see this post on using HootSuite to manage your Twitter engagement efforts for information on the tracking system, user management, and more.