Hootsuite Hacks: 19 Tricks and Features You Probably Didn't Know About
Hootsuite has all sorts of hidden gems and useful ways to save time and increase your brand's social ROI. The main problem is that there are so many Hootsuite hacks out there that it is difficult to know where to start.
For this article, we asked the Hootsuite customer success team – people who spend their days deep in the aisles of everyone's favorite dashboard – about the little-known, underrated features they bring to social media managers every day.
Read these 19 tips to get an inside look at how Hootsuite power users use the dashboard – and to get the most out of social media for their business.
Bonus: Download our free, customizable social media calendar template to easily plan and schedule all your content in advance.
Hootsuite hacks for planning and publishing
Duplicate posts in Planner
The duplicate button may look humble, but it saves a lot of time. You can use it to create a bunch of similar or related posts without having to create each one from scratch.
This is the easiest way to reuse and edit content to make a post suitable for your various social channels. Instead of posting the exact same content on every social platform, you can edit handles, hashtags, language, and links to make each post appropriate for the intended audience.
This button is also a great trick if you need to target different time zones, languages, regions, or audiences.
Or if you're running a large campaign. Starting from scratch isn't always the best way to keep your posts consistent and aligned.
Where can you find this duplicate button? By selecting your post on the "Content" or "Planner" tab.
Collaborate on drafts before posting them
When you share your designs with your team on the Hootsuite Planner tab, everyone knows what's on the calendar. With even more editable drafts, teams can optimize and improve their social content in real time without going through a more formal approval workflow. (Which is also a good idea, of course.)
While a spreadsheet makes a perfectly good calendar for social media content, having more focus on your work in progress, not to mention the inevitable typos, is a great way to improve the quality of your content.
Bulk plan up to 350 posts at the same time
Speaking of content calendars, if your calendar is ahead of the game – maybe even really ahead – the task of actually uploading and creating all of these posts could feel daunting. Not to mention the time and date they are supposed to go live.
According to our customer success team, social media managers who have high volume accounts use mass planning tools to get the worst out of the way.
With Hootsuite's bulk planner, once you've uploaded your posts, you can also go through them to check the copy and links, and add visuals or emoji.
Here is our complete guide to mass scheduling social media posts with Hootsuite.
Automatically post at the perfect time for engagement
When is the best time to post on social media? We get this question very often.
Nobody wants to see their valuable content, which often took weeks or months of planning, dive into the algorithm in just one wave.
With Hootsuite's Auto Scheduler, you can no longer guess when to post something. When you flip the switch, Hootsuite will pick a gap in your upcoming schedule that offers the highest likelihood of engagement on your target platform.
Suspend posts without deleting them
Sometimes you've planned, polished, and scheduled your social posts a week or two in advance. But then a global pandemic or coup attempt takes place, and your contributions seem a little irrelevant, if not downright deaf. It's time to take a break.
With Hootsuite, pausing your planned social media content is as easy as clicking the pause icon on your company's profile and entering a reason to suspend it.
This will prevent all posts from being published until you decide it is safe to resume and warn anyone trying to schedule new content that a post lock is in effect.
Polish up your posts with vanity urls
Owly, Hootsuite's free link shortener, makes any URL you post look cute, short, and much more trustworthy. Owly links are safe and also keep track of the metrics you need to see how well your content is converting. (Ok, I bite: what are url shorteners?)
That said, if you want to bring in the elbow grease and improve your branding, Hootsuite supports vanity URLs too. Here is a quick guide to implementing vanity URLs. They look something like this:
Pro tip: Vanity URLs are perfect for masking your awkwardly long (but very, very useful) UTM parameters, as explained in tip 16.
Two things in marketing have come true over the years: great photography takes skill and money; and image licensing is confusing. If you're not a photographer or a legal genius, we invite you to take a quick stroll through the Hootsuite media library.
Get thousands of free, high quality images with one click. The Hootsuite image editor also makes it easy to filter and crop (so as not to set any less platform-specific dimensions) or add text, stickers, and frames.
Create professional graphics without expensive licensing
If an award-winning graphic design team (plus a copy of Adobe Creative Suite and rights to a number of fancy fonts) isn't on this year's budget, we recommend a DIY design approach with Hootsuite's Canva integration.
Canva has pre-made templates that you can customize for any visual identity, from avant-garde to organic. You can also create your own and save them for future use to keep your social appearance consistent and compelling.
And not just for posts and stories: you can design banners, ads, avatars, channel art and more (without having to calculate the resolution or width in pixels with cumbersome, mathematical desktop software). Here is a short guide.
Pro tip: Canva is a free add-on from the Hootsuite App Directory that you should check out for the many, many free apps that can do all sorts of things, like the next two tips.
If your ecommerce outfit is on Shopify, this hack (ok, app) is a breeze.
Keeping a stream of your products available for your social feeds means you'll always have the latest product photos, prices, and approved copies on hand when you interact with your customers.
For example, someone in your store may be tweeting, "Do you have some of that sweet lavender essential oil available?" And you can respond with a link to that essential oil – without leaving the Hootsuite dashboard.
Install the free Shopview app here.
Publish pictures from Google Drive or Dropbox
The Hootsuite content library is a great tool for organizing all of your digital assets for social purposes. We strongly recommend them. However, if your business is already dedicated to Google Drive or Dropbox, then using Hootsuite's Cloudview or Dropbox apps might be a shortcut to benefit from.
Optimize your ad budget by automatically growing your best posts
Organic reach is still declining in 2021. If you want more than 1-5% of your followers to see your posts, ads are inevitably the best solution.
(For more information on spending, see our complete guide to paid and organic social strategy.)
The Hootsuite dashboard is a quick and easy way to access new audiences on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Check your engagement stats to find your best performing posts and allocate a budget to display to a similar audience of platform users (a.k.a. people the AI thinks they might like).
You can also automate this process so that all of your favorite posts are brought to new eyes. For example, you can create a trigger that gives any video post that has, for example, 100 likes an ad budget of $ 10 per day.
Pro tip: Compare apples to apples in Hootsuite Impact by side-by-side comparing paid mail results to organic mail results. Learn more about viewing paid and organic ROI here.
Hootsuite hacks for engagement and customer service
Reply to all of your DMs and comments in one place
It doesn't matter how many people you have on your social team. If you're trying to keep track of private and public conversations from multiple platforms, you need an organization tool. (The bigger your team gets, the more likely you will need a tool.)
The Hootsuite inbox is one of the easiest wins on this list: it brings all of your DMs, comments, and threads together on one tab so you don't end up on conversations, neglect customers, or miss opportunities.
Starting in 2021, in addition to comments, replies, and DMs from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you will also be able to access your Instagram DMs in the Hootsuite inbox.
Read our full guide to great social customer service here, or watch this video on how to use the Hootsuite inbox.
Improve your response times with shortcuts
83% of social media users expect a response to their customer service complaint within a day, and 50% expect a response within an hour. To improve your response time, you need to find some simple, semi-automatic hacks to speed up the grunt work and give your team more time to do the tricky things.
Here are three of our favorite options:
- Reply templates: Hootsuite Inbox provides this so your customer service team has the right information in the branded language at hand when a common question comes up. You can create variations in the wording so that your answers don't feel impersonal and answers are available in different languages. For more information on using response templates, see here.
- FAQs as assets: While the content library is often thought of as a repository for visuals, it is also a great place to keep approved text as an asset and copy and paste the answers to frequently asked questions into your chats with customers.
- Facebook Messenger Bots: Here is our guide to integrating your bot to route conversations to your customer service team so you can save time without sacrificing the personalized service your customers expect.
Automatically assign messages to the best team or person
For larger teams and brands with a high volume of social requests, different messages often require the attention of specific team members.
You may already be manually assigning messages in the Hootsuite inbox. However, automating this assignment process will save time and improve your overall response rate, resulting in happier customers.
With the right keywords, you can set up various mappings, route sales inquiries to your business development team, bill customer service questions, and route troubleshooting questions to technical support.
Set up a Twitter search stream to keep an ear to the ground
Hootsuite's search streams are a simple and low-key way to keep up with what's happening every hour (in other words, listen socially) without engaging with the big data offered by Hootsuite Insights.
Set up a Twitter search stream on your dashboard so you're always up to date on keywords and hashtags relevant to your brand.
If you're a brick and mortar business or you're keeping an eye on the chatter about a personal event like a conference or concert, consider creating a search stream with geographic location enabled for your area.
Hootsuite hacks for reporting
Automatically tag your (outgoing) posts for better analysis
Ok, first a quick update on tagging: In Hootsuite, a tag is like an internal hashtag that can be attached to incoming messages and outgoing posts without being visible to your audience.
Tagging manually is definitely useful, but it can be time consuming and messages or posts may be overlooked.
With an existing tagging system, you have customized analytics when it comes to reporting.
For example, you can focus on specific campaigns or post types and compare them based on the metrics that are important to you. Are your influencers drawing so much engagement this quarter? How much attention did the new start draw? What about the summer competition? Has it helped your follower growth rate? At what time?
If you are a corporate user with a complex content calendar, you should implement the Hootsuite Impact auto-tagging feature and get more accurate and consistent reports.
Track the conversions of all posts using preset UTM parameters
To see how much traffic your individual posts are driving to your website, first connect your web analytics account to Hootsuite. (And here is a brief description of setting up Google Analytics in general.)
Second, set up your UTM parameters so that all of your social posts report on their success.
Hootsuite's custom link tracking parameters allow you to see which platforms, media types, and posts are moving the needle in your conversions. However, instead of setting them up every time you write a post, have the parameters preset for consistent reporting.
Pro tip: When properly executed, URLs with UTM parameters are very tedious: you want to use a link shortener like Owly or set up a vanity URL to mask them (see # 6).
Automatically tag your (incoming) messages to ensure better customer service
Unlike the previous tip, this one applies to incoming messages from your target audience and customers. Tagging private DMs, public conversations, and responses by type or content will give your reports a better idea of conversation volume and where your efforts might best be directed in the future.
Once you have an idea of what types of messages are taking up most of your team's energy, you can adjust resources accordingly. (Then you can go back to tip 12 and create easily accessible FAQ documents in the content library, reply templates, or messenger bots to help.)
Learn how to manually or automatically tag your incoming messages.
Track your response times and team performance
Team metrics can help you determine where and how your customer service team is doing. These reports measure metrics like volume, speed of resolution, and initial response time.
This can also be done by team (e.g. customer service, editing, sales) or individual (so you know who the actual employee of the month is). Here's a closer look at your social team's performance.
Pro tip: If your messaging reports don't have the numbers you want, consider hacks # 12, # 13, and # 14.
Are you ready to put these hacks into action and make your job easier today? Try Hootsuite free for 30 days.
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