HOOTSUITE – Because We All Have To Sleep Sometime

At the paint store, Justin and I wear a lot of hats.  There’s stock to be ordered, products to be tested, marketing to be planned, and budgets to be set.  Then of course there are bills to be paid, shelves to be stocked, and the endless filing (ugh).

One of my favourite ways to spend the day is connecting with our customers, both in the store and through social media.  There are so many interesting, creative and talented people that walk through our doors and visit us online, it’s humbling to be a part of their lives and homes.

But I’ll tell you a secret. I go to be EARLY, so if you see us posting on Facebook (or Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter) past 9:00 pm,  chances are I’m probably sleeping and the content has been scheduled.  The days can get pretty hectic so I usually spend the morning planning that day’s relevant posts so that there’s always fresh content on a regular basis.

For a long time, I would post to each platform individually.  As our social media presence expanded this got a little tricky because the only one I could schedule effectively was Facebook.  Everything else had to be done on the fly which meant that sometimes there would be long breaks followed by a flurry of activity.  I needed to find a better way.

I started a free trial of Hootsuite about a month ago and as it comes to an end I have to decide whether to stay on (and pay a monthly fee) or go back to doing things the old way (for free).

Let’s start with the things I love.  I can see all of my social media streams on one page, customize the information that’s important to me, and get basic analytics quickly.  No more flipping from one app to the other on the phone to see relevant posts from people I follow or see which of our posts are the most popular.

My favourite feature of Hootsuite is the scheduling feature.  You can either schedule your posts manually OR  use the auto-schedule feature.  This is AWESOME!!  You can set how many times per day you would like Hootsuite post your content (to prevent our social media friends from feeling bombarded with our posts we set this to 4) and it will automatically put out your content at a time when most people are likely to see it – even if that’s at 11:00 pm and I’m sleeping (but you’re not).  This is great for Facebook and Twitter but a little funky for Instagram (I’ll get to that later).

As you know, different platforms, especially Twitter, have a maximum character count.  Hootsuite to the rescue!  There’s a nifty character counter that will let you know when you’re about to go over.

We love sharing ideas from our favourite websites and tutorials but the links can sometimes be SUPER long and take up most of our precious character space (especially on Twitter).  Hootsuite will abbreviate your link to something more manageable that only takes up a few characters like this:

And speaking of sharing links, ever browse the net and come across content your readers would love?  The Hootsuite icon on your browser’s toolbar makes it super easy to share!  A box pops up where you can auto-schedule to your chosen platform with a shortened link and a photo.  Super easy!

There are lot of features about Hootsuite that I love but all is not butterflies and rainbows.  For example, with changes that Facebook has made to its algorithm over the years, not all of our friends are able to see all of our posts.  There are also posts that we would like to highlight.  For that, I still have to manually visit either our Facebook page or the app and “boost” the post.  The same goes for adding a location to our posts.

Also, remember how I said that Instagram is a little “funky”?  Since it doesn’t sync like the other platforms, I had to install Hootsuite on my phone and link it with my Instagram account.  When an Instagram post is scheduled, a prompt pops up on my phone.  Then I have to cut, paste, and post from Instagram.  This is not automated and I actually have to be at my phone (or awake).  The process goes a bit like this:

I’m sure that there are TONS of features of Hootsuite that I haven’t explored in the short amount of time I had to play around with it.  For the time being, I’m going to stay on and pay the monthly fee.  The pro’s definitely outnumber the con’s.

How do you manage your social media?  I would love to hear what programs everyone else is using and how they measure up.

In the meantime, it’s WAY past my bedtime so I’m off to bed but feel free to visit us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter – there’s always something new!


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