Social Media Platforms – Hootsuite

Hootsuite - Social Media Relationship Platform

Social Media

It is envisaged that by 2020 nearly 85% of all sales will occur through social media and online platforms. This is a big change from the traditional model of business, one that focused on establishing a physical presence usually with a shop and promoting products locally. There are of course advantages to both but the biggest draw for most businesses with online promotion is the increased trade that can be achieved from a larger audience. The next question then is how does that affect equine businesses?

Advantages of Social Media

There is no doubt that the recession affected many businesses especially here in Ireland. However social media has the opportunity to bypass some of these financial effects by reaching out to a broader global market.

As a marketing strategy as well there are a number of advantages.

  • It’s often cheaper than printed flyers or ads run in the local papers
  • It can easily be targeted to loyal customers
  • It works with our normal everyday technology, such as mobile phones
  • It can reach a bigger audience through likes, shares or retweets, that we cannot access directly.

The largest social media network for businesses is Facebook in Europe and Twitter in the US. I wrote about using Twitter here in a previous post, so in this article I want to focus on the time and effort that businesses face when taking on a marketing strategy that involves social media, and how this can be made easier through using social media platforms.

Social Media Platforms

This is probably indicative of how much social media is in our lives, that we now need to have special platforms (or software) just to manage all our social media accounts. However in business this is becoming a necessity and I can give you an example of this by walking you through my own social media accounts for this blog site “EquineBlogIreland”.

Hootsuite

I’m going to use the social media platform Hootsuite as my example because this is the one that I use. There are two versions a free and a paid pro version. The pro version as you can expect has more options, including be able to add more than the three accounts available in the free version.

For this blog site I have three main social media accounts, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I also use the social media for research on the latest trends and discussions for different topics related to the equine industries. Most of this information is collected through different Facebook pages and groups. For the purpose of this article I will separate out these two activities and explain the differences, starting with the actual social media accounts.

Setting up your dashboard in Hootsuite

Dashboard of Hootsuite
Dashboard of Hootsuite for Equine Blog Ireland

The picture above shows a screenshot of the three equineblogireland accounts as they appear on the Hootsuite dashboard. As you can see they are conveniently placed side by side, which means that I can quickly glance across all three sites and see what is happening.

In the free version this is all you can add, which is still adequate especially when starting out. I also manage another blog site and use social media for research so in total I use more than 3 accounts and use the pro version (which they offer on a 30 day free trial).

Sending a Message through Hootsuite

To send a message it’s easy and straightforward. Simply select the account where the post is going, in the example on the right this is to Twitter. Type the message.

Dashboard Hootsuite
Sending a tweet through Hootsuite

 

Other Options

The advantage of a social media platform is not just in being able to send a single message. It is also about the ease of being able to manage all your social media interactions, so here are some other things that a platform like Hootsuite can enable you to do easily and quickly.

Links to Webpages

As well as sending a message you can also link the tweet or message to a blog or web page.  Simply insert the url into the box at the bottom of the message and click on the shorten url tool. This creates a version of your link to fit the social media site.

Add an image to your posts or tweets

You can add an image to any post or tweet, which is how I started using Hootsuite in the first place,

Hootsuite dashboard attach image
Attach an image

because I was fed up with the difficulties I kept encountering when trying to add images.The process is similar to adding the url, except there is another tab alongside which is shaped like a paperclip. Simply click and drag or select an image from your computer to add.

Sending from Multiple accounts

The same process applies for messages being sent to Facebook, as it does for Twitter. You can also choose whether to send it from your own Facebook account or a page that you manage. And you can quickly send one promotion or link to Twitter and a different post to Facebook so that the same followers don’t keep receiving the same message.

Using Social Media to Follow Trends

As a business your use of social media is not just to promote your own business, although this is a common mistake many businesses make at the moment. Social media is an opportunity to engages with and build up your potential database of future customers. Establishing trust is one of the main purposes of social media, so that when you do recommend a product or advertise an event people will listen to you.

Establishing trust

One of the easiest ways in which to establish trust is to follow leading experts in the area and engage with them. Unfortunately Facebook have changed their rules (again!) and only allow group administrators to use social media platforms, however LinkedIn does permit it. So I can collect all the LinkedIn groups related to horses that I’m a member of, and set them out side by side the same as the accounts.

Then I can choose articles that seem relevant and as I read add a comment or connect with the writer. If this sounds like too much work then follow a site such as Equineblogireland or other industry blog sites that will be doing some of this work for you.

Even on Twitter take time to retweet an article or picture, it shows your followers that you are interested in them and this will help to build up a relationship.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 19.10.40
It’s not just Hootsuite that will be sending you this message, so will your followers and potential customers!!

 

Hootsuite Product

I have mentioned Hootsuite throughout this post because they are the platform that I currently use. You can check out the site by clicking the advert, or click on the Owl at the top of the page. There is a free option that lets you manage three accounts (each page is a separate account on Facebook) and you also have the option to try out their pro version for a free 30 day trial.
Hootsuite - Social Relationship Platform

 

So far I have found the site to be very useful and I’m not using all the options available, such as multi site users. Either way you have nothing to lose in trying it out and when time is important, this certainly saves you time and hassle.

Would love to hear any comments from people who have tried it or other social media platforms and what worked best for you.

Let me know how you get on or if you are using any other social media platforms, readers would love to hear your reviews.

8 Comments

  • Jack

    September 25, 2015 at 6:37 pm Reply

    Hello there

    Great article I was just browsing when I came across your article thank you for sharing this information with us, you clearly know your stuff,

    As an online business owner who dose not have face book or a large following on any social media accounts how do you propose is the best way to get followers?

    Again thank you for sharing I know many people will benefit from knowing this now.

    -Jack

    • Marie

      September 25, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Hi Jack thanks for your question

      I think one of the best ways to get followers on any social media site is to start engaging regularly. This can be just a like or share or retweet something. Just having a continued presence (10 minutes a day) will enable people to start connecting and seeing you as part of their crowd.

      You can also add in your own content if you have any from a website or blog, but sharing other people’s work is a key part of getting accepted especially in the beginning. Images and photos are another great way to share because they often cut across many cultural boundaries so you have greater reach. I actually have an article planned on this topic – starting out on social media, so keep a look out for that one soon.

      Hope that helped and once again thanks.

  • Hartmut Obst

    September 25, 2015 at 6:49 pm Reply

    Hi Marie,

    at first I want to say THANK YOU for this awesome article. To be honest I am searching for a tool to ease my Social-Media-Management and stumbled up on the name Hootsuite several times – never sure if it would be the right tool.

    Your overview shows me, that it definitely can be the right tool for my needs.

    I have two questions if you don´t mind:
    1. What does the Pro version cost after the 30 Days? You just mentioned, that it is free to try for this period – and afterwards?
    2. Can I send one message with one click to several accounts? For example if I create a tweet and want to send a copy simultaneously to lets say pinterest, facebook and google+?

    Thanks for an answer in advance. I have marked your site as favorite. My wife regularly goes horse-riding and I am sure she will love your site.

    Keep the good work – looking forward to your answer.

    Bye
    Hartmut

    • Marie

      September 25, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Hartmut thanks for your interest. To answer your questions – the pro version of Hootsuite is roughly €13.50 per month, some of the features are aimed at larger businesses where you have 2 or 3 people updating social media sites and it allows you to link these together. As a I mentioned in the article the main advantage to me is it allows multiple accounts (the free version allows up to 3 accounts).

      The second question – it’s not quite one click, each account needs a separate message, and actually because each social media account is different you probably want to write differently for each anyway. Facebook, Google +, instagram and Twitter are all covered (at the moment Pinterest isn’t). Facebook and Google + will generate their own post just from your url.

      Thanks again for the questions, anything else just let me know, and say hi to your wife she’s welcome to drop by anytime.

  • Maarten

    October 8, 2015 at 12:58 am Reply

    Hi there,

    I’m using hootsuite myself to schedule my twitter posts. I’m quite happy about the platform as I can schedule all my posts for the following week in about an hour. (I’m not a big fan of Twitter to br honest, but it helps getting traffic to my site). What are the best times to achedule your posts you think? Do you use a certain strategy? Cheers!

    • Marie

      October 8, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Hi Maarten, thanks for your comment and in answer to your question I think some people are making quite a science out of trying to determine the best time to post.

      I think it ultimately depends on the countries you are targeting, a bit like some advice is not to post on a Sunday if targeting businesses, whereas individuals have more time for Twitter at weekends. To be honest I don’t have my own strategy at the moment instead I often just use the auto schedular on Hootsuite, as it has a system for deciding when to post and I go with that.

  • Ilias

    August 6, 2017 at 7:57 am Reply

    Hi Marie,

    I am looking for ways to automate my social media engagement or at least to make it less time-consuming.

    Until now, I am doing everything manual and I was considering to hire a virtual assistant.

    However, using some tools could be cheaper.

    Do you use other tools too?

    • Marie

      March 18, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      I have been a bit remiss with the social media side of things lately, as email is fully automated and has been useful whenever I’m away from my desk, which has been a lot lately with other projects. However I will keep you informed of any new discoveries I make.

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