Welcome to my series “How to NOT Suck at Blogging.”  I decided to start this after numerous requests for written tutorials from bloggers I have helped.  The title is meant to be a joke, but if you suck at blogging (like I did when I first started) I hope you are able to find some useful and helpful information in the series. If not, well, don’t say I never did nothing nice for ya!

 

Hootsuite is one of my favorite blogging tools.  I signed up for it ages ago and didn’t immediately recognize its brilliance in my life until much later.  But really, don’t we all want a simplified way to share our posts, images, memes and info across all our social media at once?

Hootsuite Basics for Bloggers

My blog auto posts to Facebook and Twitter, but I never did find a great way to autopost to Google Plus, enter Hootsuite!  I mostly use it to get my stuff onto my Google Plus fan page, but it saves me a number of logins and steps along the way.

Of course, start by setting up an account.

Once you are in your account, your sidebar to the left should look like this:

sidebar

Your profile is where all your social media accounts are located.  The stream option will allow you to view all of your linked social media feeds in the same place.  You can choose to use this, rather than continue to log into each one individually.   (I personally tend to still log into them individually.) And the Publisher options will show you what you have scheduled to post, when and where.  It will also show you previously published things.

To add your social media sites, click on your profile option.  From there, you should have a screen that looks like this:

addnewsocialmediaOnce you have opted to add a new social media site you should get a pop-up window that allows you to connect your various profiles.  Keep in mind that free Hootsuite limits the number of profiles you can link.

addnetwork

Now, that you have your sites all linked up, it’s time to start scheduling things.  There should be a “compose” option at the top of your screen.

screenshot 5

If you put your cursor in the “compose message” area, the box will expand.

screenshot 6

From there, you can add an image by clicking on the paper clip, or a link by copying and pasting a URL in the “add link” box.  If you add a link, remember to utilize the shrink option (which will appear next to your link box once a link has been entered) if you are going to post to Twitter, or really, anytime.  I like the smaller links and Hootesuite will prompt to you shrink it if you forget and try to publish it. (It really is optional, but is a good idea if you are scheduling across multiple platforms)

shrunkurlNext you will want to select which social media profiles it should post to.  That will be the box directly to the right of the compose box.  The nice thing is that you can opt to “pin” your favorite social media sites to the box.  That means that they are automatically present in the box as places to post when you compose a message.

pinningsites Do not confuse the pin with the star, which will mark it as a favorite site, which is different.

If you don’t want to post to a site that is pinned, you simply click on the icon and it will remove that site from the specific post.  And if you prefer to not have certain sites pinned, that’s ok too.  You simply click the arrow to show the drop down menu of your sites and select them individually by clicking on them.

 

Once you have picked the sites, composed your message, added the link, plus or minus an image, you are ready to post.  This is done by clicking on the calendar icon at the bottom of the compose area next to the paperclip.

screenshot 7

You can elect to allow Hootsuite to “auto-schedule” for you.  This means that Hootsuite will schedule the posts for you on each of your social media sites based on the best time for each individual site.  I personally only find this feature to work a little bit.  I often end up with posts on the same social media sites scheduled too closely together if I am scheduling more than one thing for that site (which I almost always am).  I personally prefer to select my day and time myself.  Since I use this primarily for blog posts, it works very well since I have a good formula for when to post stuff.

Regardless of which option you pick, click “schedule” and you’re done.  The posts will post to all the social media options you selected at the scheduled time and you don’t have to think about it.

However, if you think you scheduled stuff to closely together, you can go back to your sidebar on the left and click on the Publisher, the paper airplane icon, to see when things are scheduled and how many sites they are scheduled on.  You can also easily edit your posts or scheduled times from that same screen/option.

I love using Hootsuite.  It has really simplified my blog post sharing and helped me make sure I don’t ignore any of my platforms.  I hope you all find that you love it too!