Maintaining a robust online presence isn’t just important for big brands. In fact, 92% of consumers’ report reviewing social media profiles and online reviews before hiring a small business.
But, if you’re like most small businesses and entrepreneurs, your social media accounts typically take the form of an ad hoc flurry of posts, followed by weeks or even months of silence, until guilt motivates you to fire off another flurry of posts. But you never really seem to gain traction or an audience, and even when you do, you don’t effectively leverage it to grow your business.
The problem is that unlike most other aspects of running a small business, we don’t typically develop systems for managing our social media accounts. Enter HootSuite.
If you haven’t used HootSuite before, it’s a platform through which you can post and update all of your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, SnapChat, etc.) from a single login. Plus, if you know a few tricks and techniques, HootSuite can actually do quite a bit more to semi-automate, organize, and streamline your social media accounts.
In this article we’ll cover a few lesser known tips and tricks to using HootSuite more effectively in a small business such as one providing transcription services.
Taking time away from your business and family to write and publish a well-crafted and edited article on your blog is hard enough, but then having to follow that up with logging into HootSuite to promote the article on social media is the sort of extra step that often gets forgotten.
Thankfully, if you log into your free Hootsuite account, then go to Settings > RSS, you can set up your HootSuite account to automatically share your blog posts across your social media networks. Note: If you need to publish more than two RSS feeds, you’ll need to upgrade to HootSuite Pro ($9.99/mo) but for most small businesses, two RSS feed is plenty.
One of the best features of HootSuite’s RSS Auto-Publishing feature is that you can add up to 100 characters of text before the blog post. So, you can add something like “New from our Blog:” to automatically appear before each post.
Monitor Mentions Automatically in Real-Time
For most small business owners, maintaining an active social media presence is a necessity rather than a passion. And that necessity is in large part driven by the need to create and maintain a robust and positive business reputation. If that’s the goal, then monitoring mentions of your company on social media is essential.
But rather than go to each platform and conduct multiple searches for your company name each day, you can simply set up automatic streams (Add Stream > Mentions > Keywords) in HootSuite that will constantly monitor the social media platform for any mentions of your company (and you can select up to three keyword phrases), and then you elect to receive an email whenever you or those keyword phrases are mentioned.
That way, you can respond to customers in near real-time. Whether that be a disgruntled customer who turns to social media to vent, or a customer taking a minute to say thanks publicly, being aware of the conversation and able to participate at that moment is an important reputation management strategy.
I’d ideally like to point you exclusively to free tips and tricks, but this one is so useful that I need to include it, even though you’ll need to upgrade to HootSuite Pro ($9.99/mo) first.
If you really don’t enjoy the back and forth of social media, but want to maintain an active presence for the benefit of your clientele with the least amount of work possible, using the Mass Publishing feature is about as good as it gets. With Mass Publishing, you’re essentially able to fill in a spreadsheet once a month with all of your social media posts, when and where you want them published, and submit it. Then HootSuite will automatically publish the posts throughout the month, providing you with the public appearance of an actively maintained account. Because it’s a lot easier for most small business owners to section off a couple of hours once a month (hint: doing this on an airline flight is particularly useful because you don’t need the internet), using Mass Publishing is a good way to ensure that your profiles stay active.
As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we look to systematize ancillary businesses duties whenever possible in order to be able to devote the time and energy needed to deliver the service our customer’s expect while still having some semblance of a personal life. By taking the time to incorporate some of the techniques described in this article and thereby more expertly using HootSuite, you can semi-automate what is for a lot of small business owners a necessary burden, maintaining an active social media presence.
About the Author
Brad Martin is the CMO of Soar Payments, a Houston based merchant account provider.