The Basics of Using HootSuite

by melissa on October 11, 2010 · 44 comments

Momcomm Monday is my weekly series to help you become a better writer, blogger and social media geek. If you missed last week’s post, catch up on Guest Post: Driving a Spike in the Railroad of Blogging.

Every time it comes around to talking about social media on Momcomm Monday, I can’t help but talk about Twitter. It’s my favorite tool for connecting with my readers, learning new stuff, interacting with fellow bloggers and more.

I get a lot of comments from people saying that they just don’t get Twitter. And I get that because I didn’t have a clue when I started Twitter either. I think part of the issue is how to make sense Twitter (it’s a cocktail party, without the heels) and wondering what to tweet about.

In addition to that, it’s the Twitter interface that scares people away… and for good reason. I can hardly stand to use Twitter from, EVEN with the new Twitter. It just isn’t easy to follow Twitter on Twitter. Crazy right?

So how do I keep up?


HootSuite is an amazing platform to keep up with Twitter (and Facebook and LinkedIn and… oh wait, let’s no go there. Let’s just talk Twitter). It makes having conversations on Twitter a cinch.

So, in order to fully show off HootSuite, I thought I’d do a little video for you! You get to hear my slightly Southern drawl tell you the ins and outs of the basics of HootSuite. I won’t admit how many times I re-did this video but I blame at least five re-takes on my dog (slurping water in the background, barking in the middle of the video, THEN WAKING THE BABY- UGH!, coming over to me and panting, pawing at the door to go out, etc.).

First things first. If you haven’t downloaded HootSuite, then head over to their website and sign up. HootSuite is a web-based application BUT you can also use it as a desktop application too. Just click on the owl and go to “apps and plug-ins” then pick one that says “desktop.”

This video will cover:

  • Using columns
  • How to tweet
  • Following conversations
  • Basic Analytics

So without further adieu, here we go! (this is my first video ever so be nice. really nice)

As if the video isn’t enough, I actually forgot to show you something! When you compose a message and want to mention someone, HootSuite will automatically fill in their name if you’ve used it once before in HootSuite. For example, if you’ve mentioned me before using HootSuite, the next time you can just type @ad and it will bring up any Twitterer you follow whose name starts with @ad. Just select @adventuroo and type your message!

I’m SURELY going to have to do more HootSuite videos so we can dig in even deeper (if you’re interested). In the meantime, do you use HootSuite or a similar application (TweetDeck, Seesmic)? Do you think it would change how you use Twitter?

Wanna talk about a Momcomm post on Twitter? Ask a question? Retweet something useful to other bloggers? Then help me get the new #momcomm hashtag off the ground! See you over on Twitter!

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1 Eve @ BeautifulSpitUp October 11, 2010 at 8:51 am

Great post and nice video! I love HootSuite and I rarely use either. I even use HootSuite on my iPhone!
Eve @ BeautifulSpitUp recently posted..The Day I Took a Shower

2 Roy Scribner October 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

Hootsuite is my tool-of-choice, too, Mel. I still have to check-in to several times a day, though, in order to follow-back new followers.
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3 melissa October 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Same here. Do you have the new Twitter yet? Makes that a whole lot easier!

4 Roy Scribner October 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I do, but I use the old version :) The new Twitter does not show the date/time of the person’s last tweet, in the follower list. I use that to weed-out DM spammers (someone is following me and they have not tweeted in 2 months?). With the new Twitter, you have to click on their ID to see their last tweet in the sidebar – an extra step.
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5 Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation October 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm

There is NO WAY I could follow anything on Twitter without using my TweetDeck! I love it. But you have peaked my interest about HootSuite. I didn’t know you could also have FB on there! Also, how do manage new followers- I have SO MANY emails from Twitter and it takes me forever to click on each one and see if I want to follow that person back. Any tips?
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6 melissa October 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I love using it with Facebook, but I try not to tweet @ and # because it’s confusing as hell to people who don’t speak Twitterese.

I wish I had an answer but you but I go to Twitter for that too! Do you have the NEW Twitter yet? Because I found it’s a lot easier to lot at bios and follow people on there than the old Twitter. If I find a better way, I’ll definitely let you know!

7 Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation October 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I just got the new Twitter last week and hadn’t really checked it out yet. Thank you so much for your tip. It is much easier now! I just clicked on followers and read the bios!! I am going to delete my 600+ emails! YIKES!! Thanks Mama!
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8 Debi October 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Recently started using HootSuite, too. Combined with the new twitter, it’s definitely much more user friendly than the “old” days. I enjoyed your video, BTW! :)
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9 Andree October 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Ah ha! Thanks Melissa for this post — I recently signed up for HS, and this information you’ve provided is exactly what I need to get a step up and into getting the darn thing to work! (Actually it’s me that needs to know how to work the control panel!).

Happy Monday! I am loving your Momcomm posts!

10 melissa October 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Awesome! Once you get used to looking at Twitter in columns, it’s tough to do anything but!

11 Natalie October 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Tis true…Twitter via does suck and is pretty much useless. The only time I get on there is to see if I have new followers.

I use TweetDeck, and it looks very similar.

I am a HUGE Twitter fanatic! Words to all – if you aren’t tweeting, you are missing out on a wonderful chance to network and drive more traffic to your blog. Some days, I’d rather tweet than blog :)
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12 melissa October 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Me too. Guess that’s why it’s technically called a “micro-blogging” platform!

13 Sherri October 11, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I’m still relatively new to Twitter, and using Tweetdeck…but now I may have to try Hootsuite! It can certainly get addictive…

Thanks for all of your awesome advice and help! You make me feel like I’m not a techno-dork for not “getting” some of this stuff.
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14 melissa October 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I switched back and forth from TD to HS a number of times. Once I found out HootSuite had a desktop option, I switched again and never looked back.

15 Sheridan October 11, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I have used Hootsuite for about 2 months now and am loving it! :)

I also use Socialoopmh to follow back new followers and automatically send a welcome tweet to followers.

Thanks for your video!
Sheridan recently posted..Too many toys! What is a mom to do

16 Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig October 12, 2010 at 9:43 am

I am SO outnumbered here, but I only ever use Twitter from (::ducks and covers::) I’ve tried different Twitter interfaces before, and I don’t know what it is – I just can’t get used to anything but the web-based experience. I *may* follow your lead over to HootSuite, if only because I respect your opinion. ;) Thanks for sharing today!
Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig recently posted..Saturday is the New Monday

17 gigi October 12, 2010 at 10:30 am

Awesome, Mel!!!! Love it!! Going to RT it for B2S/B2B!
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18 mommakiss October 12, 2010 at 10:42 am

LOVE hoot suite. not to mention, it’s the only site that lets me on twitter at work. shhhh.

19 melissa October 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Your secret is safe with me!

20 angie October 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I haven’t used Hootsuite, but I think I’m going to convert. Sounds great!

21 Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop. October 12, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Hmmm. You almost have me ready to give it a shot!

Thanks for all the useful info. And for visiting!!

22 Tracie October 13, 2010 at 1:14 am

I absolutely love HootSuite. It was what made Twitter make sense to me when I started tweeting.
Tracie recently posted..Happiness is Flowers Picked by a Child

23 melissa October 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Same here. (even the new Twitter) is NO match for Hootsuite!

24 Chanel October 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I haven’t tried hootsuite yet but I’m on my way to download it now to check it out. Currently I use Tweet Deck and it has changed the way I use twitter. It is so much easier to manage multiple accounts and get instant updates.
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25 melissa October 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Totally! You may find TweetDeck and HootSuite similar. I think that in HS I can see how many people clicked on my links where as I have to go to when I used TD. There are probably a couple of other advantages but I think TD is a good choice too!

26 Jamee @ A New Kind of Normal October 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Yet another awesome momcomm post!

thanks for stopping by my blog on Monday & helping make my SITS day awesome!
Jamee @ A New Kind of Normal recently posted..Wednesday Weigh-in- Shrinkvivor Week 5

27 bdogmama October 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Thank you!

There are many things about twitter that are at least *kinda* *sorta* intuitive — or easy enough to accidentally figure out if you poke around enough.

When you really get going, (read: start tweeting so much you’re doing it in inappropriate places, at inappropriate times, and getting made fun of) clearly you need to manage your twaddiction.

But, you can’t actually *ask* how to manage twitter because that would be so uncool. Lucky for me I found your blog post so I don’t have to. Awesome post!

28 kirstie October 16, 2010 at 7:42 am

i love HS but i’m using TweetCaster on my phone. anyone have any tips on cleaning up my followers & who i’m following? i used to auto-follow but i’m really not diggin it anymore. i’m looking for some more personal, interactive use on twitter so it’s time to get rid of some dead weight! is there an EASY way to do this??
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29 Audra October 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am setting up Hootsuite right now! I was so overwhelmed with basic twitter that I stopped using it and opened up a new account and have seriously limited how many people I follow. Now I can use twitter like I WANT to be able to and not be so overwhelmed!

30 Merry120 October 30, 2010 at 11:36 pm

I love Hootsuite. It is definitely easier to use than the Twitter site.

31 Martin Pepper November 5, 2010 at 1:01 am

Thanks for the info. I just set up HootSuite as a test at work this morning and spent the evening figuring out how to start using it.

I have to admit that I’ve been tongue tied on Twitter, but HootSuite let me schedule a facebook status update in advance and that’s pretty cool.

I also got 2 boys growing into little hikers, so finding this was a double win. Thanks again.
Martin Pepper recently posted..Today is National Common Sense Day- a day celebrating common sense in business and in life — on Will Rogers’s birthday Rogers said- “Common sense ain’t all that common” On this day- don’t ignore your common sense- rather use it Consider doing at least one thing your common sense tells you to do Whats on your agenda

32 fdgtgrl November 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Thank you for directing me here from SITS …
That’s defenitely great info … Very useful !!!


33 Carol February 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Thank you for your video! I use tweetdeck a little bit but have heard about hootsuite and was trying to decide if I should invest my time into it. You made up my mind. From the looks of your video hootsuite has much more to offer. Thanks!

34 melissa February 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Great! Hope you end up liking HootSuite… I especially love it because I can post to my Facebook fan page so easily. Good stuff!

35 Vaneita Adams March 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Kool. I just started using Hootsuite, trying to understand it, and so, far, I like it. Heard about it from Jackie Kiadii @learntech

36 JD Sullivan November 8, 2011 at 9:48 am

Great post Mel. I have just started using Hootsuite. You showed how to follow people from the streams by clicking on their @. Do you know if there is a way to search/add people you want to follow directly via Hootsuite, instead of via the streams? So far, the only way I’ve been able to do this is via the site, and I rather be able to make Hootsuite my one-stop social media management page.

37 Megan May 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Hey Melissa! I loved the post and used it on my how to use hoot suite toolset on you should check it out! Love what your doing and your big and little boys are so cute!

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