Here’s the set of apps I’ve put together to Curate content via HootSuite. Its a good mix of sources I actively manage and sites that make discovery easier.
Why Use a Dashboard Like HootSuite?
Whether you manage social for yourself or your company, it can become daunting to keep track of profiles, passwords & posts. Being able to see everything in one place and cross-share content lets you keep an eye on everything, keep it fresh and keep informed.
Some Key Features
I’ve used HootSuite for a while and it’s been good to me. But there are other apps out there with strong followings. For me, the key features of HootSuite and similar applications are:
- Share content to multiple networks at once.
- Schedule posts for optimal sharing.
- Pull content from across sources.
- Add tagging to URLs for better tracking.
- Automatically shorten URLs
- Click tracking to see which shares got attention (only Twitter)
Using the dashboard lets me streamline sharing by cutting out some steps and automating others.
The Apps In My Curation Tab
HootSuite has a good selection of apps (over 100). Many are free, but there are also premium options. In general, I stick to a small set of free apps, so my tab doesn’t get too cluttered. I also look at my streams every few month and remove or swap ones that I’m not using much.
Below are the apps that I’m using right now.
I don’t remember how I learned about Scoop.it, but it’s become one of my favorite tools for content discovery and sharing. The site and apps help you discover new content based on google searches, social media accounts (including twitter lists), RSS feeds, SlideShare searches and more. It’s more manual than other services, but you also have much more control over output.
I use the Scoop.it Dashboard app in Hootsuite to see content from the papers I follow and the Scoop.it search app to find things when I feel like my sources are thin.
YouTube is always a good place to check for content to share. But it can also be a giant time suck. I have lost many an afternoon to Honest Trailers, Google Analytics and Mike Tyson Mysteries. The app lets me search and find relevant material without going down the rabbit hole.
The search app lets you search by keyword, location, time posted, category, username, and stream title. I usually search by either keyword or username.
Reddit is the web in a lot of ways: filled with brilliance but often overflowing with bullshit. The Reddit app lets you view the subreddits that you are subscribed to and the front page. You can’t search, so it comes down to you to makes sure that you’re subscribed to good content sources.
The app is a lot like browsing the site. You scroll down and click on things to follow the link. I’ll usually click the link and check the page before sharing, but you can share to your other social networks directly from the app.
I’m still not sure how I feel about StumbleUpon not sending you to sites. That said, it’s still a great place to find content and kill some time. I’ve used it for years and it’s one of the ways I break away from marketing/tech content, and get reacquainted with the larger web.
In HootSuite, this app is sort of unique because it doesn’t require you to login in order to browse. This is nice because you can just browse around, but it also means you can’t pull links from your lists. Just like the site, you are seeing a stream and don’t have much control over what’s coming up. You can search by interest, category, site or channels. I mostly use interest and category.
Don’t ask me why Tumblr isn’t built into HootSuite. I’m sure there is a good reason, but hell if I can figure it out. I’ve been expecting an announcement since the the Yahoo acquisition, but nothing so far.
Now that I’ve vented let me talk about the app. It gives you the feed from your tumblr blog, lets you share to other networks, post to your blog and reblog/like. I still prefer to work in Tumblr when I’m writing, but being able to author from HootSuite is soooo convenient for quick posts.
How I Curate with These HootSuite Apps
- I have a Curator tab that I put all these in. I used to have one long super-tab for everything, but that was hard to work with and I ended up neglecting some streams.
- I check the streams when I want something or am looking to build a queue. That isn’t everyday, but it’s at least 2x per week for each stream.
- I don’t try to share from every source every time. I just take what looks good to me.
- Sometimes I get focused on a particular topic and will go across all streams. This can lead to fun content packages.
Some Things to Note About Using HootSuite
- There is built-in support for Google+ pages, but not for profiles.
- HootSuite doesn’t display media the same way it’s done in the social networks. Videos, photos and slideshares will be represented by a link instead of the graphic. You’ll get better clickthrough and sharing if people can see the media, so don’t use HootSuite when sharing something important.
- AutoSchedule is a great feature, but use it sparingly. I’m not sure how HootSuite calculates things, but you might have a better idea of when you want to share. I usually start with autoschedule and then adjust on the fly.
- You can target your Twitter shares to specific countries. I haven’t used this much, but it’s worth looking at.
- Basic click reports and summary reports from HootSuite are included in their business plan, but other reports cost credits and can get expensive.
Getting Your Own Curation Tab Setup
- Take stock of your social accounts and site subscriptions outside of HootSuite.
- Identify the ones you use the most.
- Create a Curator tab.
- Go to the HootSuite App Directory
- Search the Hootsuite App Directory for the names of the social accounts and sites you use.
- Select the ones you find.
- Connect each app to the network/site/service
- Whenever you add an app, you’ll get prompted to add it to a new tab or an existing one. Choose to add to an existing one
- Arrange the apps based on usage expectations. For example, I put scoop.it first because I look at it the most.
- Test sharing from each stream to see what the output looks like. You want to make sure you’re getting the right URL/message out there.
A Good Platform is A Good Start
A lot of social is time-consuming and manual. This is the nature of the beast, especially if you’re trying to be responsive and engaged. But there are a lot of tasks that don’t require brain work or special skills — just time. Platforms like HootSuite are good for removing grunt work and giving you workflows. Take advantage of them, so you can focus on strategy and optimizing campaigns.