Do you cringe when someone mentions Twitter, saying you don’t have time to figure out another site that will eat up your day? I hope this article will change that mind-set.
When writing How I Use Twitter to Promote My Content for the AC Twitter Challenge, I realized that the information I had to share would have resulted in a lengthy article. I culled some of that information to share here, focusing on how to use HootSuite with Twitter to save time, not take more out of your day. Some of the terminology I use will be more familiar to AC Contributors, but the information itself will be useful to anyone that uses Twitter.
Twitter is a great concept, but is very difficult to follow in its basic form due to the fast pace and everything being in one long column. There are several other applications available to help organize your tweeting, but I like HootSuite.
HootSuite allows you to set up groups, making it easier to organize your various interests. If you’re a writer on AC, you might make a group for just fellow writers. Each group can accommodate 50 names, so I need two groups for Associated Content friends that I follow on Twitter. You could make a group for family or writers or your biker buddies – basically any group of people that you follow that you want to see at a quick glance.
Once you’ve created groups, set up columns on HootSuite with the information you’re most interested in first. I have columns set up as AC, Mentions, AC2, Home Feed, Sent Tweets, Direct Message-In and Direct Message-Out. Of course you may organize your columns however works best for you, but the column size allows me to see three on my screen without scrolling to the right, so I want to make sure I see the two Associated Content columns so I can re-tweet for my fellow writers, and I want Mentions easily visible so I know when someone is ‘talking’ to me or retweeting my tweets.
I have HootSuite set up via the AC RSS feed to post on Twitter automatically whenever I’m published. Get the URL of the feed from AC, then click on Settings, and then RSS/Atom on HootSuite to program your automatic tweets, which is helpful for bloggers as well. Since Associated Content has a feature to create an RSS feed for up to five writers, I have a feed set up for that on HootSuite also. Five lucky writers are getting their articles on Twitter without my lifting another finger, although I do change my favorite contributors occasionally to rotate which friends will get the automatic exposure.
Don’t rely on just getting your new articles noticed – show some page view love to your older content too. It takes only seconds to go to your profile page on AC, right click and copy the title of the article and paste it into the box on HootSuite. If you don’t want to promote with a large number of tweets in a row (which some people don’t like), use HootSuite’s scheduling feature to tweet your posts at specified times – even when you’re asleep. This is a valuable tool in getting your pieces in front of people in different time zones, or who may not be logged in to Twitter at the same time you are. Vary the times of day that you post so as to catch a different audience.
When tweeting manually, put your URL into the box next to the words Shrink It. By doing so, you’ll save a number of the 140 character limit, and also be able to track how many clicks your links receive. To keep tabs on your statistics, look at the bottom of the screen on HootSuite and click on Stats, then Individual Tweet. From there you can click on the posted URLs individually.
Another feature I like about HootSuite is the ability to retweet at a single click. No more having to type out RT @WhoeverYou’reFollowing, and hope that you’ve spelled their name correctly. Hover your mouse near the top/right of the person’s tweet and see the options to RT, Reply, Favorite, etc. Twitter itself only has the Reply option.
A future article will cover hash tags and how to gain more followers who will actually read your content. If you found this article helpful, feel free to snatch the URL and go tweet it!
Marie Anne can be found on Twitter as @Ldyjarhead.