Your social data in HootSuite is organized in tabs and streams. Hootsuite tabs are similar to browser tabs and contain up to 10 streams (columns that contain all the content you’re interested in seeing from your social networks; see below).
So, the first step is opening a new tab. Simply click on the + sign near the home sign in the HootSuite interface. If this is the first time you’re using HootSuite, you will also see the “create your first tab” button in the middle of the page.
Adding social networks
Now you can start populating your tabs by adding social networks. Think of social networks as the profiles that you have. For example, if you have a Facebook account with a personal profile + a fan page, they would be considered two social networks. If you have two twitter accounts, they will be considered two social networks. The free version of HootSuite only allows you to manage five social networks, so if you have a personal profile + a fan page on Facebook + 2 twitter accounts + a Google+ page and a LinkedIn profile, you are looking at six networks – if you want to manage all of them using HootSuite you will have to use a Pro account. If that is the case, I advise you to click on this link to get 30 days free trial of HootSuite Pro, so you can explore the full benefits of the software and decide whether or not you want to stay with the paid version longer.
To add a social network, simply click on the “add social network button” in your dashboard. A dialogue box will open up, offering you a choice between seven different social network platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, foursquare, mixi, and WordPress (note that this is WordPress.com and not WordPress.org. I will later explain how to integrate HootSuite with WordPress.org).
Whenever you click on one of these social networks, HootSuite will ask you to connect with the network. Input your username and password so HootSuite can pull the relevant content from the social network and display it for you on the dashboard.
When you choose to add a Twitter profile, note that underneath the button saying “connect with twitter” there is a checkbox that offers you to “follow HootSuite on Twitter for updates and announcements”. If you leave it checked, in most cases HootSuite will follow you back.
When you’re done adding social networks, it’s time to add streams. Streams are columns of content that you can customize to show you what you want. When you click on ‘add stream’ you will find a choice of the different networks HootSuite integrates with. However, you will only be able to add streams for the social networks which you have already connected with HootSuite.
Classic examples for twitter streams are:
- Home feed
- Direct messages (inbox or outbox)
- Sent tweets
- Favorite tweets
- My tweets, retweeted
- Scheduled tweets (more about this in future posts)
- Tweets from new followers
Classic examples for Facebook streams are:
- Wall posts
- Scheduled messages
- Private messages
Classic examples for Google+ streams are:
- Home stream
- Sent messages
- Circle stream
- Scheduled messages
When you click on each of the networks in the ‘add stream’ dialogue box, you will see that each one of the networks has little tabs with additional options (other than the classic stream’s). Twitter, for example, also has search, keyword, and lists. Facebook and Google + have search in addition to the classic streams.
Those additional streams give you great options to monitor your business environment and competition; we will get into those advanced streams more in future posts.