Hootsuite: Automation and Monitoring Social Marketing

In which I interview Sue about the tool Hootsuite which Ausoma uses to automate some aspects of an author’s marketing, and to monitor interactions online. You should listen to the audio, but if you prefer, a transcript is below.

Joel: Hi this is Joel.

Sue: And Sue.

Joel: And we are Ausoma.

Sue: Authors’ social marketing.

Joel: Today Sue is going to tell us about Hootsuite. It’s a tool I don’t use and she and her team use it all the time. Take it away, Sue.

Sue: Hootsuite is a vital part of what I do for my clients. Anyone can go to Hootsuite and get a free plan, however they’re very limited. They are only able to monitor three social media accounts with it and they’re limited to creating and scheduling thirty messages at a time.

For my clients, as many clients as I have, to be able to manage them all from one dashboard I have purchased Hootsuite Pro. My team and I use that. It allows me to have basically an unlimited number of social media networks that I can monitor for each of my clients and I can have my other team members go in and monitor their accounts as well, all from my Pro dashboard.

So we’re able to monitor Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, even Pinterest and Instagram as long as it’s a business account which I do encourage all of my clients to have a business Instagram account. They can have a personal one if they want but that is separate from the business.

And then in Hootsuite we can create streams for social media network. That’s very helpful because in addition then to seeing what tweets we have already out we can see what tweets we have scheduled. We can monitor mentions so we can see if a client has been mentioned by anyone and then make a reply or thank that person for mentioning or letting a client know “Hey somebody mentioned you and had this question.”

We can also monitor hashtags. If a client has a particular hashtag they’s like monitored to see if other people are using it we can monitor that. I use that a lot also for events. When the client has an event and they’ve created a particular hashtag for that event, especially if it’s a live event that we’re monitoring in a particular day and want to see who all is using it, make sure that we’re replying to their tweets about that. We can monitor that as well.

Joel: I remember it has multiple columns. You can have columns open for various hashtags, different accounts, so you can see everything that’s happening in a client’s social media life at a glance.

Sue: Yes. Even though you’re limited to ten streams within an individual tab I can have as many tabs as I want so if I needed additional streams for a client I can just create a new tab for them and monitor additional things.

Another great thing that we like to monitor for Twitter in particular is lists. We encourage clients, and actually create for them, lists. Usually each client has a list of what we call influencers. Those are people within their particular industry that also share information that they would like to share with their audience. So that influencer’s list we monitor and retweet something from that list on a regular basis. We also thank the people who have retweeted and we can monitor that in Hootsuite as well.

With LinkedIn we can watch for updates, mentions, company updates. On Facebook in Hootsuite we can monitor if people have messaged their business page and let them know about that. Then we can see what’s been posted or been scheduled on Instagram, for example. That way we can just at a glance see if perhaps we need to schedule something or move something around. You can easily edit from a stream as well.

I do still encourage everybody to log into their own accounts at least weekly and see if there are comments or messages there. Just automating isn’t enough, particularly with Twitter and Facebook, if you rely only on Hootsuite you might be missing some messages, particularly on Twitter; direct messages are no longer showing up in Hootsuite so you have to log into your Twitter account to find your direct messages.

Joel: Any other particular limitations Hootsuite has?

Sue: It doesn’t create content for you.

Joel: Okay.

Joel: All righty then.

Sue: So we can talk about that. That pretty much wraps it up and explains why and how we use Hootsuite to help monitor our clients’ accounts.

Joel: This can happen in real time. You have a team of people who are helping, so the clients’ accounts are being monitored so that important connections don’t slip through the cracks. We all hate it when we discover ten days later that someone was in our neighborhood and we could have met for coffee or they were having an event we wanted to go to, or they asked “Where can I buy your book?” and now it’s been ten days or two weeks and we didn’t say anything. So that that monitoring is really important for the social part of this.

Sue: Yes.

Joel: Useful tool. Great! Thanks for sharing all of that. I didn’t know all those things about Hootsuite.

We’ll be back again with something else fun

This is Joel.

Sue: And Sue.

Joel: And we are Ausoma.

Sue: Authors’ social marketing.

Joel: See you next time.

Dos and Don’ts in an Interview

Don’t

Do

Respond with just a word or two Use complete sentences
Use superfluous words like “um”, “you know”, “like” Pause briefly to gather your thoughts
Repeat yourself unnecessarily Prepare clear concise answers to questions
Answer a question you weren’t asked to promote yourself Listen carefully & answer questions you’re asked
Take over the interview Use the host’s name
Use technical terms Speak in a way that’s easy to understand

The Series

January: Interview Tips for Nonfiction Authors
February: Are You Prepared for Your Interview?
March: What is Your Interview Message?
April: Practice Your Interview
May: Your Interview Environment
Your Interview Voice
July: Dos and Don’ts in an Interview

Your Interview Voice

Another in a series of interview tips for authors.

  • Before you get on the air, make sure your voice is ready.
  • Warm up your vocal cords by drinking some warm water or tea.
  • Have water nearby during the interview in case your throat gets dry.
  • If you need to cough, turn your ahead away.
  • Practice aloud a few minutes before you get on the air.
  • Smile. Your voice will come across as cheerful and friendly. No one else may see you but you’ll feel more confident.

The Series

January: Interview Tips for Nonfiction Authors
February: Are You Prepared for Your Interview?
March: What is Your Interview Message?
April: Practice Your Interview
May: Your Interview Environment
June: Your Interview Voice
July: Dos and Don’ts in an Interview

Client Interview: Deborah Olson, Author of “The Healing Power of Girlfriends”

Sue interviewed our amazing client Deborah Olson about her new book The Healing Power of Girlfriends. It’s a fun video, in which Deb tells us:

  • the factors that made her decide to write the book
  • what makes this book unique from other books on female friendship
  • her biggest surprise about people’s reaction to the book
  • what she wants to accomplish with the book
  • two takeaways from the book she hopes people will embrace
  • how she uses social media and other publicity to garner attention for the book
  • about the workshops or events she offers

Ausoma’s Monthly Report (audio)

In which Sue answers my questions about the monthly report and phone call provided for our clients.

(Oh, go on, listen to the audio! It’s fun.)

If not, here’s a transcript:

Joel: Hi there. This is Joel.

Sue: And Sue.

Joel: And we are Ausoma.

Sue: Author’s social media marketing.

Joel: We help people…

Sue: …be social and get noticed using social media the right way.

Joel: Excellent. This month we’re going to talk about something that’s really important to me: marketing should be measurable. And that’s one reason why we rarely advocate buying advertising. Most advertising isn’t measurable; unless you do it really carefully you can’t measure what you’re buying for your marketing dollars. Something Ausoma offers is a monthly report of progress that’s been made. Tell us what the report concludes.

Sue: It’s actually a spreadsheet with each of the social media platforms. When a client first signs on I do a benchmark report noting how many followers they have for each network, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, whatever accounts they’re using. Then on the same day each month we create a report that tracks the number of followers they have for each social media platform, and website views if they give me access to their WordPress accounts or to their Google analytics account. We even will track the percentage of those views coming from social media networks if they do provide Google analytics. Also how many email subscribers they have if they use an email list. I even have one client that I’m tracking their book sales for them, they gave me their Amazon login so I can go in and do that.

Joel: Essentially it’s a snapshot of where they are at the moment with reference to ‘how much did we grow since last month?’ Does each monthly report include total growth since the original benchmark or is it just month to month?

Sue: It is month to month until they’ve been with me for a year. If a client’s been with me for a year then I do a percentage of increase in the past year and we do that every year for as long as they’re with me; I have a client who we just celebrated our five years together so we do that as well. I have one client who likes a quarterly report; we do monthly and quarterly but we set quarterly goals so his report is actually not just month to month but then looking at each quarter how did we do versus the last quarter.

Joel: Do you customize these reports?

Sue: Absolutely. Each client has different things they like to have monitored and tracked so we will do that. These reports are just for my Pro and Dream packages; the Econ package does not normally include this report, though I have made exceptions to that when it seems to be the right choice for everyone.

Joel: Okay. Although this isn’t technically an issue of reporting, something that I always like to address: what kind of guarantees do you make about network growth?

Sue: I don’t make any guarantees because you can’t. There are no guarantees. We’re always hoping for an upward trend, that they have an increase in followers on every network each month but we actually don’t have control of that.

As an example Twitter does a big purge periodically, in fact at least twice in this past year that I know of that they’ve gone in and deleted accounts that are no longer active or that are clearly spam accounts and those are accounts that could have been following a client’s account and now all of a sudden they’re gone and so they could see a huge drop in numbers. Periodically when Twitter does that kind of a purge I usually know that’s happened and will make a note of that in the report that this month numbers did decrease because Twitter did a purge.

I don’t make any guarantees other than, and again not a guarantee, but that we are always looking for an upward trend and if we see that that doesn’t happen then is there a reason such as Twitter did a purge or is it because I’m not doing my job and I’m not being as effective as I need to be in increasing their networks.

Joel: All right.

Sue: So as far as ROI, it is very hard to have a direct ROI with social media marketing, which is one reason why we do create this report and track these numbers, because it does give us a good indication, we can see a trend; it’s not true ROI but it helps us to determine the effectiveness of what we’re doing.

Joel: How important are the numbers in the big scheme of things?

Sue: In my opinion numbers alone aren’t that important because it’s very easy for somebody to go out and buy a lot of followers which I do not recommend.

Joel: No! No one would buy followers!

Sue: People do this; I do not recommend it. I think it’s an indication again that we want to see an upward trend, we want to see that there is an increase of followers, but are they relevant? Are they people that are engaging with you on your accounts? If you have a lot of numbers and no engagement that really doesn’t mean anything.

So engagement is much more important, a little bit harder to track on some of the accounts, but fairly easy on Facebook, and that’s one place where we go in and look at a little bit more detail than we can on the other account. So for Facebook, as long as a client is using a business page, which is what we always recommend; don’t use just your personal profile because a couple of reasons: one, Facebook truly does not allow business promotion on a Facebook personal page. You can get away with it a little bit, but they really don’t want you to do that, plus you have no way to gauge what kind of reach or engagement you’re getting, whereas a business page those same rules don’t apply, and they do have insights where you can go in and track your reach, your engagement, a ton of other things. Also with ads, if you create ads on Facebook, you can track that there, and that is something we’ll help a client do if they’re using an ad tracking, with the results of that ad how many clicks for the link that they provided.

Joel: Before we get to the excitement of the phone call, is there anything else that the monthly report covers either in general or things that people have asked for custom?

Sue: On LinkedIn we not only track your connections but how many followers you have for your long articles that you publish on LinkedIn. What’s great about that is that you can have more people following you then you’re connected to. People can follow you and read your articles and not necessarily be connected to you. So those are two different numbers that we look at.

Joel: And LinkedIn has another metric that they provide.

Sue: Yes I just recently discovered this, I don’t really know how long it’s been there, but LinkedIn has what they call your SSI, it’s your social selling index, so I do track that now for a client each month. I still am not sure exactly how that all works and what the real significance of that may be, but it does give us an indication of how well you’re using LinkedIn and how LinkedIn ranks you compared to other people in your industry and in your network.

They provide this number every month, actually it’s updated daily, so you could go daily and look at it, but I only do it once a month. So you could look at this number. It also provides a couple of other numbers, one is where you stand in your network for their social selling index, and where you stand in your industry. What they’re doing is they’re measuring things like how well you’re connecting with the right people in your industry, how you’re building your brand, the kind of engagement you’re getting, so the more active you are on LinkedIn connecting with the right people, sharing their information, posting yourself, that kind of thing, then the bigger that social selling index number will be. So for effectiveness on LinkedIn I think that that’s a pretty good gauge of how well we’re doing on LinkedIn.

Another thing that we do track for some clients is if they have an email list, which I do encourage everyone to have, and they are providing me with access to this, we will track the number of subscribers they have to that email list, and part of what I do for my social media work for them is send out periodic messages on all of their networks inviting people to subscribe to that list. So hopefully we’re seeing those numbers rise as well.

Joel: Besides for the report they get, if they like, a monthly phone call. How does that work? Do you give them time to review the report before the phone call? How long is the call, what kind of things do you cover?

Sue: Yes, it is a once a month call, of course if a client needs to talk at any other time, more than happy to do that, but usually we set up this once a month call for within a few days after they get their monthly reports so they’ve had a chance to look at that.

The call is anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes depending on how much there is to talk about. We usually review that report and if they have questions about why a number looks low or some other questions we can discuss that. We might discuss what seemed to work that month and how we could continue that or what seem not to work that month and why we should drop it, new strategies that might be effective for them, and also this is a good time for me to find out from them if they have anything new going on that I can use in my social media marketing. Did they post a new article somewhere outside of their blog and not yet send me the link? Do they have an event coming up? Are they doing a workshop speaking? A book signing? Those kinds of things that I can then find out and make sure that I include that my social media marketing.

Joel: That makes me think of a report I’d love to create. This is a fantasy of course. I’d like all our clients to create a report of what they did this month. Did they write any blog posts, have they contacted other people, what are they doing? I know that the greatest thing that these authors can do, besides hiring Ausoma to do this part of the business, is to engage for themselves. A blog with regularly updated content. Guest posts, podcasts, being out there doing things gives Ausoma material to then promote. So if authors, who we assume are comfortable writing, create material beyond their book, that really helps drive their marketing, and it makes your work more effective.

Sue: Yes it does. And I have some clients that are really good at that, and others it’s like pulling teeth.

Joel: Search engines love fresh content. And the social media platforms respond better to fresh content. Some messages are worth repeating, as you said you send out a subscribe to my newsletter message on all the networks regularly, and there’s no reason to try to get really creative with that. It’s just a reminder I have a newsletter, if you’re not on it you should be. But fresh messages make a big difference after a while your followers will notice if they’re seeing the same content rehashed.

Sue: Exactly.

Joel: I am a big proponent of fresh content.

Sue: Yes.

Joel: And speaking of fresh, maybe we’ll talk about that after this call…

A free report every month included with the Pro and Dream packages, outlining growth on all of their social networks, and any other custom numbers that they give you access to create, and a phone call to discuss questions to explain any of the information, and to discuss strategies and tactics to make sure that everyone’s heading the same direction.

Sue: Yes.

Joel: That’s another service that Ausoma offers.

Well, this has been fun, as always. Thank you for joining me.

Sue: And me.

Joel: Oh I was thanking you for joining me. We’re going to thank them for joining us but I’m thanking you for joining me.

Sue: Well thank you for help doing this.

Joel: I can speak, and you seem to be able to answer direct questions okay.

So this is Joel.

Sue: And Sue.

Joel: We are Ausoma.

Sue: Author’s social media marketing.

Joel: Helping you to be social and get noticed. And we’ll do this again next month. Bye!

Sue: Bye!