It’s likely you’re familiar with Hootsuite, it’s the go-to social media management tool for many digital agencies, because it allows them to manage many accounts from one place. If you’re developing a social media presence for your small business then the free version allows you to manage up to five accounts. This post will explain how you can use the Hootsuite bulk upload feature.
Once you’ve set up your account and added your social networking accounts, or streams as Hootsuite calls them, you’ll be able to send updates manually using the compose message window, selecting the accounts you want to send the messages too. This is fine but if you’re away on holiday then you can use the Hootsuite bulk upload feature to schedule some messages to be released whilst you’re away from the desk.
Create your messages
First you need write your content. Planning what you want to say up to a week ahead can be a difficult task, but if you’ve developed content themes for your social networking updates then it is achievable. Copy and paste your messages into column B of an excel spreadsheet. Don’t forget to add hashtags and handles if the messages are going out on Twitter – and stick to 140 characters or less or your messages will be rejected on the upload.
If you want to link to any websites then add these to column C alongside the relevant tweets. Then use link management software, like Bitly, to shorten these.
Scheduling your releases
Once you’ve written your messages, and you can upload up to 350 at a time, you need to consider when you want the messages released. In column A you’re going to enter the date and time you want to release each message. These should take the following format dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm (e.g. 21/06/2013 10:30:00). The first message should be scheduled for at least ten minutes after you upload, posting times should end in a 5 or 0, i.e. 10:45 or 10:50 and you can’t upload two messages with the same scheduled time.
Hootsuite bulk upload
Once you’re happy with your spreadsheet you need to save it as a .csv file and upload it to Hootsuite. You’ll find a link to this via the Publisher page which is represented by the paper aeroplane icon in the left hand menu. An error message will be generated if you’ve not followed their rules correctly, and no messages will be uploaded. All you need to do is correct the errors on the spreadsheet and upload it again.
Some important things to remember
Monitor your releases
Using the Hootsuite bulk upload tool can save you time but you should try to monitor how the messages you send are being received by your networks. If you get replies or comments then you should respond to these at your soonest opportunity.
If you’re planning to add images to your social media messages then you’ll need to add these separately after the spreadsheet upload. Go to your scheduled messages and some options will appear when you hover your cursor towards the right hand side of the page. Click on edit and follow the instructions to upload your images.
Add to your scheduled messages
Bulk uploads are fine but the world keeps on turning, so it’s inevitable you’ll have things to say in addition to what you’ve uploaded. This is fine, go ahead and use Hootsuite as you would normally. Social media is all about immediacy, if you’ve got something to say, say it, don’t save it for your next bulk upload.
You should review your bulk uploads regularly, and not plan too far ahead. You can remove or edit scheduled tweets.
Quality not quantity
And finally, a gentle reminder not to overload the social networks just for the sake of it. There’s enough noise out there without you scheduling hundreds of messages because you’ve unlocked the tools to do so. If you’re over egging the pudding you may find you’ll lose followers by jamming up their timelines.
And that’s it. The Hootsuite bulk upload is an extremely powerful feature on this tool. If you’ve got any suggestions for how you use it then please do let us know by adding your comments below.