The following is part of a series on using the Hootsuite social media tool. In this post, we are going to be looking at at using the feature to post to your Facebook page or profile.
If you are a fan of scheduling your social media activities, and I strongly recommend this behavior, you’ll find there aren’t a lot of tools that interface with Facebook. Thankfully Hootsuite does. The first thing you need to do is establish the connection between Hootsuite and Facebook. Now you need to be careful when you do this. You can have Hootsuite connect to both your Facebook personal profile and/or to your fan page. Due to the intricacies of the Facebook login system, this isn’t the easiest thing to do. When you do it, you will get a screen similar to the ones below depending on how you are logged in.
Once you do establish the connection, you’ll want to drop out a test post to make sure it’s going to the right place. Each of the avatars will have a Twitter or Facebook symbol in the corner. Pay attention to them.
Once that’s done, thankfully the process gets a lot easier. The first way to schedule updates to Facebook is through the dashboard. Put in your update and choose an account. If the update has a link, it will shorten it and suggest an icon.
This is why it’s so important to specify the social media image you want to use in your code. Greg Finn even mentioned this in the interview article I recently featured on how small businesses can use Facebook. You can post the update now, or schedule it for later using the schedule button.
A second way to accomplish this is by using the Hootlet tool for your browser. Once installed, you click the Hootlet. When you are visiting the page, the dialog window pops up. You choose the account(s), schedule a time, and you are all set.
Another interesting aspect of this is that you can cross post to more than one account. You can post to Twitter and Facebook, you can post to a Facebook fan page and personal page, or you can post to multiple Facebook pages. It’s up to you. An important side note: if you schedule an update for multiple accounts, the scheduled time will be the same for each account (this might look funny or suspicious). If you want to change the time you will need to do it from the Hootsuite dashboard. You can’t do it from an the iPhone or iPad app, which is one of those odd compatibility issues with Hootsuite.
If you are familiar with the Hootsuite Bulk Scheduling process, you can also schedule your Facebook updates this way.
One last method I haven’t discussed before is using an rss feed. While rss is a technology that isn’t used by consumers, many tech companies and services still offer it. Using it is fairly easy once you have the rss URL. You just provide it to hootsuite, tell them where to post it, how often to check, and how many items to post, and it takes care of the rest.
Something worth noting–if you turn on this auto posting feature, it will select the picture automatically, so be careful. Also the timing is a bit fuzzy so, if you need precise control, don’t use this. If it doesn’t matter that you chose hourly, but it went up at 3:01 pm instead of 2:01 pm then you are fine.
How is this useful? Maybe you have an SEO blog and mobile SEO blog, each with their own Facebook pages. On your SEO blog you occasionally write about mobile SEO. If you have an SEO category or tag set up in WordPress, you can use that rss URL to autopost all of your mobile stories from your SEO blog to your mobile SEO Facebook page and twitter profile. If your town publishes an event calendar, you can autoupublish the calendar to your local Facebook page. You are limited only by your imagination and what is offered or can be converted to RSS.
With any automation, one of the key points to understand is that it saves you time and keeps you from being tied to the desk. However, you will need to check in or have someone else check in somewhat regularly: automated solutions left running often go haywire and and spit out funny results.
To be clear, Hootsuite is a paid tool with a monthly subscription. If you sign up through any of my links, I earn a commission. However, I hope this and other tutorials show you how to use it effectively, productively, and profitably. It’s something I use everyday and am comfortable recommending it to you. Feel free to sign up for a 30 day free trial and give it a try.
photo credit: Photospin