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How to Craft and Schedule Social Media Posts using HootSuite

By Mike Allton | 1 year ago | Skills | No Comments

MikeAllton
Mike Allton

Mike Allton is an Internet Marketing Consultant and certified HootSuite Solution Partner. This article, on how to schedule social media posts, is the third in a series on making the most of your HootSuite account and was originally published on The Social Media Hat. View the original here.

Creating a Post

The HootSuite Dashboard includes a powerful Compose Message tool that allows you to craft a message and share it with selected social networks. You’ll find it in the upper left corner of the dashboard on the web, or by tapping the compose icon at the top of the mobile app.

You’ll typically begin by typing in or pasting the text that you want to share. If you have a link, copy and paste it into the URL field on the web and click the Shrink button to turn the full link into a shortened link. Or, on mobile, paste the link into the compose field and then tap the Shrink Links button under the Menu. This will not only shorten your link to use fewer characters, but also use the ow.ly shortened link format which will allow you to track link clicks via HootSuite’s analytics. I’ll often use HootSuite shortened links even if I’m putting the links somewhere other than a social media post.

You can include multiple links if you want to, but it’s recommended that you include no more than one link per post. You can and should make good use of hashtags, since Twitter, Google+ and Facebook all support tags. And while LinkedIn does not, I believe it’s only a matter of time before they do, so I don’t worry if one of my posts to LinkedIn includes hashtags. Some day they may work!

An example of how it might look to compose a message from the dashboard.
An example of how it might look to compose a message from the dashboard.

To the right of the Compose Message box is the Social Network Selector. Using the drop down list, you can choose from any social networks that you’ve set up. As you select networks, their individual icons will appear in the selected network area. You can click on any of the selected thumbnails to deselect that network. Also, as you select networks, you will see a character count at the bottom of the Compose Message box, letting you know if you’re reaching character limits for Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook posts.

If you have a link in your post and select to share that to Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+, HootSuite will automatically bring up the Preview box. The Preview will show you the rich snippet that can appear on those networks, and includes a Title, Description and Image, if the linked article provides them. If more than one image is detected, you can scroll through the results to choose the best one. You can also edit the Title and Description as needed, prior to posting. If the preview doesn’t look good at all, you can X it closed and share the update without a preview. Whatever text and link is in the Compose Message box is all that will be shared.

Scheduling a Post

When you’ve created a post and selected one or more social networks, you can either send it immediately, or schedule it to be shared later. When scheduling, you have three options: Select Date, Auto Schedule and Bulk Schedule.

Select Date

Click on the calendar icon to open the Scheduling dialogue box. Here, you can select a specific date on the calendar, followed by a specific time. That’s straightforward enough, but there are a couple of added features HootSuite provides.

First, if you’re not sure what else you might have scheduled to post around the time you want to share this new post, click on the “View date in Publisher” button. This will switch the background from whatever you were looking at (presumably streams) to the Publisher view. It keeps your post intact, and allows you to look at your HootSuite calendar and see what else you have scheduled to be shared. You can then adjust the share date and time as needed and schedule it.
ScheduleEnglish
Second, if you need or want confirmation that a post has gone out, you can check the “Email me when message is sent” box, and receive an email confirmation after the post goes out.

AutoSchedule

One of the more powerful options within HootSuite is AutoSchedule. AutoSchedule is activated by clicking on the Scheduler icon and turning AutoSchedule on. From that point forward, until you turn it off, any post you share will automatically be AutoScheduled. AutoSchedule does two things for you really well.

First, when you’ve finished crafting your post, you can allow HootSuite to share it at the most optimum time. According to HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes, “It’s really quite simple–instead of our users manually selecting what time they want to schedule or post their social media messages using our Scheduling feature, they can opt to use our new AutoSchedule technology to optimize and automate the scheduling process. We want our users spending more time finding and sharing content and less time worrying about the best time of day to share it.” The tool uses algorithms to determine the best time to post, per network, and schedules your post to take advantage of that timeframe.

Second, when you AutoSchedule a post to more than one network, HootSuite will stagger the posts at least 15 minutes apart, making sure that you don’t spam the same post to multiple networks at the same time if you don’t need to.

When you want to share a post immediately, or schedule it for a specific time, turn AutoSchedule off and then proceed to share your post.

Bulk Schedule

The final scheduling option is to Bulk Schedule posts. This feature allows you to create a spreadsheet offline and then upload it, creating up to 50 posts at a time. The spreadsheet can indicate the date and time of each post, the text to share, and a link to be shortened. When you upload your spreadsheet, you can choose multiple networks just as when crafting an individual post.

The bulk scheduler is a great way to make sure that you’re regularly sharing key business information or evergreen articles. Due to the fact that the method only supports text and link posts, it’s best suited for Twitter accounts. I will be digging into the details and techniques of bulk scheduling in a future post.

Regardless of which method you use to schedule your posts, you can always go to the Publisher tab to view your upcoming posts. Keep this in mind if you ever need to edit or cancel a scheduled post. Just go to Publisher, find the post, and click on the Edit button, which you can use to change the content of the post or the date it’s scheduled.

Additional Posting Information

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When posting to Facebook or Twitter, you can attach full images to your posts. Begin crafting your post as usual, and when you’re ready, drag an image from your desktop into the Compose Message tool. The image will be attached and you will see a new shortened URL in the message box. If you simply want the image displayed on the post, leave the box checked which will hide the image URL and not include it in the text of your update. For more information on sharing images, click here.

If you regularly share posts from HootSuite to the same social networks, you can “pin” them so that they’ll be selected by default each time you start a new message. While in the Compose Message box, open the social network selector, mouseover the network you want to choose, and click on the pin button, all the way to right, just to the left of the social network icon. To unselect, just repeat and click on pin again.

If you’re regularly choosing from a select number of accounts to share to, try marking them as favorites and changing your social network selector to only show favorites. You will see the Favorite toggle on each accounts entry, right next to the Pin toggle. If, like me, you’ve connected quite a few LinkedIn Groups and other Pages that you may not regularly post to, this can make it far easier to get to the brand accounts you use more regularly.

The network selector also includes All and Clear buttons which are used to select every social network you have set up, or clear out all that you’ve chosen. Note that you cannot share a post to more than 5 networks at a time unless it is scheduled. You can also start typing a network profile name in the selector box and HootSuite will attempt to auto complete the account for you.

If you’re crafting a post to share and you realize that you want to share it to a social network that you have not yet connected, you can click the + button right on the network selector tool to add a new network on the fly, keeping your in progress message completely intact.

If you want to include your location on supported status updates, you can do so easily. While crafting your status update, click the Location button along the bottom of the Compose Message box. You will be prompted to allow HootSuite to detect your location, and then your current location will appear at the bottom of the Compose Message box.

If you find that you’re sharing the same update on a regular basis, you can save it as a template! Compose the update once, and then click on the floppy disk icon at the bottom of the Compose Message box. You’ll need to have one social network selected, though you’ll be able to pick and choose different networks when you recall the template. Then, later, you can click the arrow next to the disk icon to select from your saved templates and edit / share as needed.

If you’d like to restrict a post to a specific Facebook List, Google+ Circle or other privacy options, you can! Start composing your post and choose the appropriate social network. Then click on the padlock icon to open the privacy selector where you can choose from your available options. For instance, if you have different circles set up within your Google+ Page, you can choose to share a post only with a specific circle.

This covers all of the basics you’ll want to know to begin creating and scheduling posts. We will cover the different URL shorteners, parameters, and other advanced options at a later date.

Next time, we’re going to cover how to use HootSuite to manage and participate in Twitter Chats.

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39 comments
DrClaudiaLuiz
DrClaudiaLuiz

Hi! I have about 50 LinkedIn groups I like to post the same content to. I can only send my posts to 2-3 groups at a time though. This is time-consuming, even with the bulk-scheduler.

Let's say, for example, that I want to share my blog with my linked in groups. I have to select 2 or 3 at a time, and stagger the update throughout the day.

I have been using the bulk scheduler when I can, so that at least the groups will get 2-3 status updates, but I can't schedule very far in advance. 


Do you have any advice for how I can automate the 15-17 groups of three social networks I send status updates to?


Here are my questions:


Is there any way I can save groups of social networks so that I don't have to select the same different 2-3 every time?

Can I add to my CSV file after I've uploaded it - or re-upload it, to save from having to re-select the social media groups? 

 
Thank you so much...

AskForLiz
AskForLiz

Hi Mike! I auto scheduled three posts last night to my facebook account from my android and i expected hootsuite to stagger the posts. Instead all three popped up with a minute of each other. Do I have to change a setting? TIA

Liz


Gerardo
Gerardo

Hi!!!


I would like to know if posts can be scheduled to the BBM Channels app the same way they are scheduled for FB, Twitter and LinkedIn, as BBM Channels does not show in the Send To pull down menu.


Thank you,

GG.


RTcycle
RTcycle

Do you know how to work with your publication dates/times in Spreadsheet?


I mean, for example, if you want to have posts every 15 minutes, is there a way to do this all at once?


Thank you.

SureTech
SureTech

I constantly run accross content that I want to queue up but don't want to yet schedule. Can I email that content to my hootsuite to schedule later?

Ellie
Ellie

Why don't you get a drop-down list of @ links when you use Hootsuite? It makes it really hard to find the person you're targeting as you can do on Twitter/Tweetdeck. Thanks!

alannanoelle
alannanoelle

I would like to go back to my previously published posts and search for particular posts/hashtags and I can't find an easy way to do so other than scrolling through them all, one at a time. Is there a search option for my posts only?

Todd E
Todd E

Hi..I when posting a link to both FB and Twitter through HootSuite, is it ok for the (shortened) URL to appear in the FB copy area?  I seem to recall reading somewhere that FB for organic distribution does not like having the URL in the post, but it is ok if it is removed (from the site after the fact) and the image/link is below the copy.  Just wondering if there is a best practice here for posting or retweeting a link to both FB and Twitter via HS.  Thx in advance!

Sandra Turner Morales
Sandra Turner Morales

Re: bulk scheduling -  They will be going to FB and Twitter.  They are images only (infographs).  I know how to shrink.  Within my spreadsheet, where do I hashtag and is it done before or after the ow.ly?  Thanks@

Jia
Jia

When posting on to FB and Twitter at the same time, how can I select the social profile that will post the message? Is there a way to define this? For ex. I have two twitter accounts and I want Account #2 to be the "posting from" account. Thanks!

KaitiSmith
KaitiSmith

How do you post to a specific (private) group in facebook?

writeangeldotca
writeangeldotca

I have a scheduled Twitter post that I would like to link to a scheduled Facebook post - is there any way to do this? 

Katy
Katy

hi there - can you tell me if FB posts scheduled through Hootsuite look like they've been posted by me, or are they identifiable as Hootsuite generated?


cheers


katy

chrisbacke
chrisbacke

There's an issue I'm really hoping you have an answer to...

I'm using Hootsuit to schedule posts on a WordPress blog. The issue is that since I'm scheduling posts that aren't published yet, the link preview can't be generated.


I know this is probably a WordPress issue, but with it being a huge platform, is there a workaround?

sheilaaverbuch
sheilaaverbuch

Thanks Mike - privacy option doesn't work for me - I selected Family only and tested, but FB posts still went to Public. Any ideas?

Helen
Helen

"If you’d like to restrict a post to a specific Facebook List, Google+ Circle or other privacy options, you can! Start composing your post and choose the appropriate social network. Then click on the padlock icon to open the privacy selector where you can choose from your available options. For instance, if you have different circles set up within your Google+ Page, you can choose to share a post only with a specific circle." 


Hi Mike,


Thanks for your incredibly helpful and informative article.  I was wondering whether you may be able to advise me if the privacy option above is also available via the Bulk Scheduling method of posting updates. I would like to be able to restrict some of my posts to appropriate groups within, for example, my LinkedIn network.


Kind Regards,


User
User

When using the Bulk Scheduler to post one's private google+ circle, what is the minimum interval allowed between 2 posts? Can 350 posts be set to go out in 350 seconds?

HootBulk
HootBulk

Great article Mike! There is a small error in the bulk schedule part. It says "This feature allows you to create a spreadsheet offline and then upload it, creating up to 50 posts at a time." That's no longer true. 

Now you can bulk schedule up to 350 messages at once with one csv file. That's also the maximum of message to bulk schedule so users need to be aware of how many messages they had already scheduled. 

User
User

What is the embedded desktop video above? A GIF? 

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@DrClaudiaLuiz Hey there! 


Thank you for reaching out to us via the Hootsuite Blog! My name is Gary and I'd be happy to clarify. 


As it turns out, once CSV files are uploaded to the Bulk Scheduler they cannot be updated. Re-uploading the CSV file will result in duplicate scheduled messages unless the previously scheduled messages are deleted first. 


There is not currently a way to group social networks together when using the Bulk Scheduler. However, for messages sent from the "Compose Message" box, you can select "Teams" to send the message too. 


If you have a Hootsuite Pro account, you can create an "Organization" with "Teams". If you arrange the social networks into these Teams, you can select the appropriate "Team" from the drop down arrow in the 'Compose Message" box to send the message to that particular Team/Set of social networks. 


You can learn more about Organizations and Teams here: 


https://help.hootsuite.com/entries/21690938-Quick-Start-Guide-Organizations


I hope this helps!


If we can assist or clarify further, please reach out to us on Twitter @Hootsuite_Help or Private Message us on our Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/hootsuite


Best regards, 


Gary | Customer Advocate | @Hootsuite_Help

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Gerardo Hi there!

Thank you for your question!


To clarify, the Apps available through the App directory differ in functionality from Social Networks (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). My apologies, at this time it is not possible to schedule posts to the BBM Channels App.


I hope this information helped to clarify! You can reach out to the Support Owls @Hootsuite_Help should you have any other questions!


Warm regards,

Whitney | @Hootsuite_Help | http://hootsuite.com/help

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

Hi @Ellie - thanks for you question!


The auto-complete feature in Hootsuite will generate up to 50 usernames [in alphabetical order] that have been interacted with or mentioned within the last 30 days.


Typing @ and the first letter of a username will populate auto-complete entries. For example, @a=up to 50 a's; @b=up to 50 b's. Usernames can be removed from auto-complete entries by clicking the X icon inline with the username. 


It's important to note that clearing the Hootsuite dashboard cache or browser history will clear all auto-complete entries.


I hope that this helps and please let us know if you have any further questions.


Best,

Kathleen | @Hootsuite_Help | Hootsuite Help Desk - http://ow.ly/dBnBz

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@alannanoelle Thank you for reaching out to us, I'm Sharin from Support and am happy to help.  As it turns out there is no Search option within the Publisher window, that is a great suggestion though!  What I would recommend as a work around is to use the "List" view from within the Publisher>Past Scheduled Window, then hit Ctrl+F to find a particular hashtag or phrase.  I hope this helps!  I invite you to submit your ideas to our Feedback channel, where fellow HootSuite users can vote on which features to add to a future release. We will then be able to gauge interest amongst other HootSuite users -carefully considering this idea for a future release. The link can be accessed here: http://feedback.hootsuite.com

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Jia


Hi Jia,


Thanks for your question! You can use the Social Profile Picker to choose which social networks you would like to post from.


For some helpful Tips and Tricks, please see: https://help.hootsuite.com/entries/21774775-Tips-Tricks-The-Social-Profile-Picker


I hope this information helps! If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Support via Twitter @Hootsuite_Help.


Warm regards,

Whitney | @Hootsuite_Help | http://hootsuite.com/help

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Katy  Hi Katy! It depends. When you post to Facebook using a third-party app like HootSuite, Facebook adds a little "posted via" note to the messages posted to profiles, but not if you're posting to pages.


Hope that helps!


Maria | Customer Advocate | @HootSuite_Help

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@chrisbacke  Hi Chris,
We've had users in similar situations attach an image to the scheduled post as well as the link, which should override any link preview. This also gives you the ability to choose what image is displayed.

I hope that helps but if you have any further questions, you can always reach us on Twitter @HootSuite_Help.
Best,
Nicole @HootSuite_Help - http://hootsuite.com/help

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@chrisbacke  

Hi Chris,

Thank you for reaching out to us!

Currently there is not a work around for this through the dashboard.  I suggest you use WordPress's own tools to promote the posts once they get published. Once you have set it up through WordPress, it will be automatic. 

I hope this helps, Chris! If you have any further questions please contact us on Twitter @HootSuite_Help. 

Kind regards,

Amy @HootSuite_Help - http://hootsuite.com/help

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@User Yes, it's an animated GIF. Our Design team thought it would be a handy way to demonstrate simple actions. Do you like it? 

PacLeaderNick
PacLeaderNick

@HootSuite_Help_Desk This link did not help me - I have 35 FB groups - every time I post through HS it posts from my Personal profile, how can I swap that to post from the "group" or from a business page? etc

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@PacLeaderNick Hi there!


Thanks for reaching out to us!


To confirm, when posting to Facebook Groups from either Hootsuite or Facebook natively, it posts from your Facebook Profile.


If you have multiple Groups in your Hootsuite account, the Profile your message posts from will be the same Facebook Profile you used to add your Facebook Group to Hootsuite.


I hope this information helped to clarify!

Warm regards,

Whitney | @Hootsuite_Help | http://hootsuite.com/help