How to Craft and Schedule Social Media Posts using HootSuite

By Mike Allton | 2 years ago | 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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86 comments
BillGiovannetti
BillGiovannetti

Thanks for this. I'm having problems with the Privacy settings on Hrootsuite-Scheduled Facebook posts. It always reverts to "private." I have clicked the "lock" icon, and selected "public" and saved the change. Even so, my posts still come up as private, and my friends say they can't share them.


Any help would be appreciated. 


Thanks. 

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@BillGiovannetti Hi there!


Thank you for reaching out to the Hootsuite Team. My name is Gary and I'd be happy to clarify further. 


I would recommend trying this two step process to Revoke, then Reconnect your Facebook to address this issue:


Revoke in Facebook:


1) Head to https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications


2) Hover over Hootsuite and click on the "X" to revoke Hootsuite access to Facebook


From within a private browsing window, such as Google Chrome Incognito, can you please Reconnect in Hootsuite via these steps:


https://help.hootsuite.com/entries/22866475-Reconnecting-Social-Networks


The private browsing window will ensure that the correct permission requests pop up. It is important to accept all the permissions as this is what allows Hootsuite to communicate with Facebook.


Can you please let me know if the issue persists after these steps? If the issue does persist please reach out to us on Twitter, @Hootsuite_help or via Private Message on our Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/hootsuite


Looking forward to your reply!


Best regards,


Gary | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

Jo
Jo

Hi! How can you auto-schedule on different days? Whenever I auto-schedule it goes to the same day...but I would like to schedule posts for the upcoming days as well!

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

Hi Jo,


I'm sorry to hear you were having some trouble with the auto scheduling feature! To clarify, are these the steps that you are taking to schedule: 
https://help.hootsuite.com/entries/21594338-Scheduling#auto

Just to make sure we're on the same page, any message that is scheduled, will only be posted once. The AutoSchedule feature doesn't at present schedule the same message to go out multiple times per day. This is because the majority of social networks that we integrate with don't allow duplicate posts within the same day. Instead, with your current settings, you can AutoSchedule different and unique posts, and after that daily limit, each subsequent post will roll over to the following day.

Auto-schedule essentially enables the Hootsuite dashboard to calculate, based on our private algorithm, the most optimal time to post your scheduled message. Thereby your message is not being manually scheduled by yourself for a predisposed time and is being "auto-scheduled" to a time that is determined by our algorithm.

If you are still experiencing trouble posting, please try to reconnect your accounts via the steps here: 
https://help.hootsuite.com/entries/22866475-Reconnecting-Social-Networks


I hope this helps!  Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or concerns.


Regards,

Adrien | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

lifeloveanddd
lifeloveanddd

Help! I have a competition launching on my blog on Saturday.  I am going to be in North Wales with no internet access.  

I have used hootsuite to schedule a post on my facebook page to launch the competition.  However because the link is not yet live it is saying 'page not found'.  The link will be live before the post is scheduled.

Will it pick up the live link?  Am I making any sense?

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

Hi @lifeloveanddd ,

Thanks for reaching out to us, my name is Camille from the Help Desk and I'd be happy to assist you in this matter!

Firstly, you totally make sense! 

It will indeed pick up the link once the link go live, but the preview will still say "not found" to work around this, you can either remove the link preview all together, or you'll have to go into that post and re-edit the link to generate that preview closer to it's time of posting.

Hopefully this provides some insight to your inquiry. 

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

Sincerely,

Camille | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

Dale
Dale

How can I tag people into photos when scheduling posts on twitter?

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Dale Hi there!


Great question; unfortunately Twitter tagging is such a new feature, it hasn't been added yet to the Hootsuite web dashboard.  We look forward to future updates where this feature will be available!


Kind regards, Taavi W. | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

Sarah
Sarah

How can I schedule something to post daily? Without actually scheduling each individual day?


I tried the AutoScheduler (selected all the days of the week and the up to 1 post per day option), but that didn't work. 



Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Sarah


Hi there,


Thanks for reaching out!


Apologies, you cannot schedule a post to be repeated each day. You would need to schedule each post manually. 


Please also note that posting the same message several times can sometimes be mistaken and marked as spam by a social network.


For more info on scheduling: https://help.hootsuite.com/hc/en-us/articles/204586040-Schedule-Messages


Kind Regards,


Sarah | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

LanayaHoogenboom
LanayaHoogenboom

can someone tell me if you can schedule post in private Facebook groups?

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@LanayaHoogenboom Hi there!  


Thanks for reaching out!  You can schedule posts to private Facebook groups through Hootsuite, as long as you are an Administrator of the page :) 


Kind Regards,


Sarah | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

BizCable
BizCable

@Hootsuite_Help_Desk 


how do you post to those pages?  I am an admin of a group page but can't figure out how to schedule posts to that page only...




janie lawson
janie lawson

Hi There,

I have been scheduling twitter posts through hootsuite but now would also like to do the same for my instagram account. I've added instagram to the dashboard of hootsuite on my mac but can't work out how to write a post within hootsuite let alone schedule it! Is this something that can be done on a mac or do I need to do it on my iphone?

Thanks,


Janie.


Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@janie lawson


Hi Janie,


Thank you for reaching out, my name is Monika and I'm more than happy to help you.


As it turns out, posting to Instagram through Hootsuite is not currently supported due to restrictions in the Instagram API but our Development Team is always working on new ways to integrate features. As soon as Instagram allows posting through third parties like Hootsuite the team will definitely take a look to integrate that into the Dashboard. 


If you do have any more questions or concerns please reach out to us either via Facebook private message or via Twitter (@Hootsuite_Help). 


Regards,


Monika | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help



mills1
mills1

I want to share my Twitter posts on Linkedin but only if they feature a specific hashtag. Is there a way to do this? 

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@mills1


Hi there!


Thank you for reaching out, my name is Monika and I'm more than happy to help you.


As it turns out, it is not possible to post Tweets to LinkedIn based on specific hashtags.


If you do have any more questions or concerns please reach out to us either via Facebook private message or via Twitter (@Hootsuite_Help). 


Regards,


Monika | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

Prachi
Prachi

I just want to know if it is possible to upload bulk scheduler data using HootSuite API?


I am trying to automate bulk upload for my app. Please let me know if code sample is available for review. Any reference or information on this is highly appreciated.


Thanks

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Prachi


Hi there! 


Thanks for reaching out with your question! 


As it turns out, we are currently not accepting any new applications for API key registrations. However, if you’d like to be notified when registration becomes available, you can subscribe to our Hootsuite API mailing list (http://ow.ly/h0c5b)


Best,

Jocelyne | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

PalbergWERX
PalbergWERX

Great tool, however when looking at the calendar I am faced with a sea of blue posts. Is there anyway to color posts for identification purposes?

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@PalbergWERX


Hi there,


Many thanks for reaching out on this matter! 


As of right now the colour codes in the publisher are as follows:


- Blue: scheduled

- Green: Successfully posted

- Red: Failed to post


If you would like to filter your posts by Social Profile please use the drop down menu in the top of the publisher! 


Best,

Jocelyne | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

CryptoMinerUK
CryptoMinerUK

I just wanted to query this in your post "you cannot share a post to more than 5 networks at a time unless it is scheduled".

I have tried repeatedly to post to more than 5 social profiles (using Pro subscription). I get the following message: Sorry, but you can only Autoschedule to a maximum of 5 networks at once. 

Am I doing something wrong?

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@CryptoMinerUK Hi there,


To confirm, you're only actually able to auto-schedule a message for up to 5 social networks at once. You ARE however, able to post to more than 5 social networks if you're scheduling the message normally. 


I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, please tweet us at @Hootsuite_Help or send us a Private Message on Facebook. We would be happy to assist you further there! 


Kind Regards,


Stefanie | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

jonateqa
jonateqa

Is it true you can be banned from facebook if you post to too many groups at once? Is there a way to avoid being banned?

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@jonateqa Hi there!


You will not be banned, however when posting multiple duplicate messages to large numbers of accounts, Facebook will sometimes block the messages as Spam and break the connection between Hootsuite and Facebook. 


We advise to please try selecting only a couple accounts (example, 5-10) to post to at once. When scheduling similar messages, we also recommend staggering the time slightly.


I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to tweet us at @Hootsuite_Help or send us a Private Message on Facebook. We would be happy to further assist. 


Kind Regards,


Stefanie | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

Nora
Nora

Hello Dave, - how do I link to other Facebook pages in my posts? I've used @companyfacebookpage  in my HootSuite post but when it posts to Facebook it isn't hot linking to the page.

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Nora Hello!

I'm afraid that Facebook tagging isn't available through Hootsuite right now.  Sorry about that!  If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us on Twitter @Hootsuite_Help 

Kind regards, Taavi | hootsuite.com/help

dave
dave

the company I work for uses Hootsuite and we'd like to see what our posts will look like in context. We're wondering if there's a plugin that will let us quickly view what the same post would look like on Tumblr, Facebook,Twitter etc. across desktop, mobile and tablet. 


This would help us answer questions such as will the text on our jpg look to small when viewed on an iPhone in instagram. As well as determine whether a post makes sense for a certain platform or not.

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@dave Hello Dave!


As it turns out, there isn't a feature that displays what a post would look like natively across several social networks.  This is a great idea for a feature or App we could add to the web dashboard, and please feel free to add it on our Feedback Forum <http://feedback.hootsuite.com>.


In the meantime, I recommend testing out Hootsuite and how the messages with images will look when they are posted.


If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter @Hootsuite_Help!

Best regards, Taavi | hootsuite.com/help

danafowlefox5
danafowlefox5

When I look at my calendar of posts that are scheduled they co me in three colors: red, yellow and green. Green says "scheduled post." Yellow says "autoscheduled message. But red, which doesn't always post for me, despite being scheduled, says "post is a duplicate." How do I get these red posts to, well, post? Thanks.

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@danafowlefox5 Hi there!


Thanks for reaching out to Hootsuite via our blog. Red posts under Past Scheduled mean that something has prevented this post from sending. In terms of why this didn't post, please ensure the messages you are sending include unique content. If not, the social networks may flag these as duplicates.


If you need any further clarification, please feel free to reach out via Facebook Private Message or at @hootsuite_help and we'll be more than happy to help. Thanks!


Best regards,

Christian | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

MIW Radio
MIW Radio

I am publishing different posts (in terms of copy) to Facebook but want to use the same photo for them. How do I do that without adding the same image to my page's Timeline Posts album over and over?

Playa Paper
Playa Paper

@MIW Radio Hello MIW Radio. Since FB and other social media platforms are visual, why would you want to use the same photo more than once? All of your posts will appear on your timeline. May I suggest a series of photos that capture the same message you want to convey? For example, when I post my greeting card photos. Some will be close ups of the artwork, others a collage of the same card repetitively, and maybe another of the card in a lifestyle shot. BTW, your head shots on your FB page are amazing. Really great photography. 

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@MIW Radio Hi there,


Thanks for reaching out to Hootsuite through our blog! At this time, each post will need to have the image attached individually.


Please feel free to reach via Facebook Private Message or at @hootsuite_help if you have any further questions and we'll be more than happy to assist.


Best regards,

Christian | Customer Advocate | hootsuite.com/help

Playa Paper
Playa Paper

Can you tag a photo that you post via scheduling? 

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Playa Paper Hi there!


Thanks for reaching out to Hootsuite through our blog!


At this time, tagging on Facebook is not currently supported due to API restrictions. Should this change, we'll be sure to look into adding this functionality!


If you have any questions about this, please feel free to send us a tweet at @Hootsuite_help or send us a Private Message on Facebook and we'll be more than happy to assist further.


Thanks, Playa Paper!


Best,

Christian | @Hootsuite_Help 

Jeffrey McInnes
Jeffrey McInnes

Hi There,


When I schedule my posts, I select my facebook, twitter and linked in accounts.  When I went back to make sure that all three were still scheduled together, only my facebook showed up. Why is that??

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@Jeffrey McInnes Hi! When scheduling content to multiple social network profiles, the first social network profile selected (the icon) will appear when heading to the Publisher > Scheduled.  However, there should be a number in red (3) showing how many social network profiles are selected to schedule to.  Also, if you click on the scheduled post, it should drop down to show all the profiles being posted to.  If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter @Hootsuite_Help !

PaulPearson1
PaulPearson1

Hi,


My blog post titles typically exceed 100 characters, by necessity. However when I schedule links to the blog to be published across social media, they show up truncated in Facebook and LinkedIn. This has only started happening recently. Is there a setting in either Hootsuite or my blog template that I can adjust so that more characters come up? I don't need them to always reprint every character, but I need more than I am getting now. Thanks in advance.

Hootsuite_Help_Desk
Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator

@PaulPearson1 Hello Paul, thanks for your comment.  This sounds like a technical support question and we'd love to get our experts to assist you with this!  Could you please either Tweet to us @Hootsuite_Help and we can create a ticket for you? Alternately you can go to hootsuite.com/help and select to speak with a Live Chat agent! 


Best,

Sharin | @Hootsuite_Help

Theresa
Theresa

How do you tag a person when creating a scheduled facebook post?

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...

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

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