Hootsuite Hacks: 19 Tricks and Features You Probably Didn’t Know About
Hootsuite has all sorts of hidden gems and neat ways to save you time and increase your brand’s social ROI. The main problem is that there are so many Hootsuite hacks it’s hard to know where to start.
For this article we quizzed the Hootsuite customer success team—people who spend their days deep in the gears of everyone’s favourite dashboard—about what little-known, under-appreciated features they pass on to social media managers day in and day out.
Whether you’re a solopreneur or a multi-brand team or somewhere in between, read these 19 tips to get an insider look at how Hootsuite power users wield the dashboard—and get the most out of social media for their business.
Bonus: Download our free, customizable social media calendar template to easily plan and schedule all your content in advance.
Hootsuite hacks for scheduling and publishing
Duplicate posts in Planner
The duplicate button may look modest, but it’s a big timesaver. It allows you to construct a series of similar or related posts without building each one from scratch.
It’s the easiest way to repurpose and edit content to make a post appropriate across your various social channels. Rather than cross-posting the exact same content on every social platform, you can edit handles, hashtags, language and links to make each post appropriate for its intended audience.
This button is also a great trick if you need to target different time zones, languages, regions or audiences.
Or, if you’re running a big campaign. Starting from scratch isn’t always the best way to go if you want to keep your posts consistent and aligned.
Where can you find that duplicate button? By selecting your post in the Content tab or the Planner tab.
Collaborate on drafts before posting them
Sharing your drafts with your team in Hootsuite’s Planner tab means that everyone knows what’s coming up on the calendar. Even better, editable drafts let teams pitch in in real-time to tweak and improve your social content without going through a more formal approval workflow. (Which is, of course, also a good idea.)
While a spreadsheet makes a perfectly good social media content calendar, having more eyes workshopping your works-in-progress is a great way to elevate your content quality, not to mention catch those inevitable typoe.
Bulk schedule up to 350 posts at once
Speaking of content calendars, if yours is ahead of the game—maybe like, really ahead—the task of actually uploading and crafting all those posts might start to feel daunting. Not to mention picking the time and date when they should go live.
According to our customer success team, social media managers who maintain high-volume accounts use bulk scheduling tools to get the worst of the grunt work out of the way.
With Hootsuite’s bulk scheduler, once you’ve uploaded your posts, you can also go through them to double-check the copy and links, and add any visuals or emoji.
Here’s our full guide on how to bulk schedule social media posts using Hootsuite.
Automatically post at the perfect time for engagement
When’s the best time to post on social media? We get this question a lot.
No one wants to see their precious content, which has often taken weeks or months of planning, plop into the algorithm with nary a ripple.
Hootsuite’s Auto Scheduler takes the guesswork out of when you should post. Flip the toggle, and Hootsuite will choose a gap in your upcoming schedule that will offer the highest likelihood of engagement on your target platform.
Suspend posts without deleting them
Sometimes you’ve got your social posts planned, polished, and scheduled a week or two in advance. But then a global pandemic or attempted coup takes place, and your posts seem a little irrelevant, if not outright tone-deaf. It is time to take a pause.
With Hootsuite, pausing your scheduled social media content is as simple as clicking the pause symbol on your organization’s profile and then entering a reason for the suspension.
This will keep all posts from being published until you decide it is safe to resume, and warn anyone who tries to schedule new content that a publishing suspension is in effect.
Polish your posts with vanity URLs
Hootsuite’s free link shortener, Owly, makes any URL you post look sweet, short, and a lot more trustworthy. Owly links are secure, and they also track the metrics you need to see how well your content is converting. (Ok, I’ll bite: what are URL shorteners?)
That said, if you want to put in the elbow grease and level up your branding, Hootsuite also supports vanity URLs. Here’s a quick how-to on implementing vanity URLs. They’ll look something like this:
Pro Tip: Vanity URLs are perfect for masking your obnoxiously long (but very, very useful) UTM parameters, as discussed down in tip #16.
Source free photos & crop them to social network dimensions
Two things in marketing have remained true through the years: excellent photography requires skill and money; and image licensing is confusing. If you are neither a photographer nor a law genius, we invite you to take a quick stroll through Hootsuite’s media library.
One click gets you thousands of free, high-quality images. Plus, Hootsuite’s image editor lets you easily filter and crop (to preset platform-specific dimensions, no less), or add text, stickers, and frames.
Design professional-grade graphics without expensive licensing
If an award-winning graphic design team (plus a copy of Adobe Creative Suite and rights to a bunch of fancy fonts) isn’t in this year’s budget, we recommend a DIY design approach using Hootsuite’s Canva integration.
Canva has pre-made templates that you can adjust to suit every visual identity, from avant-garde to organic. You can also build your own and store them for future use to keep your social look consistent and compelling.
And it’s not just for posts and Stories: you can design banners, ads, avatars, channel art, and more (without having to calculate resolution or width in pixels using cumbersome, mathy desktop software.) Here’s a quick how-to.
Pro Tip: Canva is a free add-on from Hootsuite’s App Directory, which you should check out for the many, many free apps in there that can do all kinds of things, like these next two tips, for instance.
Integrate your Shopify store with your social feeds
If your e-commerce outfit runs on Shopify, this hack (ok, app) is a no-brainer.
Keeping a stream of your products available for your social feeds means you’ve always got the latest product shots, pricing, and approved copy at hand as you interact with your customers.
For instance, maybe someone tweets at your store: “Do you have any of that sweet lavender essential oil available right now?” And you can respond with a link to said essential oil—without leaving the Hootsuite dashboard.
Install the free Shopview app here.
Post visuals from Google Drive or Dropbox
Hootsuite’s content library is a great tool for organizing all of your digital assets for social, and we highly recommend it. However, if your organization is already devoted to Google Drive or Dropbox, then using Hootsuite’s Cloudview or Dropbox apps may well be a shortcut that you can benefit from.
Optimize your ad budget by automatically boosting your best posts
Organic reach is, yes, still on the decline in 2021. If you want more than 1–5% of your followers to see your posts, ads are inevitably going to be your best solution.
(For more on when to spend, our full guide to paid vs organic social strategy is here.)
Hootsuite’s dashboard gives you a fast, simple way to access new audiences on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Review your engagement stats to find your top-performing posts, and allocate a budget to show them to a lookalike audience of platform users (a.k.a. people who the AI thinks might like it).
You can also automate this process, so that all of your most popular posts get shown to fresh eyes. For instance, you could create a trigger that gives any video post with, say, 100 likes an ad budget of $10/day.
Pro Tip: Compare apples to apples in Hootsuite Impact by comparing the paid post’s results to the organic post’s results side by side. Here’s more on viewing paid and organic ROI.
Hootsuite hacks for engagement and customer service
Respond to all your DMs and comments in one place
It doesn’t matter how many people you have on your social team, if you’re trying to keep track of private and public conversations from multiple platforms you need an organizational tool. (In fact, the larger your team gets, the more likely you are to need a tool.)
Hootsuite Inbox is one of the easiest wins on this list: it aggregates all your DMs, comments and threads in one tab so that you don’t drop conversations, neglect customers, or miss sales opportunities.
And as of 2021, you can also access your Instagram DMs in Hootsuite Inbox, alongside comments, replies and DMs from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Check out our full guide to stellar social customer service here or watch this video on how to use Hootsuite Inbox.
Improve your response times with shortcuts
83% of social media users expect a response to their customer service complaint within one day, and 50% expect a response within the hour. Improving your response time means finding some easy, semi-automated hacks to speed up the grunt work, leaving your team with more time for the tricky stuff.
Here are three of our favourite options:
- Reply templates: Hootsuite Inbox offers these so that your customer service team has the right information in on-brand language at hand whenever a common question pops up. You can create variations in phrasing so that your responses don’t feel impersonal, and also have responses in different languages available. Read more about using reply templates here.
- FAQs as assets: While the content library is often thought of as a repository for visuals, you can also keep approved text as an asset here—and copy and paste the answers to frequently asked questions into your chats with customers.
- Facebook messenger bots: Here’s our guide on how to integrate your bot to pass conversations to your customer service team, so that you’re saving time without compromising the personalized service your customers expect.
Automatically assign messages to the best team or person
For larger teams and brands with a high volume of social queries, different messages often need attention from specific team members.
You might already be manually assigning messages in Hootsuite Inbox, but automating that assignment process will free up time and improve your overall response rates—resulting in happier customers.
With the right keywords in place, you can set up different assignments that will route sales inquiries to your business development team, billing questions to customer service, and troubleshooting queries to tech support.
Set up a Twitter search stream to keep an ear to the ground
Hootsuite’s search streams are a simple, low-key way to keep informed (in other words, do some social listening) on an hour-to-hour basis without digging into big data offered by Hootsuite Insights.
Set up a Twitter search stream in your dashboard so that you’re always informed on keywords and hashtags relevant to your brand.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, or you’re keeping an eye on chatter about an in-person event like a conference or concert, consider making a search stream with geo-location enabled for your area.
Hootsuite hacks for reporting
Automatically tag your (outbound) posts for better analytics
Ok, first, a quick refresh on tagging: in Hootsuite, a tag is like an internal hashtag that can be attached to inbound messages and outbound posts without being visible to your audience.
Manual tagging is definitely useful, but it can be time-consuming and messages or posts might be missed.
With a tagging system in place, you’ll have customized analytics at hand when it comes time to report.
For instance, you can zero in on specific campaigns or post types, and compare them using the metrics that matter to you. Are your influencers pulling as much engagement this quarter? How much attention did the new launch attract? What about the summer contest, did it help your follower growth rate? By how much?
If you’re an enterprise user with a complex content calendar, look into implementing Hootsuite Impact’s auto-tagging feature, and get more accurate and consistent reporting.
Track every post’s conversions using pre-set UTM parameters
To see how much traffic your individual posts are driving to your website, first connect your web analytics account to Hootsuite. (And here’s another brief on setting up Google Analytics in general.)
Second, set up your UTM parameters so that all your social posts are reporting on their success.
Hootsuite’s custom link tracking parameters will help you see which platforms, media types and posts are moving the needle on your conversions. But rather than setting them up every time you make a post, you’ll want to pre-set the parameters for consistent reporting.
Pro Tip: When done properly, URLs with UTM parameters are hideously lengthy: you’ll want to use a link shortener like Owly or set up a vanity URL to mask it (see #6).
Automatically tag your (inbound) messages for better customer service
Unlike the previous tip, this one applies to inbound messages from your audience and customers. Tagging private DMs, public conversations and replies by type or content means that your reports will give you a better idea of conversation volume and where your efforts might be best directed in the future.
When you have an idea as to what types of messages are taking up the bulk of your team’s energy, you can adjust resources appropriately. (Then you can go back to tip #12 and create easily accessible FAQ documents in the content library, reply templates, or messenger bots to help out.)
Check out how to manually or automatically tag your inbound messages.
Track your response times and team performance
Team metrics analytics can help you pinpoint where and how your customer service team is succeeding. These reports will measure metrics like volume, resolution speed, and first response time.
It can also do this by team (e.g., Customer Service, Editorial, Sales) or individual (so you know who’s the real Employee of the Month.) Here’s how to take a closer look at your social team’s performance.
Pro Tip: If your messaging reports aren’t showing the numbers you like, consider hacks #12, #13 and #14.
Ready to put these hacks into action and start making your job easier today? Try Hootsuite for 30 days free.
Easily manage all your social media in one place and save time with Hootsuite.