Published on August 28, 2013
How to use Hootsuite to Share Content Optimising snippets for Social Sharing Jason Darrell, Darrelldoo
Keeping it together Hootsuite is great for sharing to all your social networks at once, but sometimes the results can be frustrating. With the inconsistency in extracted images between Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn, there’s little we can do other than badger them to death about their API. What we can control, if we have the patience, is the content. Hashtags, @mentions and URLs can get truncated, our message get totally lost and, as for calls to action, nobody’s going to react if you ask them to: “Share my con…” When all you want is your article circulated, hard enough to pull off if you’re a social unknown, it’s even more difficult if followers think you’re a crook.
Let’s kill the precedent Last week, +Kristoffer Howes shared an inspirational post about character length optimisation. The day after, Yifat Cohen shared a post about magazines and the veritable bookstore they offer us as tasters here on Google Plus. Connected? You wouldn’t thinks so. At least not until you saw this...
In this case, the pictures don’t tell the full story...
Should we really give a Hoot? So, putting those two twos together gave me my most popular post on the Plus to date. But it didn’t stop there. Snippet optimisation is a bugbear that, when you’re trying to fit social in between work - or even as work - there’s no one-size fits all tool to scale your message to all networks and be done. For me, Hootsuite is a great tool to share your everyday content. Especially if it’s for a client and they just expect you to arouse interest and they do the follow-up engagement. But the results often look tatty, unless you compose separate messages for Twitter, then LinkedIn, then your G+ or Facebook Page. What if there was a way you could develop a tool that optimised character counts for them all-in- one..?
Enter Mr. Spreadsheet At my last place of (real) work, I had the unfortunate moniker of Mr Excel. And although I was an ace salesman, the nickname didn’t refer to me breaking through monthly target figures. I like spreadsheets. They organise everything. Something that I’m pretty crap at, if all things be told. I put that knowledge to the test and, after lots of different tests to see what worked, this was the result...
Houston, we have a problem… ...this dashboard is a freakin’ mess!
Shared snippets are tiny! Going back to Kristoffer’s post, he identified that when you share a Google+ post, only 100 characters carry across from the original article beneath your post. That’s not a great deal of space to describe the related content, especially if you include a scenario in the intro. Unless you curate it well, the reader is often left guessing, but that’s another hot potato a few of us are addressing. Using 50 characters for a title decreases space yet further.
Step 1 & 1a: segregate savvy snippets To join in, please go to the public worksheet and save a copy in your Drive. Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Keep the boxes green and your snippet will be good for all networks via Hootsuite. Start with the intro to your snippet. If your content’s title doesn’t describe it, ask yourself why. You have 55-70 characters to get your description in.
1b & 1c: Ow.ly URLs & hashtags 1b, there’s a link to Ow.ly to shorten your content’s URL. Bit.ly shortens to 21 characters, Ow.ly 18. Every character counts. Hootsuite also uses Ow.ly. Finally, 1c, hastag(s). The counter at the end of the row will tell you how many characters you have left to reach the first 100. Check the “G+ snippet” in the snippet previews below (slide 13). If you’re unsure of the popularity of hashtags for your post, try a few out at IceRocket. Link included; test blogs, Twitter, facebook etc., then enter in 1c.
Call to action & @mentions Down a row are Steps 2 & 3. Maximum of 35 characters here. Hootsuite truncates Tweets @ 135 characters if there’s text to follow after the 140 count. Step 2a: You need a CTA. I’ve preloaded a dropdown menu with a swipe-file to give you a hand with suggestions. Enter them into the yellow-brick road manually. 2b is for mentions. There’s a link to Tweepz if you want to find someone’s Twitter handle but only have their name. Tweet preview is beneath (slide 13)
Step 3: What should your customer do with the info? To take the share up to the 200 character limit for LinkedIn/Google+ Page, we have 60 characters left. We need to get savvy business customer to act. Ask for their experience or instruct them what you want them to do next. Really! Hootsuite currently permits 2,000 characters for facebook. However, there’s doubt on effectively using Facebook with Hootsuite, if not with using facebook at all.
Previews of your shares Beneath the Yellow Brick Road you have the previews of each snippet as it will appear: ➢ Tweet, 135 characters ➢ Hootsuite 200 char message to upload (link to Hootsuite dash included) ➢ G+ shared post snippet You can, of course, just copy the Tweet and load that separately if you want to maximise the 140 characters and do away with the truncation.
CTA Drop-Down in action Click the arrow at the right of the cell above Step 2a - it should come preloaded with CTA Suggestions. Choose an idea, amend it to your subject/offer then type in manually.
Job done - get Hooting! All that’s left for you to do now is upload the 200 character string into your “Hootsuite Compose Message”, choose your networks and schedule it for publication, either manually or by autoschedule. You see that Twitter is -54, Linked in 10, nothing for G+ & fb 1,810 characters.
Tests & Results I won’t go into too much detail about the results yet, with so much left to do. But I can include some screenshots from the initial tests. A more descriptive catalogue behind these first tests is available here: http://bit.ly/1fhPzfW When tests are more conclusive, we’ll swap these here for them.
Initial tests: Google+ Page & Share (http://bit.ly/1fhPzfW)
Initial tests: Twitter/Tweet
Initial test: LinkedIn
Initial Test: Facebook
What next? Three more additional functionality changes are planned: 1) Add a separate page for the Facebook Page share, up to 2,000 characters 2) Turn the whole spreadsheet into a form, like MS Access 3) Add tracing ability, creating specific ?utm_source functionality to URLs Then it will be ready to go live, mid-Sept. 2013
About If I'm not here on G+, I'm either over at the feeder blog for my Freelancer Plus daily ezine or freelancing for private clients. If there's anything you want to know about G+, please just ask me. I'm hovering around the top 200 overall/top 150 male accounts in the UK on CircleCount, Google Plus' official registrar, so I'm pretty good for the gen. I work, rest & play in the SEO, quality content, social media and Google Authorship world. You're more than welcome to accompany me on this fantastic journey into the Semantic Web as it unfolds. If you have a copywriting or social media management enquiry, submit it to http://bit.ly/darrelldoo or any questions/comments, catch me on Google Plus. Thank you so much for sticking with this, my first Drive Presentation.
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