Rural Businesses: Get your Social Media Organized With Hootsuite

by Joanne Steele on December 2, 2010

Last week I promised to delve into the 10 Cures for Your Social Media Pains at Jamie Beckland’s Social Media Gold Owly necklaceExaminer blog.

Here goes, with Point #1:

I Can’t Keep Track of What’s Going On (in the Social Media Channels I’m Supposed to be Engaged On)

I added the part in parentheses to Jamie’s original header, because for many exceedingly busy small rural businesses, the “WHY??” is the first question.

I’m going to repeat again.. The only rationale for being on any social media site for rural businesses is because your customer is there looking for info about you or businesses like yours.

Are your customers going to Facebook looking for your daily specials, like they do for Cornerstone Café in Dunsmuir?  Or to see the lastest news about adventure business in your area like they do  for River Dancers Rafting? Then there’s a reason to be on Facebook.

Are your customers using Twitter to learn about the latest fun in your neck of the woods as they’re planning their next weekend getaway, like people are doing in the Fox Cities region of Wisconsin? Then you better be giving then what they’re looking for on Twitter.

How about Foursquare? Are people playing this travel game in your area, and you’re missing out on attracting them into your business?

“YIKES!!” You’re saying. I can’t keep up with one more thing!!

Enter Jamie Berkland’s suggestion that you get a social dashboard.

I personally love the free Hootsuite social dashboard. If you are active (or wish you were more active) on 5 or fewer sites, this one will work well for you.

You can set Hootsuite up to track what’s happening on your Facebook Page, your Twitter site, your Foursquare account and two more social media sites you’ve found important for your market. If you want to include more, there is a small monthly charge.

On one page you can see everything that’s occurring in real time, and respond right from the Hootsuite dashboard.

I understand your reluctance to to start anything new. But, take the plunge and log into and I guarantee, if you have just a Facebook page and a Twitter account, you’ll gain back the time spent in setting up your  account by aggregating your social media accounts and managing them from one place.

Hootsuite is exceedingly powerful, with lots of features you might at some time find useful. Just start by creating you account and setting up your twitter and Facebook pages. Then, when you’ve gained some confidence, look at some of the other neat features.

If you get stuck, look at their help menu – the user-generated help topics were very useful. And if you don’t find what you need, go back to Google and search for an answer to your specific problem. Using Google searches, I found dozens of videos about Hootsuite at YouTube that were very informative. .

So, if you’re already using Hootsuite, what advice can YOU give everyone?

Photo on Flickr by Splashing

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