Protect Your Online Reputation by Continuous Monitoring and Updating: Using Hootsuite for Social Media Monitoring

By Michael Klazema

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When it comes to general internet content (such as articles and blog posts), the best way to monitor your online reputation is by setting up Google Alerts. For social media, your strategy is going to have to be different. Because of privacy settings, the fast-paced nature of social media, and various other factors, most social network posts won’t make a dent in Google search results. As a result, if anyone is posting negative things about you on Facebook or Twitter, you may or may not get a Google Alert letting you know about it. Instead, you have to be vigilant about monitoring your social media presence and watching for posts, photos, and other types of content that you wouldn’t want employers or other important people to see.

The Social Networking Burden

If you just have a Facebook, a Twitter, and a LinkedIn, you will probably find that monitoring your social media presence isn’t too much of a burden. If you are like most recent graduates, you grew up with social media and have already spent years juggling multiple networks.

As you start to become more active on social media—pages on networks like Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr can all be good for online branding and visibility—you might start to feel the weight. Monitoring and managing one or two networks on a daily basis isn’t too difficult. Monitoring and managing half a dozen is more difficult, especially if you are trying to stay active and build followings on each.

If you do start to feel like your social networking burden is wearing you down, you have a few choices. The first option is to pare down your social media presence so that you only have three or four networks instead of seven or eight. The problem with this plan is that it can hurt your branding and decrease your online visibility, which is the opposite of what you should be trying to accomplish as a young professional.

The second option is to focus your energies on the “most important” networks—usually Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—and check or update your others more sparingly. This route is a better one to take as it keeps those pieces of your social media presence online even if you aren’t using them all the time. However, even this option is problematic. If you aren’t making a point of being active on a few of your social networks, that will stunt the growth of your following. If you aren’t paying attention to one or more of your networks, you might not notice if someone starts badmouthing you on Twitter or posting not-so-flattering photos of you on Facebook.

Trying out Hootsuite

The solution is to start using Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to monitor all your social channels from one convenient hub. Businesses will often use Hootsuite to keep an eye on all of their social accounts and respond to any questions or messages they receive from customers. It also allows brands to survey what people are saying about them online.

Hootsuite can serve a similar purpose for your personal brand. Instead of trying to keep up with messages, comments, retweets, shares, tags, posts, and other social media events separately, Hootsuite aggregates everything into one convenient dashboard. Using the dashboard, you can keep an eye on all of your networks at once. If someone messages you about a job on social media, you can use Hootsuite to reply directly. If you start getting a bunch of mentions on Twitter, you can use Hootsuite to review them all and see what is going on.

In short, you can use Hootsuite to manage all of your accounts in one place. Instead of going to different websites or using multiple apps to manage your social presence, you only need one site and one app. The service can simplify just about every part of your social media management process. You save time because you don’t have to remember to check half a dozen different sites multiple times a day. You save room on your smartphone’s home screen because you can just have one app to manage all of your social accounts. Perhaps most importantly, you save yourself the risk of missing something important on social media and suffering the potential reputational fallout.

How to Set up Hootsuite

If you are interested in trying out Hootsuite, follow the steps below to get started with the service:

  1. Get online and direct your web browser to hootsuite.com. Once there, click the “Sign Up” button at the top of the page.

  2. Choose your plan. There is a limited free plan that allows you to manage three social networks, as well as take advantage of Hootsuite’s message scheduling and social media analytics features. This plan is fine if you just want to get an idea of how Hootsuite works. However, to get the full benefits of Hootsuite discussed above, you need to be able to use it to manage all your social accounts. If you decide to become a paying customer, the “Professional” package will suffice. You get support for 10 social accounts, and the price is just $9.99 per month (if you pay for a year upfront) or $14.99 (if you pay month-to-month).

  3. Follow the instructions from Hootsuite to add your social accounts to the service. You can use it to manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Foursquare, Instagram, Wordpress, Tumblr, Evernote, MailChimp, Flickr, Slideshare, and others.

  4. Once you’ve added your social networks to Hootsuite, you can start configuring “streams” for each one. In Hootsuite, how you set up your streams is going to dictate how the service will monitor each of your accounts. For instance, with Twitter, you might have one stream that alerts you when you’ve gotten a new follower and another that lets you know about recent mentions. The types of streams you can use will depend on the unique features of the social network in question. Go through each of your networks and add streams that you think are important for keeping up to date with your social presence.

  5. Download Hootsuite onto your smartphone. While you can monitor your Hootsuite dashboard from a desktop computer, you need to have the mobile app to get the full benefits of the service. Without mobile, you can only get notifications, respond to messages or mentions, and manage your social accounts when you are near a computer. With mobile, you can manage from anywhere. Hootsuite mobile will help free up space on your homepage by giving you one app to manage your social accounts rather than six or seven different apps.

Once you’ve completed the five steps above, you will be ready to start monitoring your social media accounts with Hootsuite. You can also take advantage of the other features that the service has to offer, such as scheduled social media posts. If you are someone who tends to forget to be active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or any of your other networks, scheduling your posts in advance can be a good way to begin posting consistently.

Conclusion

More and more employers are looking at social media profiles, whether to learn more about who you are as a person or to find out what your online brand looks like. Because of this fact, social media has become a core component of your online reputation. Using Hootsuite to manage your social media accounts will help protect you against reputational risks and make sure that your pages are always ready for the eyes of a recruiter or employer.

About the Author:

Michael Klazema has been developing products for criminal background check and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.

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