Bulk scheduling your tweets in Hootsuite is a real time saver. The time you save with scheduled tweets in Hoostuite are almost equivalent to having a staff member managing your social media for you. With over 50 accounts to manage between my job at ADP for usedcars.com and the work I do for EmMeCon trying to stay up with what the audience for each channel finds valuable is time consuming. Sure Chirpsy helps with some of it with their articles scheduled every 4-6 hours, but getting something up that promotes the Wappow.com website, pushing articles and reposting them, even getting car buyers helpful tips at the right time as they look for a used car is all very time consuming. If I get locked into meetings all day, or decide to go on vacation for a few days – I can’t leave those accounts to run dry. So I seed them with valuable content that each channel’s user set will gain from, and fill in with real time posts here or engage with the retweets or questions/comments as time allows.
So How Does one Schedule Posts in Hootsuite?
Well – first you need a Hootsuite account. If you don’t have one already, now is the time to get set up. If you plan on scheduling more than one account, and want to take full advantage of the scheduler I recommend the Pro Account.
The step-by-step guide here walks you through using the Hootsuite bulk scheduler for twitter. Because Twitter only allows up to 140 characters including the URL length, getting set up to upload is a bit more tricky. I made it easier with a Hootsuite bulk scheduler template that you can enter the year, enter your day you want to start, enter 4 different times a day, and then add your tweets. The template will let you know if you have gone over 140 characters with a count, and a red, yellow, or green ball so you can visually glance through and make any corrections before you get started.
What’s Required for the Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler?
Hootsuite has very crucial rules when using the bulk scheduler. The scheduler must be in a csv file and the format should be as follows:
- Column 1: Date and time. The accepted date format is: mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm or dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm – Be sure to identify which format you are using when uploading. Also – the time must be set in the future (at least 10 minutes from upload time).
- Column 2: Your Tweet (must be under 140 characters).
- Column 3: URL (optional): The full URL (Hootsuite will shrink it for you and apply their tracking URL)
Setting Up Your Tweets For Scheduling
I recommend having a separate list of tweets you want to schedule here and there under each common topic. I personally have an excel doc with tweets with one-liners for the personal account, a doc with marketing advice that can work for both EmMeCon and SEOGoddess, a doc with Social Media tweets, Gaming tweets, Mobile tweets, all that can work across all the EmMeCon related accounts. I then have tweets that offer advice for talking to dealers when buying a car, tweets focusing on specific makes and models of vehicles, tweets that link to the Best Deals section of the site, and so on. Then I mix them up and schedule them in bulk together. This way my followers don’t feel like the account is merely scheduled and not monitored.
Download the Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler Template
Download the Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler Template and open up the excel document. Enter in the year you are in (it’s already set to 2014). Enter in the Month and Day you would like the tweets to start. Then enter in 4 times you would like to see your tweets go out. If you want to leave the times of day as they are currently set, then you are welcome to just leave them.
Enter Tweets into the Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler Template
With the template, all you need to do is type (or paste) the tweets into the “Tweets” tab of the document. Enter the URL you would like the tweet to send people to (if there isn’t one, you can leave that blank) and the Tweet Length column will add up the characters and let you know if you are within your 140 characters. If you go over, the ball turns to red so you can quickly go through all of your tweets when you are done and trim them as needed.
Upload Your Tweets
Before you are ready to upload, the tweets need to go into a csv file (Comma Separated Value). The excel document, when uploaded, won’t work. So we need to open up a new document in excel and save as a csv. Save it to your desktop, documents, or somewhere where you will be able to locate it quickly and easily.
Next copy the entire “Upload” tab from the template and paste as “Values” in the new csv you created, and save the document. Now you are ready to upload your tweets.
Log into Hootsuite and click on the “Publisher” icon (the paper airplane looking icon) on the left. Then click the “Schedule in Bulk” button.
Now you see the Bulk Scheduler in Hootsuite. Click the “Choose File” button, find the csv file you have now saved with your tweets. Be sure to leave the mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm date format selected (that is the one we chose to use). Select the account you would like the tweets to be applied to (you can choose more than one, but I don’t recommend it as it will definitely appear that you scheduled your tweets to people that follow more than one of your accounts). Then click “Submit”…
If the upload was succesful than you are all set. If there are errors, Hootsuite is very good about letting you know where they are, what they are, and you can easily go back and fix them. Leaving dates blank is a common one (if you don’t complete all 349 tweets), or already having a few scheduled tweets before trying to schedule 349 more (they max at 350).
So you see how easy it can be. Now I add the end date that displays in the template to my calendar and set an appointment to schedule more. This way I don’t miss a day of tweets…
Good luck, and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I would love to get your feedback on the template in case there is room for improvement.