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March 2011 Features » HootSuite Bulk Uploads, Home Pages, Building Twitter Followers

Nancy McCord, Owner of McCord Web Services LLC.Dear Friend,

Wow, lot's is happening this month! To stay up-to-date make sure that you are reading our blog as we blog three times a week and then choose the very best blog posts for our newsletter with expanded content.

In this issue we highlight Twitter and cool tools and techniques that will impact your following base as well as our best practices for the home page of your website. Enjoy this issue and don't forget to follow our spokesdog on Twitter at to help us with our project.

Best Regards,

Nancy McCord

Connect with me online on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Plaxo | Naymz | Our Blog

HootSuite Bulk Uploads | How Much Content for Home Pages? |Building Twitter

HootSuite Introduces a Bulk Upload Option for Pro Accounts

HootSuiteIf you have the HootSuite Pro version then you may have already tried this option. If you are using HootSuite Free then this may be the reason to upgrade, and if you are not using HootSuite at all, this may be the reason you take a look.

HootSuite is an online Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, and Facebook Business Page update and status scheduling tool. I have used it for team management and self management of small accounts. Just this last week I checked out the Pro account version bulk upload of status updates feature.

First, although HootSuite offers a sample .csv file to review and to use for your own updates as a bulk upload template, I found that Excel kept changing the date format and did not offer the date format HootSuite wanted for load, and so I moved to Notepad to do my list creation.

This is the format to use:

09/02/2011 09:00,”Check out our blog writing prices and blog clients on this page.”,”

Note that the date format is day first, then month, then year followed by time on a 24 hour clock. The update must be wrapped in quotes, and then the URL wrapped in quotes. Each of these three fields is separated by a comma.  You may be able to leave your full unshrunk URL, but to be safe, I shrunk my URL ahead of time for my load document.

Of important note is that HootSuite will not allow duplicate status updates. So you can not load more than one version. It only takes a moment to change the wording, but you will need to do that for sure before loading to prevent an error message.

Ride the web to success using Twitter.Additionally, the Bulk Upload feature allows for only a maximum of 50 unique updates to be loaded at a time. I found that the load creation was time consuming, but was able to be used on multiple accounts. I saved the document and will re-use this load anytime I go on vacation for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn coverage.

When you go to upload your text file, you will select your social network from the icon list, then put your cursor in the message field. The box opens and allows you (for Pro accounts only) the option to bulk upload. Browse to your upload file on your computer disk then click okay. You will then see all your updates appear in the pending stream column instantaneously. I think this is a great new feature for HootSuite.

Social Oomph offers this same feature for professional level accounts as well but without duplication restriction. Social Oomph also has some additional power user features such as follower vetting and follower approval filtering which is very helpful for the serious Twitter user.

Please note that if you click the links in this post and purchase either Professional Level accounts from these suppliers that they will pay me a commission (which will allow me to buy lunch at McDonald’s). Thanks for your support and try out these two applications they may end up being big time savers for you too.


Why Not Put Just a Wee Bit of Content on Your Home Page?

Why not?I get asked this question a lot “Why do big companies just have a wee bit of content on their home page?”. There are several reasons why a website owner would want just a wee bit of content on their home page but nearly all reasons will not help you to garner organic search engine placement.

  1. Mistaken idea that the home page should be “pretty” and not have much content but lots of images.

  2. Mistaken idea that the home page is not important.

  3. Missed opportunities to introduce the depth and breadth of the website.

When I first started in web design 10 years ago, splash pages were the rage. A splash page  is where you had a graphic-intense home page that had little if any content and was very different in look from the inside pages of your website. We have now moved away from this model as an industry. Now, nearly every SEO and web design expert consider the home page crucial real estate for search engine placement.

You simply cannot garner the organic search placement you need to be competitive in today’s online marketplace with images or Flash components (that search engines cannot read adequately at this point) as key factors on your home page. For small to medium sized businesses the best plan is to have a keyword dense, web authority-focused, content rich home page.


How Do You Grow Your Twitter Fan Base? Watch Me!

KeeblerI have set up about four weeks ago a Twitter account for our spokesdog Keebler. On its own, linked from our website, and promoted in our e-newsletter, her Twitter follower base has grown to a whooping five followers as of mid February. (Two of which are my own Twitter accounts.)

I am going to teach you, and you can watch my efforts, how to grow a Twitter following in the next 30 days. Remember our starting point is 5 followers.

Here are the steps I am taking and I will give you regular updates over the next 30 days.

  1. Set up an account at Social Oomph (they pay me lunch at McDonald’s if you click this link and buy the Pro version). Add your Twitter account information there and then set up an auto responder and auto follow function for your account. This means if someone follows you on Twitter you automatically follow them.  Twitter is a reciprocal universe. It is not until you are big with over 1,000 followers that you should consider vetting followers or screening who you follow. You can do this on Social Oomph as well. But at this phase we want to BUILD a following fairly quickly. Don't follow anyone yet!

  2. Now that the automation part is set up, start by making sure you are logged in to your Twitter account and start doing searches of people to follow on Twitter and click the button to follow them. In most cases these people will follow you back. My guideline for new accounts is to select people in your industry or news that your particular followers will find interesting. So, for Keebler, we should follow her food supplier – IAMS, her pet toy store – PetSmart, her vet – if he has a Twitter profile (he doesn't and so really should see me!), and other pet related Twitter sites. I even followed dog trainers and rescue sites as she is a rescue dog. I try to find about 75 people to follow to get going.

  3. Now sit back and watch your Twitter Feed using HootSuite or TweetDeck and interact with the people you are following. (Remember HootSuite pays me if you upgrade to Pro when you click this link – but a just enough to buy me lunch at McDonald's.) Interaction with your new followers and those you follow is key. Take time to retweet interesting updates, ask questions, in other words have fun connecting. As you retweet and interact more people will join in the fun. For Keebler's account we have grown from 5 followers to 60 in just a week.

It is very important to understand that putting your Twitter icon on your website and blog are simply not enough to grow a following, you must work the system for your Twitter account to grow and it takes time. Make sure you fill your follower list with spammers, so be thoughtful about who you choose to follow. Think about what other people want to read when they come to your Twitter home page. There should be a match between your focus and who you follow.

Now watch to see how I am growing this account in action in the next 30 days. Oh by the way, if you are on Twitter, come on follow me now to help me get Keebler going!


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