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Social Media Strategy Refresher for Fall 2012: HootSuite and Content Calendars

It’s August. Ready or not, in a few short weeks thousands of students around the world return to their college or university.  Higher education professionals, meanwhile, return to balancing the demands of students on campus and their other administrative duties.  For those of you whose other duties include social media management, like myself, this balancing act can only be accomplished with the help of some critical tools.  I’d like to offer a quick refresher for those of us emerging from higher education-summer project mode.

Social Media Tip #1 – HootSuite. Like a fine wine, HootSuite gets better with age.  There is one update you should be aware of, if you have not seen or heard of it already – Hootlet. This tiny button (pictured below) has been around for a little while. It lets you share a website with a simple click to automatically shorten the link and capture the website title.  A very handy tool, indeed. Now, you can auto schedule and let HootSuite pick when your message is sent out to optimize its reach.  It is possible to adjust the message’s time, especially if you want to keep a particular post in line with other messages of the day.  I have already found this update to be extremely useful when colleagues email me articles or I come across something worth sharing on other platforms, like LinkedIn Today.

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HootSuite’s Hootlet Window

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The Hootlet Browser Button

Social Media Tip #2 – Content Calendar.  If you have more than one social media account to manage, HootSuite can help with the execution and a content calendar can help with strategy.  In fact, I would say it is a must for a solid strategy.  You need to plan ahead to engage all of your students and alumni on various social media platforms. This is also true to interact with departments across your institution.  Think of major events and programs you have already confirmed, and create themed weeks or months from there.

Right now is a perfect time to create a content calendar, if you do not have one already in place.  For me, I use Google Calendar.  It’s free, it’s online, it can be shared, and, best of all, it’s color-coded.  Different colors for different accounts will help you see your social media presence in a whole new way.

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Social Media Content Calendar Using Google Calendar


Campus comes alive and there is an excitement in the air with a new academic year.  The demands undergraduates and graduates bring in the fall can pose a challenge for higher education professionals, especially those who incorporate social media management into their existing duties. A content calendar and HootSuite, especially the Hootlet extension, are critical tools to ensure your messages across platforms are dynamic and on target each time.

by Shannon

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