When I taught PR Research last fall as well as in some previous semesters, I signed up to participate in Hootsuite’s Student Program. (This program was previously called Hootsuite University’s Higher Education Program.) Hootsuite is a social media management program to help you manage various social media platforms within a single dashboard. You can post to several social media profiles with a simple click, schedule posts, assign co-workers tasks to complete (like reviewing a post or responding to a post), view streams for monitoring purposes, and discover new content to post.
When I talk about this rogue Red Cross tweet in classes, I always mention that the author was using Hootsuite. You have to be careful not to confuse your personal and your professional accounts!
Being a part of the student program allows the professor and students access to Hootsuite’s basic features, free online courses through Hootsuite Academy, and a Free Hootsuite Platform Certification. Hootsuite is a useful and powerful tool, but my only issue is that the basic features don’t allow students to practice some of the content covered in the certification test and the videos in the Hootsuite Academy don’t necessary prepare students for the test. I had all my students make a concerted effort to pass the test and maybe about one-quarter of them did.
Back in 2015, I was certified as a Hootsuite Certified Professional but since then, they have changed the test. It’s still on my LinkedIn profile as a certificate, but I’m no longer listed in the Hootsuite Certified Professionals Directory. The directory is another nice benefit of the program.
I would highly recommend that you consider incorporating Hootsuite into your courses. Here is the assignment that I used, and like I mentioned, in the end, I didn’t require the certification:
- (Conversation icon) Set up streams of your Twitter timeline, Twitter mentions and a hashtag of your choosing. Take a screenshot.
- Schedule three tweets that you write yourself. Use a link in at least one tweet.
- (Paper airplane icon) Look at Suggestions and find three other tweets that you will tweet. Take a screenshot of the Schedule with all six tweets.
- (Bar chart icon) Produce the Twitter Engagement Summary (might not be available) and URL Click Stats Ow.ly reports using one of the links you tweeted. You might want to give your link some time to get some clicks before you get the report. Take a screenshot (or insert) your report.
- (Blue ribbon icon) Set up a Twitter hashtag contest for a common hashtag. After the gallery populates, take a screenshot.
- Set up a list of people to follow in the streams and give it a name (PR Professionals, Tampa Restaurants, etc.). You can click on a name from a stream and then add them to a list. (Person icon) Take a screenshot of the members of the list from the People page.
- Finally, take and pass the test to become Hootsuite Certified. Take a screenshot of your certificate.