How to set up your Hootsuite dashboard so you’re always listening

For some of you that are new to social media, you might be overwhelmed with all the software and tools that are available to you. Some of you might not even know yet that there are tools to manage your Twitter streams more efficiently! But most importantly, some of you might not know how to set up your tools to make sure they are running at maximum efficiency.

One of my favourite software to use for Twitter is Hootsuite (it can be used for other networks as well, but I’ll be focusing on Twitter in this post). Hootsuite allows you to manage your content in a way that makes sense, and that is easy to follow. If set up properly, you won’t have to worry about sorting through mentions, re-tweets, direct messages, etc. There might also be people talking about you on Twitter, but not mentioning you in that Tweet – you want to be able to follow these conversations as well, and respond to people that are talking about you online.

I’ll show you how I set up my Hootsuite so I’m always aware of who mentions me, who talks about me, and what my Influencers are saying.

Set up your main Hootsuite dashboard so you can listen to EVERYTHING

I have a specific order in which I set up my main dashboard on Hootsuite.

First off, you’ll need to know how to setup your Twitter dashboard. Click on the new tab button (+ button) to start a new tab.

Once you start a new tab, you’ll need to start setting up streams. To do this, just click on the add stream button.

You’ll end up with a box like this. Select your Twitter account, and then start adding the “types of streams” on your dashboard.

Now you’re ready to start adding streams. My dashboard has the following streams, in this particular order – My Tweets Retweeted; Mentions; Keyword Search (domain name, hashtag, alternate spelling); Sent Tweets; Retweets By Me; Direct Message (Inbox); Direct Message (Outbox); Home Feed. You can slide the newly added streams in whatever position you want them by just clicking on the top bar, and dragging it.

All of these functions can be found in the main stream tab except for “Keyword Search” – this one is found in the Keyword tab:

I’ve added the following Keywords for SteamFeed’s account: SteamFeed [this is our domain name], #SMRebels [this is our hashtag], and “Steam Feed” [an alternate spelling]. This way, I can see who tweeted links from our website but haven’t mentioned us in the Tweet. This allows me to respond to people, and thank them for the Retweet, without them directly mentioning @steamfeedcom. Also, a lot of people mention @steamfeed instead of our Twitter account, so we can monitor these tweets as well.

With this setup, you’ll be able to listen to everything anyone is saying about you (or your company) in one simple place. I take it a step further, and listen to what my influencers are saying as well.

Listen to your influencers, brand evangelists, friends, and competitors

I always keep a close eye to what my influencers are saying, and I do this through Hootsuite. It’s the same setup as your “Keyword Search” for your own brand, except the keywords are for someone else’s Twitter presence.

To do this, create a new tab (like was shown previously). You can call that tab whatever you want (I name it “Tweep monitor,” for people I like to engage with). Once you’ve created the tab, start a new “Keyword Search” stream, like you did for your main dashboard. Instead of choosing keywords that are related to your Twitter account, type in the following: [Twitter handle], [domain name], and [alternate spelling]

For example, I like following conversations about Radian6, so I set up Radia6 (their domain name) and MarketingCloud (their Twitter handle) as search terms to monitor what they say, and what people say about the company. Make sure you don’t put the “@” symbol when you type in the twitter name that you want to follow, or it will only track people that are mentioning the account, not what that account is actually tweeting.

There are all sorts of things you can track with Hootsuite, as long as you know how to set it up. You can track industry keywords, your competitors, and what people are saying about you. Hopefully this helps you understand how to use Hootsuite as a listening dashboard, and helps maximize your Twitter management efficiency.

How do you use Hootsuite? Who (or what) do you like to track using this platform? Please leave a comment below!

Daniel Hebert
Daniel Hebert is an award-winning graduate of Mount Allison University, Digital Marketing Manager at PostBeyond, and Co-founder at He has a passion for digital marketing and entrepreneurship. If he wasn’t a marketer, he would take his love for food and become a chef.
Daniel Hebert

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30 Comments on "How to set up your Hootsuite dashboard so you’re always listening"

Steve Shipley
December 24, 2013

Great article (and great website) – helped me as a new Hootsuite user get things set up quickly and more effectively. This was far more insightful than most other similar articles. Thanks!
My recent post Book writing becomes more visual and interactive

March 18, 2013

Just a quick Hootsuite tip:

Their bookmarklet or Hootlet works on various iOS devices. This makes it convenient to share content to Hootsuite while browsing the web in the Safari browser app.

Michelle Mols
December 19, 2012

Daniel, these are great tips. I am wondering, can we also set this listening/monitoring mode with facebook or is it only a twitter thing? Thanks!

Daniel Hebert
December 21, 2012

Thanks Michelle!

I am not sure if you can for Facebook – most of Facebook is private information, compared to Twitter which is a public feed. I don't think Hootsuite can track Facebook, due to these privacy issues.

viVA La PA
October 25, 2012

#thanks for this Daniel – I have been resisting automating for months – because I do *notice* how people do their Tweets, but it has to be! Life is too short.
You have shown me how to do get started – so it's up to me now.

Daniel Hebert
October 19, 2012

Thanks for the comment Jacob! Glad you found it useful!

It took me a long time to sort all of this out, and come up with this listening dashboard. But it was worth it, as now I can easily listen to key conversations from some of my favourite influencers :)