HootSuite is my tool of choice for manage my social media properties. I recently took on a challenge to help a small non-profit with their social media presence. One of the tools that I recommended they use was HootSuite because of the various functionalities that it provides.
One the things that this non-profit has is a plan for the next few months of the activities that they will be engaging in and would like to share via their channels. One HootSuite feature that will allow them to make this task a lot easier is bulk scheduling. Given that they already have a plan and dates set, bulk scheduling is a no brainer.
Bulk scheduling involves working with and uploading a .csv file that includes a date, message and url (if applicable) fields. This is something that is easy enough but, when using excel to create/edit a .csv file, you could run into an issue (like I did) where the date format is not accepted.
The accepted date formats are mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm or dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm but when editing some sheets, excel takes over and decides to auto format the date to a format that HootSuite does not accept. I have not been able to figure out how to disable auto formatting but I managed to find a workaround the that allows me to make bulk uploads.
1. Open an Excel document and format the cells in column ‘A’ to ‘text’. Column ‘B’ will contain your message and ‘C’ a url (if any) and no formatting is required for these columns.
2. Complete the spreadsheet with updates (following the stipulated rules – look at the image below) (Note: the first rule of double quotation marks and separating fields by commas seems to be redundant. I didn’t follow it and was able to upload successfully)
3. Once you are satisfied that everything is correct, save the file as a .csv (File > Save As, > Format > Comma Separated Values (.csv) > Save)
4. Go the HootSuite dashboard to bulk schedule the messages (Publisher > Schedule in Bulk) where you chose the appropriate file, the date format you used, and the network through which the messages will be sent and then click submit. All going well, you should see a success message.
Where Things Seem To Go Wrong
The whole process seems to go wrong when I open the .csv file to make a couple of edits and then save and close it again. That said, the best thing to do is to work on and edit messages to bulk schedule in a normal Excel .xls/.xlsx file as per above and doing a save as to save the final spreadsheet as a .csv and uploading that file without fiddling with it in any way.
I hope this helps! And one more tip, if you don’t have Excel, you can create the necessary .csv files using Google Docs, you just need to make sure that the date/time column ‘A’ is correctly formatted.
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