Scheduling in Bulk with Hootsuite (Complete How-to Guide)

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When I was making HootBulk I needed to consult Hootsuite help files many times. There were a lot of people frustrated with the bulk uploader and with that in mind I took on the task of learning everything about it. Today I’m sharing what I learned and will walk you on how to correctly create CSV file from scratch. Let’s us begin.


  1. Make a new Excel template workbook


  2. Creating a .csv File with Excel

    Select column “A” completely. Putting the mouse pointer in “A” does this (it changes to an arrow pointing down). When you left click column “A” it will turn blue.

    Select All bulk message times

    Go to Home > Number format (you will see an option that says “General”). Click the dropdown menu and select “Custom”. In “Type:” write dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm (with a space between yyyy and hh)

    Format Cells Bulk Schedule

  3. You just save yourself a lot of headaches with the previous step. The next step is to decide your starting day, the number of tweets you will like to send per day and the time period (days, weeks, months). Let’s say that you want to start sending tweets on December 24, send two a day and for two days. Let’s start with the days:



  • In column “A1” type 24/12/2012 11:00

  • In column “A2” type 24/12/2012 16:00

  • In column “A3” type 25/12/2012 08:00

  • In column “A4” type 25/12/2012 14:00




When you finish typing your days and times it will look like this

Setting Times Hootsuite Bulk schedule

IMPORTANT:


  • You don’t need to add quotations in the days (I figure out this the hard way when making HootBulk)

  • Times need to be in the 24-hour clock. If you want to know which times is which just subtract 12. E.g 16:00 is 4:00 pm

  • All times must be at least 10 minutes from upload time. The best solution to this is to upload the csv the day before the first tweet. E.g you upload on the 23rd and the bulk tweets start on the 24th

  • Posting times must end in 5 or 0. This mean that you should not put 8:53, 11:11, etc. Only ending with 5 or 0, such as 12:00, 13:05, etc.

  • Only one message per time slot. This means that you can’t send a tweet at the exact same time. E.g you can’t have column”A1” with 24/12/2012 11:00 and column “A2” with 24/12/2012 11:00. You are duplicating the times.




  • The next step is to add the tweet in column “B” corresponding the time slot in column “A”. In other words the tweets you write in column “B” will go at the time and day specified in column “A”.


  • Hootsuite schedule tweets

    If that tweet has an URL write it in column “C”.

    NOTE: URL’s need to have http://

    Your final spreadsheet should look like this

    Excel Bulk Tweet Scheduler

    IMPORTANT:


    • Messages in column “B” don’t need to be inside quotations.

    • If you duplicate messages Hootsuite will send you an error. Make sure you have different tweets per column.



  • We finished formatting the bulk scheduler. Go to file > Save As > Select Comma Separated Values (.csv)


  • Save As CSV

    NOTE: If a popup message appears telling you that the csv file cannot save multiple sheets just click “Save Active Sheet”. If you see the content, it is the selected and active sheet.

  • Go to your Hootsuite dashboard and to the publisher. Click the button “Schedule in Bulk”


  • Schedule in Bulk

    Next click “Choose File” to upload the csv file you just exported. Select the social networks you want and on “Choose Date Format” select dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm and click “Submit”.

    Hootsuite CSV export


    Wait until you get a success message and your done. That’s it! You just created a correctly formatted bulk schedule csv. Go back to the publisher to review what you just uploaded.

    Hope this helps

    HootBulk Bulk Scheduler
    Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk scheduler

    QUESTIONS?

    If you get errors when uploading the csv file please don’t hesitate to post them here. I will be more than happy to help.

    Hootsuite Certified Professional
    Photo of Luis O Maymi

    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Posted 2 years ago

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    Vitaly Merkulov, Ambassador

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    Hi Luis,

    Thanks for the great tutorial. One thing to add if you don't mind. Should links in the column "C" be already shortened?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Thanks for the kind words. I prefer to shorten all links with ow.ly before uploading the csv mainly because you will be able to know the correct character count and the spreadsheet looks cleaner.

    On the other hand when I schedule tweets from Google Alerts I leave them in their original form. Hootsuite will automatically shorten them for you, but you still need to leave some character space (I leave 20).
    Photo of Vitaly Merkulov

    Vitaly Merkulov, Ambassador

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    Does your template shows number of characters in message?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Yes it does. When your pasting full URL's it will give you a red icon warning message if your tweet goes over 120 characters. It also check for duplicate tweets and warns you if your url's don't have http://.
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    Vitaly Merkulov, Ambassador

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    You're Excel jedi master!
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    I trained under the guidance of a "Jedi master" called YouTube :-)
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    Sarah

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    Lol! Thanks for passing on the knowledge of YouTube! :)

    - Sarah | @HootSuite_Help
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    Charlie Fyffe

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    So if I want the exact same tweet to go out one week from one another, the bulk scheduler will still reject it because it is technically a duplicate?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    If the tweet and the url's are identical it will see it as a duplicate and reject it. On the other hand you can use the exact same tweet, but changing the url.

    For example in the first week tweet: "Here is my tweet" "http://shorten.url/1"

    On the second week just change the url: "Here is my tweet" "http://shorten.url/2"

    The bulk scheduler will see it as a different tweet. You can also slightly change the tweet title and leave the url the same.
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    Charlie Fyffe

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    THANK YOU!!!
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    Morten Mikkelsen

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    Hi,
    I am experiencing some problem scheduling images to posts with bulk. Instead of showing me the image under the post (like if I do it manually on facebook) it shows me a URL of the photo as a link but not as an image........
    How can I change it (if possible)???
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    Charlie Fyffe

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    Thank you for this helpful thread btw!
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Always glad to help others with the bulk scheduler.
    Shorten URL in Bulk Scheduling not working properly.

    Hello,

    When I set up Bulk Scheduling, I'm told my CVS submission is successful and then I go to view the bulk schedule and when I go click the shorten link the HootSuite creates to test it the link leads to a dead page. I have to click edit to change each URL in all 50 schedule submission.

    To create the CVS I'm using Numbers iWorks on a Mac not Excel. Does that make a difference?

    Thank you for your time.
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Are your URL's inside quotation marks? If they are try removing them and upload the same csv file. To test this upload just one message to a distant day (like February 2013) and check if it works. If this don't work I will be happy to take a look at your csv file and fix it for you for future use (I also have iWorks Numbers). Numbers should not be the problem.

    Contact me at support@hootbulk.com
    NOTE: I'm not officially from Hootsuite support, but I will do my best to help you out.
    Luis O Maymi,

    Thank you for your guidance and help. I did a test and chose a February date in 2013. It worked great. I'm so pleased because now I can set up 50 ads in about ten minutes. Again, thank you for the help. I learned how to create a CVS file and how to use HootSuite bulk scheduling in three days.

    I did not use the quotes around URL in numbers iWorks and it Worked. Yeah!
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    Carlos García

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    Hi there!

    First of all thanks for this! :)

    I just did exactly the same you suggest and it doesn't work in my mac :(

    This message appears: "12 problems were found while uploading, any message will be posted until it's solved"... What should I do? :(

    Thanks in advance for your help!
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Hello Carlos

    Does it shows the problems? If so can you post a screenshot?

    Open the csv you exported in TextEdit to check if Excel changed the date formats. Sometimes (not sure why) this happens making the csv unusable. Also check if you did not duplicate times or tweets. An easy way to check this is by creating a conditional formatting rule (watch this video tutorial for how to do it).

    Let me know if you need any help
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    Inman News

    • 60 Points
    Is there a way to prevent Excel from changing the date formatting of csv files? It's really tripping me up. To work around this, I've stayed away from Excel and only used TextEdit, and manually inserted commas between times and tweets (Example: "02/14/2014 6:15,How would you...")

    I would very much prefer to be able to edit the document in Excel, however, particularly because Excel allows me to scramble the order of tweets. Also, I'm having trouble delegating some bulk tweeting responsibility to a colleague because she's running into the same problem with Excel.

    Just to clarify, when I save an Excel document as a .csv file with dates and times formatted like this "02/14/2014 6:15," Excel changes the date formatting so that the date appears as 2/15/14 6:15 if it's opened in TextEdit or re-opened in Excel.

    Help me!
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Hi Inman

    Is there a way to prevent Excel from changing the date formatting of csv files?

    As far a I know Excel does this by default. I haven't found a way to change this default formatting other than by manually changing the date format in the format cells window (step 1 in the tutorial above).

    If you like you can check out the Excel templates I created which locks the day formatting by using macros. Visit this page to see the two Excel versions available. If you want to know how they work check out the tutorials (with screenshots) on this page
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    Carlos García

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    Hi there,

    yea it shows it, in a very unclear way though.. :(

    Here is the pic

    Thanks!
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    Hi again

    Line # 1 has 2012 for year. Change that to 2013

    The problem is that there are semicolons ; at the end of url's. Remove them and leave just commas. For example:

    14/01/2013 11:00, EXACTLY One week for next release, http://short.url
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    Carlos García

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    And also (btw), would the program recognize the csv file uploaded if I use conditional formating or use other cells to calculate the length of the tweets and so on?

    Thank you very much! :)
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Yes, but when you save it will say that the workbook contain features that will not work or be removed. The final csv must look like dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm, Your tweet, http://short.url

    ** Nota: Si deseas me puedes escribir en español. **
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    Miranda

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    Yes, but the Bulk Uploader ignores extra fields to the right so it doesn't prevent upload.
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    Carlos García

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    Hola!

    Gracias por tu respuesta, para que veas, te voy a enseñar lo que yo he escrito en el excel, y una vez lo abro en un editor de texto me aparecen todos estos puntos y comas, muy extraño... ¿Tiene algún sentido que esto ocurra? :S

    (en la imagen, la parte de arriba es EXCEL, lo de abajo es editor de texto...)

    Muchas gracias!!
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    Evelien Koekkoek

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    Hi, I have the same problem as Carlos, but I can't read Spanish unfortunately. I followed the exact steps for excel (on Mac), but when I save the file as .csv file it changes and uses ; between the tekst. If I add " in the excell file, there wil be three times """ in the .csv file. What should I do?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Hi Evelien

    On your Mac go to System Preferences > Language & Text > Formats > Numbers > Customize.

    Number separators should be in:

    Decimal . (period)
    Thousands , (comma)

    If decimal has a comma, the csv file uses ; between text. Try changing that and see if it works. It worked for me last time.
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    Evelien Koekkoek

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    Hi Luis,

    Unfortunatly it doesn't work. Do you have any other tips? I'm going to try also to put the comma before and after the tekst in colum B. Hope this works, IlL let you know.

    Greets Evelien
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    Evelien Koekkoek

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    Yes, the comma before and after the text in colum B works!
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Hi Evelien

    That's how the bulk scheduler formatting is like. In fact csv files by default should be comma separated. The last person I helped that had your problem (; instead of ,) was because of the language the computer was in. Apparently since it was in Spanish the csv format was different. The workaround I mentioned above worked for his case, but other than that I don't know anything else (that I tried).
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    Carlos García

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    Hola!

    Sigue dandome el mísmo error... :S

    Te mandaré el mail ahora mismo a ver si podemos resolverlo.

    Muchas gracias!
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Saludos Carlos

    Acabo de enviarle el csv arreglado. Tenía algunos errores leves pero ahora podrá subir el archivo a Hootsuite.

    Me deja saber si le funciono
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    Marco Daccarett

    • 60 Points
    El tema es que deseo Postear imagenes en facebook, pero no se como hacerlo con el archivo .cvs

    Sera posible tu ayuda?
    marcodaccarett@gmail.com
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    StunningPR

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    Can you post the same tweet but on different days. I am doing work for a restaurant with regular specials every week. I have created a different tweet for every day of the week but then need to do the same tweets for the consecutive weeks. Is this possible?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    You won't be able to post the exact same (duplicate) tweet on a single csv file. Hootsuite will give you an error. However there is a way to overcome this limitation, which I discussed on the topic Duplicate Tweets Required.

    Another thing is that you could post the same tweet if you upload the csv separately on a weekly basis. If you use this method all you need to do is slightly change the tweets each week so it does not look exactly the same as the previous week. You can bulk schedule several weeks of tweet uploading two or three csv at once or remember to upload them each week.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask

    @HootBulk | Free Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler | http://ow.ly/fL4ms
    Is there a way to put a comma in the tweet text without being interpreted as column separator? Example: No, Thanks
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Yes you can. Just make sure you don't put a comma at the beginning or end of the tweet in column B.

    @HootBulk | Free Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler | http://ow.ly/fL4ms
    It won't work for me, it truncates my tweets... do you have any other tip?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Hi Astrid

    By truncating your tweets do you mean that it's separating them in different columns or reducing the characters of the tweet making it shorter?
    I mean it turns everything after the comma into an url that obviously leads to nothing
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    Neuro Dual

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    Hi Astrid, that's absolutely true. Indeed, to use csv with comma as separated value doesn't make any sense, since you use normally commas in real world sentences. I only wonder that no one else uses commas here... Or what kind of logic is that...?!
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    David Codr

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    Well i followed your instructions but keep getting an error that says "Found 1 problems with the upload, no messages will be scheduled until they are resolved:"

    But since the message neglects to specify what the problem is, i have no way to fix it.

    Extremely frustrating
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Don't worry David I'm here to help :-). Check out if all the years are 2013. Maybe a 2012 got mixed up. To help you better, if possible, I will like to see either a screenshot or the csv file. Feel free to contact me at support@hootbulk.com. Sometimes the mistake is so lame that it can barely be seen.

    I'm eager to help you out! Let me know.

    *NOTE: I'm not from Hootsuite official support. Just someone who want to help you with the frustration.

    @HootBulk | Free Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler | http://ow.ly/fL4ms
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    David Codr

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    I sent you an email last night with the sheets i tried to use. Did you get the email?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Hi David

    I just sent you the email. I wrote it this morning at a local cafe and for some reason the Internet blocked the outgoing server. What are the odds of that jajaja. Anyway I fixed it for you, but the are still some minor mistakes. Check the email for more info.
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    jessica nelson

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    1. I want to bulk schedule fb posts for 30 days in a group with photos. im not seeing how to do this with photos. is it possible?

    2. after 30 days of posts, I want them to start over every 30 days in a different group. Is there an easier way to do this without redoing a schedule?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Hi Jessica

    1. The bulk scheduler does not accept photos by default for Facebook. It will show the message as a tweet. There is a workaround which is manually editing each schedule message in the publisher by clicking "edit" and this will generate a link preview with the picture. You have to do it one message at a time.

    2. Unless you do an Excel formula to update the dates you will have to manually re-write them. A 30 days schedule is something I want to add in the next version of HootBulk. Let's see how it goes.

    Hope this helps
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    Graham Rouse

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    I belong to many facebook groups. I want to write a message once for all of them but have it delivered at different times.

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    How do I send one message to different social networks to arrive at different times?.
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    The bulk scheduler can help you do that. Follow the tutorial above and if you have question feel free to post them here. Remember that the bulk scheduler does not generate link preview for Facebook. There is a workaround , check out this forum topic to know more.

    @HootBulk | Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler | http://ow.ly/fL4ms
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    Stephan Seyfert

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    If your post is a quotation that you want inside quotes, how should you enter it in column B?
    e.g., If you want to post:
    "Change before you have to." - Jack Welch
    Do you enter:
    "Change before you have to." - Jack Welch
    or
    ""Change before you have to." - Jack Welch"

    Will the quotes throw something off?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    I don't recommend using any quotes at all because you run the risk of messing out the csv file. But if you want to do it enter it like:

    "Change before you have to." - Jack Welch

    @HootBulk | Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler | http://ow.ly/fL4ms
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    calebgrayson

    • 60 Points
    i'm trying to use Numbers to give me a .CSV file for bulk upload.
    it looks like this:


    but the .CSV file comes out looking like this:

    "03/05/2013 08:10
    ",Have a Great Day!!
    "04/05/2013 12:35
    ",Feeling Good!
    "05/05/2013 14:45

    ",I’m happy again today!
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,

    any ideas on this? is it possible to do in Numbers?

    —Caleb
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    The problem is that Numbers is adding extra empty rows at the end.
    '
    '
    '
    '
    Delete all rows below the last message (right click > delete rows). You should not leave any empty rows.

    @HootBulk | Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler | http://ow.ly/fL4ms
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    Tracy Spence

    • 60 Points
    hi i have no problems with uploading but after the csv file is done i am having broken owly links, and lots of errors afterwards such as twitter saying too many tweets ...i checked twitter and you are allowed 1000 weets per day and i only do 2 soooooo...whats that about. i usually keep the same csv file and jst upload it twice chaging the time. im guessing i cant repeat tweets on the same day?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    Broken ow.ly links can happen for two reasons:

    1. The original long url you shorten is missing characters. In the bulk scheduler if your url's do not have http:// (in column C) they will be shorten incorrectly and appear broken after message is publish. Other times the original long url's are simply broken (404 page). You may want to check if the page the url points to actually exist.

    2. Sometimes the ow.ly services goes down. Most times is do to maintenance.

    I usually keep the same csv file and just upload it twice chaging the time.

    That's may be the problem. You can't upload too many duplicate tweets so close to each other every day. You could get banned from Twitter for spammer practices. The best thing to do here is to create two or three csv files with tweet variations. That way you will upload a different csv every other day.

    @HootBulk | Excel template for Hootsuite Bulk Scheduler | http://ow.ly/fL4ms
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    Debbie Love

    • 60 Points
    How do I create my ow.ly links for bulk scheduling?
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    Luis O Maymi, Ambassador

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    If you put the url's in column C Hootsuite will automatically change them to ow.ly.
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    HootFan_Tips, Ambassador

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    Why is there an ; behind every message in column B after uploading the bulk. It was not in the CSV.
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    Chris Johnson

    • 60 Points
    Here's a question:  Can we schedule something to go into the queue AFTER a certain date?  Meaning in lieu of posting ON A date...
    Thanks for this great and simple tutorial, you have saved me alot of work with my companie ́s twitter. Can you kindly tell me how do you get those shorten URLS before you upload to Hootsuite servers?. Have a nice day.
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    Sterling, Official Rep

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    Hi there!

    You can use the Compose Message Box in your dashboard to create shortened Owly links that you can later upload in Bulk as well as track if they are connected to a Twitter account. 

    Here is a link to our Help Desk article that will walk you through the link shortening process: http://ow.ly/IaQ7M 

    Hope this helps!

    Sterling | @Hootsuite_Help
    I have paid the 9.99 per/mo but Hootsuite refuses to bulk schedule more that 350 tweets. It only gets to 250
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    Sterling, Official Rep

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    Hey Mdundo Music, 

    Do you have any other messages scheduled? Bulk Scheduler allows you to schedule up to 350 messages, however if you have 100 messages already scheduled you will only be able to use Bulk Scheduler to upload 250. Additionally, if you manually schedule your messages by using the compose message box and choosing the calendar option there is no limit to the amount of messages that can be scheduled. 

    Hope this helps!

    Thanks,

    Sterling | @Hootsuite_Help