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

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


    • 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.
  4. 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”.
  5. 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


    • 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.
  6. We finished formatting the bulk scheduler. Go to file > Save As > Select Comma Separated Values (.csv)
  7. 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.

  8. Go to your HootSuite dashboard and to the publisher. Click the button “Schedule in Bulk”
  9. 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.

  • Thanks for the write up! Ive’ just started using Hootsuite for my first two social media clients and so far so good. Today I tested the .csv file upload and it worked great. Thanks again for the write up

  • Thanks for the help, the Hootsuite directions were hopeless.

    One tip: Once you have set the first date and time in A1, then for B1, you can just write =+A1+0.25 to give you a 6 hour time difference to the first message or =+A1+1 to give you a 24 hour time difference. Saves typing all the dates and times by hand and gives you nice intervals

  • Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

  • I just want to say I am just very new to blogging and actually savored this page. Most likely I’m likely to bookmark your site . You really come with beneficial article content. Thanks for sharing with us your web-site.

  • What is the best way to handle photos? You attach an image when posting or scheduling individual images, but what have you found to be the best process for preparing and using them with bulk scheduling? We’re using Hootsuite for Facebook and G+ too. Our images are currently in a folder on Google Drive. None of the instructions seem to specifically address images. Thanks!


    • lomaymi

      Hi Sandy

      Sadly the bulk scheduler does not automatically generate a picture preview in Facebook or G+. According to a topic in Hootsuite feedback forum “is not technically feasible with a CSV file”.

      What you can do is add the picture url in column C and after you upload the csv file to Hootsuite edit each individual message in the publisher. If you have a Facebook or G+ profile selected it will generate a link preview. That’s the only way to generate link preview.

      • Sandy Byron

        Thank you, lomaymi. I take it then that the link in Column C will simply be ignored during upload. I’ll play with the scheduler today!

        • Sandy Byron

          No, it doesn’t ignore the photo link in Column C–just doesn’t pull in the image until I click Edit in Hootsuite. Got it!

  • I just want to mention I am newbie to blogging and site-building and certainly enjoyed this blog site. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You definitely come with awesome posts. Thanks a bunch for sharing your web-site.