In my previous post I described how you can follow a simple drill that will raise your profile on social media and attract new followers quickly. The other related questions that I hear frequently, are ‘how can I find interesting articles to share’, and ‘is there a simple way to schedule posts so that they get sent out automatically?’.
The answer to both questions is ‘yes’ and in this post, I’ll look at a few of the tools that can help you save time, while boosting your reputation as a thought leader in your area of professional expertise.
Let’s look at content first. There are plenty of free apps where you enter search criteria and then receive a steady stream of current articles based on these topics. Some of these, such as Feedly, are closer to a traditional RSS reader, while others, such as Flipboard, combine stories in a more reader-friendly online magazine. In both cases, the more you open and share articles on a given topic, the more likely you are to receive stories on that subject. You can also use filter on both apps and ensure that you get the latest news from specific online publishers.
The power in your Pocket
But once you’ve found an eye-catching story how do you share it with your social followers? The first step is to consolidate all your articles from Flipboard, Feedly, and others to a single location. The Pocket app is ideal for this purpose. Once you’ve uploaded a story, you can come back to it at any time and quickly share it with one of your social channels. Plus, Pocket makes your articles available off-line and renders them on a plain, reader-friendly screen.
The final stage in this content-social ‘workflow’ involves scheduling posts to be published at pre-determined times. The two big names in this space are Buffer and Hootsuite. Both are indispensable, but you need to understand the subtle difference between the two to get the most out of them.
Buffer focuses purely on scheduling. You set the times at which you want your posts to appear – up to 10 at one time with the free version, 100 and more once you start paying. You can also specify the social channel where you want the article to appear and choose a different schedule by day, if you want to reduce activity at the weekend, for example.
Hootsuite enables you to bulk schedule posts, but you’ll need a spreadsheet to do it. Otherwise most people use the ‘autoschedule’ button, leaving the software to choose the optimum time to share the post to the selected social channel. By the way, this is just one feature of Hootsuite, which enables you to manage multiple accounts and streams from its user interface.
Generally, I use Buffer to schedule posts two-three days ahead, and then share articles via Hootsuite on a more frequent basis. This enables me to plan some way ahead, but still share more up-to-the-minute stories when I have a spare moment.
The great thing about all these tools is that once you’ve signed up and set your preferences they integrate easily with one another on your smartphone. Then all you need is a bit of self-discipline. The 30-minute drill that I follow every morning over coffee uses the following workflow.
I start by flicking through and reading my latest Flipboard and Feedly articles, and save the best ones to Pocket. Then I’ll open Pocket and begin sharing stories to Buffer and Hootsuite. And that really is all there is to it. You only need that half hour to share about a dozen posts or more to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Combine this with the tips in the previous post about acquiring followers and you have a daily routine that will raise your profile as an expert in your space to a fast-growing audience.
If you’d like more tips about how to get your business and employees active and effective on social media, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I can train your employees in the fundamentals of social for business, manage your social accounts and coach your client-facing teams to increase sales leads and accelerate conversions.