Sharing is pretty-much what social media is all about - trying to gain traction on any of the social networks without sharing interesting and relevant content is like trying to take photos with the lens cap still on!
However, the time and intent it takes to build a solid, and more importantly, regular profile which shares other content and engages with others consistently can be a difficult task. There are some pretty great (and free!) ways to optimise your social strategy if you know where to look – here I’ll run you through my current sharing set up!
Be on The Lookout for Awesome Content
This is so obvious I nearly didn’t mention it, however, a lot of people don’t share content unless they’ve got something that’s really shareworthy – that’s a given! – but finding and sorting that content quickly and easily can be tricky.
Anyone who’s committed to becoming a “thought-leader” or a hub of knowledge within their personal area of interest or expertise really needs to keep on top of it, and the best way of doing this is to utilise RSS feeds - and more importantly, a decent feed reader application. Within digital marketing and SEO especially this is critical as it moves so quickly; there’s a plethora of essential reading that you’ll need to check in more than one place to see the most important updates.
Since the demise of Google Reader (boo!) I’ve been using Feedly as my RSS reader of choice, this is mostly because it’s free and provides a really good way to catch up with the most recent feed activity really quickly on mobile devices and desktop. There are many other great readers out there, but for the purposes of this piece it’s Feedly all the way!
Build a Content Buffer
A daily or even weekly catch-up with your feeds will highlight some content worth sharing, this is the first step. However, finding content isn’t enough, sharing is the name of the game here!
If you’re anything like me and do most of your reading just before bed or first thing in the morning, sharing your content there and then probably isn’t the best time to get maximum exposure. So you hold off posting at that time, but forget to share it later - not helpful! Whilst emailing noteworthy links to yourself or using a service like Pushbullet to easily send links to other devices can work, you still need to publish it.
Scheduling content is really the best way of getting around this, just because you’re in your 9.30am meeting doesn’t mean you can’t be publishing content via your channels. There are many different methods of scheduling social media posts, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are two of the favourites, but Buffer is for those who want to take things one step further.
Buffer is designed specifically for people who want to share over social, in the most effective way. The way you do this is by creating a “buffer” of content and the app shares it across your channels at pre-defined times. The great strength here is that it can be completely customised towards when your network is online - so different time zones, day of the week, even tailoring each network differently. This gives you the option to “set and forget” (not the best idea, but offers a “minimum” solution) or optimise for greater performance using the in-built analytics (some features cost here) to tweak as you go.
What’s even better is that buffer integrates into Feedly (and other readers) so you can add to your buffer as you go. Pick five “must-share” articles one night, add them all to Buffer and have them published throughout the next day or two – and that’s it!
Check, edit and Refine
Like all things digital marketing, optimising your current activity is often a no-brainer, in fact if you’re not optimising these days, you’re moving backwards.
As you share content more and more it is best to keep track of your new follows, follower count and amount of re-shares. This can be done again much easier using paid tools than free ones; however, there are free options on existing services such as Followerwonk and Klout that can help measure your success.
Equally, creating a bit.ly account and linking it with your Buffer means you can use the Bitly stats dashboard to see how many people are actually reading what you’re publishing – which is obviously a big part in this process.
If no one is reading or sharing your content, then chances are you’re doing something wrong, maybe you need to experiment with the time of day you’re posting messages, or perhaps your content isn’t right for your network? Check, edit and refine as you go!
That’s it, you’re ready to go! It really it is as simple as that.
Only a slight issue is that at this level you still need to take the extra time to tweak each post before it sends, write a description etc. If you want a “one-touch” solution for when there’s just no time for anything else, check out the following steps!
“Pocket” Awesome Content
As well as Feedly’s own “save for later” function, Pocket is a great way to save or compile any articles you want to share later on. In fact, for the purpose of this hack get a Pocket account and then link it to Feedly (this can be done via the app web or desktop versions).
Now it’s time to get creative, I’ve written about IFTTT before, for the uninitiated it means ‘If This, Then That’, so:
If [condition] is met, then do [set action]
Check out the above link for more information into that specifically, it’ll walk you through some more basics of the service. What we’re going to use IFTTT for here is to automate the process of saving an awesome piece of content using Feedly, transferring it to Pocket and then saving it to Buffer to be published later.
Using the IFTTT recipe maker I’ve set the following:Simple right? Well in addition you can set the prefix or suffix for the buffer share, i.e. add a snippet of text like “Great piece of content - [Title] [URL]”.
If you want to give this a go without having to learn how to use IFTTT (although, trust me it’s dead simple), I’ve shared my recipe - here!
This is the quickest way of building a content buffer no questions – but I must stress that this is not to replace the process of adding your own content and tailoring it to different networks, as this is THE long-term path to success, however, it is a quick option for those occasions where you don’t have time but don’t want to forgo sharing altogether.
Spending the time to set this up now WILL save you time in the long run and give you the tools you need to constantly share content through social channels. You’ve got no excuse now, step to it!
Have you got any more tips about getting the most out of social sharing? Any IFTTT recipes that save you time - I want to hear what you do to make your social accounts work to their fullest - leave your thoughts in the comments below!