I’m an avid content-sharer on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I think reading, curating and sharing fresh, relevant content is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a resource and thought leader in your field of work.
Content sharing, when done well, takes time. Automation tools can help make the process more efficient. However, not all automation tools are alike. For example, some Twitter users use Tweetreach to automate content sharing. However, tools like Tweetreach auto-tweet ALL of the articles posted from a particular RSS feed.
That’s not curation, that’s broadcasting.
I prefer to curate content — share the best articles and posts that I come across and give a little commentary as to why I am sharing it. It’s a bit more labor intensive than pure automation, but as a Twitter user, I certainly know what I prefer to see in my stream.
Let’s talk about the two different tools, and then I will explain the (simple) process I use to curate and share content.
I use Feedly as my RSS reader. Why do you need an RSS reader? Because it’s a central source for all of your news. Rather than bouncing from one site to another, all of your content sources are fed into one place. Feedly is free and simple to use, and includes Buffer integration (which I’ll discuss later in this post). If you already have a Google account, you can sign up for Feedly in one click.
Once you have your Feedly account set up, it will prompt you to start adding feeds to your reader. You can do this in a few different ways. Search inside Feedly for topics of interest or specific names of news sources. For example, you can do a general search for “social media” or a specific search for a site like “Mashable”. Sometimes larger sites have multiple feeds (for example The New York Times or Huffington Post) – you can choose the specific feeds that appeal to you. I would suggest getting specific as possible when adding feeds to Feedly. Your list of news sources can quickly become enormous and then it’s difficult to find content that you want to read and share.
Another way to add feeds to Feedly is to add them while you are browsing the web. If you’re a Google Chrome user, you can get a great Chrome extension that creates an “Add to Feedly” button on your browser. Then when you visit a website, simply click this button and you can add any feeds from that site to your Feedly account.
You’ll notice when you start adding feeds that Feedly allows you to set up folders to organize your feeds. Please do this. Think of it like a newspaper. Sometimes you only want to read the sports section or the local news.
Buffer is a free tool that allows you to schedule Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts. What makes it different (and better) than a traditional scheduling tool is that it acts as a drip-mechanism of sorts. You simple fill up your Buffer with posts, and it “drips” them to your social media account(s) throughout the day on a schedule you set up. So rather than sharing six articles all at once when I’m reading my RSS feed at 9:00am, I can use Buffer to tweet those six articles throughout the day.
You can sign up for a Buffer account through Twitter or Facebook, or create a traditional account using an email address. Then you connect the Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts for which you would like to create a buffer. You can set up multiple accounts and either toggle between them or post to them simultaneously. I only use Buffer for my Twitter account, but I have used it for my clients’ Facebook accounts as well.
Next step — set up the time(s) of day you want your Buffer to “drip”. I have my Buffer dripping six times per day, about every couple of hours. Others do more or less. Depends on your personal preference.
Once you have everything set up, the Buffer dashboard allows you to create posts from scratch, see what posts are in your Buffer, change their order and even edit them after the fact. You can also schedule your posts to go up at particular days/times rather than the next Buffer time. This is nice for time-sensitive posts, such as holidays or special events. But keep in mind that your Buffer will keep going along with the scheduled post (i.e. it doesn’t replace one of your Buffer posts, so don’t schedule it at or near the same time as a Buffer post).
My Content Sharing Process
Every morning, I open my Feedly RSS reader and browse the feeds as you would do a newspaper. I read the post titles to find articles that interest me, and then either skim or read the posts themselves.
When I find something share-worthy, I simple press the Buffer button at the top of the article in Feedly. Buffer and Feedly are integrated tools, which means the Buffer button appears right inside Feedly at the top of every post.
This button auto-generates a tweet with the post title and shortened link to the full post. Then I edit the auto-tweet to add my commentary. I press “Buffer”, and then off it flies into my pile of buffered tweets, that will “drip” throughout the day. You can also post the article to Facebook or LinkedIn using the same process.
Some people scoff at automation and scheduling tools, saying they take the “social” out of social media. Ideally, content sharing should happen in real time. But for many people, that approach isn’t efficient, or realistic. Using the Feedly-Buffer dream team you can take the time suck out of content sharing.