One of the top reasons I hear from businesses as to why they can’t do social media is time. And truly, in our world, time has become a scarce and precious resource. You’re spending your time running your business, and what does social media even DO anyway? You need to make money. Tweets don’t make money.
I’ll have that intellectual debate another day, but what I’m trying to say is that I get it. It’s hard. Despite this being my field, I’ve been known to slack on my own blog writing and social media posting – shoemaker’s children and all. I’ve made it a goal this year to get on my game with all of that, and I want to share with you how I’m doing it. It only involves two tools, it’s easy, it’s simple, and it’s FREE. (Free is the best, I know)
The two tools you’ll need here are Pocket and Buffer. In short, Pocket makes it easy to bookmark and tag links from whatever device you’re on – laptop, phone, tablet – and Buffer makes it easy to schedule those articles out to share on your social media channels.
Once you sign up for Pocket, you should also download the mobile app and install the browser extension. If you’re anything like me, you probably see a ton of interesting links as you go about your life, in your personal Twitter or Facebook feeds, maybe LinkedIn, and just around. When I either read an article and absolutely love it, or I come across a headline that looks interesting but I don’t have time to read, I put it in my Pocket. I do this with either the browser extension – I am pretty in love with browser extensions – or by simply right-clicking the link and saving it to Pocket, which is an option that will come up in your menu once you install the extension.
I highly recommend you get in the habit of tagging the links you save into Pocket. I save links for various clients, my own Starglass Media channels, another site I’m working to build, and my personal channels – each has its own tag. You can easily tag when you save a link via the browser extension and you can also tag from the mobile app. When you save via mobile, a tag icon will pop up at the bottom of your screen, you tap it, and select your tag. Tagging is important so that when you get to the sharing step of this equation, you can easily find the kind of articles you want to share
To view your saved links, you visit getpocket.com where you can review them in list or grid form, or you can browse them via the mobile app. You can view them within Pocket, or click “View original” to go to the original article.
So now you have a bevy of saved articles relevant to your business or personal interests, and they’re organized with tags. Buffer is your secret weapon in sharing out these links, all of which serve to build your personal brand.
Buffer is an amazing service which allows you to hook in all of your social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn. You can connect Facebook profiles, pages, or groups, and you can connect LinkedIn profiles or pages. After you set up your channels, you can set up sharing schedules per channel, and per day or set of days. For example, my Starglass Media Twitter account is scheduled to tweet twice a day each weekday, but the times differ depending on what day of the week it is. It only tweets once per day on weekends. You can set up these schedules to persist across different SM channels, or you can set them up individually per channel.
I recommend you also install the Buffer browser extension and mobile app, giving you full functionality over Buffer no matter what device you’re on. Also, the Buffer browser extension does incredible things, such as allowing you to schedule a direct Twitter RT from your Twitter timeline – this is something I believe to be unique to Buffer, and I’ve never found another service to handle that particular task.
OK, here’s where things get beautiful. Here’s your system. Set aside a one hour block early in your week – I try to do mine on Monday afternoons. As you go about your business, save your interesting, tagged links in Pocket. In that one hour block, pull up your Pocket. Decide what’s worth sharing. You have one of two choices. You can share directly from Pocket – use the arrow icon at the top, and select Buffer as your sharing choice. Choose what accounts, if you have more than one, that you’d like to share to, customize the sharing tweet – I try to use a pithy quote from the article or my own view on what’s inside – and schedule. And you’re done. If you’ve set a schedule of 10 times throughout the week to share, and you Buffer 10 tweets, you’ve now done your social media for the week.
Magic, no? I know. It’s amazing.
Bumps in the road
There are two small hiccups. When sharing one article, I do not generally use the same post for both a Twitter share and a Facebook Page share. That’s because for Facebook Page shares, I like to remove the physical link, and let the Facebook link gods do their magic. I also like to remove any hashtags or @ mentions, which look messy on Facebook.
If you’re sharing an article from a regular webpage, you can do a magic trick wherein you select some article text and use your Buffer browser extension, and the text of your share is your selected text. HOW SMART IS THAT? However, that same trick does not work from within the Pocket interface. It’s a simple matter of a copy/paste job to write in your own text for the share, so it’s not difficult to work around.
Anything else to know?
You might say, Dominique, why am I saving everything to Pocket when I can just Buffer everything I see around the web? You absolutely can do that and if you’ll commit to doing so as you browse, more power to you. It works better for me to have a dedicated period of time to schedule out my social shares, so I need some sort of aggregation service to round them up for me.
Remember, articles aren’t the only thing you should be sharing! You can also schedule regular text posts and images through Buffer, and I encourage you to do so. However, article shares perform well on Facebook in particular and always do well to establish you as a thought leader in your field and should be a way you continue to add value to your followers’ feeds.
Pocket and Buffer together are your secret social media weapon for your business. I promise.